Phil Smith of Decatur, Indiana, submitted the following helpful home tip to the EHT staff:
“While refinishing my basement, I was putting the final touches on the tile work, using a 12-by-3-1/4-inch bullnose trim piece as a baseboard trim. The walls were already Spanish laced and painted, so I didn’t want to “lather up” the entire tile and top seam with grout using a standard sponge-trowel method. This would have been a mess not only to spread into the joints but also to clean up and not ruin the walls that were already painted.
I located a fairly empty tube of caulk and disposed of the rest of the material inside the cartridge. I cleaned up the tube and pushed back down the “plunger” that was within the tube. I then proceeded to mix up a small batch of grout according to the manufacturer’s recommendation, yet a little dryer so as to keep the grout in the vertical joints easier. I then put the grout into the plastic tube dispenser and re-installed the plunger. I applied the this in specific joint locations of the bullnose trim and found that the grout was especially “controlled” by the use of the standard caulk gun to dispense it, as well as by the size of the opening in the top of the tube. This saved me a tremendous amount of time when filling the remaining joints of the bullnose and it cut down the amount of wasted grout. I was especially impressed by the reduced clean-up/wipe-down time of excess grout, compared to the normal grouting process of tile work. The overall benefit was that I did the entire job without ruining the existing, completed wall finish. I found using the caulk gun to be a tremendous help, and rest assure I will keep my empty silicon cartridge handy for the next tile job.”