Friday, May 3, 2013

This is Your Brain on Drugs....

....and this is my floor on acid!

I feel like a little back story might be in order.

So I mentioned here and here that we were planning on (and in the midst of) converting our garage into liveable space that could be used as my music room. Well it's ALMOST done! You can see above that the walls have been painted (though there is some touch up work to do since the baseboards have been installed), the door installed, and baseboard added. What you can't see is the HVAC vent that has been added, the painted ceilings, the closet, and added electrical outlets.

Rather than adding the expense of putting flooring over the concrete, I decided to just paint the floor. At the beginning of this project, this looked like a no brainer. You just roll out the paint on the floor like you do on the walls right?


When I went to actually buy the floor paint, I was informed that because most garage floors are sealed (it's what keeps every drip and drop that comes out of our cars from leaving big ugly stains), I would have to etch the concrete in order to open the pores and get the paint to stick.

So how does one etch a concrete floor? With muriatic acid. Yes, I said acid.

The nice man at Home Depot was nice enough to walk me through the process, but when it came time to actually do this, I have to admit I was pretty intimidated. Acid eats through clothing, skin. It is harmful if inhaled....and besides the possibility of bodily harm, what if it got on something it shouldn't? And muriatic acid (which I have since been informed is a variety of sulphuric acid) is the sizzle and pop kind.

So the process goes like this:
  1. Don long sleeves, long pants, shoes you don't care about, and rubber gloves. 
  2. Open all the windows and doors so you have good ventilation. 
  3. In a watering can, you combine 3 parts water to 1 part acid. I recommend doing this outside so the fumes aren't in your house.
  4. This solution gets sprinkled on a section of the concrete (whilst being very careful not to get any of it on your clothes, shoes, skin, etc. Safety first). It will sizzle like an egg in a hot frying pan. It's scary. Just keep going.
  5. Push the acid solution around with a broom to make sure you get full coverage.
  6. Wait a few minutes.
  7. With a mop and a bucket full of plain water, mop up the acid. You will get all kinds of nastiness off your floor that you never knew was there. I had to change the water frequently.
  8. Repeat (still working in sections) until you have etched the entire floor.
  9. Once the floor is dry, mop with plain water again.
All total (not including drying time), this took me about two hours for a room the size of a one car garage. I barely finished the acid part in time to get ready for school, and did the final mopping when I got home. I still have to prime the floor and then paint it. I'll keep you posted!

Has anyone else ever etched concrete? Was it as scary for you as it was for me?

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