4 May 2015

Concrete floor

Once the plasterwork had been finished (see Render and plaster) we were able to sweep away the protective sand covering and get a good look at the concrete floor.  If you remember this is, in fact, our power-floated foundation slab (see Finishing the slab) which, in the end, didn't get power-floated quite enough.  To protect our finished floor during the blockwork and plastering we decided to use sand as a breathable protective covering (see Up we go).

It was looking good, the colour varied from greys through yellows and greens to browns, it looked quite organic and stone like in places. 

Can you see the trainer footprints?  

Around the edges it was a little rough but nothing a bit of sanding couldn't fix.

Paul tidied up the edges with a sander and then I hired a rotary sander (hand-held one) and over a couple of days went over the whole floor until it was pretty smooth.

The place where the concrete was roughest was in our ensuite bathroom area.  Andrew had a go with a monster, heavy duty sanding machine with diamond-studded disc, but the results were disappointing - it had taken away the grey colour and left scratch marks everywhere.  Back to the drawing board.

Sealing the floor was a disaster.  I used ECOS Organic Paints Concrete Sealer.  The first coat was applied thinly using a roller, as directed, and left to dry for more than 24 hrs but after this time was still tacky. The coverage was very poor, uneven and mottled looking, despite a fastidious and careful application. So after 48hrs another coat was applied this time using a lambswool applicator. This appeared to go on much more evenly.

But again the tackiness was a problem.  We thought that perhaps if we just used the floor as normal, everyday dust would eventually bring it down to a dry finish.  However the floor remained sticky. Anything left on the floor stuck to it- stools, carpets, paper, etc. Also when water spilt on to it the coating seemed to dissolve back to the unfinished concrete.  

I asked politely for some customer support from ECOS but was disappointed.  I was told after numerous emails, including being told that my application of the product looked like a joke (!), that they had never received a complaint about the product before so there must be an issue with my concrete...won't shop there again.

We have gradually scrubbed down most of the floor to remove the coating, there are still a few stubborn sticky patches in difficult to reach spots under beds.  We haven't yet experimented with anything else, but the floor doesn't seem to be suffering for it. We walked barefoot on it throughout the winter and it was a lovely ambient temperature due to the rarely used underfloor heating and the fact that it's a large thermal mass with super-insulation underneath, so it holds the heat.

Looks yellow and green here but isn't!

It worked out fine in the end.

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