Bathroom Renovation: Painted Concrete Flooring

The electrical was up and running and I haven’t mentioned this yet, but I couldn’t bring myself to also demolish the tile floor. When I was finished tearing down the tile walls, I didn’t have it in me to even attempt to jack hammer the tile floor out.

The fact that I was so pooped out from removing the walls wasn’t the *only* reason that I didn’t remove the tile floor. I had an idea!

The flooring where the vanity and closet were wasn’t level with the tile. Before I could do anything, I had to raise that part of the floor to be even with the tile. I knew about self-leveling concrete and decided to give it a try.

You can see the area that I had to fill in. I followed the directions on the back of the bag and used my kool-aid spoon in my drill to mix it up with.

It didn’t take long to dry at all. Once it was dry, I sanded it and had my blank slate for the plan that I had.

Layer #1 of concrete skim. Note: look at all of that tile in the air vent! ­čś«

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Layer #2 of concrete skim. You can see that getting the grout lines to disappear was not as easy as I thought it was going to be…

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I didn’t want to try and concrete around the base of the toilet, so I had to lift that off of the toilet hole thing and get under it. I’d never removed a toilet before. I knew it was possible, but I was definitely out of my comfort zone and horribly surprised by a big blob of yellow stuff under there. Nas-tay!

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Very patiently, I would apply another layer of concrete skim coat, let it dry, sand it, vacuum, and then apply another layer. It only took about 30-60 minutes for each layer to dry. The sanding made my arms feel like noodles. I got the power sander out after a few rounds of hand sanding, but because the coats were so thin, the power sander made me feel too nervous to keep using it.

You can see the two different concrete colors here. The lighter color is the self-leveling concrete. The darker is the concrete skim coat. At this point the floor was ready for the final step!

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I’d thought about stamping the concrete to look like wood planks, but I couldn’t find a stamp. Professionals have amazing stamps, and they cost a few hundred bucks… I had a tiny tool that is used for faux paint treatments that I tried to use in the wet concrete, but it was definitely not the right tool for the job and wasn’t going to do what I wanted it to. You can see in the picture below where I’d tried to use my little tool to do the job.

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There are a few things that I’m really good at. I don’t know how or why I’m really great at painting and staining. Somehow, I understand how to mix paints and stains on and use them on┬ásurfaces that are out of the ordinary. I’m not always pleased with the outcome, but I imagine any artist isn’t always pleased with their work.

I got started at about 7pm and by 9pm I was done!

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I used nearly every kind of paint including: oil, water, chalk, gloss, matte… It was all remnants from prior projects that I’d completed. Once I painted a plank, I would run this tool through the paint to create a wood look.

Wood Grain Tool

Finally, I added the concrete sealer and called it a night!

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Bathroom Updo

I call this a bathroom updo because I didn’t really tear anything apart other than the seashell tile border. The entire bathroom is tiled from floor to ceiling, and even on the ceiling in the shower. Demolition of all of that was something that I wasn’t ready for. I hadn’t even imagined that I could do something like that without having to hire someone.

In this updo attempt of mine, the goal was to make my bathroom feel less like the Golden Girls had waved their wand in there. I removed the seashell tile border, painted the outdated cabinets white, covered up the mirror that had ‘One Day at a Time’ etched into it and replaced the shiny silver light fixture, and gold switch covers. Later on I also used granite to cover up the countertop and sink combo.

Removing the seashell border was pretty easy. I had to buy a dremel and a grout removal bit. The grout removal bits are pretty spendy and I ended up needing two of them. I think they’re $25, but without that bit the job would have taken me much longer and I would have likely ruined the surrounding tiles.

Seashell Tile Border

Updo Glass Tile Border

The old etched mirror was literally grouted up onto the wall with the tiles. Rather than create a big mess, I just covered it up. The barn wood is sold at Home Depot. The two vertical planks are screwed onto the wall. I placed screws where there were grout lines to keep from cracking the mirror and tiles behind it. See ya later, ‘One Day at a Time…’ ­čśÇ

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I’d become pretty confident with concrete after having done my kitchen island. I had no idea whether it would actually bond to the slick countertop/sink material, but I didn’t think I had anything to lose by trying. I sanded the countertop before applying the concrete, but that’s the only prep I did. I applied 2 full layers and a third layer in the sink area. After doing a bunch of research on types of sealers, I ended up sealing it with the same sealer that I used on my kitchen island. It held up really well! I could use it and clean it just like any other countertop. No issues with water, heat or cleaning products.

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Complete

The new light fixture was from Menards and pretty inexpensive at $49.99. I’m using past tense. Remember, this is my Bathroom Updo. The renovation came many months later…

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Bathroom Before and After the ‘Updo’

 

Kitchen DIY: Before and After

Now that most things are complete, I thought it would be neat to take a picture from the same position as the before pictures that were posted when the house was for sale! And yes, I did *almost* everything myself. I took a few weeks off from work and had my lists. There were really long days and nights during the demo and installing the flooring, but I am super thrilled about how it turned out!

Before:

Kitchen Before

After:

kitchen after

kitchen after 2

  1. remove flooring
  2. remove wall
  3. paint cabinets
  4. replace light fixture
  5. new appliances: fridge, dishwasher, oven
  6. build island
  7. custom fit pantry
  8. concrete kitchen island countertop
  9. granite countertops
  10. paint window
  11. new faucet
  12. glass cupboard inserts

Note:

  1. I did need an electrician to come rewire the wires that were in the wall I took down. I would have felt comfortable doing this myself, but it was January and 1 of the wires was for the furnace. There was also a wire that I couldn’t figure out. Turned out to be my doorbell.
  2. I did need a HVAC person to come re-reroute the hot water heater exhaust that was in the wall I took down. I actually ended up needing a new hot water heater that would route out of the side of the house vs. through the roof.
  3. I did have the dudes from Craigslist fabricate and install my granite countertops.

Concrete Countertop: staining and sealing

I’d lived with my concrete countertop unstained and unsealed for WAY too long. If I would have known how easy it was to stain and seal, I would have done it much sooner. I needed to do research, shop for the stain after I had done my research and verify that the sealer that I’d purchased back in December was the correct kind for the job that I was doing.

I watched a few YouTube videos and learned a few things:

  • I learned what the stain was going to look like going on and what it was going to look like when it dried
  • I learned that you can overlap and mix colors to add depth, similar to watercoloring
  • I learned that you apply it with a paint brush
  • I learned that you really can’t mess it up!

I’m calling this Concrete Day 3 because Concrete Day 1 and Concrete Day 2 were the skim coating and sanding days, which you can find in an earlier post.

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I had originally wanted to purchase a powder stain that is mixed with water. Home Depot didn’t carry concrete stain in powder form so I purchased it in liquid form. I’d also wanted to have a bit of green stain added to the terra cotta and brown, but Home Depot didn’t carry any green stain. You will see how I improvised on that below!

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I followed the instructions on the back of the bottles and added water. *Be careful when you’re shaking your bottles up, my bottle wasn’t completely sealed and I shook it a few times before I realized the seal wasn’t tight and it was leaking. If you get this stain on anything, it will not ever, ever, ever come out. I ruined my rug.

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This is what it looks like as you put it on. The concrete quickly soaks up the stain. There isn’t a magic amount that you should apply. Some areas of mine had puddled up. That’s okay! It doesn’t look particularly great when you’re applying it. After it dries you can assess whether you’d like to add more stain in certain areas. I finished the staining and waited a few hours to see what the results would be…

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I really did need green. I was sitting at my desk, brainstorming on how or where I could get green concrete stain without having to wait for an online delivery.

I came up with a brilliant idea. My boys play sports. They have white baseball pants. I am very familiar with “green stains!” I went to my yard, picked a few weeds and rubbed them on the concrete in the areas that I wanted green stain. Yep. I really used weeds to stain my countertop.

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All of the YouTube videos that I’d watched mentioned sanding after you’d stained. I didn’t want to sand my countertop and liked the stain and the imperfections just as they were. I thought that a buffing would be more appropriate, however I didn’t have anything to buff the countertop with. I stood there looking around my house for something to rub along the top of the countertop and found a paint can lid. I know this is going to sound strange, but I knew that the metal lid would add friction and a shine to the concrete. You could use a clean lid, I actually used a lid from a charcoal grey paint that I had been using in my sons room. You press down pretty hard with the lid and rub in all over the countertop. You will feel the heat coming through onto your hand. You can see that the lid creating shiny areas on the high spots of the concrete. I also like that it created another layer of color that I hadn’t intended on.

As much as I really liked the effects of this technique, the sealer actually covered up the shiny areas. So, the only benefit that I got from the paint can lid was the grey tone added to the countertop.

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I wanted to be sure that all of the moisture was dried up before applying the sealer. I let the stain dry for an entire day (24 hours) before I was confident that all of the moisture was out.

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Way back in December is when I’d decided to do concrete countertops. I purchased the concrete and the sealer and then flip-flopped with the idea a dozen times. While I was flip-flopping with the idea, I’d also done quite a few Google searches to see what other people had done. I know there are quite a few different kinds of concrete sealers out there. This is the one that I purchased.

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The instructions on the back of the bottle are really intimidating, or at least I thought so. I did wear gloves for part of the application, but I’d taken them off in between layers and during the second layer I forgot to put gloves back on. I got some on my hands and it was not a big deal, just wipe it off. It’s not like getting super glue on your hands, which is what I was most nervous about. *Do not let this drip onto your flooring. I have 2 dime-sized shiny spots on my flooring from drips of this sealer. If you do see a drip, wipe it up asap and everything will be fine. If you do not see the drip and it dries on the floor, you will have shiny spots that I’m not sure how to remove just yet.

Okay, here we go! Pour the mix into a disposable container. It looks like milk.

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The YouTube videos that I had watched showed the sealer being applied with a small roller. I used a paint brush. There are no paint brush strokes on my countertop. This goes on very similar to how milk would be painted on. After a few minutes, it turns white and becomes a little tacky. There are no air bubbles like with polyurethane. It literally is like milk.

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I let the first layer of sealer dry for about 1 hour. It was not fully dry prior to me putting on a second layer. The difference between the first application and the second time around was that during the second time around there were very few white marks. You can see that it only occurred on the corner during the second layer of sealant.

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I think I may have been okay to stop after the second layer of sealer, but it was addicting and I just kept applying more and more. I didn’t wait for the layers to dry prior to applying the next layers. This didn’t cause any issues with the look, however, similar to if you put 3-4 layers of nail polish on without letting each layer dry, it took a few days to fully cure / harden.

The finished product amazes me. (the glare is from the light fixture above)

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So…for $20 I purchased a laminate countertop. For $40 more dollars in product, I have a one-of-a-kind, weed stained, stone countertop!

Before / After

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Concrete Countertop

I knew way back when I first moved in that I was going to attempt concrete countertops. I just wasn’t sure where or how until a few months down the road. I’d purchased all of the tools that I was going to need at Home Depot. I’d done my homework, but honestly there weren’t a lot of DIY attempts of this to refer to.

There were videos of what seemed like professionals doing poured concrete countertops and there were videos of others doing what is referred to as skim coating. Since my countertops were in okay shape, and because a friend of mine told me that my floors might not be able to withstand the weight of poured concrete countertops, I opted for skim coating.

I decided to test this out on my kitchen island before attempting the entire kitchen. I had purchased a laminate kitchen island countertop from a Craigslist ad. It didn’t match my house, but I knew that when I bought it that I was going to be covering it up. I was wondering how I was going to do the rounded edges, but it ended up not being a big deal at all!

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The first step was to use deglosser. This is the same stuff that I have also used on my kitchen cabinets and staircase banisters. You’ll want to wear gloves when using this stuff. It doesn’t smell like it could take the skin off of your hands, but I bet that it would. It’s the consistency and color of milk. I use a sponge and wipe, wipe, wipe. Once it’s dry, you can take a little bit of warm water and wipe some more.

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The next step was to sand the laminate countertop. Scratch it up really well. I used 100 Grit. Once sanded, wipe the dust off.

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You can see the scratches really well in this picture:

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Now comes the fun part! I used Henry brand FeatherFinish. The instructions call for 2 parts powder to 1 part water, or was it the other way around? You guys, I think I followed the mixing instructions backwards for the first layer!

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Other posts all mention how it dries quickly and to make small batches because otherwise it will dry before you’re able to apply it all. Mine was not like that. I did add a bit more powder because it didn’t seem like it was thick enough. When I poured it on, it was the consistency of pudding.

Oh Hi, Kelly! Kelly came over to help and honestly I think she did most of the spreading while I tried to learn how to use a selfie stick.

5:58 pm

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After spreading and spreading and spreading, it was clear that the consistency of the concrete was nothing like what other folks had been mentioning in their DIY concrete countertop posts. We had plennnnnnty of time to spread it around before it dried.

6:26 pm

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7:59 pm

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8:48 pm

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9:24 pm

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10:00 pm

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10:44 pm

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There was really nothing left to do until the concrete dried, so I cranked the heat in the house up to 80 degrees and went to bed.

DAY 2

7:40 am (I hadn’t changed the chalkboard sign yet)

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There was a damp spot that was a bit thicker so it hadn’t yet dried all the way. I sanded around it and then became obsessed with getting that spot to dry.

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I used a finer 220 grit sandpaper on the concrete than what I had used on the laminate. I didn’t want to tear the concrete apart, I just wanted to level out the high spots before we put on another layer.

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There was a lot of dust. I sanded for about an hour!

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Here’s a good look at how the edges turned out after the first layer of skim coat:

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10:09 am and that damp spot just would not dry. I decided to take matters into my own hands.

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I tried sanding it lightly to thin it down a bit, too.

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I was a little concerned, but knew that this was going to be an awesome lesson learned that I could share with all of you, in case you came across the same predicament. I tried to find other DIY posts that had already had this issue and didn’t find help anywhere.

Kelly had come back by now for our Day 2 layer of skim coating and we decided that we needed to just continue with layer 2 even if there was still a damp area from layer 1.

This is when the “A-Ha” moment happened. As I referred back to the instructions on the concrete box, I realized that I had mixed it differently (incorrectly) the day before. This time, it was true that we needed to work with small batches because the drying time was fairly quick.

12:23 pm

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12:34 pm

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1:49 pm

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Just a few hours after having put the second layer on, I was already able to start sanding! That is MUCH different than what we were dealing with on Day 1 when I had mixed the concrete incorrectly.

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With the correct consistency, I was also able to use my finger to mold the edges nicely! This was like using play dough vs. using pudding. I’m sure you can imagine the difference in how this allowed us to work along the edges…

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3:10 pm

I am done sanding and this is the end of Day 2 skim coating my kitchen island!

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I plan to stain and seal it, too. Until then, I’m using sidewalk chalk on it like a great big notepad!

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