Exploring Below Vinyl: Tale #1 of (at least) 4

December 16, 2010   //  Posted in: DIY, Entryway, Flooring   //  By: Emily   //  Leave a comment

Original vinyl flooring (and previous owner's mat). Faux stone must go. I’m really not a vinyl floor kind of girl. Hardwoods have my heart. Ceramic, great; porcelain, marble, or slate, amazing (and heated tile, especially in the bathroom, even better). But vinyl? Sometimes it’s neutral enough to be permissible – and I’m even more accepting for it if it’s in a nice clean sheet and not square stickers (because the damn corners are always poking up). But in my entryway? I suppose I understand why previous owners laid it in the entryway – the area gets a lot of traffic, and it was pretty easy to clean, but the pattern they chose? It was faux-rock, very obviously not seamlessly matched together – see that picture to the left? That’s what I saw the day that I found the house – and yes, I photographed it because I was taken aback and immediately thinking of what I could do to make it better. What gives? And what’s a girl to do?

My frame of thought? Be logical and have a plan. I wouldn’t recommend pulling up a floor until you have a defined plan of attack to fix the floor (this is why I haven’t done more than preliminary peeking under the bathroom and kitchen vinyl). The entryway though? It’s a mere 20 sq. ft, so I was less worried about finding rot, an enormous hole, or, you know, something horrific. While I didn’t really have a plan of attack, I figured it couldn’t be too bad (the floor felt very solid, not squishy or bowed at all, thankfully). In the midst of a Project Runway marathon one evening, I gathered my tools and had at it. Those tiles were glued down really well – SO well that I broke a sweat and two scrapers trying to pry it up – but what’d I find? (Besides another really worn out layer of heinous vinyl) I uncovered a painted, stamped, (potentially lovely) cement floor.

First things first... hours spent prying up vinyl and cleaning the floor.

Hmm. Cement floor? Cold… and hard… but not uninteresting. It was in really good shape, solid and not crumbling (fortunately), so I proceeded with removing the paint that was on there (it was peachy in color) with some of my favorite non-toxic (orange-scented!) paint remover. In the end, after a little bit of time and elbow-grease, I ended up with a nice, clean surface that was ready for me to do whatever I dreamed up.

I contemplated covering it up with some floor tiles, and we also had this great plan to use some super-tiny stones salvaged from the lake shore (think: DIY Pinkberry pebble flooring! Still a DIY project we’re dying to try, umm I segue, sorry…), but the stamped squares that were hidden under there were appealing to me (who knew that stamped concrete would have a place in my heart?). I decided to preserve them for the time being instead of doing something rash, figuring that I had plenty of time to dream up (and save up for) a longer term flooring solution. In the end, I borrowed some of the leftover exterior floor paint that I had used on the sunroom floor – a matte gray.

Peach-colored paint removed, gray paint going on.

I originally thought that painting the cement gray would make it seem colder and more cement-like, so I’ve planned all along to do a cute detail along the edge, but I haven’t gotten there yet because I’m not quite bothered by the solid gray yet.

Freshly painted stamped concrete in the entryway. When I took this, I was thinking I need cutesy trim.

Oh, and side note: It’s really not easy to clean stamped cement. Also thinking about a thick coat of poly to smooth it out. Thoughts?

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