Saturday, November 8, 2014

friday night? let's start staining the floor...

Yes, I went THERE...left work, came home, and decided what the hell? Let's go for it. We had already made the trip earlier in the week to Home Depot and purchased the stain along with needed supplies. The folks there in the paint department were very helpful and showed us everything we would need based on the state of our concrete.

At first I wanted a "blacker" stain, but my kid (term is used "loosely" she's in college..), who is "all things art", reminded me that our living room tends to have darker lighting and that the black stain would make it worse. So I deferred to her perspective and we ended up picking out a semi-transparent stain from Behr called Chikory. To get a better idea of what the finished product might look like, I Googled some images and found some examples like the one to the left. 

And this one...
Keep in mind that the final effect will largely depend on the condition of the concrete that you are staining, the application method you choose, and the finish you elect to you use. I am just a very visual person and I needed to see a final "final".  

In addition to the stain, we also purchased the Behr masonry/concrete cleaner, rollers, plastic drop cloths, blue painter's tape, and Behr wet look sealer. 

So, at 9 pm on Friday, we started moving furniture back and I mopped the floor with the Behr cleaner, keep in mind that my floor has been covered by laminate wood for the last 9 years, it really was not in bad shape.  As I mopped, "kiddo" followed behind me with the wet/dry shop vac sucking up the nasty water, when I rinsed the floor (twice), we did the same thing again with the wet/dry vac. It really helped with the floor drying quickly so we could proceed with the next steps, taping and draping the walls, I was forewarned that the sprayer used for staining would splatter and that it was good idea to protect the walls at least up six inches from the floor. I really did not worry about the baseboards because we will be painting those as they were pretty beat up to begin with.  

 Here's the floor after mopping it the front of the room and the opposite wall. The floor already has some variation in it that I do like, I even considered just sealing this, but after researching a lot of concrete stained floors on Pinterest and other sites, I decided to go ahead and stain it.  On the advice of my "artistic consultant", aka "kiddo", we decided to do one side of the room and see how it came out before proceeding with the rest of the "commitment". 

One coat of stain.
Glare is from overhead light on wet stain.
This actual space is 18 sq ft X 10 sq ft, the can of Behr stain covers up to 250 sq ft, so we had more than enough for this room and the adjoining hallway, hich is what we planned to stain. 

I admit, I am not the best "taper" and this is the first time I have ever attempted to stain anything other than wood.  So please do not laugh at the "taping"...I did the top part, kiddo did the bottom part. The "prep" work is the most boring part of this type of project IMO, I am not a patient person with stuff like this, which is why some "folks" were not thrilled at my late night diy hyperactivity.

It was pretty late on Friday night when we were at this point, which was coat number one. I already had a plastic sprayer that you manually pump, so that is what I used, also had the paint roller holder from previously painting a bedroom. I sprayed in a back and forth swirly kinda motion and kiddo rolled in a varying "swirling" motion following behind me.  NOTE: BEFORE you start spraying, make sure you remember to start at the front of the space and work your way out so you do not "paint yourself into a corner", leave an escape route.  Where gloves, this stuff is messy, but it is a soap and water clean up.

In the pic above, the stain is still wet and the "shine" is the glare from the overhead lighting.  I figured we would get this one coat down and in the morning I could decide if we needed two coats or not. The more coats the darker the outcome and I have to state that I love texture and variation, I like the imperfectness of concrete. I like things with age, history, a story to tell.  So I "embraced" this and went to sleep...I'll share the next post soon.  

Sunday, November 2, 2014

one of my other obsessions: barn doors

Did I mention that I live in a small house with very little closet space and doors that open at weird angles?

The most awkward was the bathroom area that has a separate area for the vanity/sink and shower/toilet. The vanity/sink area has no door and sits outside the shower/toilet area which does have a door that opens outward toward the sink area.  No linen closet in either area and since the door opens outward toward the only free wall space, kinda awkward to put any type of storage cabinet there. 


I contemplated installing pockets doors but the cost was prohibitive considering a wall would have to be opened up to accommodate the pocket frame for said door, studs cut and moved, etc. 

Then I laid eyes on sliding barn door hardware, well a diy that someone did here:


The author also provides a pretty easy tutorial to follow with respect to actually building the door. I found some inspiration from this but lost it a little when I started pricing the barn door hardware, WOW. Some of it was $200-$300 and the longer the track, the more it is. I had a pretty large space to cover, so back to slim pockets again. 

Doing some more online research I found this post that discussed purchasing barn door hardware at the local Tractor Supply.  I found that I was able to purchase everything I needed for around $75, so this would be the answer to the awkward bathroom door issue.  This was doable, despite not having power tools, I found out that a couple of our area home improvement stores will cut wood purchased there for customers. I decided to use tongue and groove paneling I liked the raw look of it and it was easy to work with.

The other area that had that "awkward door" thing going on was the kid's bedroom closet, very poorly designed, and a small room. This one we did using galvanized pipes and fittings...around $36 total since I re-purposed the existing door.

This was the inspiration posting for doing this in our home and, again, the local big box home improvement store was very helpful in cutting the pipe to the length that was needed, as well as re-threading the pipe after cutting it. I highly recommend trekking over to's site and checking this out, once you get the pipes cut by the home improvement store it is an easy diy project that you can do with regular everyday tools.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

socks & transitions do not mix!

So I finally got what my kid has been complaining about with regard to the floors, or rather it got me.

We have laminate wood in one part of the house and travertine tile in the other.  If given the choice, not my first one with respect to flooring--the laminate, but it was here when we moved in and with limited income changing flooring was not at the top of my list when we first got here.  So we just lived with it and made do. 

The main problem is with the wooden threshold transition pieces that the builder used when this stuff was put in, they are pretty rotten.  After eight years, they are showing their wear and we are becoming victims to them, well the kid's socks are. The transition pieces have come loose over time and despite tacking them down again, it keeps happening, and then someone gets literally "nailed". Resulting in hole-in-sock, I finally had it happen and it tagged the bottom of my flip flops that I wear in the house.

In other parts of the house, the laminate is buckling at seams, I finally made peace with the fact that oak finish laminate floors just really are not something that have ever been my favorite. I think all the homes on the surrounding blocks were built with these in them, they have served their purpose.  Not to mention the resident four-legged critters have taken their toll on them too, time for a change.

After getting tagged by the transition I decided to have a look underneath it and see what I would potentially be working with.

After peeling back some laminate planks and one very thin sheet of vapor barrier, I was pleasantly surprised to find a decent concrete sub-floor. 

Um, ever see some chipped paint and you start sort of "messing with it"? Or a piece of thread sorta hanging there and you sorta mess with that?

Let's just say that me & the kid are now living with a concrete sub-floor in the living room and hallway.  A friend said that all his home "diy" stuff start out some sort of OCD, (no offense intended to anyone who is bonafide OCD), and usually late at night.

I completely understood what he meant, we are now contemplating concrete staining.

I also was not thrilled about just throwing the laminate flooring away, so I posted it on Craigslist and a really nice person whose carpeting was ruined by water damage ended up picking it up.  Always recycle where you can.

Friday, October 31, 2014

jonesing for concrete floors..

I have been drooling all over Pinterest at the pics of concrete floors, I love the industrial look. I should have been born in a loft.

These are some of my favorites:

Right now I am stuck with laminate wood floors in part of the house that are showing their age, I feel something brewing.