Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Grouting: It is like learning the Cadbury Caramilk secret

I previously looked at tiled surfaces with very little interest. I had no idea what grout was or how it was placed so neatly into the spaces between all the tiles. Was it put on when you install the tiles to keep them evenly spaced, or was it just the extra adhesive stuff that oozes out when placing the tiles? Well, I can tell you that finally learning the grout mystery is akin to learning how Cadbury gets the caramel into the Caramilk bar - enlightening but trival.

My friend the internet taught me how to grout. I purchased the powdered grout and mixed it up in my own kitchen, then spread it on to fill the spaces using a basic tool called the "grout float", which is nothing more than a rectangle with a handle. Then you wipe off the excess with a damp sponge and wait for it to dry. Yes, it is that easy. But, it is time consuming, as my 24 square feet of glass mosaic tile represents 3,456 individual tiles. So we had to smear the grout between all 3,456 tiles and then wipe each one off a few times, to make sure that the grout does not ruin the sparkly appearance. I must say we because Dan got into it pretty heavy with the grout float, ensuing that each and every crevace was filled, giving himself with a nasty blister.

So with that mystery solved, I decided to ask my all-knowing friend the internet what it knows about the Cadbury Caramilk secret. Alas, I found a posting from 1996 with a simple yet cool animation and full explanation that unlocks the mystery, and has a wonderful artist's rendering of a Mikrovert ™ chocolate shell moulding plant. This is all very cool but it would be better if I could do it myself, like grouting. Now since the Cadbury plant is only a few blocks west of us, and our neighbour's son works there, maybe a trip to the factory is not really beyond grasp. But will they let me put the caramel into the chocolate shells myself? Doubtful.

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