Decorative Cracks in the Concrete

The steamer works great to get the blobs of paint and dried compound off the floor. There were some unprotected areas like in this closet that really needed work.

Pantry closet floor before

Pantry closet floor before

I used one of the small bristle brush attachments to scrub with the steam and wipe the dirt away with a rag and it was not too onerous a task to clean it up.

Pantry closet floor after

Pantry closet floor after

While I was steaming the concrete floors I tried hard to get the white powder from drywall out of the cracks. But after it dried some white remained and I didn’t like the way it looked. So I wondered how to treat those cracks when refinishing the floor.
I looked up ways to cover and repair cracks in the stained concrete floor and found recommendations to accentuate the cracks to create a rustic old world finish!

This is just the thing for my design style so I bought some concrete dye at Home Depot and had it colored Cinnamon Brown. Once the concrete was clean and steamed, I used a lambswool dauber to draw a line over each crack and then rubbed the dye into the crack and the surrounding floor area to blend it in with the existing stain.

I have not etched the cracks first, but since they are cracks since the original sealer I was hoping the dye would stick to the inside of the crack and make them stand out. The effect is subtle

Concrete Dye

Concrete Dye in Cracks

After treating the cracks and rubbing dye on some of the stained areas–didn’t make a big difference there either, I re-sealed the concrete with the soy based sealer that was left over from the original job.

Sealed Floor

Sealed Floor

The final step was to mop on four coats of Zep floor finish. Although this polish is not recommended by the manufacturer for stained concrete floor, mostly because removing it might remove stain, it seems to work well over the water based sealer that I used. I believe the stain is more permanent on our floor since I have used the polish in the past and it came off without removing stain. I didn’t use the Zep stripper though. Just scrubbing and steaming. That and the wear it got from being down on the floor seemed to remove any shine from former applications of polish.

Four coats has given the floor a lovely shine. Too bad I know it will wear off and get dull again.

Four coats of polish

Four coats of polish

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Kitchen Sink Sound Proofing Decor

I’m going to start spending more time on decorative touches and less on large building projects. We have all the finish work to complete now that the drywall is installed.

The kitchen sink bottom is visible under the open cabinet in the kitchen. It is a deep single sink that was an entry laundry/clean up sink in the original house. As part of the new cabinet finish project, I decided to add to the sink soundproofing with a plastic coating spray paint. The product I bought for the desired color options is Plastidip spray. Rustoleum also makes a rubberized paint spray.
I wanted a coppery finish so I bought the dark brown camo color and the copper metal finish spray.

Brown camo colored paint

Brown camo colored paint

I took off the faucet and detergent pump and the drain. Although I broke the sealing ring for the drain trying to take it off. If I can’t replace the broken ring I have another drain saved from a replacement I made in our Arizona house in one of the plumbing supply boxes .

Then I cleaned the underside and taped the drain area and the underside of the sink rim. The original soundproofing layer was black.

Taped sink bottom

Taped sink bottom

After the prep I sprayed two coats of the plastidip spray which covered the old coating very well. I waited about 3 hours between coats becuase the first seemed dry. We had a door open and the ventilation system going because the painter is working in the house too.
I waited overnight to spray two coats of the metallic finish on top of the brown. This is the sink with two coats of copper metallic finish over the dark brown.

Copper Bronze Sink Finish

Copper Bronze Sink Finish

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Wet Look Counter Top

The kitchen counter next to the sink was starting to turn grey and rot. Despite the silicone coating under the sink rim, water was collecting in a low spot on the pine counter.

I read about finishing the wood with an epoxy wet look counter surface. This bar top finish waterproofs and creates a solid plastic-like coating on the wood. The surface is applied in at least two coats and “floated” onto the wood. I researched the best epoxy coatings for this and almost bought some from Amazon. But I found a craigslist ad for Klear Kote which was one of the recommended brands so I bought two gallons at a discount from someone who had leftover materials. That should cover 47 sq. ft. of counter space.

First I sanded the sink cabinet top and reglued the joint between boards that was creating the low spot.

Sanded and glued

Sanded and glued

The next step was to use water based stain on the sanded surface so it would look like the other cabinets. Water based stain was recommended in the epoxy instructions. I used light oak color MinWax in a tube. Then I taped the sides and the inside of the sink area. I tacked a frame around the cabinet edges to hold any runoff of the epoxy solution at the taped edge. This preparation was for the first seal coat. The high sides were to suspend a cover over the surface to avoid bugs and dust, but it didn’t need the extra protection in the house.

Edges dammed

Edges dammed

This is supposed to be a thin coat but I got it a bit thicker. I had mixed a half cup of solution. I spread it with a foam brush and that made the surface uneven. After several hours it still looked wet so I left it overnight.

Uneven first coat

Uneven first coat

My first thought in the morning was that it was still wet! But when I touched the surface it was dry to the touch. So it just was fooling me.

Looked Wet!

Looked Wet!

So I removed the dam and all the blue tape so that I could sand the seal coat with 220 grit sandpaper and retape the edges for the second coat.

Finished First coat

Finished First coat

The second coat is supposed to finish the job. The solution is poured at an 1/8″ depth over the whole piece and allowed to run over the edges. I dammed the edges again, this time covering the wood dam with plastic. I redid the painter’s tape around the hole for the sink.

Damming the counter for a second coat

Damming the counter for a second coat


Then I mixed about 2/3 cup of solution, equal parts resin and hardener. The solution has to be stirred thoroughly. After the first two minutes of stirring, it is transferred, scraping the sides to a separate container. Then it is mixed another three minutes and poured on the surface without scraping. I used a graduated container for the first mixing–which has to be accurate, and a disposable plastic cup for the second mixing.
I used a 7″ wide rubber putty knife to spread the second coat evenly across the first. The epoxy is self leveling but I found I had to push it around to get it to cover the entire top and then run it over the sides. There is only so much pushing that can be done before it starts to set and the putty knife makes marks in the surface. I think I got a decent second coat done.
Second coat filling in gaps

Second coat filling in gaps


When I remove the dam tomorrow, I’ll start on another cabinet.

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List for my month of recovery

I’m working on a list of low energy tasks for post-surgery progress on the house.

Once we are sure the drywall and painting is completed there are several tasks that are pretty easy and should not take much effort. Shopping for stuff is also low effort if I can predict what we will need.

  1. Put on outlet covers
  2. Hook up vacuum outlets
  3. Put on vent covers
  4. Put clear coat on sink cabinet
  5. Prepare for stuccoed areas. Buy tint and wall conditioner.
  6. Mortar Schluter trim to concrete edges
  7. Steam clean floor
  8. Apply sealer and zep floor finish
  9. Clean medicine cabinet
  10. Install light fixtures
  11. Vac dust and wipe off surfaces with wet sponge.
  12. Seal up air conditioner line through exterior wall
  13. Buy supplies for air conditioner installation
  14. Reinsulate kitchen sink
  15. Take new door knobs for powder coating
  16. Sand and seal the rest of the kitchen cabinets
  17. Clean paint off plumbing connections

There are also big chores to be done, like moving the furniture back in, but I’m not going to be able to help much with that.

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Cleaning the Concrete Floor

AFTER Drywall Cleanup

AFTER Drywall Cleanup–Swept and Vacuumed

The drywall and paint process made a big mess on the concrete. Although they vacuumed and swept, and they put paper on the floor before sanding and painting, the whole floor has ground in drywall dust on it.

I contacted a couple of concrete sealing companies to find out if they could clean and re-seal it. The bid we got back was $2000 just for cleaning. Seemed we should try cleaning on our own for $2000.

It was mopped twice, once with plain water and once with the Zep floor cleaner added to the water. I had read that steaming will clean ground in dirt so I used my little steamer to clean off part of the floor. It took off some spots but it dried with surface dust still showing. I realized I should have wiped it after I steamed while it was still wet. Steamers loosen dirt but don’t pick it up.

Steam cleaned

Steam cleaned

Then I tried buying a carpet/floor cleaning machine. I put it together and cleaned a portion of the same kitchen floor but it also dried with some white spots and didn’t seem like it added much to the previous mopping job. So I returned the cleaner. Buying it, reading the instructions, putting it together, then trying it, taking it apart, cleaning all the components and putting them all back in the box to return was pretty time consuming too.

Trying a floor cleaning machine

Trying a floor cleaning machine

I tried to use my little steamer again but the heater would not turn on! I think the steamer worked well to clean out the cracks and some of the gooey spots from before they did the drywall but apparently mine was at the end of its life.

Dave is doing the mopping and we thought a scrub brush might help. After another pass on hands and knees with the brush the floor is finally looking clean. I think it still needs steaming in some places so I ran out to Harbor Freight to replace my steamer.

AFTER Brush Scrubbing

AFTER Brush Scrubbing

All the floors need to be mopped, probably twice, then scrubbed with a brush, then steamed in the worst places and finally have the new floor coating put on. I feel a bit bad that Dave is having to do the scrubbing but my body is not up to it right now.

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From Primer to Paint with Detour to Hospital

I didn’t go to the hospital because of the painting, but because I developed scar tissue from the August surgery and had to be cut open again to alleviate a blockage in my intestine. Another Friday night emergency, although Dave could take me to the hospital. I actually went to the closer hospital but only their emergency department takes Kaiser so I had to transfer to Good Samaritan, the same hospital I was in for the surgery. In fact the same surgeon was on call and the pain meds worked so I was able to wait until Sunday morning for the surgery. Now I can’t do much for a month or so. Which is a another setback.

Hospital Info Board

Hospital Info Board

Hospital Instrument Wall

Hospital Instrument Wall

But the painter finished while I was gone.The paint for the walls was the Sherwin Williams Whole Wheat color. I had the second 5 gallon of white eggshell tinted to match the first five gallons.

Light tan ceiling

Light tan ceiling


But I thought the flat white can was flat white, but it was a light tan, that coordinated with the whole wheat. I had him use that where the ceiling did not need to be bright for the light shelves and Dave ran to Lowes to get the Valspar no VOC white satin paint for the rest of the ceilings.
White ceiling

White ceiling


I actually love the tan walls and light tan ceilings and we have enough paint to finish the old bathroom when it gets remodeled.
More white ceiling

More white ceiling


Now the big job of cleaning up and bringing the furniture back in without me being able to help will be a challenge.

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From Drywall to Primer

The drywall is finally done. I think Hector feels good about the job being done too. It was a long hard battle to get the drywall around all the odd shapes of our house. It took more sheets of drywall than estimated too as well as more joint compound to level. But it does look pretty darned good. We love all the angles of our house. It sure makes the acoustics nice for a home. Even with all the furniture out and all hard surfaces, it doesn’t echo in the house!

Kitchen Drywall before Texture

Kitchen Drywall before Texture


We used fans to speed up the dry time on the mud to be ready for the texture the next day.
Here is the small bathroom before texturing. After this photo we finally took out the toilet so that the wall behind could be textured and painted.
The bathroom has blueboard and Denshiled sheathing

The bathroom has blueboard and Denshield sheathing


The texture is sprayed on by another subcontractor. The compressor and pump were in the truck.
Texturing

Texturing


Hector took these pictures for me because my camera was taped into our bedroom!
More Texture

More Texture


After texture, Jose and Hector came back to sand what oversprayed on the flat ceiling. Whatever they used for texture it was pretty difficult to sand it off!
Jose Sanding

Jose Sanding


And Hector did lots of this sanding from those amazing drywall stilts.
Hector on Stilts

Hector on Stilts


Finally the painter arrived today and spent the first few hours caulking. Then he started spraying the primer. I just noticed the utility room was not primed, but looks like everything else was done.
I thought his pump setup was kind of neat. It is different from paint pumps I have seen in the big box store.
Painter's Paint Pump

Painter’s Paint Pump


And Ignatio used almost 15 gallons of primer today. Luckily he has some left for the utility room!
Spraying Primer

Spraying Primer


Tomorrow he will start the ceilings with flat white. I have five gallons of paint for the ceiling and 10 for the walls. Hope it is enough.

 

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Safety for the Birdies

Covering the chimney opening with barrier wire has been on the to do list for some time. Luckily some square wire mesh was accessible in the full garage so I cut some and installed it on the chimney.
Every spring a bird has flown into the chimney and gotten disoriented enough to die in the stove. It is gross and makes us feel bad as we never noticed the frantic scrambling to escape.
So this mesh cover should eliminate the problem.

Steel mesh cover on chimney

Steel mesh cover on chimney

I used caps from the insulation cap nails to capture the wire mesh with self drilling screws. Not the prettiest job but it should last a few seasons at least.

Installing the steel mesh

Installing the steel mesh

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A Week’s Worth of Drywalling

Kitchen Half Wall

Kitchen Half Wall to Family Room

Our drywall contractor had a problem with his subcontractors. Basically, they didn’t show on the date he set for the job. They probably would have showed eventually, they did send two guys for a short time at the end of the first day, but then nobody the second day when they promised to come. We were so disappointed, another subcontractor was contacted to help fill the gap.

The new crew agreed to stop work elsewhere and come and hang drywall for one work day. But they didn’t get to the site until about 10 a.m. and although they were fast, they didn’t complete the job. So our contractor and a helper are finishing hanging as well as mudding and taping. That just means it is taking longer than we figured, but there is nothing so far on our house that has NOT taken longer than we figured!

It is amazing how different the house looks with drywall installed! This is the kitchen area. Of course it looks different with all the cabinets and appliances removed too.

Kitchen with Utility Room Door

Kitchen with Utility Room Door

The dining room ceiling and the entry to the air lock with the garage door in the background has one coat of mud. The family room is on the right.

Dining Room to Air Lock Entry

Dining Room to Air Lock Entry

Looking the other way toward the living room from the family room door.

Dining and Solar Hallway

Dining and Solar Hallway

Here’s the solar hallway french doors and the living room clerestory plus the light shelves/ventilation shaft.

Living Room Clerestory

Living Room Clerestory

The upper corner of the family room clerestory with the ventilation shaft/light shelf where the garage attic access was covered.

Clerestory Window in Family Room

Clerestory Window in Family Room

And the peaked entry to the back hallway that hides the radon pipe with the ventilation shaft and the master bedroom on the right side.

Hallway and Radon Shaft

Hallway and Radon Shaft

This area is not yet taped. The bathrooms need a bit more drywall and denshield hung and there are a few other odds and ends–the utility room, the pantry and vacuum closet in the family room, and more coats of mud on most areas. We think it will be finished this week and the painter will come next week. Drywall is a big step towards finishing the remodel.

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Drywall Prep: Empty House and Beginning Drywall

It makes the house look big to have it completely empty with no drywall to separate the rooms. My friend sent me a panorama shot and I thought it would be a good technique to capture the feeling of the almost empty house.

Empty House Panorama

Empty House Panorama

Panorama from LIving Room

Panorama from Living Room

Panorama from Master Bedroom

Panorama from Master Bedroom

Drywall barely got started today. The sub contracted drywall hangers that were supposed to make the job go more quickly did not show up. So most of the day our contractor worked alone and did a great job on some of the tricky areas.

Shower Denshield

Shower Denshield

Wainscot in closet

Wainscot in closet

Two guys showed up for about 30 minutes and didn’t follow directions and slit the membrane where it was too tight without telling me! I was able to tape it again and add a piece to stretch it to fit better, but not a good sign. Hope they don’t mess it up too badly.

They put up about three sheets of drywall and then left and Hector finished the front entry.

Entry Drywall from Kitchen

Entry Drywall from Kitchen

Front Entry Drywall

Front Entry Drywall

The crew and their boss are supposed to show up tomorrow at seven. Hopefully they won’t disappoint Hector and us again!

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