Tuesday, August 9, 2022




In Spite of a serious Heat Wave (days and days of above 90 degrees temperatures) Dear Readers, I decided that I might as well apply the grout to the Lord's Bed Chamber floor tiles. It would not take too long to do, and I could begin in the early part of the day before it became just too hot to think clearly. Above you can see I got right at it! I am using the pre-mixed grout I have used many times, bought from Hobby Builder's Supply. This time I did not have to wait for months for it to arrive. The basic plan is you smear it on making sure it gets into all the cracks and then before it begins to harden you wipe the extra grout off with a sponge. You have to wipe repeatedly because it doesn't all clear of in one swipe. So you apply it for a while then wipe for a while...

It leaves a film of grout that becomes chalky as it dries,
 so you go over it again with a damp sponge more than once.

I remembered to take some pictures as I went...

You have to not wipe too hard or too soon
 or it just pulls the grout out of the cracks.

You need to keep coming back for a while
 to make sure you have wiped the surface clean.
But as I was making one of these inspections, Dear Readers,
 I noticed an alarming problem!

I noticed that the "varnish" on the tiles had peeled in places!

And on closer inspection I could see it was partly gone from many of the tiles...
 including some of the ones with the painted roses!

Ay-yi-yi! What to do?
I had to just walk away.
It was too hot.
I couldn't think.
I have never had this problem before!

And the following morning... 
(still even hotter than the day before...)
Could I even bear to look....?

I know... you can't see a thing without the spotlight...
but I could tell it had not fixed itself overnight.
I reasoned that I needed to "muddy up" the grout anyway,
 in order to seal it and age it.... this is an old Castle after all...!
If I was going to have to apply more varnish to the entire floor,
 the grout would need to be aged first anyway.

This is another messy task. 
I mix a very watery blend of black and burnt umber acrylic paint,
 and slather it onto the floor with a large-ish paintbrush, 
and quickly wipe the mixture off the tiles
 before it has a chance to dry.
The grout soaks up the paint mixture,
 which is largely water, 
so you can't really tell how dark it will be when it is dry.
You just have to carry on... mix, slather, wipe and repeat.

And I was hoping it would not further alter the partly bare tiles...!
But it had to be done.

Then you have to leave it to dry thoroughly.
And when it is... the next day... or two even...
 because it is too hot and I don't dare look....

Can we see where we stand?
The grout looks fine.....if a little blotchy....
The tiles need a lot of repair.


It really does need a lot of repair.

Just when I thought I had tiles and grout all figured out, Dear Readers,
 it appears I have a whole lot more to learn!
Unexpected Challenges.......!


  1. A Betsy... I feel your frustrations re: the grout and its effects on the surface of the tiles but I happen to think that with a castle as old as this one is, the tiles wouldn't be looking bandbox new, since they would have received a lot of wear and tear over the centuries. So what you see as a negative I consider- PERFECT!

    p.s. I'm not sure what you'll be doing for lighting but if it's wall torches such as you've been using in other rooms in the castle, then the emphasis will be off the floor and onto your walls AND that AMAZING tapestry your currently working on! ❤️

  2. Oh Betsy! I feel your pain! I can't tell you how many times I have had issues when grouting. There always seems to be some new wrinkle to leave me wondering why, after doing it so many times, it's not just a procedural matter. The sealer, not having really sealed the tiles, is one of those very frustrating and disappointing wrinkles that I have encountered. The only thing to be done in this situation is to focus only on the positives. I can think of a few: The tiles with the grout really do look awesome! The aging on the grout came out wonderfully! You were the creator of those lovely flowers, so you can paint them once more! Nothing is ruined! Once you touch up and reseal, you are finished with this very big job!
    One thing that I now put into my grouting routine is to seal my tiles with a tough, glossy hard coat like I find in Krylon's Triple Thick clear coat. This seems to seal really well. The sheen does not really matter, because after I grout and age, I can reseal with whatever sheen I want for the final look. I know it's too late for this floor, but test it out on the next one. I hope it works for you, too! Hugs!

  3. Seguro que se te ocurre algo y quedará perfecto. Después de todo es un piso viejo y desgastado.
    Me encanta el contraste del suelo, Muy bonito.

  4. Dear Betsy, I think you are too hard on yourself. The floor already looks fabulous. It's an old castle after all. It adds a lovely color to the room.
    Hugs, Drora

  5. Dear Betsy, how sad that some of the tiles were damaged in the grouting process. Perhaps is is a comfort that through wear and tear glazed encaustic tiles often have their glazed surfaces damaged in places. The aged grouting looks super! Can't the tiles be repaired by a new coat of glaze? I am sure that you will come up wih a good solution.


  6. I'm really feeling sorry for you after reading this post and learning about the trouble the grout caused and causes you. So sad that you're now having problems you never had before when creating all those other stunning tiled floors. But I have no doubt you're perfectly on your way to fix the grout issues and to repair the tiles.

    However, when looking at the pictures I too think the tiles look like worn and used ones in an old castle. But I keep in mind that pictures often look very different from reality - my fingers are crossed for a successful makeover of the tiles and the flaws the varnish caused. If anybody can fix this than it's you!

    With an extra big hug this time