I painted our front entryway sidewalk around seven years ago and it shows almost no signs of wear and tear. The picture is a little crooked. I guess I'm still photographically challenged?
About a year and a half ago I ripped up the carpet in our living room and painted the concrete and it has held up great. We have lived in our house for ten years and the carpet looks really bad in our family room. New flooring is expensive. Concrete floors are a very cost effective way to update your home. They are great for people with allergies and they are super easy to clean, just sweep and damp mop.
My living room concrete floor.
Here is a picture of my latest concrete project in my family room.
Remove EVERYTHING from the room!!!! Please learn from my laziness and don't make the same mistake I made. That includes all blinds, curtains, nick knacks, furniture, and wall art. If possible, tape plastic over all doors leading into the room you are working on and put plastic trash bags over hanging light fixtures and ceiling fans. This project was done in my family room and there was no way to plastic off the rest of the the kitchen and dining room because it's all one big room.
Remove the carpet tack strip. Use a large trash can to dispose of the strip as you go. If you have small children or pets and you can't do this step right away, save some carpet or use card board to cover the tack strip to prevent injuries.
I used a hammer and an old screw driver to get the tack strip up.
My floor had tile moisture barrier paper, base board paint, carpet glue, fluorescent orange spray paint, tile mastic, Sharpie marker, and spray on wall texture on it that would need to be completely removed before it was ready to paint or stain.
This is what it looked like before cleaning.
At this point I also removed the fireplace floor tile.
Clean up the debris as you go. You will need to evaluate your floor and determine the best cleaning method for your project. I chose to rent a concrete grinder from Home Depot. Ask a lot of questions about whatever tool you rent. This was my first time using a concrete grinder. I used a stand up floor buffer for my living room floor project, but decided to go with the grinder because of the tile mastic. The floor buffer will cost less than half to rent than the grinder, but it will take you twice the time. Have everything prepped before you rent your tool. I rented the grinder for four hours. Anything over four hours is a 24 hour rental. It cost me $150 to rent the grinder, the vacuum canister, buy the blade (you can't rent it, you have to buy it), ear plugs, and a mask. USE A GOOD MASK! Even with the vacuum canister attachment you need the mask. You might think $150 is expensive, but not when you factor in what it would cost me to hire someone to do it. I called around when I was doing my living room floor and it would have cost me between $1000 to almost $2000 to hire someone just to grind my concrete. They wanted $7 a square foot. There aren't very many companies that want to do small residential houses, so they charge a lot. At this point of the job it would have been great to have a helper. Someone to help move the canister as I was crawling around the floor and someone to vacuum the dust with a shop vac would have been a big help. My husband and I are a great team, but he works all day. I was on my own for this part of the project.
Here is the grinder blade. This one cost $69 (blue). I included it in my rental cost. They also have one for $49 (green), but after talking with the rental guy (Sergio at the Eastlake Home Depot was great), he said the tile mastic would require the tougher blade. I will be able to use this blade again for future concrete projects.
Here is the vacuum canister. The canister is supposed to suck up the concrete dust from the grinder, but a lot of dust is still thrown into the air. The hose hooks to the grinder. I am usually very healthy, but I got strep throat and an upper respiratory infection soon after completing this job. I know sickness is caused by a bacteria, germs, or a virus, but I'm not sure if the dust made me more susceptible to getting sick? It could have been a coincidence? If you have asthma or any kind of lung problems I wouldn't take on this job. I would have any family members with these problems move out of the house during the grinding step until all the dust has been cleaned up.
IMPORTANT. Don't plug the grinder and the hose into the same outlet and don't plug the grinder into an extension cord that is longer than 50' or you will blow the circuit breaker. Duct tape the hose to the canister and to the grinder. These hoses get pretty beat up from rental use and you don't want it to fall off during your project. A loose hose equals more dust.
Maybe I'm weird, but this part of the project was fun! The grinder cleaned the tile mastic off the concrete in about five minutes! I love power tools. Wear ear plugs, it's loud and glasses to protect your eyes. I also wore my volleyball knee pads. Be careful this thing can get away from you.
Can you see the haze of dust in the air? This is about an hour after I had finished grinding and it's still "foggy" in my house. At this point I looked around and realized how dumb I was for not taking EVERYTHING out of the room! The buffer doesn't make as much of a mess. The grinder actually takes a top layer off the concrete.
All along the edge of my tile there was a layer of moisture barrier paper that needed to be removed. If your floor has this, go with the grinder. Be careful along the tile. I chipped the edge when the grinder got away from me. Also, make sure you hold the grinder level or you will grind half moon circular shapes into the floor.
Tile paper before grinding.
Clean the canister and the grinder outside. You will be charged a cleaning fee if you return it dirty to the rental. The canister is very heavy when it's full of concrete dust. At this point if you aren't strong you might need help. I had to leave the canister dis-assembled to get it back into the bed of my truck because it was so heavy and I'm a strong girl used to physical labor.
Here is the clean floor ready for the next step.
Concrete patching. You you need to fill and patch any holes left by the carpet tack strip and any big cracks before you paint. I taped off the area that needed patching. The orange tape is fine for this part of the project. Don't put it over any painted areas because it will damage the paint.
I used quick setting concrete and mixed it with water to the consistency of pancake batter. Mix it in small batches or it gets to dry to spread. It takes longer to dry than the container says because of the extra water you are going to add.
I used a small plastic trowel to spread on the Quikrete.
Once dry, or in my case almost dry, remove the tape and clean up the Quikrete dust.
Wait till the Quikrete is completely dry before you start painting. It was very warm out when I did this step so it was ready to paint the next day.
Clean, Clean, Clean. Clean the floor again because all the concrete dust in the air will have settled onto the floor. I used a mop with copious amounts of water. My mom helped me vacuum up the water with a shop vac. It was a warm day when I mopped so the floor dried quickly. Wait till the concrete is completely dry before you start painting. You want the floor to be completely clean and dust free before you paint so you get the best adhesion.
At this point of the project you can choose to stain or paint the concrete? I chose paint.
There are many concrete paints on the market. I've found that the Benjamin Moore Porch and Floor paint is the best that I have tried. I painted my family room floors the same color as my walls, 75% of OC #10 White Sand. There is no priming involved with this product.
Apply two coats of whatever color you pick with a roller and an extension pole. This is the easiest part of the project.
At this point you could apply 2-3 coats of polyurethane and be finished. My floor was adjacent to floor tile and it needed a piece of molding along the edge for a transition. I also chose to add a darker border, two coats of glaze, and a grid pattern of stripes. I will show you how to do the stripes tomorrow because this blog post is getting to be very long.
I used oak molding. It's durable enough to hold up to an accidental kick from a shoe. It's held up perfect in my living room. Mark the molding where it will be cut. I had to chip away a small amount of the Quikrete because it was a little high in this corner. The new molding covered it up.
I had already taped off a border at this point. It's the same width as the Quikrete repair border is. I WILL NEVER BUY CHEAP ORANGE PAINTER'S TAPE AGAIN!!! It pulled up the floor paint when I took it off. I fixed it, but I said lots of bad words about orange tape. I have since found that Frogtape is THE BEST! I will blog about Frogtape later, just know it works the best.
Glue the molding down with liquid nails.
Caulk the joint between the tile and the molding.
Apply the caulk with your finger and smoosh into any cracks.
Wipe away any residue for a clean edge.
I mixed the border color to tie into the existing tile. I painted the oak molding and border this color.
I applied the glaze in a random pattern and used a plastic grocery bag to blend the brush marks. My hands got so messy I didn't get a picture of the bag technique.
Here is a close up of the glazed floor. It's very subtle.
Seal the floor with 2-3 coats of Benwood Stays Clear Acrylic Polyurethane. Another Benjamin Moore product. I'm not endorsed by them in any way, I just like their stuff the best.
At this point I thought I was finished. Come back tomorrow and see what I did next.
Here are some more pictures of my living room floor. I started by painting two coats of a choclate brown and then added three different glazes on top. One coat in black, one in an amber brown, and a third in gray. All were made with Benjamin Moore paint. I added a stencil from the Royal Design Studio along the border.
I won't lie, this project was challenging. It was messy, hard, and time consuming, but totally worth it! There is something very satisfying about doing a project like this on my own. I love the change and I love saving money.
Thanks for checking it out and good luck with your DYI projects!