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The Big Reveal

Last week, my daughter and I went to Houston, leaving my husband, Cap’n Firepants, to supervise the installation of our new concrete floors.  Actually, “installation” is probably not the correct word.  The floors were already here, and already concrete.  But we wanted them to be transformed into something a bit more esthetically pleasing.

Original, carpeted floor (with Wonderbutt's inferior decorating)

Concrete slab under the carpeting. Mrs. P.I.B. says she had nothing to do with this travesty.

The Cap’n was great about keeping me updated during the whole process.  He would periodically text pics to my phone so I could see the progress of the work by Riverbed Concrete’s crew.

First, our kitchen floor, which had been tiled, needed the grout from the tile ground away.

Our kitchen

Then, the floor in our “Great Area” had to be ground as well.

Grinding the living room

The kitchen needed a “micro-topping” of concrete to smooth the floor out.  We chose to forego the micro-topping in the Great Area, opting instead to embrace any imperfections – such as the long crack down the floor – as details that would give it character.

Kitchen "micro-topping"

The Cap’n had designed a grid for the Great Area based on a picture we had found online.  The men had to measure and tape off the grid, then put grooves in the floor along the lines.  This would allows for the different stain colors to have crisp edges.

Laying out the grid

Once the floor was prepped, it was stained.

Dimples and I arrived home from our Houston trip just as the floor staining was finished.  I almost cried to see the improvement in our floors.

What we saw when we came home (unsealed)

The next step was to seal the floors.  This is where things went a bit different than what we had planned.  The sealer surprisingly acted as an equalizer between our dark and light stains, making the contrast much less than we had originally hoped for.

After the sealant

We were a little disappointed in the change from unsealed to sealed.  However, the overall effect is a dramatic improvement over our original floors – and way more durable for a house with a kid, two dogs, and a man who likes to spend time in the yard (sometimes bringing some of it back in with him).

Kitchen - final coat over micro-topping (we did not do a grid in this section)


Living room entryway. Note the cool "doormat" Cap'n Firepants designed in front of the door. The cedar wall in the back is going to be torn out and replaced by dry wall.

You can see what the above area looked like originally here.

The living room - the circle in the floor on the left side is an outlet the previous owner put in the floor.

We finally, after six months, can usher people into the house without having to say, “Sorry about the floors…”

Now we just need new furniture.

We’re Not Zoned for That

Despite the fact that my floors look like they drastically need an intervention from a dermatologist, I have been able to see some advantages in stripping the carpeting all of the way down to our concrete slab.  It’s been nice to not give a flip about muddy pawprints that blend in quite well with the other blemishes.  And Wonderbutt seems to feel very strongly about not peeing on concrete.  Having no floor makes it easier for me to excuse myself from inviting anyone over, which kind of leads to making it easier for me to neglect the rest of the household.

Dimples found a new advantage, yesterday, when she was bringing her scooter through the house to return it to the garage.  (Don’t ask me why she couldn’t just take it directly into the garage.)

“Hey, Mom,” she suddenly asked.  “Why can’t I scooter in here?”

“I don’t know.  Why can’t you?” I responded, thinking this was leading to one of those nine-year old kid punchlines that make no sense.

“You told me I can’t.  But that was when we had carpeting.”


“You mean, I can?  I can scooter in here?”

That’s not what I meant, actually.  I was just acknowledging that I had said that and it was eons ago, back when carpet that had not been peed on or chewed to pieces by Wonderbutt still covered our floor – back when I actually cared about my social life and what the floor looked like.

But I couldn’t really think of a reason not to.

Go for it,” I said, after making sure she still had her helmet on.

But it was too late, because she was already zooming around the living room with Wonderbutt fast on her heels.  And that’s when she realized just how brilliant her idea was.

“Hey, I’m getting exercise AND so is Wonderbutt.  And this floor is so much smoother than the sidewalk out there.”

There was no denying that Wonderbutt was getting a workout.  I’m not sure if he was chasing Dimples or the scooter, but he seemed determined to catch one of them.  And I have yet to find a con to having a wiped out Wonderbutt.  Unless it’s the absence of things about which to blog.

Completely carefree, oblivious to any small obstacles such as furniture or the unwitting Mrs. P.I.B., Dimples made her rounds.  I prepared myself for the inevitable broken bone – weighing the odds of whether I would be making a trip to the vet or the hospital and wondering if one of them would take both patients if the inevitable double disaster occurred.  Miraculously, Wonderbutt managed to stay clear of the wheels while Dimples showed us how worthwhile all of those years of private scootering tutoring had been.

“I’m going to try skateboarding tomorrow,” Dimples finally said, after both she and Wonderbutt had their tongues hanging out.

Drool all you want, Wonderbutt. This floor can't look any worse.

For a brief moment, I flashed on an image of our living room transformed into a skate park – a mecca for all of the neighborhood kids with a few modifications for skateboarding dogs.

Whizzing around 81-year-old MILlie as she falls asleep on the sofa watching T.V., placing a ramp to make leaps over Cap’n Firepants in his armchair, crouching down to smoothly wheel right under Mrs. P.I.B.  How much more Extreme can Sports get?  It doesn’t take a genius to realize how much money we could make off of this enterprise.

My whole problem had been looking at our domicile as a place to which we could invite our own friends to eat dinner and relax comfortably.  I really don’t know why I’m so narrow-minded.

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