Yes, this is still a travel blog. I just am grounded and started a basement laundry/mudroom project back in February that needs to be finished asap. I hemmed and hawed about the flooring, looking into a million and one different options for our ugly, uneven concrete floor. They were all not technically going to work or were too expensive for a room that, let’s face it, only I’m going to see. I looked into everything- wood, vinyl, laminate, large tile, small tile, stamped concrete, stained concrete, etc., etc. I was disappointed that the Portuguese tile I really wanted wasn’t going to work out. How fun would it have been to have a tiled floor inspired by travel! Dreams dashed…
Then, a friend suggestion stenciling the floors, so I headed straight for Pinterest. And pretty much assumed that this would be a Pinterest fail for me. But I figured that she had confidence I could do it (and having her as an expert DIY-er in my phone was also comforting), so I should just give it a try. So, I bought the supplies, painted 3 coats of white floor paint, and broke out the stencil and black paint. Deep breaths. If you look closely at the photos, you can see where I started. Look closely, it’s the corner by the lockers that looks like a Rorschach blob. In my defense I did have one child drawing over my head and the other throwing a tennis ball around in the room. But I did eventually get the hang of it and even enjoyed tackling this project.
While we are talking psychology, this was #floorpaintingtherapy for me. You absolutely cannot have OCD tendencies with this project. Don’t get me wrong- be careful, take your time, but understand that there will be mistakes. Just. Keep. Going. When you stand up and look at the floor, it all (mostly) disappears and looks amazing. The mistakes you absolutely can’t stand can be fixed by using a small brush and white paint. Another lesson to learn: Patience is a Virtue. One of my tennis coaches used to say this all the time. This was definitely a test of patience. If you don’t have it, you’ll end up doing more work than is necessary to cover up your rush job.
So, here are the Steps to Painting a Concrete Floor as well as my Lessons Learned
1. Buy the paint and rollers at your local paint or big box store. I chose Porch, Floor & Patio paint because we had used it previously and 4 years later, it hadn’t chipped at all. However, when I looked at the black paint can, I noticed that California warning with which I have a love-hate relationship. (I love that they are so careful and label this. I hate that it increases my anxiety incredibly anytime I am around a product with this label because I have 20 follow up questions swarming around in my head about this warning.). Anyway, if I had been more vigilant and noticed this before the project, I likely would have chosen something different. After a few stencils, I decided to add my favorite paint product, Chalk-tique, to the black paint and this seemed to help it go on more smoothly.
2. Order your stencil and stencil roller. Mine was the Augusta Tile from Cutting Edge Stencils. Because the laundry room was quite large (14×14), I really should have ordered more than one stencil, so I could leave one to dry while applying another elsewhere. Because everyone loves a good Before/After shot, here is the “Before”….
3. Roll your floors white (or whatever the lighter or base color is). Do this 2-3 times, letting each layer dry fully and cleaning the floor (again) before applying the next layer.
4. Apply your stencil. I started on the farthest wall (because that is where the eye initially goes when walking into the room) and along the lockers (because I knew the room was likely uneven and wanted it to at least be even along the lockers). I think I would do this again but would also consider doing at least a few practice squares somewhere less noticeable until I had the hang of it. You could practice on a large square of cardboard; this would also likely help with getting rid of excess paint. You want very little paint on your roller. Once I had 4-5 squares down, I started staggering the application (i.e., I didn’t do them all right in a row). This seemed to help with dry time and bleeding paint as well. In addition, painter’s tape on all 4 sides is very helpful to minimize bleeding. I mentioned this before but it warrants saying again.. Be patient. Let the squares dry for at least 3 minutes before pulling up the stencil. This is a great time to text with friends, clean up your Inbox, or, if you are feeling very productive and are farther along, fix up any mistakes.
5. Stand back and admire your work! (Oh, and text pictures to a few friends for affirmation too :)).
What did I miss? What questions do you have? Do you think you would try this? I actually still have to complete the other side of the room and do some touch ups, so stay tuned… More info to come as well on my budget-friendly lockers, bench, shiplap, and styling plans for this room.
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