I have been intentionally making an effort to fix up some of the small, but long over due, house repairs this summer. Like most people I think, the list of little house repairs can creep up on you, until all of a sudden you realize how bad some of them have gotten, and that if they are not dealt with soon, could result in a bigger, more expensive repair!
That was the situation in the main bathroom in my house, the one with pretty much constant traffic... The marmoleum floor that had been professionally installed years ago required a join in the flooring, about halfway through where the toilet bowl sits... In retrospect, this may not have been the best place to make a join, but it was out of the way of heavy traffic and until recently, out of sight and out of mind, allowing it to gradually deteriorate without much notice. Overtime, moisture from the shower and toilet, and the hot/cold wet/dry nature of a bathroom, had broken the bond between the flooring and the join and created a place for water to collect... A crack had gradually spread out from the toilet on either side.
Having seen the professional install done years ago, I think part of the reason that I ignored the crack this long, was that I didn't have the matching crack filler material or the specialized equipment used to apply the joint material in the way that it is normally done.
I recently ordered a set of the new premixed colours of sugru, and realized that they were a very close match close to the colours in my floor. The rest is history!
Step 1: Materials and Equipment:
- sugru ( matching colours or colours you can mix together to create the colour(s) you want)
- cracks needing to be filled
- various tools of different sizes, for cleaning out old joint material and preparing the surface: exacto or utility knife, screwdrivers, Q-tips, paint scrapers etc
- vacuum - to get rid of any loose material in the crack.
- soap (for smoothing the surface of the sugru)
Step 2: Clean and Prepare Crack
The cracks in my floor were relatively easy to clean out. I started with the really loose pieces and and found that the old joint material had already almost completely separated from the flooring.
Using various tools, clear out any loose or dirty joint material remaining in the crack (photo 2).
Vacuum out the crack if need be. Cracks need to be clean and dry before you begin to refill them. This will ensure that you get good adhesion and are not sealing in a problem.
Step 3: Prepare the Sugru
You have about a half hour to work with the sugru to do your repairs.
Open up the packs of sugru you will be using. In my case because I was trying to match the abstract marble like pattern of my flooring and had two cracks to fill, I opened up one pack of yellow, gray and orange sugru (once the sugru is opened, you will need to use it all up in one go).
Using little bits of each colour, distribute them randomly in a row to try to create a similar colour mix (photo 2).
Squish and roll the colours together so they stick to each other and become a unified piece of putty. I did a bit of further mixing, so that the colours looked more like the floor and didn't stand out as separate blobs.
Step 4: Fill the First Crack
To fill a long thin crack like mine, roll the prepared sugru between your palms until its is thinner and longer and just a bit wider than the crack you are filling. Lay it on top of the crack (photo 1) and squish the sugru into the crack with your fingers, making sure to fill it completely and get good contact with the edges of the marmoleum (photo 2).
Continue adding more sugru, working your way along until the crack is full.
Smooth out the surface of the sugru with a finger dipped in soapy water.
Step 5: Filling the Second Crack
The second crack I needed to fill between the tub and the toilet was a bit wider. I was able to complete the job using the rest of the sugru I had opened, along with one more pack of orange sugru.
When smoothing out wider cracks, try not to apply too much pressure on the sugru, as it will tend to create a dip down the middle of your crack.
If your crack is quite a bit wider, you can try using a flat edged tool like a paint scraper (dipped in soapy water), rest it on both edges of the crack, and drag it along the crack on an angle in the direction you are moving to smooth the sugru. This should help keep the surface flatter than when you smooth it with your fingers.
Step 6: All Done!
I would say that the sugru marmoleum crack fix was a perfect solution to my problem and is hardly any more noticeable than the original join.
Because sugru is more flexible than the marmoleum joining material traditionally used, I actually think that this fix will last and accommodate the changing environment found in a bathroom even better!