The dust has finally settled in our shop-vac, and the refinishing of our concrete floors is complete! Thanks, once again, to Gaetano Cement.
We have liked concrete floors for a long time, and the opportunity to have them in our own home is a dream come true. This was yet another reason we were excited about purchasing this house, so this part of the renovation process has been in our minds for a long time. We chose to have them refinished because the original rusty brown finish had grown extremely dull, and when we removed the carpet and tack strips, we were left with a combination of stains, divots and eyesores. This is what they looked like immediately after we pulled up the carpet:
And they didn't look much better even after we had cleaned them a few times:
I had hoped our floors would end up looking something like the concrete floors shown below, which are photos of the new West Akron FirstEnergy campus I helped to design (You may recognize a certain coffee table in the photo as well).
Because that was a new installation, we had total control over the color and aggregate mix at the outset. That concrete is so light in color because it was dyed light gray before it was poured. However, at our house we were dealing with an existing floor, and the properties of our concrete had been determined 57 years ago when it was poured (not to mention, it was never intended to be finished in the way we'd chosen).
So ours turned out to be much darker and more brown than we had anticipated, but we did luck out with some very cool aggregate. It is beautiful--with black, gray, brown, red and white stones scattered throughout. And what totally sets them off is the shiny, new finish (two coats of epoxy sealer and one coat of polyurethane).
We did encounter a minor hiccup during the refinishing. The concrete step between the two levels in the main area of the house was poured differently than the floors themselves, and grinding it would not have produced a finished surface.
Plan B: We had already planned on finishing the kitchen floor and step (above photo, right) with a different material, so we will carry that flooring around to the other step as well (above photo, left). We have decided on maple floors to match other finishes throughout the house. We think the wood step will look very cool between the two levels of concrete, so plan B may actually be better than plan A!
Speaking of the kitchen, isn't it time to get going on that?! Our temporary kitchen is set up down in the frigid little laundry room and consists of a tower of small appliances including a mini-fridge, microwave and toaster oven, with a coffee maker on top. We've been forced to utilize our crock pot more often (recipes, anyone?), and we also picked up a propane camping stove, which has helped tremendously. We can get by for now, but I'm looking forward to having a real kitchen again soon!