Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Let there be lights and stained concrete

Progress on the sunroom came to a screeching halt several weeks ago, and I have no one but myself to blame. The project was complete except for the floor. I had asked the contractor to have the concrete stained to match the floors throughout the house. It wouldn't have been a big deal were it not for the fact that over the years, I had slopped wood sealer (an extra super-duper product called Penofin) all over the concrete when I treated the porch railing. Live and learn.

The first guy who came out to work on the floor was a freakin' idiot clueless about how to remove the stains. 
While my contractor worked to identify somebody who knew what he was doing, I worked on installing the light fixtures.

This one, made from an old telegraph wire insulator, hangs above the dining area.

This one, made from an old Mason jar, hangs above the daybed. 
I'm still trying to find just the right light bulb to use. This one isn't it.

Anyway, the floor guys arrived Monday morning and sanded and sanded and sanded the floor
until all the spots had disappeared.

Then they mopped on an acid solution to etch the concrete and make it more porous
so that it would accept the stain.

Then they rinsed/vacuumed, repeated, until the etching solution was gone.
What a treat to see someone besides me, and a male no less, vacuuming my floor!
Then they left for the day while the floor dried.

Yesterday morning, Mr. Floor Man returned. I smelled him before I knew he was here.
Think nail-polish remover. Times 8 bazillion. And I'm not exaggerating.
He mixed the color agent with acetone, then proceeded to spray the floor.
I took this picture through the glass door. Had I been in the room, I would have passed out from the fumes.

You: Excuse me, but your floor is green. Wasn't it supposed to match the warm amber color you used in the house?
Me: Yes, except that color was discontinued. Since I wouldn't be able to match it, why not go for something different?
Like this "Prickly Cactus" color. At least something around here will be green year 'round.
You: You've obviously been sniffing too many paint fumes.

Let me just say that staining concrete is not for the faint of heart. 
What you see is not what you get until the floor is signed, sealed and delivered.

When I saw the stained floor, I cringed. It looked almost neon.
When Mr. Floor Man started to seal it, I cringed again. It looked hideously dark.

Then the sealer started to dry, and I started loving my new floor.
The blue sky reflecting through the windows made it seem like pools of water were shining back at me.

Then the sun came out and I started to cringe again at the astroturf.
Mr. Floor Man has two more coats of sealer to apply before he calls it done, and I'm not the least bit worried.
I'm confident it will be beautiful. And if it's not, that's what margaritas are for.



  1. What an amazing room you are going to have when it's all done! I'm enjoying the updates.

  2. I think green is perfect. Like, in the old days, when they painted front porch ceilings blue.
    If it all ends up looking like the step, it will be fabulous.

  3. Will it really be 'green' when finished (?!?) or is it like glazing pottery where the finished product is nothing like the color of the initial slip/glaze?

    Did they do the doorstep as a sample for you? It looks brown on the monitor.

    M in NC

  4. I meant to say, too, that I really like the lights.

  5. Oh, how FOXY!!! It is cozy and soothing. I LOVE IT!!

  6. Wonderful room! And it will bring window washing to a whole new level! :)

  7. I like the green! Green is supposed to be a calm and relaxing color. And with so much brown in your part of the world, the green will really stand out and give that WOW factor eh.

  8. p.s. WHERE did you buy the light made out of the old telegraph wire insulator?!?!?

  9. *ahem* 'Scuse me, but is there a reason one gentleman is wearing a butterfly on the back of his jeans?
    (spoken like I have no clue...)

  10. Oh...that was moi...Auntie Em from Tennessee who noticed the butterfly. I wish all my workmen wore them. ;-)

  11. I think the green floor is PERFECT !!! Girl, you make me laugh every the dialogue "we" had hahaha jeanne in SC

  12. I love the lights. Can't wait to see the finished floor.

  13. lmao... I had missed the butterfly...

  14. I've really been wanting to do this to my cement floor, but...acetone times 8 bazillion...I don't think I could handle that. Unless I can find someone to deal with that part, butterflies or no, I may need a new plan. Thanks for the tutorial.

  15. I like the green. I love the lights! Cool.

  16. It will be very cool, I think, especially if you throw some old-style rag rugs down.

  17. love the green, the lights, the blue reflections do look like water and I completely missed the butterfly until I started reading all the comments. Wow, good save on your part. As to our make me giggle. Oma Linda

  18. I thought that the fumes here when the hardwood floors were done were bad, but the cement floor fumes sound nastier! Beautiful end result. I really like the insulator light too.

  19. I love the green! And you last comment made me snort when I laughed!

  20. Interesting process. My daughter moved into an apartment with stained concrete floors. No one wanted to rent it because the owner did a do-it-yourself job of spilling puddles of brown and red paint all over the place. People thought they were blood stains and that someone had been murdered there. My daughter, who can appreciate just about any kind of unique are, loves it. And that is how she managed to get affordable housing close to her college campus.

  21. Staining concrete is a leap of faith. You can't know exactly what you're going to get. I'm loving this color and like that it's different from the house. The lights are like jewels. This room is going to be so special.

  22. Michelle from BC3/13/13, 11:13 AM

    I think the green is going work out well for a sunroom, should be a little different then the rest of the you won't see the dust!

  23. Its gonna be fine, I bet. Green is wonderful!

    I wonder what happens to those workers after a few years of acetone? Can't be good.


  24. hilarious, you make me laugh so much. your comments are gold. well I am a green lover so in fact I love your floor even from stage 1 before the sealer. and green is a very good match for wooden furniture! but I am sure it will all turn perfect and gorgeous.

  25. Those workers must have strong constitutions to handle all that chemical overload every day! My MCS self cringes at the thought of even one whiff! I love the green, especially with the blue sky reflecting off it. Love the lights too!

  26. I adore your light fixtures - telegraph insulators are highly underused as interior decor, compared to their potential. My parents have a couple sitting on their windowsill; they make great suncatchers.

    In case you for some reason feel compelled to buy gifts for your contractors, the gentleman sporting the butterfly looks like he could use a can of crack spackle:

  27. It will be great, if not St. Patty's Day is just 4 days away...

  28. Well...the lights are stunning. Miniput anyone?

  29. Never laughed so hard reading about floor finishing! Love the magical butterfly.

    I hired someone to acid stain the concrete floor in my basement family room years ago but asked for a matte finish. So I believe the floor was not sealed properly and the color did not develop as planned. A couple years later I had a slightly elevated wood floor installed to hide the mistake. Your floor looks fantastic!