Renovate Australia

Home improvement blog about renovating our Queenslander house in Townsville, Australia, and our home in Adelaide, SA

What Product Sould You Use To Seal Your Shower Grout

September 12th, 2014 by Bill Hutchison · 2 Comments

Most grout that is in your bathroom, shower, toilets, and kitchen are cement based and porous. Most builders and contractors don’t bother actually sealing your grout, which means that the grout will actually be absorbing any liquid that gets on it. The types of moisture that it will absorbing will be:

  • Water
  • Soap
  • Body Oils

Of these, the body oils are by far the most common caused of discolouration of your grout lines.

There are a few ways that you can help to prevent staining or discolouration of your grout lines. Your first option, recommended by Mike Holmes, is to tint your grout so that it matches the tiles, and thus hides any discolouration. The other option is to seal your grout …

There are two types of grout sealers that you can use:

  1. Surface Barrier Sealant
  2. Penetrating or Impregnator Sealant

Your surface barrier sealant does just what it says, it create a barrier that sits on top of your grout. This type of grout sealers is generally easier to work with than a penetrating barrier, but it is not as effective, and requires regular reapplication.

A penetrating sealant soaks into the pores of the grout to form a barrier against any moisture getting into, and behind the grout. Although it requires more work to apply, and generally costs more than a barrier seal, it is generally considered to be the best option for most uses. This is why we are using a penetrating sealer in our bathrooms.

Grout Sealer Options

Having a look at the Bunnings web-site shows us five different types of penetrating grout sealer. They are:

  • DTS Heavy Duty Grout Sealer
  • Diggers Sealant Showercoat
  • CPC Shower Plug Sealant
  • Davco Tile & Grout Sealer
  • Bondall Tile & Grout Sealer

There are a few different types of grout sealer that you can get, including water based and solvent based sealers. Of those options, the solvent based sealers seem to be your best option. Right away this eliminates two of the five sealers that Bunnings offers …

Of the three products that are left I really can not find any difference between them, other than the price. They vary from:

No matter how much I read, I can not justify the extra cost of the CPC Sealant Shower Plug product. It looks like it’s a penetrating solvent /silicone based sealer, just like the other Davco and Diggers products.

With all of that in mind, I recommend the Davco Sanitized Tile & Grout Sealer, and will most likely be using that one to seal the shower stalls in our bathrooms…

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Can I Install Low Flow Shower Head with Instant Hotwater

September 10th, 2014 by Bill Hutchison · 2 Comments

One problem that many people have when wanting to install a low flow showerhead is working out if their hot water system will work with it. Some instant hot water systems don’t work if there is not a high enough water flow. This really goes against the current trend of conserving water, and leaves a gap in knowledge about the compatibility of instant hot water systems and low flow shower heads.

When determining if you can install a low flow (9 liter per minute, 8 L/min, 7.5 L/min, or lower) you need to work out what the lowest water flow is that your hot water system requires to work.

Rinnai R1200 Service ManualTo use us as an example, we have a Rinnai R1200 High Capacity Continuous Flow Hot Water System. It is not a storage system, so there is no tank of hot water, but rather it heats the water on demand.

The first step in finding out if a low flow shower head is compatible was to check your hot water system manual. If you are lucky, or well organised, you should have the manual in your house. Unfortunately for us, we got no manuals at all when we purchased this house, so we had to rely on Google to help us find the manual.

After much searching, we finally found the service manual for our hot water system. Somewhere in the manual you will need to find the minimum operating water flow. In our case the rating for the Rinnai R1200 is 2.4 L/min, which is well under the rating of 7.5 litres / minute of a new three star, low flow shower head.

Remember that although your shower head will be putting through 7.5L / min, not all of that is hot water. You will need to take into account your hot and cold water flow balance when working out the compatibility of a new showerhead with your system.

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Cut Your Shower Water Use with a Trickle Valve

September 8th, 2014 by Bill Hutchison · No Comments

With a standard 3-Star, low flow shower head you are using 9L per minute in the shower, so for a 5-minute shower you would use 45L of water. It adds up pretty quick, even with a low-flow shower head.

Water in South Australia is expensive. If your household uses less than 328 litres per day, you be paying $2.32 / kL (source). As your daily use increases, so does your cost per litre, with it jumping up to $3.32 / kL for up to 1424 litres per day. According to SA water a normal family of 5, with a small garden, will use around 550L per day of water.

Bearing that in mind, a 5-minute shower will cost about 12 cents, plus the cost of heating the hot water. With five people showering most days, the water cost alone is about $18 per month (assuming you can keep it at 5-minutes per shower).

Flexispray Shower Trickle ValveI don’t know about you, but no matter how quick I am in the shower there always seems to be times that the water is running needlessly.

Adding an trickle valve to your shower head ($11.00 from Bunnings) can potentially cut your shower water usage down by half, if used efficiently by all family members. With the numbers that we have been talking about, the valve could pay for itself in less than two months, making it definitely a worthwhile investment to look into.

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Is a 7.5L / Minute Shower Head Worth It?

September 6th, 2014 by Bill Hutchison · No Comments

Flexispray WELS 3 Star 7.5L per MinuteIf you are looking for an easy way to potentially save an extra 5000 litres of water per year, it’s worth looking at replacing your 9 liter per minute shower heads with a new 7.5L per minute shower head (source). It’s also possible that you could be eligible for some government rebates for installing water efficient shower heads.

Although 7.5 litres per minute does not sound like enough for a decent shower, according to this article by Choice there are some decent shower heads out there.

When we went to a local bathroom shop to test out shower heads we were actually pleasantly surprised by the amount of pressure coming out of them. I had thought that with only 7.5L of water coming out of the head it would feel like a trickle, rather than a decent flow. The few that we were able to test at the plumbing store really seemed to hold their own in the pressure and features department.

The Choice article that I referenced to above tested seven different showerheads, by six different manufactures. They tested them based on the following criteria:

  • The feel of the spray
  • How effectively it was at wetting the body and hair
  • How effective it was at removing shampoo and soap
  • The coverage of the water over the body
  • How easy it was to adjust the temperature and spray settings
  • Total overall satisfaction

Flexispray WELS 3 Star 7.5 Litres Per Minute Splash 5 Function Hand Shower KitThe top three according to the Choice testers were:

  1. Flexispray WELS 3 Star 7.5L/min Splash 5
  2. Methven Kiri Satinjet FLX150H
  3. Hansgrohe Puroset Raindance S 100

The Flexispray WELS 3 Star 7.5 Litres Per Minute showerhead is available from Bunnings as a separate head, on an arm, with a hose, or on a bar with a hose. We decided to with the Flexispray WELS 3 Star 7.5 Litres Per Minute Splash 5 Function Hand Shower Kit. It ranked highly on the Choice article, looked pretty good, included five different function, and had the flexibility that came with a hose. Another bonus of the Flexispray shower kit was that it only costs $69.00.

I’ll be installing the new showerhead in the few days, and if we have any serious problems with it I’ll let you know …

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