Thursday, September 3, 2015

Staining Concrete

On Facebook, I had posted a picture of the porch.

Mom has already started decorating the porches. It is premature, but it does help to make it look like we have already moved in. A couple of you noticed the stained concrete, and I said I'd share the process.

We used a semi-transparent stain rather than a solid paint like we used on our previous porch. The hardest part was choosing a color.

We used Behr in the color Loden. It turned out perfect.

For the front porch, Mom just used a roller and rolled the stain on. This did create some roller marks and you had to work fast. Once a drop hit, it was there for good.

The directions said to use a sprayer and we had bought one, but Mom had never used one and didn't want to. I then used it for the back porch. Getting the hang of the sprayer was tricky. For one, I was doing it in extreme heat, so it was hard to spread. The hot concrete just soaked it up.

I did small sections at a time. I had to move so fast because of the heat. I eventually did the other porches at night and early morning before the heat and it was SO MUCH EASIER. I actually had to let the stain sit before spreading it.

Mom's porch was the last and I had perfected my technique.

You're suppose to make small circular motions. When I first got started, I forgot but quickly remembered after it was too late. The below picture is the result of non circles.

I really am glad that we decided to stain the concrete. With the clay that we have here, we were bound to get muddy prints all over the place.

Here's a video Mom took of me with the sprayer and roller. This is how fast I had to be in the direct sunlight.

Happy Staining of your own!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Cleaning Grout Off Tile

It’s not really tile, but brick pavers I am referring to. Cleaning tile is a cake-walk.

When you lay tile down, you’re supposed to keep a wet rag or sponge handy to wipe off excess thinset. We did a good job of that on our tile.

When you grout, you smear it all over the tile in attempt to get it in the cracks. You should let it dry before trying to wipe it off. 

With our brick pavers, we sealed them before attempting the grout process so that the grout would be easy to wipe off. This still didn’t help. In hindsight, I should have bought sealed pavers, but I didn’t want the wet look so I bought unsealed. BAD MISTAKE!

Our tile guy attempted the grout for these pavers. He did good at first, and I couldn’t understand his process. It looked like he was pouring dry grout into the cracks and applying water. Sounds strange, but I would see normal grout, then powder grout then no grout in areas he was working on.

I attempted my own section of grouting. I tried so hard to keep it off the tile. I even tried using a cake batter thing.

I later just started using my hand to scoop out from the bucket and smeared it. Ha! But then I was using a dry rag to get the excess off immediately. 
Our tile guys quit the job before removing the grout haze, so we had to work fast to get it off. We bought many chemicals. At first I tried vinegar and water. It worked okay.

Then I tried TileLab Sulfamic Acid Cleaner. It had great reviews. You could make it as strong as you needed. I’m sure it works great on ceramic tile, but not brick pavers. It took too much work.

I then bought Miracle Sealants Company Heavy Duty Acidic Cleaner. It worked if you didn’t dilute it. Pouring it directly onto the paver and lightly scrubbing. However, at $10 a quart, that was expensive. 

I then bought Muriatic Acid. I bought the Green version so there was less fumes. At $8 per gallon, I could handle it. I bought two gallons and it was more than enough to cover the 600 square feet of brick I had. 

I just poured it directly onto the brick it started foaming. I then used an acid brush a put on a broom handle and scrubbed away.

It immediately made “Mud.” I could tell it was working. I then used a wet wash cloth to wipe up the mud. Then I used a dry sponge to soak up the remaining dirty water sitting in the grout lines and on the tile. It was a process, but a process that worked. 

After I had done 2/3 of the areas I read on the box of my pavers that you are not to acid wash. OH NO! Someone had told me I could use kerosene and I saw it and bought it when I got the muriatic acid. I then used the kerosene on the brick. No luck! It made the tile wet and darker, but it didn’t bubble the haze up. The muriatic acid works like Peroxide. It bubbles the imperfections up to the surface for easy wiping off. Really, not much scrubbing. So, kerosene was another no-good product.

I was so happy I found something that worked. Whew! You just have to make sure you get it all off. Muriatic acid will break down the grout and the stone. I didn’t want any leftover just sitting and eating away at the surface.

It didn’t make the brick all shiny and to the untrained eye that didn’t see the “before” you probably wouldn’t be able to notice. But the grout is off the surface and my feet can tell the difference. 


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Exterior Paint Final Look

I looked back at when I shared the exterior paint, and I realized the brick was not up yet! It looked good then, but you didn’t get to see the whole picture. 

For a while, the house was half-painted and looked unfinished. It was embarrassing. We had to wait for the siding to be complete.

The metal roof guys had to take apart a dormer window’s siding, and the mason’s caused some damage to the siding on Mom’s porch, so we needed that fixed. Our siding guy was difficult to get ahold of. I had our interior trim guy hang the base cap to create wainscoting on the outside.

It helped give a finishing detail. When we finally got ahold of the siding guy, he came out the next week. The next hard part was getting the painters to show up! They kept promising days and not showing up. When they finally did show up, it rained! Slowly but surely we got the final paint up there.

Columns were painted…

The front porch roof color was corrected…

The back porch was finally painted.

And the "tower" was finally painted.

This was my vision and I was happy with it, but my builder and Mr. JCrew questioned the one-color look. Mr. JCrew and the builder both suggested I use another color to help the detail stand out. I trusted Mr. JCrew just like I trusted him with the dormer colors and it turned out great!

It ties in the tower with the tudor look we were trying to achieve.

Now I look back at the one color and think it looks awful! So glad I listened to Mr. JCrew. I will gladly give him all the credit.

The porch columns were no longer white, thank goodness! They were standing out too much. 

Now I just have to get the exterior doors painted. I think they are leaving that as the last thing to do because we still had a lot of people entering the house. They will be painted the darkest color I chose.

Love it! Now the house looks complete and not half-done. Paint is a wonderful thing!
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