8 Things we Learned About Stained Concrete Flooring

We are so happy that we FINALLY have finished the remodel of our basement, after a busted water pipe!  The best upgrade we made was the concrete flooring!  I will say that this was a LONG and stressful learning process, but we are definitely glad we did it.  We wanted to share a few things we learned along the way.

1.  It gets darker…I promise!

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When our floors were first sprayed, we were extremely skeptical.  As we watched the stain go on it looked great, but when I got home later it looked HORRIBLE!  It was light in color and just looked like a dirty concrete floor.  I was horrified!  The flooring guy assured us that it would get dark again once we put the sealer on…and he was right.  We ended up loving the final color and so glad we didn’t go darker.

2.  It NEEDS the finishing details.

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We learned that even though the color was acceptable, there was just something that looked “messy” about it.  We couldn’t figure it out…it was those finishing details.  We added a 7 inch, chocolate colored border, the base molding, and the top coat.  Yep those finishing details made me go from “Eh, I can live with it” to “Wow, I actually love this.”

3.  Prep is EVERYTHING!

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* Ignore the carpet on the stairs…it is coming off soon! *  So it took our floor guy twice as long to prep the floor as it did to stain and seal the floor.  There is a LOT of sanding, sweeping, mopping, sanding, over and over again to be done.  It makes a big ole mess!  But the prep is was really makes the look of your floor…see the next tip.

4.  You have NO control!  You can’t control the look, the color, the vibe…

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So, some people (hubs) love it…I hate it!  That big ole paint stain in the middle of the floor.  That was there…under the carpet….from before we moved in.  They sanded it, a little, but it never really came up and so there it is.  When I say you have no control, I mean it.  Your concrete is going to do what it does and you can’t change one thing about it.  We even have carpet glue lines that were just not sanded enough (don’t get me started on that) and they are still visible.

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5.  Go with the Epoxy!

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Our floor guy had originally put a layer of urethane sealer on the floor…nope, not acceptable…don’t do it!  It looked and felt like colored concrete.  Like the floor was an accident.  What we wanted was exactly what you see above…that beautiful shine!  I love how you can see the reflection of the lights in the floor!  Now it looks like we meant to do this floor!  It took two coats of the epoxy sealer and it was totally worth it!

6.  Your house will STINK and be DUSTY!

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When they do all that prep work and sanding, it will COVER your entire room!  We have had to dust multiple times and even change the air filter in the air conditioner.  And watch out when they put that epoxy sealer on there…whoa baby!  That is some really strong stuff.  The cat even acted a little crazy when I came home that first day and he had been sniffing it all day…wait…he always acts crazy….but really, it was even worse.  (*I think he was high*)  For the second coat, we were much wiser.  We spent the day outside and had every window and door open!  It airs out in about a day, so it will be ok in the long run.

7.  Watch out for self-leveling concrete!

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Yeah, so….this happened!  The wood floors in the entryway were ruined and we assumed that we could just stain the concrete underneath with the rest of the basement…wrong!  It all started when we realized the wood was liquid nailed to the floor and had to be jackhammered off!  That meant we had to lay self-leveling concrete to fix it…and guess what…it doesn’t take stain!  What!?  Even the floor guy didn’t know that.  So we ended up painting it and sealing it, and we are ok with that.

8. Do your research! 

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Most importantly, do your research!  Make sure you use a floor guy that is reliable with great references.  Unfortunately, we were not so lucky.  We went with the guy the contractor hired and it ended up not going so well.  Thank goodness Hubs is a major researcher.  He was researching the whole process along the way, and hovered over the sub-par flooring guy until it was done right.  Otherwise we wouldn’t have the border, the painted entryway, or the epoxy sealer.  Please, if you want stained concrete…do your research!

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Like I said, it was a big learning process, but wow…we couldn’t be more pleased!  Gauge thinks so too!

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So if you are ready to take a chance, you love character, you are looking for something different and unique…then do it!  Try those concrete floors!  Like Hubs said, “Hey, if we hate it, we can always put flooring over it.  Its just concrete!”

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