I had high hopes that I could fill this space with a lovely Thanksgiving themed craft, but instead I give you the long dreamed scheme of a painted floor of my basement. I am so thankful this project is nearly complete. It is AMAZING how a coat of paint can clean and unify a space.
Backstory- nearly two years ago now, with the help of handy and generous parents I completed a small renovation of my basement that included new panels in a drop ceiling and laminate flooring throughout. Four months later I came home from a vacation to find that walking on said floor felt and sounded a bit like walking on a waterbed. I eventually discovered that it was the water main leaking into my home. I had to pull everything out of the basement. I ripped out the insulation and sheetrock, the bathroom fixtures and the floor, subfloor and the 1 by 4 pieces and insulation underneath. When the water line was replaced I was left with nasty bare concrete floor, stud walls and no insulation. Now the upsides: I had the entire basement sprayfoam insulated which in addition to making my home warmer, it also appears to have solved the mouse problem my 1924 house was having. The walls have been repaired and resheetrocked and then I was left with this floor.
Do you see those squiggly lines? They were made by an adhesive that had been used to glue down big pieces of foam insulation. And the gaps in between filled by the orange arrows? They orange arrows are pointing to tiny little rusted nails that held 1 X4 boards to the cement. The nails broke off when the boards were plied off. These boards and insulation board were underneath a layer of plywood that was meant to level out the floor. Without that board, the floor no longer could host the laminate and I was left with a mess. I, along with generous friends and family, spent hours scraping away at the glue which you can see below.
When we weren’t scraping at glue we were using a very large crow bar to work at breaking off the remainder of the rusty nails below the surface of the cement as seen below.
I’ve been chipping away at this bit by bit for the last year or so. We finally arrived a point last week when we were ready to paint! We washed down the floor, allowed it to dry, and also allowed us to find a few more nails and adhesive we had missed! Here is the before of both the basement and the steps (which had previously had a nasty laminate on them!)
Here they are with a coat of primer (which we let fully dry for one full day before adding a coat of paint. The steps need a full coat of paint yet, but even the primer has done wonderful things. (Please ignore the walls of the steps. They are awaiting a skim coat!) Those that know me will find it amusing the color I chose was Gray Squirrel from the Martha Steward Living Collection. I’ve had an ongoing battle with the fiesty bold squirrels in my backyard. This is the only squirrel I am happy to live with! We tinted Behr primer and paint made specifically for floors (both wood or cement). The color came out beautifully I think!
A few tips: as you can see there are plenty of cracks and divots in this floor. To get even coverage we used a paintbrush to hit the divots and cracks and edges before and while we rolled on the paint (with a broom handle extension). Fred rolled and I filled in divots with the paint brush in tandem and it saved us a lot of getting up and down to fill in the cracks this way.
My Gray Squirrel floor is hopefully a temporary solution. In the long run we hope to level the floor and put in actually flooring- maybe carpet tiles. In the meantime, a plethora of rugs I own will help warm the space and make it more livable.
I am also planning to stencil the steps with a great stencil Fred and I bought at the Frank Lloyd Wright Studio and Museum this summer in Chicago. It will be a great reminder of our first trip together and will incorporate Fred’s love of architecture into the home we’ll soon share. Look for a blog post on that in the future. In the meantime, do you have any suggestions for stencil color?