TUESDAY - You must understand, when I get on site in the afternoons, generally I spend 1/2 hour or more talking to Mr.W about many different things, clarifying and verifying what is I want and how we should go about it. This day it was about the counter tops. Mr.W had started forming the counter top moulds!! That is super exciting. One step closer to counter tops. To be honest, the concrete counter tops has been the most stressful part of this house building for me. Finding the right ingredients, finding a company that has the right ingredients, learning how it is done, wondering if we can do it well, etc. It has consumed ENORMOUS amounts of time and effort on my part so I will be thrilled when it is over.
Before Jason took the kids home for supper, I got him to help me install the lounge light fixture. It is big and heavy and totally impossible for me to do by myself. But . . . WOW!! Is it beautiful. It hangs a bit high so I need to drop it about 6" but it is fine for now. At least there is light. Then I started installing more flooring. The flooring in the lounge had been left undone due to casings being stored there but they were all gone so it was time to finish it up. I spent the rest of the evening, until late, finishing up the flooring. It went really well until the very last piece! That last piece was a mere 3/4" wide so I had to glue it to the rest of the flooring. It worked out better than I expected and now all the laminate on the second floor is complete (if you don't count the office).
WEDNESDAY - During the day the guys made sure the basement was vacuumed and free of dust so that I could start etching the concrete floor. The difference between the water-based dye and an acid-stain is that the water-based dye is just sprayed on and colors the top surface of the concrete. The acid-stain is a stain that has a chemical reaction with the salts in the concrete to color it. You then need to neutralize the acid-stain before you can seal it. After lots of research, we decided the water-based dye was easier to use and more likely to give consistent color. Acid-stain will react differently to the concrete, depending on how it is troweled. It is harder to get consistent results. The first step in the water-based system is to etch the concrete to make it porous so it accepts the dye. I used Klean-Strip Green Safer Muriatic Acid mixed according to the instructions on the bottle to etch the concrete. I sprayed it on the 1300 sq. ft. (this does not include the cold storage or the utility room. They can stay plain!) with a pump-style sprayer and let it sit. It was supposed to sit for 10-15 minutes but that didn't happen. While I was applying the etching solution (which hardly smelled at all thanks to the 90% lower fumes this particular brand has) the water supply was shut off completely so that the pressure tank and water line could be connected in the house. That is a super important and really exciting event. However, I couldn't rinse the floors. So, I ended up taking the kids home for a late supper (which has become the norm) and then when the water system was all set up in the new house, Jay came home and I went back. I could then attach a hose to the water supply in our house (which means we have water in the new house!!!) and flood the floor with water. The acid had now sat on the floor for a couple of hours. After flooding each area, I scrubbed it with a long handled scrub brush and then vacuumed up all the water with a shop vac. Needless to say, it was a good workout and my arms and back were sore by the end. That floor was so clean you could literally have licked it!
THURSDAY - Now that the floor was etched, I could apply the water-based stain. I mixed it 1-to-1 with water and sprayed it with the pump-style sprayer, using circular motions. Because the color I chose was Obsidian, it went on jet-black! This was the easiest part of the job. I just sprayed the whole floor and then let it dry.
I only used 3 1/2 of the 7 bottles so I could always do another coat if needed. It took a little less than 2 hours to do and by the time I was done my hands were all black and I had splattered dye on my face but the floor was done for the day. I quickly went home to wash up and get ready for a concert Jay was taking me to - Philips, Craig and Dean! It was unreal, it was soooo good! The praise and worship for our Lord was heavenly! And I could listen to their voices for a very long time! It was fantastic!
FRIDAY - The floor needed to dry 4-6 hours before applying the sealer. With this dye, you can use whichever sealer you want. I was a little alarmed at the fine powdery residue that is left on the floor after letting it dry but according the company's website, that is to be expected if the floor is flooded (which it was) and does not need to be removed. It also changed from jet-black as it was wet to a grey color when it dried. In an inconspicuous spot I applied a clear sealer to see if the color was good. The black came right back so no other coats of dye were needed. Mr.W picked up 2 large 5 gallon pails of Deft Water-Based Polyurethane in a satin finish for me to use as a sealer. I stirred it up good and poured it on small sections of the floor and smoothed it all out with a lambswool applicator. The lighting is terrible in the basement because there are no lights wired up yet so I couldn't see the best at what I was doing. Plus the first coat absorbs into the floor so much. It looked terrible when it was done.
I waited about 2 1/2 hours and then applied another coat. This coat went on so much nicer and I kept it a little wetter than the first coat. Honestly, I have no idea how it looks because I left long before it dried. While I was waiting between coats, I ate some supper and finished attaching the sub floor in the kids bath. Jay had cut the 1/4" mahogany sub floor and installed it in the bathroom and had started attaching it. I finished it up. Now he can install the vinyl. I also finished installing the small recessed light we have around the exterior of the dining room in the bulkhead. Jay spent considerable time earlier in the week fishing the wires through the bulkhead and wiring the fixtures up. They were left dangling from each hole and just needed to be pushed up, tightened and have the trim installed. Besides one that is directly below a vent, the rest went in really well and it looks so lovely. Now I just need light bulbs!
And that brings us to today, Saturday. The house we live in is a worst disaster than it has been in a long time. It is long over-due for a day at home. It was supposed to snow like crazy last night and it didn't. We were preparing to hunker down for the day knowing that it would be treacherous to go out. It isn't. But we will stay here anyway. Besides, after 3 days of either spraying or scrubbing or spraying or smoothing, my arms are SORE!! Time for a day off!
PS: You will notice I don't mention what Jay does very often. Often that is because I don't even know what he is all doing. For instance, when I work in the basement, I don't go check to see what he is doing because I am busy working. But I promise you, his days are just as full as mine, if not fuller! :)