Thank goodness for fall

Brooke here.  This post might be slightly less coherent than usual, and you have my sincere apologies for the arm-waving and random spitting.

Back in college, my friend Maureen was a chemistry major.  She told me once, over lunch, that she probably shouldn’t be handling some of the chemicals she used in her experiments.  One chemical in particular had the warning This product will cause cancer in big black letters on the label.  Not “could,” not “may,” but the definitive “WILL.”  And she was slightly weirded out as she had been using it all morning, without gloves, until she happened to glance down and read the not-so-fine print.

I bring this up as the house currently smells like the inside of a bottle of nail polish, and the label on the back of the paint can says that it contains a product that might cause cancer in the state of California.  So I guess we’re lucky, as we’re all the way on the east coast and California is a hell of a distance from here.

(Nah, I’m joshing.  You can find that that particular warning on any household paint and a lot of seemingly innocuous products, like electrical cords.  California has Proposition 65, which is the legislative equivalent of a helicopter mother carrying around a purse full of Neosporin and pepper spray.  In contrast, Maureen’s little glass vial is a sentry for the Oregon Militia who has just seen a Revenuer hop over the barbed wire.)

Our house currently reeks of tub-and-tile epoxy.  I’m in the middle of slapping a protective finish on the floor and in the shower of the master bathroom.  Homax makes a brush-on epoxy that is supposed to provide “a hard, protective finish that remains beautiful for years.”  Since the tile in the bathroom is (was?) cracked, chipped, and discolored, I’m putting down this epoxy as a sealant before Brown installs the new sink.

Bathroom floor, before.
Bathroom floor, during.

Progress has been slow.  The online reviewers of this brand of epoxy cautioned that if you didn’t follow the instructions to the letter, the finished results would be a disaster.  Well, I’m applying it exactly as directed and the results are still a disaster.  Since I’m starting with the floor and I can’t exactly walk on it, I have to wait a minimum of 72 hours between coats to ensure that the previous coat has cured and the subsequent coat will bond to it.  The first coat went down as smooth as normal paint (the finish was beautiful! It cured with a high gloss and absolutely no brush strokes!  I was so happy…), but today was finally time to apply the second coat and *poof!*  The entire floor suddenly crinkled up like an alligator’s rear end.


It’s almost liberating.  I’m not going to remove the epoxy and start again; I’m sure the bottom layer of paint cured to the floor, will still serve as a water barrier, and will seal out any mold.  A wrinkled top coat won’t change that.  But since the finish is already ruined, I can speed up the process and apply the next coat of paint without waiting for the full 72-hour cure time.  I’m continuing the blue of the border from the wall down into the tiles on the floor (this is why I didn’t bother to trim the edges) and I can start on these tomorrow instead of late Thursday evening.

I’ll probably do a full product review of the Homax tub and tile epoxy once I get the shower finished.  Even though caution can now be hurled to the (odorous) wind, I’m a little grumpy at how I followed the instructions and still got gatorbutt.  I’m not sure I’d use this product again; we’ve got all of the windows open and the house still stinks like a chemical plant.

5 thoughts on “Thank goodness for fall

  1. Oh my God, I’m so happy you left a link for this blog in Girl and Her Fed. I lost the link almost exactly a year ago (last one read was Sept 5, 2010) and have been trying to find it again ever since. So much catching up to do, but it’ll be such an awesome read!

  2. Pretty sure everything is a carcinogen now. We’ll all poison ourselves to death long before we run out of natural resources, so no worries there.

    Anyway. Not sure what kinda tile you’ve got: ceramic, quarry, stone, cement, vinyl? But I had to replace plenty of broken tiles in my shower last year. And then of course I had to regrout, which, despite what alot of people think, is water permeable. So I ended up having to paint the sealant on the grout with a fine hair brush wearing a chemical respirator and huge kitchen gloves because this junk is supposed to eat holes in your lungs and give you nerve damage.

    Did the job without spilling a single drop… until I tripped over the tub lip and splashed the tiles with about a pint’s worth of this stuff. After waking up from the concussion (which by the way is another great way to start a story) I found it had dried to a beautiful high-gloss finish… about half of which I had to scrape off my arms.

    Painted the rest of the tiles to match. It’s basic DuPont Grout Sealant. You might give it a try on a spare tile or two and see if you like the result. Helps protect the tile from chipping too.

  3. I used to work for a person who researched, categorized, and catalogued long tables of exactly what would cause cancer in what varieties of rats, mice, etc.

    I took away from that job — along with a sense of relief that I was no longer working for that [censored] — the following precepts:

    * Anything, given enough time, will cause cancer in something.

    * The rats (et cetera) on which these experiements are run have been genetically bred to develop cancer ANYWAY within their short lifetimes. What the researcher then pays attention to is whether the test subject develop cancer SOONER than the controls.

    * Cancer is a disease of multicellularity. As long as our cells go on dividing to replace themselves — which is long as we live, assuming something else doesn’t kill us first — some cell will eventually slip its genes and become cancerous.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s