Staining and Finishing Concrete Floors

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One of my favorite projects on the Momplex interior has been this basement floor we coated:

For this floor, we used RustOleum's EpoxyShield Garage Floor Coating.  It's a paint, and you throw the speckles down to add variation.  We are extremely pleased with the durability of the floor - not a scratch in it after about six months of use!

We like floor paint/coatings for basements for a number of reasons:

- It seals your concrete (something you'd have to do anyways)

- It bonds on the concrete floor (no hollow feel underfoot if you'd used a floating floor)

- We have heated floors in the basement, so any flooring (especially the likes of carpet) would prevent heat from entering the room

- You don't have to add a self leveling layer of concrete (every slab has a few imperfections, and you'd have to self level for most floating floors)

- There's no added layer of flooring for water to get trapped underneath and cause moisture problems

- It's about as inexpensive as flooring gets - about 30 to 40 CENTS a square foot for everything!  

So on Momplex Unit A's basement and garage, we knew we'd be going straight back to RustOleum's EpoxyShield products, but this time, I wanted to try the stained concrete instead of the painted concrete. 

It's a two part kit - the Premium Clear Floor Coating Kit (that you can actually use OVER the paint kit we used on Unit B) that you mix the stain additive into.  All this is available at your local big box store, one set will do about 250 square feet of bare concrete for the stain.  You can also use this over bare concrete if a gray floor is your goal, but you want the floor to be finished with an epoxy coating to resist staining.

In the kit is a DVD, with step by step instructions - we popped that in and watched it.  Here's the video steps -

So we waited for a warm weather weekend (you only need a couple of hours to do the work, but we wanted to have the windows open until it's all dry), and got to work.

First we cleaned everything out of the garage, mudroom and bonus room.

The concrete is very level, and doesn't need patching and there's no cracks (nice job Jacob!) but there are a few spots where paint has gotten on the floor.

I put one of those scrubbing discs on my Ryobi Cordless Sander, and took care of that pretty quick.

Then it's time to clean the floor -

First we vacuumed,

Then we mopped.

Then we etched (it comes with the stain additive)

And finally we are ready for painting!!!

The kit has everything, you just follow directions and mix Part A with Part B, then add the stain additive,

We also added in the non-skid additive.  Kids and Grandmas on a shiny, smooth epoxy floor sounds like a very bad combination.

Then we prepped the roller with the included roller bag and rubber bands (comes with stain additive kit).  This will help give the color application a more random finish (kinda batik-ish if you ask me).

To me, color variation is very desirable on a floor.  It's more forgiving between floor cleanings (didn't I look like I just love vacuuming??? ) and will hide any scratches (if you can ever scratch this stuff).

Once the kit was all mixed up, we've got 90 minutes to use it up.  And about that long until the baby needs to be fed.  So we worked quickly, with a clear plan from the start.

First, we used a brush to edge the walls and doorways.  We actually needed three kits to do the entire lower level, but we only edged one room at a time to not get too far ahead of ourselves.

Then we got two rollers going.  It's kinda takes a bit of getting used to rolling with the roller covered in plastic.  But I tell you what - applying paint with a roller on an extension stick sure beats crawling around on your knees snapping flooring together.

One thing I will say is let go of your OCD and try not to be perfect.  You'll want to work the paint in so there's no lap marks.

I found working in a fan shape was ideal.

It took us about two hours to roll the entire lower level.  

We used the Rustic Brown Stain Additive, and it is more of a warm brown that matched our stained doors.  If you are looking for more of an espresso brown, I'd go with the Walnut Stain Additive.

We did the garage too.  It turned out beautiful!  

It's got an almost rubber feel to it, but is super tough (don't tell on me, but I did try to chip it up with a hammer claw without success).  

We are very pleased with how this floor turned out!  Here's the before:

Chalky and porous, and definitely not wipe clean ...

Finished and fine, smooth and easy to clean.

We spent a total of about $300 on 700 square feet, and are very happy with the results!  It took us a couple of days, between cleaning, prepping, etching, and application, but the results are definitely worth it!

Have you coated a concrete floor?  Love it?  Let us know in the comments - we'd love to hear your side too!

Have a great weekend!

XO Ana + Family

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