Thursday, December 29, 2011

Painted Concrete Floors are beautiful!

What do you do when you are sick of crappy builder-grade beige carpet?  What about when said carpet is gross, stained, and uh … really gross?  And you have a few days to do a project?  Well, we rip it up around here!  Shut yo mouth!  We do!  Rip it straight out of the floor.  And boy is it gross!  The sheer amount of dirt and dust under the carpet was GRODY!  DIS-GUST-ING!  BLEH! So then what do you do?  Well Clark Kent and I find a solution that is inexpensive (i.e. not laying bamboo hardwood imported from India or something) and easy (i.e. not $20/sqft fancy tile from Italy that takes gluing, lining up, measuring, more lining up, cursing because it’s not lined up, and more gluing and tons of time).  So we browsed ideas and found a great one!

The cast of characters:
Krud Kutter floor cleaner – this cleans up the dirt, grime and spilt paint (see below).
Concrete Putty – to fill in the holes left by the tack strips.  Now, the blog we followed they skipped these two things because they didn’t intend on keeping the painted concrete as a final floor.  I’d not recommend that.  Especially if your builder laid the tack strips before the concrete dried and thus caused great chips to come up in the floor.
Valspar Porch/Patio Floor Paint made for painting concrete – base grey. If you want a lighter color, get lighter color floor paint.  The shade of paint you choose determines the darkness of the stain. (We got this at Lowe’s)
Behr Semi-Transparent Concrete Stain – Chicory was the color we chose.  It’s a reddish brown that goes well with our walls and d├ęcor. (This came from Home Depot.  If you don’t want to make two trips then pick some floor paint from Home Depot.)
Quikrete Wet Look High Gloss Sealer – this coats the floor and protects it from kids, dogs, toys, and everything else.  It also makes it nice and shiny, which is fancy.  I like fancy.
Woven Linen Rollers – this is for the stain.  It gives it texture.  Although Clark Kent says that next time he’d likely get a pump sprayer for the stain, to get a more even coating.  I like the texture the rollers gave it, so you decide there.

Step One … Moving out all the furniture and realizing how yuckaliscious your carpet is as denoted by the “clean” spots where the furniture that hasn’t moved in 6 years has been.  Eww.

See the "clean areas" where the furniture was? yeah.

Removing furniture easy.  Getting dogs out of pictures?  Not so easy.
Where did the furniture go?  To the foyer of course! 
Step Two … Rip up that carpet.  Cut it into 2-3ft strips and pull it up.  Cough a lot at the sheer dust that comes up as you are doing this and admire the yucky pet dander cloud hovering over your head.

It was really gross.  Why was carpet invented?

  Step Three … Look at the dirt and grossness and say “Oh my goodness, THIS is why our children always have stuffy noses and terrible allergies.  Why in the world was carpet invented anyway?  Dumbest idea ever.”

Yeah, that's the fine dust/dirt/yuck that was under the carpet padding.

Step Four ... Clean the floor.  We used the Krud Kutter first, then we mopped it.  I say "we" ... Clark Kent did that.  But you can see the difference between the before and after.  Our builders were kind enough to spill a 5 gallon bucket of primer all over the floor and then proceed to wipe it up with their fingers (what?!?) and walk all in it and around the floor and well, really, the guys were probably pretty ticked off they spilled an entire gallon of drywall primer anyway, right?  That stuff really removed the spilled paint.

Step Five … Remove tack strips. This is really hard and I admit I didn’t do a bit of it.  Clark Kent did all of it.  Hard work.  Tiring hard work.
It's hard to get those strips up!  Wear gloves! 

Step Five … Walk around and talk really loud.  Everything echoes.  And look at your concrete.  Here’s where the tip of the day comes in.  **If you can’t stand imperfections in the concrete or cracks and dips and all that where the builders didn’t wait enough time for the concrete to dry before they started other parts of the house, you probably want to not do this project, put a skim coat of fresh concrete down or at the least don’t use a high gloss sealer.**

Echo! Echo! Echo!
Step Six … Fill in the holes from the tack strips and any large chips in the concrete with the Concrete Putty.  And tape the walls.  We taped newspaper up with painters tape.  This is important because the stain is very watery and tends to splash.  Clark Kent just painted our walls a year ago, and I like them nice and un-stained-splattered.  So this step was important.
The hallway had more glue than the whole living room. 

Step Seven … Paint the floor.  The paint is thick, so one coat should do it. The idea is to get one uniform color before staining. Clark Kent went around the edges first then rolled out the main part of the floor.  This has to dry overnight before applying the stain. 
It's so ... grey. 

Step Eight … Stain the floor.  Be sure to have stuff covered and not wear nice shoes.  The stain splatters.  We did 1 ½ coats of stain.  Mostly one coat, but going back where there were obvious roller marks and giving it depth.  This also has to set overnight before applying the sealer coat.  So admire it.  It will look great and you will be so pleased!  But it is not for kids or dogs to be on.  They are destructive by nature, and thusly are banned from unsealed floors.
This is where you can adjust the color.  More coats will give you a darker color.

Step Nine … Seal the floors.  It takes two coats of the sealer to coat it well.  You have to wait at least two hours in between coats.  Then it has to set overnight to fully harden.  After a few hours you can walk on it, but don’t put the furniture back until the next morning.
Ooh, so shiny and protected!  

Step Ten … Put your furniture back.  Enjoy!  Look how fabulous this room looks now!  It’s a totally different space.  
Look how crisp and clean it looks! 
All our colors finally match and work together! 

Here's the final AFTER 

The most "BEFORE" I have.  This is one week after we moved in , October 2006

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Watch out, here comes the next year!

Christmas is a magical time.  It was amazing here.  The kids were all so excited that we had to wake a couple of them up on Christmas morning.  Wait, what?  Yeah, you heard that.  Clark Kent was up at 4am, because one of the best things about Clark Kent is that he is a huge kid at heart!   He couldn’t sleep.  I was up at 6:30 because well, the dogs decided they wanted up.  The biggest one stood up, shook her tail, hit the littlest one’s cage and scared the Bejesus out of me.  And so Baby decided Mommy should get morning sickness.  (Side note:  That junk just never goes away.  It’s always there.  Forever.  10 months of “eww, I don’t feel so hot” … at least when I’m pregnant with girls.  So my best bet here is a girl).  So we were up.  Having coffee, enjoying the Christmas lights.  Then Bean got up.  Slowly they arose.  Monkey Man, then Peanut.  We actually had to wake Bug up.  Yeah, you read that stupidity right.  At 7:30 on Christmas morning we deliberately WOKE A SLEEPING BABY.  Oh yeah, we paid for that the REST of the DAY with whininess!  But the kids were amazed, and happy.  They examined their loot from the Big Guy with awe, and then opened their presents.  Everything they had asked for and more!  They were amazed that Pop and Grandma knew just what they wanted! (Those crazy psychics.)  They played, and we ate breakfast. 
We don’t cook a huge ol’ Christmas dinner around here.  We do Christmas breakfast.  Because my parents did.  We had Baked French Toast Casserole, Pigs in a Blanket (sausage style), bacon and cheese grits (no white instant junk out of a bag here).  We ate until we couldn’t eat anymore.  Then they played and played more.  Then they started fighting over a toy.  What toy you ask?  On Christmas, the day when everyone got what they wanted?  On the one day they could play with everything, the XBox time limits were lifted for the day, all video game and TV restraints were suspended, and there were new toys for everyone.  They fought over Bug’s new drum toy from my best friend H. Yeah, you got that.  A baby drum toy.  Bean and Monkey Man fought over it.  Because it was loud.  Because it wasn’t theirs.  Because they could.  Welcome Christmas Spirit. 

At the end of the day everyone was happy.  Peanut had started her massive Lego™ build.  Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Castle … 1200+ pieces.  It’s really neat.  I love that she spent time doing it, and it was just what she wanted.  Bean had successfully gotten to level 3 of her new Tinkerbell DS game.  Monkey Man had helped Han Solo and Chewbacca fly the Millennium Falcon all around the living room (what better can you do with your Geekiness than put it upon your kids?)  And not a single person ingested a Squinkie™, despite the sheer number of the things that Santa brought.  Bug was just happy being Bug.  Of course, the 4 hour nap that we forced upon him in the afternoon helped tremendously. 

Next year will be even more fun!  Next year Peanut will be 10, Bean will be 7, Monkey Man will be 4, Bug will be almost 2, and we’ll have another munchkin that’s just about 6 months old.  I doubt I’ll be up earlier than the kids.  Most likely I’ll be comatose from lack of sleep.  Thank goodness Santa is in charge of delivering gifts at night!  God Bless you all and happiest of New Years to you!  Better enjoy it while you can, if you believe the Aztecs.  If not, (I just think those poor people ran out of space on that big ol’ stone of theirs and didn’t want to go get another one), then you’re good and take your time.  My New Year’s Resolution?  Don’t have one.  Never have.  Those are just silly things that people do because they feel guilty for all the excess (food, technology, time in front of the couch) that they consumed in the previous months.  I’m happy the way I am, and life is pretty stinkin’ good.  I don’t need a resolution to make me better.  God’s working on that.  On to 2012 y’all! 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Curveball ...

So, I'm a slacker. Life has been super busy. I took Monkey Man to see Taylor Swift. It was phenomenal. He lit up when she appeared on stage. He sang every song. He smiled for two hours straight. At the end she was in a floating balcony that went right over our heads. He was ecstatic. She put on an amazing show, and seeing him so happy made it all worth it. Of course, he still thinks she is coming to play at our house. Shh ... I haven't figured that out yet. Someone tell Santa to hook me up, m'kay? Surely he can arrange that. She's off tour and only 3 hours away. 
Then we went trick-or-treating with friends. It was awesome for the kids. I am lucky to have such great friends! Then I blinked and it was Thanksgiving. We were with the same great friends. It is truly a blessing to have friends that are like family. Actually, I can't imagine life without my best friend. Thanks random happenstance 5 years ago that landed our girls in the same kindergarten class. Peanut found a best bud, and I found a sister-friend.
Some other highlights include Bean losing her first tooth and an early snow in Memphis. I did my Black Friday shopping in my pjs while Bug wouldn't sleep. I know more happened. I was there for all of it. But goodness if I can think of much else. It really was like we went to bed after Halloween and woke up in December. 
My grandfather passed away last week. I'm not sad, though. He's in heaven, not sick. He had two wives preceed him in death. He was a loving soul who had a hard life. The man was like 96 years old. I only hope that I live that long, and have so many people love me.
Two weeks before Thanksgiving I found out I am pregnant. Crazy lady with four kids say WHAT?!?!? Oh yeah. Totally not planned, at least by us. God knew. He probably looked over at Jesus and said "haha.... watch this, it's gonna be a good one." I know my Mimi was standing around telling God that He "done lost His mind". So, let the jokes begin. Believe me, in just three short weeks I have heard most of them. Yes, I know what causes it. Yes, I am aware there are ways to prevent this. I am apparently quite fertile, myrtle. And, no, for the love of all things holy, I am not trying to keep up with "that Duggar woman". I'm just ensuring the overpopulation of earth. I'm making sure there are enough nice people around for when all the a-holes die. And the term "breeder" is equivolent to the term "mudblood". If you don't know what I am speaking of there, there's probably a tea party you're late to or something.  

 *this post has been brought to you by the letter T for tablet ... a reason for the length between posts and the reason for my brevity ... and the number 5 ... for the number of kids I will have in June.*