Tuesday, April 10, 2012

basement floors

I was going to continue discussing paint colors, since I left off with that on Monday, but I realized that when I showed you some of the pictures of the basement walls with paint on them, you'd also see the basement floors, and we're pretty happy with how those turned out, so I didn't want to ruin the surprise.  So, stay tuned for a future post for paint colors down in the basement.

We've been going back and forth on what we wanted to do with the basement floors for months.  Literally.  Months.  We knew right off the bat that we didn't want carpet (as it is, we have carpet on our main level in the family room, playroom and master which we can't wait to eventually rip out and replace with hardwood...but boy oh boy is that a whole 'nother post....) and we also weren't planning on doing anything like engineered wood or anything like that (again, if we had the money today, we'd be putting it in upstairs, not in our basement!).  The obvious choice after that seemed to be to either stain or paint the floor.  So I turned...where else.  To Pinterest (this is getting predictable, isn't it?).

I found SO many inspiring photos there.  First thing I was drawn to were all these amazing floors with really cool stenciled designs on them.

This was one that caught my eye.  Not too large of a pattern, and not too small.  But it did still seem a little busy.  And we knew we wanted a more neutral color than what they chose.  

This next one drew me in because of the geometric design they chose, which is what I had been leaning towards, but for the size of floor we would have to cover, this would take forever and be, I fear, far too busy. 


I fell in love with this one when I saw it.  I loved the use of similar but lighter shade, I loved the geometric, but not overly "hard" design, and I loved the scale of it.  

But, in the end, we ultimately decided to skip it.  We knew we'd be covering some of it with rugs, and figured we'd try to draw the eye to other elements in the room, and not so much the floor.  And, if at some point down the line we wanted to add something, we could always do it.  

So, we just needed to narrow down whether we wanted to stain or paint, pick a color and get to work. I ultimately swayed us more to the painted floor, mostly because I liked the more solid look of it.  Acid stained floors can often have a lot of "movement" (think marble or granite) to them - and it can go either way.  They can be beautiful, or they can be downright scary.  (I thought this post had a funny take on it!).  So painted floors it is!  We ultimately picked up flooring paint samples and compared to our basement color choices and chose a color called Tarnished Silver by Behr.  It had a dark grayish-brown feel to it on the chip, which I'll admit looks more eggplanty-brown when down, but we still really like it. The paint is a 1-part epoxy and the line is Behr's Concrete and Garage Floor Paint.

We did a bunch of research and found quite a few links with steps on how to prep a floor for this, but ultimately, this is the one we used the most.  We moved out all the furniture and construction materials from the large room, bathroom and small "hallway" if you will, to the bath and mechanicals room and shoved everything into the room we call the "workout" room.  Want proof?

Then we got to work (or, I should add, hubby got to work).  This was right around the time we found out surprise #3 was on his/her way, which seemed to light a fire under our butts to get moving on some projects.  This basement has been 4.5 years in the making - and was literally a room with studs when we moved into the house.  I digress.....  Anyway, hubby got to work vacuuming the floor with the shop vac, then mopping, and mopping again, and mopping yet again.  

Lucky for little ole me, I was off to California for some fun in the sun with a dear friend and some Olympic Lifting training.  Fun stuff, and I got to come home to finished floors!  Score!

sorry for the blurry pic!

He then rented a commercial-grade floor cleaner and used that to help him acid etch the floors. 

fyi:  acid etching and a pregnant woman in her first trimester do NOT mix!

After etching, he needed to wash the floors again with a neutralizing wash.  After that final wash, there were two coats of primer applied, allowing 8 hours between the first and second coat.  The primer we used was the Behr Concrete and Masonry Bonding Primer.  After 24 hours, the first coat of paint went on, and after 8 hours the second coat of paint went on.  We didn't walk on it or anything for at least 24, and even then it was gentle stepping with no shoes, etc.  

We waited a full week before moving any of the furniture back.  We ultimately chose not to seal it, and here's why.  We fully expect there to be some imperfections with this floor as time goes by.  Scratches, chipping, etc.  We have a dog, a cat and two (soon to be three) rowdy kids.  Part of the reason we left the floor cement was the kids LOVE to bring their summer toys (bikes, scooters, tricycle, etc.) down here in the winter and ride around.  All of that stuff will start to wear on the finish.  

If we sealed it, and there were areas that needed touch-ups, it would be much harder to do.  This way we can slap on some paint when needed and voila!  Easy peasy.  When we eventually moved all the stuff out of the workout room and back into the rest of the space so hubby could finish the floor in there, he had to overlap the paint at the base of the stairs where it meets that room.  It turned out great - and you'd honestly never know that they were painted weeks apart (by the time we got back to it).  

You can't really see it here, but I pinky swear it's true!

I think the bathroom shot (two pictures up) gives more of that "eggplant-y brown" feel I was talking about, but in the large space it really doesn't feel that way.  We're both super happy with how they turned out and it's amazing how finished the basement feels just having this piece done.  

Anyone out there ever paint a floor?  Solid or stenciled?  Share away!


Dianne Grover said...

These are very cool ideas for basement flooring! While most of us envision a dull-looking basement, there are plenty of design options to choose from like the ones provided in this post. There home owners, concrete
contractors Cook County
as well as interior designers out there who will definitely appreciate what you have shared. Thanks!

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