Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cheapy McCheapskate Strikes Again - Concrete Floor Staining

Concrete Floor Staining.

We finally did it. We've been talking for years about ripping out the carpet in our living room and staining the concrete. And over the past few months, it became a reality. Since I've had so many people ask me about it and so many wanting to do it in their own homes, I thought I would give a play-by-play of how it really works...then you can decide whether to DIY or hire someone.

FYI: Our home was built in 2000 as the model home in the community. We purchased it in 2001 as the builders were closing out their part of the community.

At the first of August, we took up the carpet & padding (and pulled up all the carpet tack strips) and hauled it off to the dump - $Free (of course, it cost gas to get there).

But the builders had so kindly left such a mess on the floor. Gross. So we borrowed a friend's shop vac and got busy cleaning the dirt and loose yuk off the floor. Then we discovered that the padding had been glued to the concrete in certain areas so there was glue and padding residue on the concrete in addition to the paint spills, texturing overspray, plaster piles, and whatever else they decided to drop on the concrete. In researching cleaners for this, I discovered you must be careful what you use as not to use something that will leech the lime from the concrete - this is what the acid stain will react with. We settled with a product from Behr - Concrete and Masonry Paint Stripper. I think we ended up using 4 bottles of this at $27 a bottle...yeah, I know, ouch, but I wanted to clean the concrete without stripping out anything that needed to stay in the concrete.

To clean the mess, I worked only in small sections. I would pour a generous amount of the product on the section and leave it for an hour or so. Then I would use a paint scaper tool to scrape up whatever would come up and dump in the trash whatever I scaped up. After this, I would pour a little water on my section and vigorously scrub with a stiff brush. Again, a rinse with water, clean up with old towels and voila! Section done. It was a workout to do those small sections. Musician Hubby has Radial Tunnel syndrome in his arms and wrists, so I didn't ask him to do much of this. Gotta protect those hands, you know!

There were delays with young boy going back to school and with me starting part time work at young girl's pre-school - and of course the week and a half that I had vertigo, so it took us over two months of section by section, little by little to clean, clean, clean the concrete. And then with the concrete being so pretty and clean, we decided - after 8 years of me asking - to paint the living room. Yea!! Of course, with not having an abundance of cash laying around to use, we made the trip to hit every Lowe's, Home Depot, and Walmart paint department in about a 15-20 mile radius of our house to look for "oops" paints in colors we thought would look good in our house - basically, various earthtones. We found a 5 gal unopened bucket of a nice beige color at Home Depot for $15. Walmart had cheap paint gallons in a chocolate (accent walls in living room) and carob (accent wall in master bedroom) =$20. Another trip to the Depot garnered us another gallon of pretty color for the kitchen for $5. I had some paint supplies in the garage including paint for the trim, but others were picked up on the cheap at these stores, so in all for supplies for three rooms of painting was around $30 (I use the foam/sponge brushes and rollers, plastic tray liners, and the Sure-Line Paint Edger - LOVE this tool).

All the painting was done (three large rooms done at night - finished in one week!), we decided on the upcoming long weekend to stain the floor. We went to Lowe's to purchase the Quikrete Concrete Stain in Tan and the Quikrete Premium Clear Epoxy Coating (interior use). Both of these items were about $72 each - both covering 300-400 sq ft. And we used every bit of both. We covered the walls and trim with tape and contractors paper (about $10 for both).

Before staining, the floor must be cleaned with a TSP soloution ($5 Lowe's) scrubed on with a stiff brush. The floor has to be wet, but not standing water to apply the stain. So I would run in front of Scott and water down the floor and then squeegee up the standing puddles, just making sure the floor was wet. Using a garden sprayer ($18 at Lowe's), Scott sprayed the stain on the floor. It was a little freaky in that the stain looks green when wet. But by the time we got through and to the door, we could see the brown/tan spots. Then we left for the night.

We returned the next morning and had to clean the residue from the floor using a baking soda and water solution and scrubbing with a stiff brush. This took a few rounds of cleaning to make sure all the residue came up. We would walk around and spot check the floor and if any color came up on our hands, then we would clean again.

After all the cleaning was done, it was time for the Clear Epoxy Coating. This mixed up and painted on white so you could see it and make sure to cover everything. After the coating, we backed our way out the door and left for the night again. The next afternoon we came in and started putting the living room back together again. As you can see in the picture, it looks great and we are so happy with it.

I don't know if I would do this again, but maybe. It looks great and I'm loving sitting in my nice cozy looking room.

And if you are figuring out the costs, the floor plus three rooms painted was about $375. Not too shabbby, huh?

Thanks for all the compliments and I hope your rooms turn out great, too!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Price to be Paid

We are on vacation. In Branson, MO. With our children. I know now why parents drink.

Naw, it's not that bad. We've had a great time. Our hotel offers many activities and we've gone to a couple of shows, BOTH of which Hunter was chosen from the audience to participate in the show. One was Kirby Van Burch -illusionist/magician. He chose Hunter to go on the stage and check out the props for his "walk through a plate glass mirror" illusion. Then loaded Hunter up with tons of goodies for participating. The other show was Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede and Hunter was asked to go on a "chicken chase" with a couple of other kids. Out of 1000 people, Hunter was chosen to go out onto the arena floor. Wow! That kid's got some good vacation memories.

But my memory, sigh, although with my family is a great one, no, my memory will be the trip the car gods demanded a sacrifice so our car would make it in one piece. I lost the diamond from my engagement ring. We've scoured the car and nothing yet. I still think it's in the McDonalds bathroom somewhere in Oklahoma.

Yeah, there is a price to be paid for everything.

It's still been a good trip.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Things Kids and Their Parents Say....

Hunter: "Dad, I'm full of imagination. Are you?"

Dad: "No."

Hunter: "Sure you are Dad. You're full of it. Mom, isn't Daddy full of it?"

Mom: "Yes, darlin', Daddy sure is full of it."

Dad: "Watch it."

Mom: "What? I'm just answering him."

Hunter: "See Dad, you are full of it."

Mom: "Yup. He's full of it all right."

And this goes on and on every day for the past few days. Tee hee.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Cheapy McCheapskate

Yup. That's going to be my new name. Or at least if I stick to our Dave Ramsey plan it will be. But I did start today with my thrifty-ness.

We were gifted a Calloway's plant nursery gift card for winning "Yard of the Month" from our home owners association during the winter. After all the springs, summers, and falls of planting flowers, sculpting shrubs and bushes, mowing, edging, etc, and we get YotM in the winter. But I digress. Anyway, I finally used my card today to purchase a few container flowers to put on my backporch underneath my Topsy-Turvy tomatoes and jalepeno plants.

Then, since we did not want to spend money to buy a new patio furniture set, I took an old card table that was in the garage, painted the top of it with paint found in the garage and gave it a new look. But that wasn't enough for me. I cut a hole in the center of the table and placed our porch umbrella in the middle of it an Wham-O! A new patio set. With stuff I already had.

Yup. Just call me Cheapy McCheapskate.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


I'm a people watcher. I go to events and I end up watching the people just as much if not more than the event. So, I tend to notice little things that might go unnoticed by the passing glance.

When I was in Jr.High/High School, I started developing knee problems from basketball injuries. My mom took me to a doctor who evaluated my walking. He pointed out that at that time, I turned my feet out to walk (toes going out). This could cause all sorts of problems with my knees, ankles, back, etc. So, rather than spring for the orthopedic shoes (thank you, mom!), we agreed to watch how I walked and work on it.

Now, I notice so often people walking that same way and I always want to stop them and ask if they have knee, ankle, back, etc. issues and let them know to change their walking stance.

But then again, I may just get punched in the nose. I'll just stick with watching for now!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Confusion and Decisions

I'm so confused. And tired. You know that feeling you get when you feel like you are the only one in the world going through a particular thing, even though you know you're not, but you still feel like it? Yeah, I'm there. I've been there for a while, but I've just now begun to really break down what is going on.

I have a 7 year old home-schooled son, a 2 year old Princess daughter, and a mostly-work-from-home hubby.

If I manage to find or get invited to a play group with other 2 year olds, my 7 year old son has to tag along and even though he can have fun pretty much where ever he is, he doesn't care for 2 yr old playdates. And the parents of the younger ones don't always seem to be appreciate of his presence. So, Hadyn doesn't get much 2yr old time, Hunter doesn't get much 7yr old time, and no mommy bonding and time out for me in that aspect.

Then the home school activities that he can be around his age group require that I chase my 2 yr old around or is in the afternoon when Hadyn HAS to have naptime (makes a happy child and happy mommy), or is on a day of the week when Dad is off work and we want to spend time with him. So again, not much for Hunter, not much for Hadyn and not much for mommy.

Scott works from home a lot and battles with the guilt of wanting to spend more time with us (so he won't shut his office door) and wanting more space and quiet for his office. Obviously, with all four of us in the house all day nearly everyday, yeah, some stress will build. He wants to move to a bigger house. I don't think that is the answer because all of the above will still be in place.

So, decisions have to be made. We opted for home school due to Scott's work schedule at the time and the fact that he and Hunter never saw each other and it was showing in Hunter's attitude. That was the primary reason. That has changed now and Scott is home more in the afternoons and evenings. School time has been a beating lately with Hunter as he just doesn't want to do anything anymore. I've tried different times of the day - during the morning, but I have to battle with Hadyn needing attention, during the afternoon at her naptime, but Hunter shuts down mentally in the afternoon and just doesn't absorb anything, spreading it out, but then it's harder on all of us. Blah.

I'm just not the Birkinstock-Unschooling-Earth Mama that most of the home-school moms I'm around seem to be, so Hunter going back to public school is not an earth-shattering devastating event that it might be for others. I've also talked to a pre-school director friend about putting Hadyn in school a couple days a week.

Maybe just the space and quiet in the house will calm some things down around here...primarily me. I'd love to have the availability to be invited to do things without hearing "well, we knew you homeschooled so we didn't think you'd have time."

Time, I have. Space and quiet, I don't.

Decisions to make. Confusion over what is best and am I being selfish. Yeah, I'm tired.

Monday, April 13, 2009

That Dam Word

At dinner tonight, Hunter was talking about his NASCAR '09 video game and how instead of calling a pile up of cars a "pile-up", the video commentators will call it a "dam of cars." I could tell he was questioning the word a little bit and why it was on his game, so I re-explained what a dam is and how it works to block off a river and create a lake behind it, ergo, the front cars in the wreck would cause a dam and block off the run of other cars behind it and create a pile up.

"But," I warn, "be careful how and where you use that word, because someone else could think that you are using a 'bad' word."

To that Hunter answered, "Okay, Mom, I'll just use the good dam word."

Was it wrong for me to bust out laughing at the sound of that? I think not.