If you are considering going the stained concrete route in your home, here are a few things to consider before you make your final decision. Again, these are considerations before doing interior jobs, not exterior. As you will see from all the photos on the BC Coatings website at http://azconcretecoatings.com/ , they do driveways, patios, garages & pool decks, too. Obviously those don’t require the same amount of ‘remodeling commitment’ as when you do an inside project.
Before you schedule the contractor, here are a few things to think about:
Unless you replace all interior doors, there will be a larger gap between the bottom of them and the floor. We haven’t found it to be a big deal; unless you’re looking for it, it’s not noticeable.
Plan to re-install door guides for all sliding doors like closets, pantry, etc. You’ll have to drill in to the floor to secure them. I had to leave when Leonhard did that work. It pained me too much to see anything drilled in to those beautiful, new floors! And I have a trick for raising the guides to fit the larger gap between the floor and the bottom of the door. If you run in to this issue email me, I’ll share what we did to make it look right. And if you need a great carpenter or handyman, I’d love to share Leonhard’s number with you, too. He’s very skilled and great to work with!
Plan to replace your baseboards from the start. We made the mistake of trying to keep our originals and right before the staining step had them ripped out – thank goodness. This cost us time and a little extra money but it would have looked terrible to keep them. The old baseboards were dingy and marked up from grout and years of abuse. After the floors were done, Leonhard came in and replaced all the baseboards with new 3 1/2″ boards. We feared we’d have to do the trim around all the doors, too but we didn’t, it actually looks fine. We did re-framed the doors to our office and front door using a more decorative 3 1/2″ baseboard because they both open to the main entry area. But the rest of the rooms all blended in to the new baseboards well. Go with a cottage white or Navajo white on the paint color, those are standard baseboard colors used by most builders and odds are, you won’t have to re-paint all the existing trim left around your door ways. We didn’t have to paint ours and it’s fine. But plan ahead and schedule the baseboards to be done as soon as possible once the floors have cured. You want to do this before you start moving furniture back in.
Same goes for transition strips between surface changes, like carpet to concrete. I’ve never met a flooring guy that will do this unless their speciality is carpet. All the hard surface contractors will direct you to a carpet layer to do that work so again, plan ahead. Ours still isn’t done because we plan to replace the carpet in the bedrooms next, so we’re waiting.
Plan to move everything out of the house yourself, including appliances. Don’t expect BC Coatings to do it, they will come ready to work on your floors, not move furniture so be prepared.
- Look at what currently sits on your existing floor that may be affected by the change in height when you remove it. We have two large island legs in the kitchen that sat on the tile. They support a very large piece of granite and needed to be raised in order to accommodate the 3/4″ difference that would be left once the tile came out. Again, Leonhard handled this issue by coordinating with the flooring team and temporarily elevating the legs so the demo team could remove and grind the floor beneath so he could permanently shim them and secure them back down to the concrete.
- Make arrangements for someone (or plan to do it yourself) to put your water heater and toilets back in once the project is finished. BC Coatings is great at doing floors but you’re better off having a handyman do this work for you. And be sure to replace the wax ring on toilets or they will invariably leak once reinstalled.
- Budget to hire someone to help you clean before moving back in. You’ll need a deep cleaning, including wiping down all the walls, cleaning windows & blinds, wiping out cupboards and cleaning the carpets. I borrowed my neighbors steam cleaner to clean the carpets but had our regular house cleaner do the rest of the house.
- You may want to paint your walls, especially if your new flooring color is a different tone than the original floors. I thought we’d have to paint but once the baseboards went in they married the floors and walls together well so we opted to skip painting. If you do need to paint, budget time/money and do it before the baseboards go in – it’s much easier.
- You will need area rugs now, which can be pricey. Good places to pick up inexpensive, woven rugs for smaller spaces are Tuesday Morning, Ross, TJ Maxx and TurnStyle consignment. Thankfully we had several from our days of living with hardwood floors back east so we resurrected them for the time being. For larger spaces you might want a custom area rug in which case you should give Traci a call at Ahwatukee Carpets http://www.ahwatukeecarpets.net/. You can pick the carpet and they will make a custom area rug to fit your space.
- If you do a large area of your home in stained concrete, it will be LOUD. Area rugs, furniture and other soft materials are essential to absorb some of the sound. It’s taken some getting used to for us.
Our cost to do the concrete was a little over $5 a square foot which included the demo but not all of the other items described above. It’s a very affordable flooring solution based on the other options I’ve researched over the years and if you like the look, I would say it’s a great way to go. You just want to go in to it budgeting all the related expenses beyond just the flooring itself.
So now that you’ve had a chance to consider all of the ins and outs of a project like this, the next post will walk you through the actual process and finished product, including before and after photos.