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Basement Floor Epoxy - Part 2

Monday, July 25, 2016



Last week we scrubbed and prepped the floor for epoxy.  It was a terrible, no-fun job.  After scrubbing the entire surface, we set the dehumidifier up and plugged in some fans and waited.  And Waited.


5 days later it still looked wet.  I started to panic.  We did more research.  Apparently some concrete is more porous and it would appear that we had the porous kind.  Basically that means that our concrete breathes more than "normal".  The concrete was dry to the touch and did not show any signs of moisture issues when we repeated the moisture test.  It seemed that it was ok to go ahead and apply the epoxy.  So we did.


Mix the epoxy according to the directions on the package.  Keep in mind any time limits for the products use (i.e. work quickly).  Cut in around the edges with a foam brush.



Use a roller with a handle to apply the epoxy.  Roll in 4x4 sections, overlapping the edges slightly.  After rolling each section you will sprinkle the paint chips if you choose to use them.




Then we wait again.  


We were hoping the streaks would go away when it dried.  But they did not.  The next day the streaks were still very much visible, the finish was unevenly glossy and it looked very thin.  Hubby called the manufacturer to inquire about a second coat because nowhere in the instructions did it say anything about adding a second coat.  They told us it sounded like we did need a second coat, and that it could be applied within 12-48 hours.  Thankfully, the second coat went very quickly, and it dried even this time.  There really isn't any noticeable streaks and the gloss seems to be consistent.




I think it looks pretty good with our painted ceiling too :)




My suggestion is that you allow plenty of of time for this project, and then expect it to take longer.  Also, if you notice that the floor is taking a long time to dry after you clean it, then consider the possibility that you may have extra porous concrete so you may need to put on a second coat of epoxy.  If you have the patience to get through the cleaning & drying process then this can be a really economical way to get a decent basement floor.  

Scrubber rental for two days $45 x2 = $90
Fan rental for two days $18 x2 = $36
TSP cleaner $20
Squeegee $14
~$430


I also just realized as I was looking back over this post that ya'll are probably thinking I'm lying about this "we" stuff.  I am gonna have to get Hubby to take some of the pictures next time so that you can see me getting my hands dirty too!

Basement Floor Epoxy - Part 1

Monday, July 18, 2016



Let me just say, that when you read a bunch of blog posts and message boards about how terrible a particular job is.... you should probably believe them.  Here is the consensus on painting a basement floor with epoxy: the worst part is cleaning and prepping.  They were NOT kidding.  We aren't just talking about sweeping and mopping.  That would be easy.  No we are talking about a deep clean like you have never imagined before.

Let's start at the beginning.  The beginning started with a lot of research for basement flooring options.  After touring a lot of foreclosures and abandoned bank owned properties during our house search, I am very nervous about mold issues developing down the road.  For that reason, I was very nervous about covering the floor with carpet or another type of traditional flooring because my fear was that we wouldn't be able to see any water issues until it was too late.  Obviously there are ways to prevent those issues, but to install the proper layers and materials for the floor would be outside of our budget for the entire remodel.  Leaving the existing concrete as is wasn't really an option, either because the dust was necessitating us to wear shoes in the basement and then we were tracking it all over our dark laminate floors upstairs.  This is where the epoxy comes in.  Of all the painting/staining options for concrete, this was the one that appealed the most to us.  

We did a lot of research about this floor because if not prepped and installed properly it can peel and flake down the road, and I can't even imagine what a nightmare it would be to have to scrape it all off and start over - this is definitely a once and done thing for us which means we absolutely could not take any chances.  
Our basement has been historically dry since we first bought the house, even after some heavy rains, but it has only been a few months so we went ahead and tested the floor by taping down a square of plastic for a few days and checking it for moisture accumulation.  We also set a dehumidifier down there for a couple of days to see how much moisture it would pull out.  Since there was no noticeable moisture problems we decided to go forward.  (Just for the record, the stained concrete in the picture is from a previous water leak, completely unrelated to moisture problems and verified to be fixed ;)




The prep basically consists of scrubbing & rinsing until every trace of dirt and stains and residue is gone and then allowing it to dry completely.  Sounds easy enough.  The advantage to a basement floor is that there likely won't be oil stains and caked on dirt like you might find in a garage, or so we thought.  We thought our basement floor was really just dusty and that it would be a quick and easy job.  HA!  So the problem was that like everything else in this house when we bought it, the basement floor was filthy.  After scrubbing for about an hour in a 4ftx4ft area with a scrubber, we realized we were going to need something bigger.  



Enter the floor scrubber.  

We rented it for the day for $45.  Remember we are only doing half the basement at a time, so for about a 400 sqft area we spent 4 hours spraying, scrubbing, rinsing, scrubbing, rinsing, scrubbing, rinsing.  In case you're keeping track, that's a stupid amount of cleaning.  



The only part that was even slightly enjoyable was using the "really fun squeegee!"  Do you remember that movie?  Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead.... One of my favorite movies as a kid.... Anyway, we squeegeed the water into the sump pump drain and then sucked up what was left with the shop vac.





Let it dry completely.  Here's to hoping that this really was the worst part of the job!  I have a feeling that keeping the kids and puppies off of it for a few days might not be super easy either!  

For Additional prep, Process and Before/Afters See Basement Floor Epoxy - Part 2

Painting the Basement Ceiling

Monday, July 11, 2016



One thing that Hubby and I agreed on pretty quickly about the basement was that we wanted to paint and then leave the exposed ceiling.  Since we are trying to keep this remodel on the cheap and because the rafters are not a full 8 ft off the bare cement, we were pretty sure that we did not want to do a dropped ceiling. We also want the ability to do additional lighting and electrical work down the road, so we were very opposed to drywalling it.  And did I mention that I actually like the way the painted joists look?

The one thing we were not in agreement on was the color.  I wanted to do white, and Hubby wanted black.  My argument was that the white would reflect light better so that it would feel less like a dungeon and provide more balanced lighting for my craft room and the game area.  His argument was that the white would show everything (the staples from the old kitchen linoleum, the glue drips, and every splinter, etc) while the black would hide everything.  He was still making his argument with me all the way up to actually beginning to spray on the white paint...

Anyway, the first thing we had to do was get all the stuff out of the way.  So back up the stairs went all the boxes that we had carried down here just a couple weeks before and into one corner went all the furniture.


My poor garage!  So much for the idea of parking my van in there!  Sigh, maybe by winter time....

We looked into the price of renting an airless sprayer, but since we wanted it for two days (because of that wonderful corner full of furniture), it was going to cost almost exactly the same amount as buying an equivalent sprayer.  Crazy high rental prices.  Harbor Freight had one for sale for $200, it had good reviews and seemed to be basically the same as the name brand sprayer that cost $300 from the other home improvement stores.  This seemed like a no brainer.  Now we have the sprayer to use for the walls and for future projects as well.


We also bought a tip for the sprayer that would control the spray according to the space we were working in.  $25


While researching paints we discovered contractor grade flat finish paint for $13.98/Gal.  Since we were expecting to pay nearly twice this price, we were pretty excited.  They also have it in 5Gal buckets for $60 ($12/Gal) which can save you a few more pennies and these work nicely with the sprayer (insert hose of sprayer into bucket and TaDa!), however they do require some muscles to lift.  The folks at the store will be happy to help you get the buckets into the car but getting them out will be all you!  

In order to estimate how much paint we would need for the basement ceiling we multiplied the floor square footage by two.  This will account for the joists and uneven surfaces around pipes, wires, etc.  Our space is approximately 800sq ft so we rounded up to 2000sqft of coverage.  Our primer says that it will cover an average of 400sqft per gallon, but since we were working with the sprayer I wanted to be a bit conservative.  So we bought 7 gallons of primer and 5 gallons of paint (remember that you will need less paint than primer because the bare wood will soak up the primer).  Our cost of paint = $200


Add to those the many drop cloths, painters tape, paint respirator, and protective gear (disposable overalls, hat, goggles and booties) = $75


Friday night, Hubby and I taped up all the areas that are not going to be painted... this includes the area around the furnace, the storage space under the stairs, the stairs themselves, the windows, and our two bare concrete walls around the garage that will not need any insulation.  We also covered the floor the best we could since we plan on applying an epoxy to those soon.  By the time we were done protecting, our basement looked like a scene from Dexter...




Then Saturday morning we got set up for the actual painting.  Here's Hubby showing off his awesome protective gear... Goofiness aside, this is a must - since you are spraying overhead, the overspray is fairly significant.  Also, we are fortunate enough to have two opening windows in our basement, but we left them closed during the actual spraying, which means that you will really need the respirator mask as well to block the fumes.  I think it's got serious potential for a new fashion fad...




Since we left a considerable amount of furniture actually in the basement, we split the project into two parts - the main room and Hubby's office.  The bad news: this made it a two day project with double clean up.  The good news: I didn't have to help carry up those horribly heavy desks and the couch bed (which would have been impossible, not just a pain, btw... my arms are just too scrawny for that!)  + it gave us this beautiful side-by-side Before and After!



 I have to admit that Hubby was right, the white paint really does not hide the imperfections of the ceiling.  I still think that it looks a hundred times better than the bare wood, but you can see the glue drips, staples, the grain of the particle board, etc.  However, I was right about the way it would brighten the space.  Oh my goodness the difference it made is truly amazing.




 Here is the After of what is going to be the Game Room




And the After of what will be Hubby's office




And this is my office after we moved the furniture for Day 2.  This is how it will stay until the floor is finished in the main area and Hubby's office.



Bright side: The ceiling only took us a day and a half and was really just a one person job.  Hubby did all of the spraying and I just played assistant running back and forth with fresh supplies and helping clean up in between coats (which was quite a chore) and entertaining munchkins.  It would have been a one day project if we hadn't left so much junk down there that needed to be worked around.

We really came across no surprises during the process.  Expect to do some prep work, get messy, and to spend more time cleaning your sprayer than you spent actually spraying.  Otherwise there isn't much to it.

We also stayed exactly on our original estimate of $500 - we did end up needing two more gallons of primer, but we were able to return two gallons of unused paint so the cost came out exactly even.  In the end we used 9 gallons of primer, which applied two thin coats.  And less than 5 gallons of paint which applied one coat.  There was a little bit of uneveness in the coverage, but afterall, its a ceiling and with that uneven surface it's going to throw so many shadows that those uneven spots will just blend in anyway.  And because it brightened up the space so much, I really feel like its a winner.

Dreaming of a Basement

Monday, July 4, 2016



One of the main things we were looking for when we bought our house was the basement.  Several of the houses that we looked at during our house search would have been perfect if they had come with a basement.  Andrew and I really wanted this blank canvas to design to our hearts content and to utilize for the extra spaces we has always dreamed of having - an office for each of us, a casual living room area for movies, video games and future teenagers to hang out in, and a game room for our board game obsession and entertaining. Other things that we wanted was storage space both for games (our collection is pretty extensive), for children's art supplies, and for long term storage tubs.  We also would like to have a bar and an art/creative space for the kids.

Overall we have approximately 800 sq ft to work with, so we are really going to have to make every inch count and some of the spaces are going to have to pull double duty.

This is what we have to work with:

The future Game Room




 My future office/craft room




Hubby's future office




Oh and those spots on the insulation.... yeah, those were not there when we bought the house.  Those are the handy work of our big dog, Jewel - apparently she was tired of being left alone because we came home to this during our last week (week #6 of total moving/transition timeline) of cleaning up the old place.  The couch was sitting under that window for a couple of weeks.  We think she was trying to see out the window and accidentally discovered that the insulation comes apart.  She then proceeded to try it in three other places around the basement :-/




So, we are still trying to decide on our furniture layout and closets, but we are pretty set on our walls.  These are the finalists.



Phase 1 in the basement is going to be ceiling, floor and walls - basically we are just going to make the rooms "habitable" for now.  That means we still have time to decide on specifics, but these drawings are making me optimistic that we can get everything we want out of the space.  I'm also glad that all of this construction is going to be taking place in an area that we are not currently using - for once we do not have to live with remodeling dust and displaced living spaces.  *Sigh of relief*

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