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

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