image credit: Carolyn Collins
One of things I love most about having a blog, is that I’ve heard from lots of people who I had lost contact with. This “Ask Sara” question is from Carolyn Collins, who worked for Hecht’s Department Stores when I worked for Ralph Lauren. We always enjoyed our work time together. She and her husband have a summer cottage in Sherwood Forest, Maryland that they’re renovating and they need some home renovation ideas. Their summer cottage sits on the Severn river, near Annapolis, Maryland.
Carolyn writes, “I have a large lower-level area in our summer cottage with a concrete floor, currently covered in carpet tile squares that are 12” x 12” which I’d like to get rid of. I know I can put new carpet tiles down, but I wondered if you knew how to refinish the concrete floor and then seal it. It has mastic (very sticky glue) that will need to be removed, first, so that’s another problem.”
Image credit: Carolyn Collins
Carolyn adds, “I really hate the carpet squares, but I cannot afford tile. We have renovated the upstairs (pictured above) and great room with a little wet bar and now we must do the lower level. I’d also like to get rid of the of the florescent lights since the ceiling is low, but we cannot change the height. Any ideas you have, I’d love to hear from you and thanks for the help!”
Carolyn, the upstairs looks great! Your choice of furnishings and colors are tastefully done. I checked with Kenton Wiens, Commercial Designer/Developer, about your concrete floors. Here are the steps hes suggested for removing the carpet squares and treatment of the concrete underneath.
- Remove carpet squares with a scrapper and if they won’t peel up, try pouring very hot water on them. This should break the glue down enough to remove the squares. You may also need to use a very sharp scrapper. This will be a sticky, messy job.
- For the glue residue/mastic, hot water, scrapping, and elbow grease may do the trick. If not, you may need to use a solvent. Check with a local paint store in your area to see what products they recommend.
- Once the carpet squares and glue are gone, use a disc-floor sander to sand down the concrete floors.
- You could also rent a concrete grinder to take top layer off of concrete. Begin with a rough grind and then finish with a fine grind.
Image credit: Carolyn Collins
Once you’ve gotten your floor looking cleaned up, Kenton suggested two different finishes for your concrete, both will seal the floor.
- Penetrating sealant – acts like oil and soaks into concrete. This will produce a matte finish when applied.
- Glossy finish – which sits on top of concrete. This will wear off faster in high traffic areas.
For the low ceilings and fluorescent lights, I’d remove the drop ceiling and leave the ceiling open rafters. Add industrial lighting to brighten up this level. By renting a sprayer and putting a coat of bright, white paint on all the surfaces, the room will seem taller and brighter. Here’s a picture of our basement where we did these very steps. I like the look of the metal lights and didn’t paint those. Tape off before painting.
Thanks to Kenton Wiens for his expert help with this project. One of his recent projects was the Laurelhurst Market on E. Burnside in Portland, Oregon.
Kenton can be reached at: Kenton.Dialog at gmail.com if you’d like to contact him directly.
I hope these tips help and good luck, Carolyn, please let me know how it turns out.
Go Gingham related links:
The chalkboard in our basement
Our latest home renovation project – the bathroom
How to hire a contractor and a DIY project we didn’t do
Laundry chute evolution
How to keep a house project sustainable
Do you have a question for me? Check here – Ask Sara