Now we do! One decision we made, and that I am very happy with is the decision to NOT put in pasta tile.
As beautiful as they are, they are a handful of work. We chose ceramic tile.
One other thing that was a fortunate hapinstance and was caused by our unfamiliarity with both dealing with peso currency, and in estimating based on the metric measure system. We paid WAY more on tile than we would have if I had fully understood how much they were costing. I'm glad now because I really do like the choices we made.
Another choice was when we finally got around to getting someone to come in and clean. It was probably sometime close to the end of our second year before we sought housekeeping help.
One thing that was requested by the housekeeper was muriatic acid*, and like most of us from NOB (North of the Border) panic and warning ensued. ACID, no way, are you crazy, that stuff is dangerous!
*Muriatic acid is prepared from hydrogen chloride. Hydrogen chloride from any of a number of processes is dissolved in water to yield hydrochloric or muriatic acid.
Tom and I were recently cleaning the grout around the tile. I've done it before, and it seems as if this is the 3rd time. Because our house is so open; we have numerous doors and windows that have only screen, no solid surface, air flows freely, and with that airflow comes dust and dirt and street grime. And add to that what we track in on our shoes, what the dogs track in,,, anyway, the grout gets filthy, and because it is porous it holds on to it.
So periodically the grout must be cleaned, and we've found the absolute easiest thing to do is poke a small hole in the top of a litre bottle of muriatic acid and run it around the edges of the tile covering the grout lines. Wait a few seconds and go at it with a scrub brush, then wipe it up with a damp rag. And o my gosh what a difference.
We started one night and got the office done, then the next morning Tom did the kitchen while I started on the sala, and when I couldn't be on my knees any longer I did the kitchen counter tops, which also happen to be tile, white tile with white grout; looks fab, but what was I thinking.
I then started on the pantry, but still hadn't finished with the sala. But it really got me thinking - I did some internet research and gads, the warnings are intense - these came from one site -
· Always wear proper safety gear. You need thick rubber gloves, a respirator, safety glasses, a long sleeve shirt, and pants that completely cover your legs. This cleaner can stain your clothes, so wear something you don't mind getting dirty.
· Have a supply of clean water on hand. Muriatic acid is almost always diluted with water before being used for cleaning. Water is used to wet the surface before and after cleaning. Fresh water can also be used to wash off any that comes in contact with your skin. There have been a few occasions where some muriatic acid has splashed on my hands and arms. A little fresh water neutralizes the acid and takes care of the sting. Always have a running hose nearby.
· Always pour acid into water, never water into acid. You'll be diluting the muriatic acid with water before cleaning any masonry surfaces. Use a plastic bucket to mix in and always add the water to the bucket first and then slowly pour in the acid. Be careful when pouring the acid; the fumes are intense and can be painful if inhaled. Never pour water into a bucket of acid. A reaction can occur that can cause the acid to bubble out of the bucket and onto you. Always pour the acid into water.
· Take your time. Work slowly. If you rush, you're more apt to lose concentration and spill or splash the muriatic acid.
A year or so ago we had to drain the pool to have it cleaned of the sarro (mineral buildup). The cleaning crew came with a huge container of acid, a 20 ltr bucket, and a few litre plastic yogurt containers. The rolled up their pants legs, took of their chanclas (flipflops), half filled the bucket with water and started dipping the yogurt cups in to the acid and tossing the acid across the tile, they would then brush the foaming acid and use the hose to wash it down. Occasionally they would stick their feet in the bucket of water. Yep, that's it!
Tom did a blogpost about that experience which you can see here!
Water really diminishes acids efficiency, so it's best to use it full strength, it cleans so quickly, and you just leave it down a short time.
Acid is my new best friend, I am no longer afraid of it and use it regularly.
I also found this list of uses
Muriatic acid has many commercial and home uses, including:
· industrial synthesis of vinyl chloride and polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
· food additive
· gelatin production
· leather processing
· household cleaning (when diluted)
· pickling of steel
· production of inorganic chemical compounds
· pH control of water, food and drugs
· regenerating ion exchange resins
· purification of table salt
· building construction
· to dissolve rock in oil production
· occurs naturally in gastric acid to digest food
hmmm, acid in my jello!, and in my salt, I'm just full of it!