Those Infamous Floors

What does infamous mean? More than famous, of course. I have mentioned the floors in our house many times, mostly as an excuse for not blogging enough. I have tons of pictures, and thought it was about time I give you all the basics of how it all went down.

Hubby and I had been discussing what to do with our floors for quite a while. As you should know by now, the carpet is green, and therefore matches nothing. We wanted to do something we could complete and maintain ourselves, since we are, of course, broke and cheap. We also wanted something more pet friendly for the 3 cats and new puppy, meaning easy-to-clean-poo-and-vomit-off-of.

We had discussed concrete floors, and I had even done some preliminary research. There is concrete under the carpet, but I was under the impression that it was fairly low-quality and crumbly, as it appeared in one corner where we pulled up the carpet to investigate. Everything I read online said that you had to get this leveling compound stuff, and basically spread a new layer of nice concrete over the original. This promised to be expensive, and impossible for anyone but a professional to complete properly. We gave up, and decided to deal with the sea of hideousness, for the time being.

One day, I was cleaning under the stove (what, don’t you do that? No? Just me?), and I saw what appeared to be high-quality, smooth concrete. This got me curious, so we pulled back that corner of carpet much further, and saw that the whole slab was in pretty awesome shape, just dirty and covered with duct tape (duct tape?! Oh yes. The previous Home Owners, mentioned and ridiculed thoroughly in one of the posts I linked to above, had oh so safely run electrical wires all along the concrete under the carpet. ‘Fire hazards be damned! I want my surround sound in place as if by magic!” I imagine them saying, in their rage-inducing ignorance).

Once Hubby and I discussed and agreed to painted concrete floors, he went bat-shit crazy, in a useful way. Basically, I came home from work and the stained ocean of ugly was gone!

This is an “in-the-midst” shot from the second floor, looking down.

Hubby went all the way around the rooms pulling the carpet tacks out of the floor. Those are the wooden strips that go around the edge, near the wall, and are full of tiny, brittle, rusty nails that will break off and embed in your flesh. Hubby simply used a hammer to pull them all up. No matter what you do, they cause divets in the floor like the above picture.

They are generally shallow, and they sell patching stuff at Home Depot, I think in the paint department. It was really easy to use, sorry I don’t have a picture. Pay attention to what you get, because they tried to sell us all kinds of random crap. There is premixed stuff you can use, and all you need is a trowel (one of those flat plastic or metal spready things). They tried to sell us powdered stuff we’d have to mix ourselves that had all kinds of crazy warning labels, and on and on. We just asked every different employee in the store until we found what we needed.

We also rented the monstrosity you see pictured above to sand the floors down. This mainly seemed to kick up massive amounts of dust, and cost 80 bucks. If I had to do this whole process over again, I would have skipped that step. There was some glue on the floor, from the carpet installation, which is what we were trying to remove with this thing. The glue ignored it pretty easily. I think we should have used our same strategy for finding the floor patching compound to find a glue solvent. The floor already has hairline cracks running all over, so I knew we were going to end up with a bit of an industrial look. Well, at least I am here to share my wisdom with you.

This is Hubby using the machine. This thing was also ridiculously dangerous, and spun away from him a bunch of times. I was not allowed near, due to my clumsiness. He managed to get it under control, and you can see we both had breathing masks on, but I don’t know how much good they did. We had the presence of mind to shut off the AC, and shut all the doors in the house to keep the dust contained. We bought those really good air filters also, for when we eventually turned the air back on.

After this step, we let the dust settle for 2 days, then vacuumed, swept, dusted, and mopped repeatedly to pick up as much as we could. During the whole process, we kept all the animals locked up in our bedroom. All of us spent the majority of our time in there for probably 2 weeks solid. It was rough.

I guess I’ll make this a 2 part post, this one being the “prep” part. (You can see some awesome before and after pics in my Ikea post, if you can’t wait for part 2). The basics: remove carpet, remove carpet tacks, do not sand floor, clean floor thoroughly, patch holes, let dry thoroughly, then we move onto painting the floor. I have heard that there is acid you can get to etch the floor to prepare it for the painting also, but I have no idea how necessary that is. We have already had a couple spots where paint pulled up, but I don’t know if the acid would have prevented this, or if we needed another layer of paint. See you in the next post!


October 21, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . House Stuff, Thriftiness is Cool.


  1. Sara A. replied:

    I think you are supposed to use a sealant over the paint. Alternatively, I think there are special paints (varnishes? laquers?) that are meant for concrete floors. If you used like latex wall paint, it is not going to be very durable on the floor.

    • thatcleverchick replied:

      The one we used is called “Floor and Porch Paint” so it is designed for floors. We did use a sealant over top, but we also completed the whole project ourselves using advice from google and the employees at home depot. I honestly don’t know what else we could have done with the actual paint to make it stick better. Concrete stains actually soak into the concrete, and therefore last longer, but they also fade in high-traffic areas, and would have had to be completed by a professional, which is outside our price range. We figured this method was something we could complete, and maintain ourselves.

  2. Bill replied:

    That photo of your husband in the cloud of dust was AWFUL!!
    I hope he did not catch mesophelmylungsburst or coffinmyheadoff.

  3. Episode 2: Attack of the Floors « My Attempts at Cleverness replied:

    […] into other rooms. The only room that was usable was our bedroom upstairs. As I mentioned in the part 1 of this post, all the animals were kept up there almost entirely for about 2 weeks straight. By the […]

  4. Mini Adventure: Geo Laundry « My Attempts at Cleverness replied:

    […] It’s a dark red, and the perfect size to fit in front of the couch. Now that we have the concrete floors, I wanted a couple area rugs to soften up the look of the house. I stumbled on this one, and […]

  5. Part 2: Seriously, call Stephen Hawking « My Attempts at Cleverness replied:

    […] have our upstairs bathroom remodeled for months now. There was a long-term leak (again left by the previous home owners, those fantastic human beings), which caused a ton of sheet rock to be damaged, so we have to have […]

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