DIY: Finishing Concrete Floors

One of the big projects Jacob and I did for Sunshine Juice Company to prepare for opening was finishing the concrete floors. I wanted to simply finish the concrete floors for the practicality of it as well as the look. Considering that we will be juicing in the kitchen and juicing can be a pretty big mess, with simply sealed concrete floors it allows us to easily mop or even hose down the floors and just squeegee into the floor drain. Neither Jacob or I had ever done this before but with a little research and some helpful YouTube videos we felt we were up for the challenge.

We decided that we were going to tackle this project on a Friday night. We needed to be able to finish the project as fast as we could to allow time for the floors to dry before we moved furniture in. It looked like we might be pulling an all nighter. Jacob got home from work Friday about 3:30. He changed clothes and we went to Lowe’s and bought our supplies.

Our shopping list included:

  • Valspar Concrete Sealer
  • Valspar texture additive
  • degreaser/cleaner
  • push broom
  • squeegee
  • large paint rollers
Valspar concrete floor sealer and texture additive.
Valspar concrete floor sealer and texture additive.

We got back to the shop with our supplies and took stock of what we needed to do. First step would be to clean the floors REALLY good to clean up all the drywall mud, paint and dirt from the construction process.

These are before shots of the floors. We had a lot of cleaning to do.
These are before shots of the floors. We had a lot of cleaning to do.

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We started by dry sweeping the floors to clean up all the big stuff. Next we poured some degreaser/cleaner onto the floors and worked it around with the push brooms scrubbing off all of the drywall mud and paint.

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Here I am working hard at scrubbing those floors!
Here I am working hard at scrubbing those floors!

For some of the really tough spots we had to get down and scrub it hard with a hand scrub brush. With a little work you can even scrub off paint spots.

Some spots required some extra scrubbing to get up.
Some spots required some extra scrubbing to get up.
For those extra tough spots we got real with it and had to scrub it with a hand brush for that extra oomph.
For those extra tough spots we got real with it and had to scrub it with a hand brush for that extra oomph.

After a whole lot of scrubbing through the entire store we felt that we had most of the large stuff to clean up. Now it is important to make sure your floors are really clean of all the fine dirt. For this, since we had a floor drain, we drug a hose in to sprayed all the floors down (being careful to keep it away from the drywall) and took turns squeegeeing it to the floor drain.

Jacob cleaning the floors by squeegeeing water to the floor drain.
Jacob cleaning the floors by squeegeeing water to the floor drain.

After the majority of the excess water was cleaned up it was time to mop. Did I mention it’s important to have clean floors before sealing them? And that floors are super dirty after construction work? They are. Anyways, we mopped the whole store about three times until the water in the mop bucket was staying pretty clean.

I mopped so much I felt like Cinderella before she turned into a princess. lol
I mopped so much I felt like Cinderella before she turned into a princess. lol

At this point you need to take a break and let the floors completely dry before trying to apply sealer. This is also when you could apply stain to stain the concrete if you choose. We chose to leave the concrete its natural color for the more industrial look. In order to add stain to the floors you would also need to buy an acid stain and neutralizer. For tips on how to add stain to your floors, go HERE.

Break time selfie. Also known as midnight laying on the sidewalk resting selfie.
Break time selfie. Also known as midnight laying on the sidewalk resting selfie. Can you tell we are tired? Still a lot of work to go!

Once the floors were dry it was time to start sealing. We started sealing with a natural look sealer because we didn’t want it to be too glossy. We added in the floor texture additive (which to be honest I’m not sure I saw a whole lot of difference) and mixed it well. We prepared our large paint rollers and then simply poured the sealer onto the floor and worked around evenly with rollers. The natural look sealer went on very easily. Make sure you plan out where you are going to seal so you don’t work your way into a corner.

We used extra large roller for the floors to cover more area faster.
We used extra large roller for the floors to cover more area faster.
Work your way backwards spreading the sealer evenly and getting all the way to the wall.
Work your way backwards spreading the sealer evenly and getting all the way to the wall.

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We did two coats of the natural look sealer and while it certainly wasn’t glossy like we were looking for it also didn’t have the appearance that we were looking for either. The concrete was still dull and looked bare. At this point we decided we were going to put a coat of the glossy sealer on top but since it was 4:00 in the morning, Lowe’s wasn’t open. So we decided to run home and take a shower and put on dry clothes. Did we mention that when we did this project the HVAC hadn’t been installed yet so the building was about 85 degrees the whole time we were working? No? We didn’t mention that? Well…. It sucked. So we went home and cleaned up and decided to come back into town to be ready for when Lowe’s opened their doors at 6am. We went to IHOP for breakfast and some much needed sustenance. I had strawberry and banana stuffed crepes and Jacob went with the Nutella stuffed crepes. Of course we also had coffee, we needed a bit of a pick me up to carry us the rest of the way through our day.

Jacob and I sipping our IHOP coffees. If we look a smudge slap happy it's because we were.
Jacob and I sipping our IHOP coffees. If we look a smudge slap happy it’s because we were.

We left IHOP and headed to Lowe’s just in time to see the most beautiful sunrise. Or maybe they are all that beautiful we just aren’t up early enough to see it. Lol.

What an awesome sunrise. We should stay up to see this more often. Lol, just kidding. We should sleep.
What an awesome sunrise. We should stay up to see this more often. Lol, just kidding. We should sleep.

We got to Lowe’s right as they were opening the doors and went and picked up a couple gallons of Valspar wet look concrete sealer.

Valspar wet look concrete sealer.
Valspar wet look concrete sealer.

We went back to the shop and got right back to work. There was a big difference in the consistency between the natural look and the wet look sealers. While the natural look sealer was very easy to spread and roll around, the wet look sealer was much thicker and harder to spread around. you really had to work rolling it around and I could definitely feel it in my shoulders. Ouch. Once we were finished though, Jacob and I were much happier with the results.

Here are a couple up close pictures of the floors.
Here are a couple up close pictures of the floors.

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I’m going to do another post later about the overall design of the new shop and why I did things the way I did. I can’t wait for you to see what it looks like when it all came together. And the floors look amazing to go along with it. Thanks for checking out the blog and if this post helped you any let me know!

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