Our Crazy Life: Basement Edition

Hello! I am glad to be back! The move is over and we are settling in well. And I have to say, I am so glad it is all over. As well as trying to pack with a one-year-old, we were also patching nail holes, painting, and finishing up our basement.


Before we put our house on the market, we had to do something about the basement floor. We had a tiny leak last spring which got the carpet wet enough that we had to rip it out. Since then, we have lived with a pretty junky basement (not quite the selling type, ya know?).


And then we decided to just go ahead and redo the entire basement floor. (Why we get these ideas, I’ll never know- we love to make more work for ourselves.) Here is the laundry room as we were in the middle of pulling up vinyl tiles.


After it was all said and done, we learned a lot about refinishing and staining floors. Here are the DOs and DON’Ts that might make your life easier if you decide to take the same path.

  1. Do rent a diamond grinder to grind off old carpet glue, paint, and any other junk that is stuck to your floors. We rented ours from Home Depot but you could get yours from most tool rental stores. Some floors won’t need such a heavy duty tool, so definitely research the best option for getting your floor back to the bare concrete. 

  2. Do use a hot iron to remove old vinyl tiles (place a steaming iron on a tile for about 15 seconds and then use a paint scraper to peel back the tiles; its amazing how easy this is!), don’t attempt to chip away at the tiles with chisels…its AWFUL and doesn’t work. And just so you know, this will ruin your iron; mine has been banished to the home improvement bucket for future projects.

  3. Do purchase a massive squeegee to use while grinding the floors down. You have to grind the floors while wet so there ends up being a lot of water on the floor that needs to be guided to a drain. Don’t even try to grind the floors without water; you will go through the blades in no time and they aren’t cheap! Hook up a garden hose to a tap to make the “wetting” process easier on yourself.

  4. Do clean your floors, re-clean, and clean them again. This is a must. If your floor isn’t clean, the stain won’t stick well. Mops (using a “wash” and “rinse” bucket for sure), sponges, and scrub brushes all work well. Don’t use the cheapo twist mops for this; they disintegrate pretty fast when used on concrete floors. 

  5. Do make sure that the floor is completely dry. Also, a vacuum job right before you stain isn’t a bad idea either. 

  6. Do grab a friend to help out with the staining process. We used a garden sprayer to apply the stain which worked okay but we were new to the whole thing so we had to figure it out as we went. If you are going to use the sprayer, make sure to use some masking paper (12″ is wide enough) on the walls to protect them. Have one person spray the stain and the other use a roller to blend the stain on the floor. We used 3/8″ nap microfiber roller, but would recommend something else. Work fast as the stain soaks in quickly. We ended up with a lot of roller lines in the first coat, which didn’t look good at all. After a second coat, rolling in the opposite direction, and a second coat with two people rolling the stain, we had a finished floor. It ended up darker than expected, not quite as “semi-transparent” as we expected, but we like the finished product despite that. What do you think?


We also painted the paneling to update the walls a little.  


The variations in the floor color are from the reaction of the stain with the components of the concrete. There are also concrete patches that took the stain differently. If we did it again, we would try applying the stain with rags to try and get a more even finish with the first coat, however you could also apply the stain with paint brushes. It is recommended that you apply a sealer top coat for high traffic areas and for some extra shine; we didn’t use it as we liked it as is. 


What home improvement projects have you worked on lately? 

#BasementRehab

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