Monday, February 10, 2014

Crack Kills.

When Dave is traveling for work, I usually attempt to check off something on my DIY list that is on the messier side of things.  It's so much easier to get a quick and messy project done when I don't have to worry about anyone else tripping over my tools or asking, "So, when do you think you're going to be done with this?"  And by "anyone else", I really just mean my husband.  Margot steers clear when she hears another DIY project getting started. 

This week, I decided to tackle one such project, thinking it would take me an hour, tops.  HA.  I don't know where my eternal optimism and underestimating project completion times comes from, but it's like my brain gets erased every time I start something new.  That's probably a good thing, though, otherwise I'd never start another project again.

So, this week's project?  Recaulking the crack between the kitchen countertop and wall.  Ugh.  Gross.  Shoot me now.  If ever there were a mundane project to end all projects, this would be it.  There isn't a beautiful finished product to look at when you're done, you aren't going to proudly show off your DIY skills, and you're really not going to get any pleasure out of it.  It's just straight up maintenance.  But, it must be done.

I'm embarrassed to be broadcasting this to the Internet. 

The only alternative is to just rip out the kitchen and get a brank spanking new one, but alas.  I keep choosing fun vacations over a new kitchen.  Priorities, people.  Now, let's get started.

This is what the countertop/sink area looks like.  White on white, my friends.  White formica countertops paired with a white plastic backsplash.  Classy, I know. 

I hide these corners with coffee makers and such.  How gross!!

Eons ago, the previous owners must have caulked the edges of this beautiful eye candy in the laziest way possible.  The caulk was just smeared in a thin layer, which had seriously yellowed with age.  Also, I'm not really sure they even used caulk, as it didn't exactly come off easily.  Could have been glue- I have no idea.

I first attempted to use my scraper to begin prying out/chipping off the mess.  No dice. 

So, I cut up an old sock, drowned the pieces in Goo-Gone, and let it sit on the cracks for a few minutes.  This method had greater success.  The glue/caulk became sticky and stringy, and I was then able to use the scraper to begin cleaning it out.  Most areas required two to three rounds of soaking in Goo-Gone, scraping, cleaning, and then repeating the process all over again.  What I thought would be an hour project quickly stretched through and beyond dinner time.  Grr. 

Getting a wet sock to stand up in a corner?  Serious talent right here, folks.
(Thinking about the hair scene in There's Something About Mary?  Yeah, me too.)

Not sure if you can see from these pictures, but scraping white formica countertops with a metal scraper leaves behind grayish marks.  Yikes.  Magic Erasers to the rescue!!  Seriously, those things are really magic.  One swipe, and the marks are gone!  My love for this product knows no bounds. 

My insides are shriveling.  How have I ignored this for so long?

I tried to get as much of the gunk off as possible before re-caulking- I didn't want any of the gross yellowish stuff peeking through.  This meant that my new caulk lines were going to be a bit wider than normal, as the old stuff had slightly stained the formica in some spots.  Oh well.  This kitchen is 65 years old- it's not going to be sparkly and perfect.

Looking marginally better.

Once I got as much of the old caulk/glue off as humanly possible, I got out the painter's tape to begin taping off my new caulk lines.  It's important to be as precise as possible with this step- try not to make wavy or uneven tape lines!

I am a taping MASTER.

After taping everything off, I crossed my fingers that the half used tube of caulk that I had sitting in the basement hadn't completely dried out.  Sometimes prayers are answered, folks.  The caulk was still useable, and the tube ran out just as I filled in the last line.  The DIY gods must have been watching out for me this week.

While the caulk was still wet, I used a small plastic scraper from Pampered Chef to smooth it out.  You can buy similar little tools at Lowes, but when you already have something in your kitchen drawer that works the same way, why bother?  These little plastic squares have several rounded edges of various sizes, so you can create a large or small caulk line, depending on the size of your cracks to fill.  (Insert crack joke here.)

Crack scraping at its finest.

Immediately after smoothing out the caulk, I carefully took off the tape.  This created a few irregular marks in the corners, but those were easily fixable.  I had a small bowl of warm water ready, got my index finger wet, and smoothed out the bumps.  Easy peazy.

Well into the darkness hours before I got to this point, can you tell?

The hardest part?  NOT TOUCHING it to see if it was dry.  I'm such a child.

Ohh fancy!  Those graphic colors really detract from the sub-par-ness that is the rest of my kitchen.
Don't they?  Unless you're willing to buy me a new kitchen, just say yes.

Oh wait, you want to see the rest of my kitchen?  I'll make you a deal:  create a Kickstarter campaign for me to renovate this room and I'll show it to you in all its glorious/hideous light.  

Disclaimer:  Don't do this- I have no idea how Kickstarter actually works, and my luck, I'd end up getting the pants sued off of me for improper use of money or some foolishness like that.  I don't need the IRS after me:)

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