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 décor. (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


  1. Looks great! I love your blog too. I don't know if you knew it or not, but My wifey and I both read it. Keep up the great work!

  2. I love the way it looks! Turned out looking fab!!

  3. Stephanie- I was reading your blog and I completely agree with you that builder grade carpet, especially beige, is DISGUSTING! Hence, the reason I was weighing the options of staining my floors. I do have a couple of questions though; 1) Does it still echo in the room? 2) Does the room feel colder since the removal of the carpet?

    I appreciate your response!

    1. I can answer that for us. It does echo a little, mostly it's just a bit louder in there. And the room is a bit cooler, which now that it's up in the 80s is lovely. In the colder months we just wore house shoes or socks and were fine.

  4. How is the stain holding up? Is it flaking at all or wearing? I'm getting ready to do this myself and your blog was a total inspiration :)

    1. It is doing pretty well. We have a couple places that have come up. If I had to do it again, I would skip the painting of the grey paint part and just stain the concrete. I think it peeled up in those places because the paint peeled up from heavy traffic use (and 5 kids and 3 dogs).