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Stripping and staining concrete - need DIY advice, please...

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by secretdonkey, Dec 3, 2006.


  1. secretdonkey

    secretdonkey

    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I'm almost done removing the old flooring in my house and am having last minute second thoughts. Also not having much luck Googling anything that yields useful info I can put much confidence in... I am trying to become a DIYer rather late in the game, so any advice is appreciated!

    I am debating with going with a stained and polished concrete floor. My house is very "mod" and the look should work well. The slab is in good shape but covered with black "cutback" adhesive. I would need to somehow remove this layer of adhesive and possible polish the concrete underneath.

    I am envisioning some kind of rotary floor machine being involved. I don't know if that's a safe assumption, whether I can rent and use such a thing myself, or what to do about the many tight spots that a large machine would not reach.

    Other option I am about to proceed with is to lay slate tile. It is going to be a LOT of work, as I have planned a border, and a 45 degree angle for the main tile. Add that there is a lot of space that flows together with many odd angles involved, and it is going to be a pretty daunting task to tackle.

    Just wondering if I can strip, polish, groove and stain the concrete myself and save work and money.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks! :)
     
  2. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    This is right up my alley. Please remember two immutable facts of life:

    1. ice cream melts

    2. concrete cracks

    That means you will have cracks in your floor, but not necessarily melted ice cream on it. They can be filled with epoxy and will function just fine, but the cracks will be there (as they are in EVERY concrete slab). So when you go to sell your house, the buyer will see the cracks and, being human, will think that they are some kind of problem. This will make it very difficult to sell the house, and you'll A. have to put down some flooring, and B. disclose the cracks because you've seen them. Out of sight, out of mind.

    My firm ended up buying a house because the owner alleged there was a soil-related problem (cracked slab), and sued us over it. They were trying to sell it, and the buyers looked at the cracks in the floor and were afraid. The owners thought that the artsy-craftsy concrete floors that they had seen in the little boutiques where they bought their art looked so fancy. Apparently they never went inside a Costco. Besides, it saved them a lot of money on flooring.

    We bought the house with help from a couple insurance companies, spent $25K for some beautiful travertine flooring throughout, and flipped it for a $250K profit. And yes, we disclosed the cracks, which were injected with epoxy but, as I said, out of sight, out of mind.

    So there you are.
     
  3. secretdonkey

    secretdonkey

    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Well golly, good to see ya, Munj! Good advice, except you sound like my most recent ex-wife. Still licking my wounds over that one. If you also happen to be smoking hot and psychotic, I shall be honor-bound to hate you, Munj. Ahem. Anyway, she'd flipped some houses in her day and my every aesthetic idea had to pass her rigorous ROI scrutiny.

    She's gone, I hated that crap, and I'm now free to pimp my crib in way that spites her (pulls nose out of pocket to show how I love spiting my own face, as well).

    The slab is in amazing condition. When I bought the house, the inspector specifically commented that the slab was in immaculate condition. There seriously are no significant cracks. There will be small craters left by erstwhile carpet tack nails, but I would be going for that industrial/funky look, anyhow.

    The slate I'd be using will be a turn-off for many buyers, anyway. Rough and variegated. Cheap and appeals to me. And given recent events, I am giving up my dream of escaping BFE for now, instead "nesting" in this house, which I really like. Both ex-wives, who fought me on my decorating ideas, have confessed genuine admiration for the work I've done so far, so I'm going to go with my gut rather than my inner accountant, who is quite sadly addled in any event.

    So thanks, but how's about that original question? :D
     
  4. secretdonkey

    secretdonkey

    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Thanks for the link... unfortunately this just illustrates with irony my frustration at not finding much useful information through internet searches. I did click around that site and learn that I might try searching on concrete grinding instead of stripping or polishing. I shall now try that. Glass half full, thank you! :)
     
  5. emils

    emils

    Jul 28, 2005
    Croatia
    You can get all the machines required to do the job by following the links I posted. I dont see this being too complicated, maybe messy but not that hard to do yourself.

    I'm planing to do the same thing when we start building our new house but I will account for it when we lay down the slab and add some coloured stone to it to get that "terazzo" look. I'm planing on renting the grinders and doing it myself.
     
  6. Off topic :bag:

    so Munji has one of these companies where they make money
    flipping houses with money that potential buyers have given them. yo, have you been on Superhonda.com, I know a guy there that does just that.
     
  7. secretdonkey

    secretdonkey

    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Would you happen to know any links that explain the process in detail, advise how DIY-friendly it might be, and give a rough cost estimates to rent equipment, etc, and other things that might help me formulate a mental equation on how cost/labor would stack up against the slate option?

    Or could you give me any details, since you've done some research?

    Thanks!


     
  8. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I take it you didn't read my post. We bought the house with bottom line cash. The big loser here was the plaintiff's attorney.
     
  9. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    As to the original question, the very best way to do it is to contract it to someone who knows what he's doing.
     
  10. Tsal

    Tsal

    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    Yep. I assume renting the equipment doesn't come cheap either. I've met guys who do this kind of stuff for living and the machinery they operate is quite substantial.
     
  11. Just to chime in an off-topic post, all I saw was stripping at first when I clicked the thread. Let's just say I was a little disappointed.
     
  12. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    When the staining part is done right, the cracks look more like part of the design than an actual problem with the floor. We put concrete floors in one of our bathrooms. I am going to put them in our kitchen this spring. We have also put concrete countertops in a couple bathrooms.

    When you do a floor with no cracks, it doesn't look as good as one with cracks to my eye.

    Oh yeah, as far as tools. You can go to any tool rental shop and ask for a floor stripper/grinder. It's no big deal using it. You don't need special training. If you can operate a vacuum, you can use a floor stripper/grinder. Let the guys know what you are doing so they don't rent you a floor stripper for stripping wax. The one we used looked like this.....

    [​IMG]

    When you are done preparing the floor, and staining it, you'll need to polish the floor. A tool similar to the one above will do that for you. Sometimes, you can use the same machine with a different attachment

    -Mike
     
  13. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    Before you go gung ho sanding the living hell out of that adhesive, get it checked.

    99% of the old black cutback is asbestos based, sanding for obvious reasons isn't something you will want to do.
     
  14. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Oh ignore this guy. Start sanding. You'll live another 20 or so years before the asbestos starts bothering you. :D

    -Mike
     
  15. emils

    emils

    Jul 28, 2005
    Croatia
    Sorry, Mr donkey but I can't help you with any links or prices since you are on the wrong continent. I have actually seen how this is done first hand and if you can rent all the equipment needed it is not that hard. You start with course sanding disks and gradually go finer until your desired level of gloss is achieved. You use the smaller handheld sander to get into corners. Once this is done you seal it and thats it. Almost like preparing a fretless board.

    Slate on the other hand involves a little knowledge of stone masonry since it doesn't come in perfect shapes, laying process is similar to tiling but you have to chip away every now and then to make sure it fits nicely.

    You mention that you're looking for that industrial look, why don't you just scrub the concrete and clean it up as much as you can, and then just seal it. Don't worry about all the imperfections and marks.
     
  16. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    Well, actually I am certified an expert in the flooring field, but what would I know? ;)

    Normally, if it is indeed asbestos it can be encapsulated with portland based patch, and covered over. However, I have no idea how this would affect stained concrete, probably not good. There are a lot of arguments about long term bonding strength of the new flooring over "encapsulated" cutback, not to mention the potential for bleed through. Another option is the use of various chemical removers, which emulsify the adhesive for dustless removal. Even at that, the residue left behind still needs to be encapsulated, and can cause the same problems mentioned before.

    This isn't a DIY job unfortunately. Consult the manufacterer of the product you wish to put down, and follow their recommendations. My professional recommendation is.....carpet.

    Normally, I get about $350 consultation fee for this info...freebie day! :D

    PS, never listen to drywallers unless it is regarding drywall :D
     
  17. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Yes sir, you are. I would consider anything you say in this thread to be much more informative than anything I have. It seemed easy enough for me to do, but I work in the trades.

    Listen to Tim......he is the Yoda of flooring here at TB. :D

    -Mike
     
  18. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    Yoda lol
     
  19. secretdonkey

    secretdonkey

    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Darn, I thought I was ridding myself of that scarlet "A" when I took out my old tile, which was under a layer of old carpet. Trying carefully to avoid breaking the tiles inasmuch as I could made for long hours of tedious work!

    Thanks, Tim, I appreciate the freebie! Hearing that it's not a DIY project from a pro is all I needed to hear. The A word certainly rules out thoughts of me trying to do it anyway. I almost went with carpeting to avoid having to disturb those tiles in the first place, but the carpet people told me I'd have to get rid of the old tile before they'd guarantee the installation. I have always disliked carpet, though I know it makes the most sense from an investment / resale POV.

    So, I'm back to slate... though I might ought to second-guess and think about wood laminate as having a bit more buyer appeal...

    decisions, decisions!

    Thanks again to everyone for the advice - especially Tim
     

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