“It was so easy, I went online and bought more and did the whole house,” the Sydney mum-of-three says. “It’s addictive.”
When Steph Chun moved into her forever home, she was “grossed out” by one very disgusting detail that many people often fail to even notice under their bare feet.
The two-storey Sydney home, built more than 25 years ago, still had its original white and beige tiles across the ground-floor level. To say they’d seen better days is a massive understatement.
“The grout between them is meant to be white but it was brown and almost black in some areas,” Steph, a mother-of-three, tells Kidspot.
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The results surprised the Sydney mum. Images: Supplied
Trying to solve the ugly grout problem
Since she and her family began living there three years ago, Steph has tried everything to restore the grout to its former colour.
“They were so gross that we got professional grout cleaners in, and they tried to clean it but they said the stains were too old,” the 41-year-old says. “That process actually pulled some of the grout out too, so we weren’t going to do that again.”
She made numerous other attempts at lightening the grout by cleaning it – trying out Bunnings’ popular $10 Long Life Grout Cleaner and Rubbermaid Power Scrubber.
“Nothing worked, and I hated how it looked, so we even looked at laying floorboards over it, which would have cost $10,000,” Steph, who is a decor and organising blogger, says.
“We didn’t want to spend that money now, so I kept looking for something that would allow us to keep the tiles looking nice for a while longer.”
The grout pen Steph used to make her tiles brand new again. Images: Amazon / Supplied
The $7 discovery that turned the house brand new again
In her search online, Steph discovered grout pens: coloured ink that provides a waterproof coating in between tiles which is applied just by following the lines of the grout.
Sceptical at first, Steph decided to buy only two of the $7 pens in beige-white and try it out on her laundry floor first. As per the instructions, she mopped the area, and once that was dry, traced the grout with her new gadget.
“It was easier than I thought, just sitting down and drawing along the lines,” she explains. “It’s actually quite addictive.”
After three years of looking at horrible brown grout, Steph was over the moon at her discovery.
“I was so amazed with the area I’d done, I bought another 15 pens and did the rest of the house,” she says. “It dries instantly, so we didn’t need to wait to walk on it.”
Steph spent just $119 to transform her dirty, lacklustre tiles across her entire kitchen, laundry, powder room and hallway. She could have spent even less, but chose to do two coats.
WANT TO TRY IT OUT TOO? Find the Grout Pen Steph used here
The foyer entry before (left) and after the grout pen was used (right). Images: Supplied
The best investment with amazing results
For that tiny investment, this proud mum says her tiles now look “new”.
“The old cream tiles which I didn’t really like, look completely different now because the white grout lightens them up so much,” she says.
“My mum came over and she genuinely thought we’d changed the tiles.”
It’s been more than a month since Steph completed the grout, and while some online reviews doubt how long the ink lasts, Steph insists the ink has remained intact and hasn’t faded or bled at all, even with regular mopping.
“I went from wanting to get rid of the tile to loving them, so I’m happy.”