Friday, October 16, 2009


This past week we managed to get the upstairs and downstairs floors installed. After an extensive and exhaustive search for the perfect wood floor we chose a CRUSHED MULBERRY HARDWOOD FLOOR for 2 main reasons: (not this particular floor in this link, but we had no idea it was so sustainable and had many uses. you have to read this link.)

1. We loved the way it looks
2. The durability factor.

We brought sample after sample after sample home and put them to the test by dropping spoons, scissors, cans, keys among other things and did a scratch test with the legs of the chairs. The strand mulberry sample won hands down as the most durable. Yes, there we slight impressions left from the objects here and there, but they were hardly noticeable because of the pattern, which resembles cork. It's also a solid wood rather than a veneer which adds to the hardness.
We chose the Caramel color over the Natural because there is less contrast between the light and dark areas.

First time using a wood floor nail gun and the compressor. The flooring is so hard that when using the finishing nail gun, more bent than actually went into the floor.

Make sure to open several if not all the boxes at a time. Then pull from different boxes so you end up with a more random placement of color. Some boxes had a greenish hue while others were more orange.

The finished floor. Now all we need is the baseboards.

So John installed the Crushed Mulberry - his first hardwood floor install, while I stained the concrete downstairs - my first time staining concrete.

For the concrete I used a product from INCRETE SYSTEMS called Stone Essence. (note: I cannot find this actual product on their website unless you click here where you will find a .pdf with tech specs)

STONE ESSENCE is a unique eco-friendly alternative to acid stained concrete. (it does say in the .pdf to use an acid etcher though...but the concrete supply store said NO WAY). It is a concentrated water-based coloring system composed of UV stable, transparent iron oxide pigments and can be sealed with either solvent or waterborne sealers. We used their water based sealer called Ultrapel because it was the only one with a matte finish.

We decided on stained concrete for 2 reasons:
1. The concrete dried in an odd bi-colored pattern that was not what we had hoped for. We had planned on leaving it the natural gray color.
2. It was a lot less than buying wood flooring or tile. In all, it cost right around $300.00 for the stains and sealer. And we have plenty left over that we are going to apply to the exterior concrete lanai, and sidewalks.

I used 3 colors to achieve a mottled or weathered look without nasty smelling fumes.
1. Timber (medium brown)
2. Bronze (an orangey terracotta color)
3. Lime Green (more like and olive green than lime)

It took 3 days to achieve the results had hoped for. Day one was applying the Timber and Bronze with a hand held garden sprayer. I applied the Timber with the sprayer then soaked a rag with the Bronze and made larger puddles on top allowing them to run and pool together. I then tossed on some regular old coarse salt... the kind you get for the salt mill on the dinner table. Regular rock salt for melting snow and ice would work too. The salt leaves small spots with irregular edges, giving it a more natural stone look. I just thought to do that on my own. Let that dry overnight then lightly sponge up and damp spots and sweep salt up. Do not sweep until all the damp spots are dry, otherwise you will get streaks. Some of the salt will leave small puddles as it dissolves and others will not. Repeat. This time fine tuning and evening out some spots that were too contrasty. For this final stage, I put the Lime Green in which really brought it to life. We wanted this only as a small accent color just to give a little depth. Scatter salt on again and clean up the next day. Allow to dry one full day then apply the Ultrapel with a foam roller. Allow 2-4 hours to dry then repeat.

The concrete floor before staining. Notice the 2-tone effect that we had not planned on.

This is the first day right after the first application of the Timber and Bronze. ... hmmm. Is this really going to work? Looks like a mess.

Success. The main room floor after 1 coat on the left and 2 coats on the right. The 2-tone pattern did not totally vanish, but it's a marked improvement.

The bathroom floor before + after.

Detail of the 3 colors and salt mixing on day 2.

The salt working it's magic.

The salt cleanup. Make sure some puddles have large clumps and that the salt is not scattered in a uniform pattern.

A selection of detail shots.


Dandy said...

I love your concrete floor! How did you com up with the method? Did you try it out before doing the whole floor?

Conn said...

well, we actually just went for it. no testing. The sidewalk in front of the house is discolored in spots and looks terrible. so in order to cover that we devised the plan to go this route. I knew I wanted it to look like quartz or slate or something like that... as much as possible anyway.

baffle said...

really and truly - your tireless efforts and creative ingenuity bring tears to my post-menopausal eyes.

Dandy said...

Brave people! but, it sounds like a case of, "Oh, well, it couldn't get any worse!" But it really is impressive, and it looks very expensive!

I am very exclamatory today. :)

Conn said...

thanks dandy.