I have always wondered what it would be like to rip up my dirty carpet and live with the concrete floors underneath. Well, I finally did it and in this post I’m going to walk you through our entire process. I’m going to start with ripping up the carpet and show you what we actually found underneath. Then, I’m going show you how to prepare a concrete floor for painting. Finally, I am goin to show you how to paint concrete floors so that you can try this yourself.
We have been in our house for about seven years and this is the first change we have made to the master bedroom. It seems like that is always the last room to get any attention. Painting the concrete floor was just one of the parts in a larger home improvement DIY. The entire room was the same color, beige, and so was our furniture. The lack of contrast really drove me crazy. A person can only take so much beige. I came up with a plan to get my contrast by painting black crown molding which you can see here. Next, I had to deal with the floor.
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In addition to the ceiling, walls, and furniture all being the same color, the floor was also beige carpet. With four dogs tracking in mud and having accidents, it looked terrible and we talked often about tearing it out.
I knew just replacing the carpet with more carpet would not solve the problem, so I shopped around and got a couple of quotes for hardwood floors. I really wanted hardwood floors, but the whole process of putting them down and not being able to walk on them for an extended period of time sounded like something I couldn’t manage. Not to mention hardwood floors are expensive.
I joked and threatened about how a concrete slab would be better – anything would be better than that carpet. Finally, I booked my painter to scrape the popcorn ceiling and paint the walls and the crown molding. While the room was empty, we decided we would do it – we started ripping up that nasty carpet.
WHAT TO CONSIDER BEFORE YOU PAINT CONCRETE FLOORS
Here’s what to expect if you rip up carpet and decide to paint a concrete floor.
- It’s more work than you think it’s going to be. While it only took us one day to rip up the carpet, it was pretty hard work.
- Your slab might not be pretty and you might have to paint it instead of just sealing it or staining it. My original plan was to seal the concrete slab, so I was surprised to see green paint, cracks, and a patch job on our slab. I had envisioned a nice pretty smooth surface, but surprise! Needless to say, it wasn’t pretty. We had to pivot and come up with a new plan. So I quickly began researching how to paint concrete floors.
- Painted concrete floors are slippery. I have almost slipped on the floor going from the shower to the closet, so you will need rugs with non-slip pads. It’s also slippery for dogs.
HOW TO RIP UP OLD CARPET AND PAINT YOUR CONCRETE FLOORS
Here are the steps we followed:
STEP ONE: HOW TO RIP UP CARPET AND CARPET PAD
We started by pulling the carpet and pad up from one of the corners of the room. We’d pull it back as far as we could and then cut it into strips with a box cutter. We stacked it up in the room and then bagged it into trash bags and put it outside. Our city will pick this type of thing up as long as it is in a manageable pile.
How to rip up carpet sounds easy, but it’s actually a lot of work. This required a little muscle and boy was it filthy. This is the hardest and dirtiest part of this DIY project.
HOW TO PREPARE A CONCRETE FLOOR FOR PAINTING
STEP TWO: SCRAPE & CLEAN UP GLUE
After we got rid of the carpet, we had to prepare our concrete floor for painting. So,we had to clean off the glue that was used under the pad. I used a large scraper that I bought at Home Depot to scrape up the glue, and then I used a degreasing cleaner that I sprayed on the glue. I bought acid, but didn’t use it because I was able to do a pretty descent job with the degreaser – spraying and scraping and spraying and scraping several times. Toward the end, of course, I figured out that I could scrape harder by using my foot to put pressure on the scraper. You want to get as much glue off the the concrete before you paint.
STEP THREE: REMOVE THE TACK STRIPS
After ripping up the carpet, you are left with tack strips all around the room. You definitely have to remove these. These are nailed down into the concrete and not easy to remove. My husband used a crow bar to pull up the tack strips while I was cleaning up the glue. We put the broken tack strips in a box and carried them out to the curb.
STEP FOUR: VACUUM
Once you have removed the tack strips and scrapped up the glue, you have to clean to prepare a concrete floor for painting. We vacuumed and swept and vacuumed and swept and dust mopped and mini-vaced. It’s important that at this point your floor is dry and all that dirt and dust is gone. After we had vacuumed a few times, I decided the vacuum wasn’t actually helping anymore which is why we got out the dust mop and hand held vacuum. I didn’t want any dust, hair, or other debri in my floor paint.
STEP FIVE: TAPE OFF BASEBOARDS
Next we taped off the baseboards, fireplace, and floor by the doorway with blue painters tape. While some might choose to remove the baseboards and put in lower ones, I didn’t want to go that far. So, I just taped them off to protect them.
STEP SIX: FILL IN THE HOLES
We used epoxy to fill in the holes left by the tack strips. I decided to use epoxy instead of Quick Crete because you do not have to sand exopy and you can paint the surface sooner. We used two Rustoleum epoxy kits I got from Home Depot. With epoxy you have to work quickly and this was my first epoxy job, so my husband and I worked together. We mixed up the expoxy on a piece of cardboard and we each had a putty knife that we used to fill and level the holes. We did this after the kids were in bed and let it dry through the night.
STEP SEVEN: PAINT YOUR CONCRETE FLOORS
Next, we painted the floor. I bought Porch & Floor paint at Sherwin Williams. Since I wasn’t planning on painting the floor, I didn’t have a color picked out. So, the first color I picked didn’t really go with the wall color. It was a color I had used in the past, but it looked too blue. It was Online. The second time around I went with Dovetail. It was more of a greige, or warmer gray and looked better with my wall color. So, we ended up with two coats of paint on the floor. I might have been able to do two coats with one gallon if I hadn’t changed colors.
First, I used a brush and painted around the edges of the whole room. Then, I just poured paint right on the floor and rolled it out with a roller with no nap. There’s no need to put your paint in a tray for this job.
STEP EIGHT: SEAL THE CONCRETE FLOORS
Finally, I sealed the floor with Wet Look Sealer from Home Depot. I did this twice with dry time in between. I used less than one large bottle of sealer. Once this was done, we closed the door on the bedroom and let it dry for 72 hours. This was tough because all our bedroom furniture was in the living room. I felt like the whole house was a wreck and I couldn’t wait to move back in to the bedroom. When we finally moved our furniture back into the bedroom, we used small pieces of cardboard under the feet of all the furniture to protect our work. Also, we did not put rugs on the floor at that point.
This whole project had us locked out of our bedroom for two weeks. I had no idea and wasn’t planning on this process taking so long. There is a lot of dry time in between your steps and once you have put all that work into something, you certainly don’t want to ruin it. While it didn’t all turn out like I thought it would, I would do it again. I’m still in the process of decorating, but anything is better than dirty beige carpet, right?
PAINTED CONCRETE FLOORS UPDATE – Find out my thoughts on this project four years later.