Friday, July 26, 2013

Stained concrete floors at the new house

When Jeff and I were house hunting we saw a house with stained concrete floors and really liked them. Once we chose our house, we knew we'd have to do flooring immediately, the disgusting old carpet was probably the most offensive thing in the house (and there were a lot of offensive things!). We knew tile or wood floor wasn't in the budget and we definitely did not want carpet. With 2 dogs, and bikes in and out all the time, there is no way to keep carpet clean, and even very dark carpet still holds dust, dirt, and allergens that you just can't clean out -YUCK! So we started researching stained concrete...and researching....and researching. There are so many options and different ways to stain and seal concrete! Jeff decided he really wanted a high gloss shiny floor, I thought that looked cool too, but I didn't know if we could really do it.
Jeff wanted the floors to look super glossy/shiny like this. (this is NOT our house, this is just a random internet picture)
When we finally closed on the house we pulled up a little carpet assuming there was just concrete slab under it. Turns out that was a poor assumption, we pulled up the carpet (which was so dirty that we wore respirators so we could breathe, and really confirmed that carpet holds TONS of dust, dirt, allergens and who knows what else!) to find incredibly ugly brownish tile similar to what you see in many schools. Some of the tile came up with the carpet, some was broken, and some was still really, really stuck to the concrete slab with black glue. Getting all that tile up was probably the most difficult thing we've done at the new house so far. I guess I really hated that tile because I don't have any pictures from when it was still there.We took a little vacation time to work on the house and ended up spending most of it getting the old tile out, and then cleaning the black glue off the concrete. We used Jasco Paint & Epoxy Remover for the glue, it worked pretty well but it was nasty stuff! You do NOT want that stuff on your skin!

When we finally had bare concrete, we cleaned, and cleaned and cleaned some more. In all that research we learned, the most important part was starting with a very clean concrete slab. Mostly we cleaned with soap & water then rinsed with water and shop vacced it up, over and over. Then I cleaned with Simple Green and then soap and water one more time.
Cleaning the floors didn't seem to bother Connor at all!
Then the fun part began! We went to Conerstone Concrete Staining many, many times and talked with Mark the owner, he was really helpful, and really chatty (which usually ended up being really advantageous for us as he ended up answering questions we didn't even know to ask!). We decided to go with Kemiko stain in burnt umber throughout the house, Jeff really wanted blue in at least 1 room, but I was afraid that was a little too crazy. In the end, we decided to try the burnt umber with an overlay of blue. I did test patches in the master bedroom closets (they might still look patchy, I should take a picture), to figure out how to spray and the color combo. I started in the scuba room, I was really scared to start spraying because I knew once I had sprayed, it couldn't be undone! I sprayed the burnt umber, let it dry and then sprayed the blue over the top. The next morning,when it dried there was a white film over the top in some spots and the blue looked Really BLUE, I thought I might have overdone it, but luckily Mark had told us that the stain looks different when you put the sealer over it, it looks like it's wet, so I mopped the dry floor and actually liked the color, actually liked it a lot! There were some patchy, mottled, spotty places but we even liked that, made it look natural. I did go over some spots that didn't take the stain well with a tiny paint brush and watercolor art paint that matched the burnt umber color. Since I liked the scuba room, I went ahead and stained the office, hallway and bedroom pretty much the same. Then I mopped and mopped and mopped some more. For the first couple of moppings I used a little ammonia in the water to neutralize the acid in the stain. If there is any residue from the stain, the sealer won't stick well to the floor, I probably overdid it with the cleaning after staining, but I didn't want any issues with the sealer. I actually did over do the blue in a few places in the hallway, I tried to mop some of it off, which didn't work at all. In the end I LOVE the "too much blue" spots and wish I had overdone it in a few more places!
After staining, before sealing, cleaning yet again
A couple days later we mopped one more time and then sealed the floors with Chem-Coat acrylic sealer. I was worried about this step too, again, if you mess up it's hard to fix. You apply this with paint rollers, but Mark had told us "don't seal like you paint a wall" we had to apply the seal more slowly and evenly than paint, but overall it wasn't as difficult as I expected and the sealing went quickly. The only bad part is the fumes, man this stuff is strong! But we wore respirators, and I never took mine off, so I didn't really notice the smell until we were leaving the house.We did 2 coats of the sealer.
Finished office floor, you can see some of the blue in this pic and it's glossy/shiny!
After the sealer was dry, the floors were essentially finished, and we LOVED them!

About a week later the wall removal was completed and I was able to clean, stain and seal the living/kitchen/dining area. I put the umber stain on a little heavier this time and brushed it in with a long handled bristle brush. It ended up making the blue less visible, but otherwise I'm really happy with these floors too.
Don't look at the fact that we're still unpacking, look at the final stained concrete floor!
A few days after finishing all the sealing, we got a product called Mop & Shine from Mark, it's a mop on wax that will protect the floors for about 6 months. I used 2 coats of that as well, so hopefully our floors will be fairly scratch resistant (important since we have 2 dogs). Overall Jeff and I both love the new floors! And we did almost 1100 square feet for under $800 and that includes tools and chemicals to get the old floor out.

2 comments:

Michael said...

Great looking floors! I have never used the blue and vintage umber colors together, they look pretty cool after seeing these photos.

Thanks

Karen White said...

Great post! Lots of great content and images in this article… I love the stained concrete above and would call a decorative concrete contractor to help out to make my home look like this.