Archive for December, 2010

2010 Accomplishments & 2011 Goals: Big Plans Ahead

With 2010 nearing an end it’s time to look back and see what our goals for this year were:

    • Replace the water softener – Done
    • Replace kitchen faucet – Done
    • Seed lawn where the geothermal system was installed and the new dog yard – Change of plans with the dog yard but we did seed the main yard
    • Landscaping, focus on front & fence flower beds – We did a lot with the front flower beds but the fence flower bed didn’t happen
    • Replace garage window & re-drywall the walls – We need to wait on the garage window until we make a final decision on which windows we’re going to use for the rest of the house but the walls are re-drywalled
    • Install shelving in the garage – Done
    • Build the walk-in gun safe Done and done
    • Paint the living room, dining room, and kitchen – Everything but living room is done
    • Get the basement bathroom working and replace the shower surround – Toilet is now working and we’re in the process of getting the shower working, shower surround is now going to stay
    • Fix the garage floor drainage issues Done and done
    • Refinish the dining room table & chairs, make new table leaves – Not done
    • Reupholster dining room chairs – Not done
    • Determine final house design for the major renovations in 2011, draw house in CAD & sketchup – CAD design done and sketchup model started, but the design won’t ever be final until we get closer to the remodel

Of course we ended up doing a lot more than just that this year but those were our goals.

For the beginning of next year we plan to:

    • Build a potting bench for the garage with a sheet metal top
    • Build an island for a the reloading room
    • Add plants to the sparse front flower beds
    • Create flower beds with brick edging along the fence
    • Dig out the flower bed along the back of the house where the soil is too close to the siding
    • Replace rotten garage window
    • Get the basement shower working because it will be our only bathroom for a while…

Then in July we’ll start our biggest remodel to date! Our goals are to:

    • Remove chimney and both the basement and main floor fireplaces
    • Move wall between living room and the master bedroom (which the fireplace is on)

      o Remove living room window that is in the way
      o Expand master bedroom closet

    • Completely gut and expand both the main bathroom and master bathroom

      o Main bathroom goes from 45 sf to 70 sf
      o Master bathroom goes from 45 sf to 130 sf

    • Fix the uneven floor
    • Install 4 new master bedroom and bathroom windows
    • Soundproof the bedrooms as much as possible
    • Finish main bathroom but only rough in master bathroom (which we plan to finish the following year)
    • Install solid hardwood floors in all three bedrooms and hallway
    • Make new trim, possibly for the whole house?
    • Install new interior doors
    • Move wall between living room and dining room
    • Replace carpet in the living room and dining room

We want to go from this:

To this:

And when we’re done we’ll essential have half of our house finished! So what do you think? Are we crazy for doing this?


2010 in Pictures

Following last year’s tradition here is what we’ve accomplished this year in pictures:

Happy Holidays

This year for our family Christmas cards Mama Flannel came over to take our picture. Since I had some new “girly” flannel we thought it was only appropriate to make flannel/plaid the theme of our cards. With some quick Photoshoping even the dog got some flannel.

For the front our cards I went lines from the classic Christmas song:

It took a while to get that shot because Sophie kept standing up after we told her it was OK to eat the treat inside the stocking but we finally got it. I ordered them from Mpix this year and I highly recommend them. Great products, quick turn around, and awesome customer service! They even let me return and get a refund for a mistake I made. They let you design the back of the card too. It looked so blank with just the plaid border I made so I threw on a few pictures from our road trip to Florida this year:

And just for fun here are some of our old Christmas cards:

Warmest wishes from our family to yours!

Our New Snow Clearing Toy

Two weekends ago was our first big storm with 1-2” of freezing rain followed by 10” of snow. Along with that we had 35 mph winds which resulted in blizzard warnings and weatherman encouraging people to stay inside all weekend. On the bright side it did leave a pretty coating on the trees and shrubs.

It may have been a crummy weekend but Flannel Man was excited to try out his new toy, an ATV with a plow. For the past two years he’s used our riding lawn mower with a small fixed plow. He got the plow for free from a co-worker who had it lying around in his barn. It was full of rust but Flannel Man sandblasted it, painted it, and modified it to fit the lawn mower. It worked OK but we were often stuck inside after a big storm because it didn’t have enough power to push the heavy snow. Luckily, we have a very nice neighbor who has two sheds full of snow clearing toys of his own and he would come clear off our driveway if he was home. Our neighbor is a truck driver though so he is often gone for a week at a time so he wasn’t always around in the winter.

We even inherited a small snow blower from Flannel Man’s grandmother last year but it could barely handle the heavy snow so you had to move very slow. It took forever to clear off both of our driveways. It didn’t help that we have three locations where our driveways meet the street (our main driveway is a semi-circle) and the town plows make a big pile of snow as they pass by. So this year Flannel Man began looking for a used ATV he could use to plow the snow. He found it very difficult in our area to find one that would work. Every time he thought he found “the one” the seller had just sold it or they wanted too much for it and wouldn’t negotiate. When November came it really hit home that he better buy one fast or get ready to shovel (we had given Papa Flannel the snow blower since his broke)! On his drive to work he saw an ATV plow for sale out on someone’s front yard and bought it for only $100. So now we had a plow but nothing to attach it to.

Then one Saturday I woke up to “Do you want to go on an eight hour road trip to Indiana?” Apparently he was searching through Craigslist in nearby cities to see if they had a better selection of ATVs and found someone in Indiana that was posting on the Chicago board. So we hoped in the truck and headed off taking the dog with us. It ended up being well worth the trip because he got a bigger, nicer ATV than he’d planned for a great price. There were a few minor fixes he had to make (the electric start switch was broken for one) but with the help of some friends he got it up and working. Finally, he installed plates to hold a winch and the plow and he was ready to go.

This new snow removal rig is slick! It takes fraction of the time to clear both of the driveways and has so much more power he can really pile up the snow. Plus it helps that it’s actually fun to drive. I’m pretty sure I saw a smile under that face mask. Now I just need to learn how to drive a manual ATV…maybe I’ll wait until spring.


Today I was going to post about the big storm we had over the weekend. I was going to write about how great our new-to-us ATV is at plowing snow. I was going to get the pictures uploaded for the post last night. But instead I was upload pictures of my grandmother who passed away unexpectedly yesterday.

Two days before Thanksgiving she fell and broke her hip. She had surgery to fix it and was at a rehab/nursing home for the past few weeks. My parents were there to see her in the middle of the big storm on Sunday and the doctor was telling them how she was fine and that she’d be coming home on the 22nd in time for Christmas. I was planning to visit her today on my weekly visit.

Yesterday, my grandpa was in to see her in the morning until she had her daily physical therapy session. As the nurse wheeled her off my grandma turned around to smile and wave goodbye. That would be the last time he’d ever see her. After her physical therapy session she said she felt weak so the nurse put her down for a nap. Ten minutes later the nurse came in to check on her and she had passed.


They are unsure of what exactly she died from but they suspect it was a blood clot. Besides the broken hip she had a number of other health issue. Four years ago she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Luckily she was in the very early stages. Two years ago she had a stroke and needed a triple bypass heart surgery. She was slowly losing her ability to do things but she was determined to try. She was in her exercise class for 29 years for example (which is how she broke her hip).

I feel bad for my aunt (her daughter) whose birthday was yesterday and my dad (her son) whose birthday is today. Their birthdays just won’t be the same. Neither will Christmas.

I spent last night with my family going through old pictures and helping pick out what her last outfit would be. I’ve always disliked how little time you have between a person’s death and when they are buried. There are too many things to do in such a little time and you get little to no time to really grieve. When I got home I went through all of the pictures I had on my computer of her. I realized that I had never printed out pictures from her 76th birthday. I must have been too busy…life got in the way and now she’s gone. In those never before seen photos I found this one which we plan to use for her obituary:

I remember taking that shot from the other end of the table with my zoom lens. She was laughing away with some old friends she hadn’t seen in a while. She always did laugh a lot.

Rest in peace grandma. You have forever left an imprint on my heart.

Applying Garage Floor Epoxy

Now that we had converted the garage back to a two car garage and ground down the floors we wanted to add an epoxy coating to make the floor easier to clean. Even though we’ll still have a small puddle 1/8” deep puddle it’s still much better than the 1” deep one we had before. The plan is to use a floor squeegee as need be on the much more manageable puddle. We also wanted to add a floor coating to help protect the floor from the winter salt and water that would get in the open pores and divots we made by grinding down the floor. We didn’t want the salt getting down in those little crevices and eating away at the concrete faster.

Originally, we planned to hire someone to both grind down the floor and put down the epoxy but we decided to do it all ourselves. Epoxy seemed easy enough to put down but it was the prep work that took a lot of time. During my research I found that using a 2-part epoxy was the way to go because they are much more durable and last longer than 1-part epoxies.

So I went out to get some prices from our two local big box hardware stores; Home Depot and Menard’s. Home Depot had two options; Garage Floor Rustoleum in the standard gray and tan colors and their own Behr product that can be mixed any custom color. Hmm…custom color that sounds awesome. I immediately liked the warm tan/gray color because it wouldn’t be something obvious you’d notice when you walked in the room but it was more interesting than the basic cool gray color. Of course the Behr product was significantly more than the Rustoleum epoxy. Next I went to Menard’s where they had five options; Garage Floor Rustoleum, Basement Floor Rustoleum, Garage Custom Color Rustoleum, Premium Clear Coat Rustoleum, and Professional Grade Rustoleum. This is why I love Menard’s! Not only did they have more selections but the exact same product was $30 cheaper and we needed six of them so that’s a $180 difference! And of course Home Depot doesn’t carry the more affordable Garage Custom Color Rustoleum because it would compete with their Behr product. Another thing I liked about the Rustoleum products over the Behr products was that the Rustoleum products come as a kit with the acid etch and color chips included. With the Behr products you have to buy everything individually which makes them even more expensive than the Rustoleum epoxy. As I started to get excited about the custom color Rustoleum and all the possible colors I could make it I started to wonder what the difference was between the professional grade epoxy and the rest of them. It turns out the Rustoleum Epoxy Shield Professional Coating stands up better to chemicals and oils and it recommended for garages by nearly everyone who has tried both. I even called Rustoleum directly and the rep said this is the product she put down in her garage. It’s just a better all around product but the major downsides are that it can’t be cleaned up with water and it costs more. Seeing that we wanted this to be a one time project and that we’d always have this epoxy on the floor (to remove it we’d have to grind it off) we went with the top of the line Professional Grade Rustoleum in the simple light gray color.


Before we could get to the floor though, we had to tear down the curled wood paneling along the exterior wall so that we could reach the floor underneath. Unfortunately, when we did that we found three holes mice had chewed into the wall that were hidden by the siding from the outside. In those cavities the insulation was chewed up (when this happens the insulation settles to only cover 2/3 of the wall), there were acorns, droppings, and we even found one dead mouse. Lovely! Oh the joys of living in the country and having your basement/garage infested with mice.

We were in a bit of a hurry to get the epoxy down so we just removed the bottom foot or two of insulation and sealed the walls off with plastic. The plastic helped keep debris from falling on the wet epoxy and kept the walls dry while we’re washing the floor. From my research not many people put up plastic on the walls but I think it was an important step because then we knew we could get right up to the walls and corners with the acid wash and rinses. We also taped off the bottom of the steel posts, the drain pipe, and doorways.

As a last ditch effort we tried scraping the last bits of linoleum off the floor with a hand chisel (we had already scraped it with a razor blade and ground it with a floor grinder). It was tedious work and we had to keep flipping the chisel from one side to the other because the concrete was dulling the blade. We spend 4 hours crawling around on the floor working on it. This is how we spend our Saturday nights people! Finally, we just quite because we had hardly made a dent in the amount of the linoleum on the floor.

Then we cleaned the floor off with water to remove any lingering concrete dust or debris. We used a floor squeegee to remove any excess water.

Now it was time to bust out the epoxy materials. What seemed like a straightforward process snowballed into a shopping spree that had me driving all over southern Wisconsin to get all the supplies we needed. Here is the result:

Sophie’s like, “Why are you motioning me away? I’m just standing here like a good dog.” OK back to the pile…

My list of supplies was as follows:

• 6 Rustoleum Epoxy Shield Professional Floor Coating kits in Silver Gray
• 8 bags of Rustoleum Anti-Skid Additive
• 4 boxes of Rustoleum Concrete Patch & Repair
• 3 boxes of extra Rustoleum Acid Etch
• 1 bottle of Rustoleum Heavy-Duty Degreaser
• 4 lint free paint rollers
• 2 angled 1.5” brushes
• 2 rolls of 2” wide painters tape
• Plastic tarps to cover the walls
• Floor squeegee
• Stiff bristle broom top that uses a paint roller extender for a handle
• A second pair of goggles
• A second respirator
• 2 pairs of tall rubber boots
• 2 pairs of acid resistant gloves
• 2 five gallon buckets for mixing
• A mixing wand attachment for our drill

That’s a lot of stuff! I advise getting everything in advance so that you can read the directions ahead of time and make sure you have all of the supplies you need.

The first step was to put on the acid etch which helps the epoxy adhere better to the concrete. Because we had already went over the whole floor with a grinder we weren’t sure if we needed to still do this step but we figured it couldn’t hurt. The better you prepare the floor the better the epoxy will stick. We geared up in our goggles, respirators, acid resistant gloves, and rubber boots and got to work.

The instructions suggest you use a watering can to evenly distribute the acid. Unfortunately, our watering can was broken so we used a weed sprayer (which was brand new) instead. It gave us great control over where the acid went and in general worked out well but the watering can probably would have been faster since it wouldn’t have required any pumping. It took us two hours to do 750 sf. Per the instructions we applied the acid to a 10’x10’ section at a time, scrubbed the area, and rinsed it off using a squeegee to remove access water. Note to self buy goggles with better vents next time because the cheap ones I bought were fogging up as soon as I put them on.

When we were done with the whole 750 sf space we gave it one more final rinse and squeegee off. Then we let the space dry completely for a week. If the floor isn’t completely dry the epoxy won’t adhere properly so this is an important step to not skip.

Next we decided to replace the metal support post that was rusty and deeply pitted from the water issues in the garage. We figured now was the best time to do it so we could epoxy right up to the new one. So we bought a new pole and came up with a rig to lift the beam it was supporting. We borrowed a scrap 4×4 and a jack from Papa Flannel and attempted to lift the beam. We raised the jack until the 4×4 was tight to the beam and twice the 4×4 fell! Luckily, no one got hurt. After some further investigation we found that the jack was leaking hydraulic fluid. So we improvised with Flannel Man’s truck jack.

When we finally had the old post out we found a rusted metal plate underneath. Half of it came off with the post and the other half was stuck to the concrete. Now we couldn’t put the new post in because it would be uneven so the plate had to come off. Flannel Man took an angle grinder to it until the spot was level.

What was supposed to be a simple swap turned into a big mess. After we finally had the new post in we had to vacuum up the dust, re-wash the floor, and re-acid the area around the post. And because the jack leaked hydraulic fluid we had to bust into the degreaser…the one thing I thought we’d be able to return! Plus, that meant our one week of waiting for the floor to dry had to start over.

The new post did look really nice though:

Next we had to patch all of the channels in the concrete the scarifier made. Before we ground the floor we had some hairline cracks in the concrete. They weren’t structural just a crack in the finish. The scarifier managed to take these small cracks and chip out large pieces of concrete on either side turning them into large channels running through our garage. We weren’t sure how we were going to fill these because we didn’t know how the epoxy would stick to the filler so we played it safe and went with the product Rustoleum specifically makes for patching concrete before you put down epoxy. It’s called Concrete Patch & Repair and it’s a 100% solids epoxy product that is a thick sticky paste you apply with a putty knife. It dries within 24 hours which is also nice but we found that additional layers are needed since it shrinks as it dries. We ended up needing 3 layers in some spots.

Finally after all of that we were ready to put down the first layer of epoxy!! It was late in the year so we wanted to be able to close the garage doors before the floor was completely dry to keep the space warmer and to keep fall leaves or other debris from blowing on the floor. Plus I was advised to not paint the concrete outside of the door since epoxy turns white and chalky with sunlight. So we put down some tape just inside the doors to make a nice straight edge.

Next up it was time to mix the epoxy. Even though our garage is only a two car garage it is actually the size of a three car garage with a big storage area. Each kit is supposed to cover 300-400 sf. To start we only mixed two kits but I had an extra kit on hand just in case. To make the color even between kits we mixed the bases (Part B) together in a 5 gallon bucket first. Next we followed the directions and mixed the activator Part A and the bases Part B with an electric drill. Then we had to let the mixture cure for an hour before we could use it.

To make mixing easier mix each can of the activator individually first until it turns white. Mixed and unmixed activator:

I started painting on the epoxy by cutting in the edges with a 2” wide angled brush while Flannel Man used the roller. As I was painting I came across some spiders (I mentioned our little spider problem in the last post) and other bugs who would just get stuck in the epoxy so I had to squished them and stuck them in the pocket of my jeans since I had nowhere else to put them. We made sure to constantly keep a wet edge and put it on plenty thick. When we were a quarter of the way through we started worrying that we would run out so we broke down and mixed up the third kit. The tricky thing is it needed an hour to cure before we could use it but you don’t want the rest of the floor to dry before you put down the last bit.

We didn’t tape the cement walls of the garage because we wanted to fill in the crack between the floor and foundation walls with epoxy. Unfortunately, those areas were one of the last places we painted on the epoxy so my brush was thick with epoxy and the lines weren’t very straight. It did the job though and most of those walls will be covered with shelving so we won’t be able to see most of it.

After an hour and a half we were done with all 750 sf. Here’s Flannel Man pretending I locked him out:

Unfortunately we forgot to turn off the florescent light we have that uses a pull chain. Which lead to problems because we needed to leave the garage doors open that night for the fumes. There were a number of bugs attracted to the light and there weren’t many places for them to land besides the floor. We were able to keep the fall leaves out by leaning some long pieces of plywood across the doorways. The fumes were something else though! The whole house reeked of epoxy and we both got headaches from it. We aired out the house the best we could and eventually that helped. I guess that’s the other downside to the Professional Grade epoxy.

In the end we barely used any of the third kit and we could have easily made the two kits work if we put it on a little thinner. But there were a lot of crevices and pits to fill from our floor grinding so the third kit was just insured that we would have enough to finish even though it cost us $95. For the second coat we knew we only needed two kits and took the third kit back. We also took back all of the extra acid etch and two of the concrete patch and repair kits.

As the epoxy dried it started to looks splotchy with different areas having a different sheen and/or slightly different color. We were very careful to put on a thick even coat so it wasn’t because some areas were too thin. From my research I’ve found this is very common and the Rustoleum representative I talked to even mentioned it. She said there are two ways to combat the uneven look by either putting on a second coat or putting on the clear coat they sell. We chose to put on a second coat because we didn’t want the sheen or the slipperiness of the clear coat.


We were able to step on the floor after 16 hours but it was still a bit tacky. Three days after we put the first coat on we applied the second coat. We started by going around and pulling all of the bugs and other debris that had gotten stuck in the epoxy. As we were crawling around we noticed there were some bare crevices that we know we had covered with the first coat. The thick epoxy must have trapped an air bubble and not filled it completely. It needed a second coat. After we had mixed and let the second coat cure for an hour we mixed in the Rusoleum Anti-Skid additive to help keep the floor from being too slippery when it’s wet. The additive looked so fine (almost like flour) that we put in more than the suggested amount (8 bags for 2 kits of epoxy or 4 gallons).

Make sure to always put the anti-skid additive in the second coat only for it to be effective. For example if you were putting down a clear coat on top of an epoxy coat you would want the additive in the clear coat. Just like before I cut in the edges and Flannel Man filled in the center. The second time around I also filled in some shallow holes with epoxy to help even out the floor and it seemed to work fine. To keep the anti-skid additive suspended in the epoxy we kept the cordless drill nearby so we could re-mix every so often. We put on a nice thick coat and let it dry for a day and an half before we walked on it.

The second coat made all the difference! The splotchy appearance was gone and everything was a nice consistent color. I highly recommend putting on the second coat. Our only disappointment was the anti-skid additive. It is so fine it just looks like little pinhole air bubbles and I really don’t think it would stop me from slipping. Here’s the best picture I could get of the anti-skid additive it’s the tiny little bumps everywhere:

Luckily, the fact that we roughed up the floor keeps it from being too slippery. For people looking for some better anti-skid additive I’ve read that Shark Bite and Tread Tex both work great.

Two weeks later we were able to park inside again. The floor looks amazing! Much better than the curled up yellow linoleum don’t you think? Before:


Next we drywall, paint, and organizing the garage…

Fixing Our Uneven Garage Floor

After we had converted the garage back into a two car garage we started noticing the floor issues. In the winter when snow was coming into the garage from our vehicles it would melt and create large puddles on the floor. This is why garage floors are pitched toward the door in our climate (you just have to be careful of freezing your door shut). The side that I park on had a huge 1” deep dip right where I step out of the car and the side that Flannel Man parks on the water runs toward the exterior wall. The wood paneling on that wall was all curled up and the wood sill was rotting. This wouldn’t be such a big deal if it was only a garage wall but this wall supports our dining room above.

First we scraped the linoleum off the floor that the previous owner had glued down when he converted it to shop. It was an ugly yellow color and the edges were curled up. Can someone say tripping hazard? We bought a razor edged floor scrapper and went to town. For owners who were known to do everything half ass they sure did put down a lot of glue! It took days to scrap all of the linoleum off and even then there were still white spots of it and the glue everywhere.



We also had a bench that ran along the whole wall and some shelving from the previous owner to demo.


Upon further inspection the entire floor was wavy with the largest dip being in the storage area which luckily was away from our wet vehicles. The original owners/contractor must have hired a cheap concrete company because it is one of the poorest concrete jobs I’ve ever seen! We knew we needed to do something to fix the floor but what? There were only two options (1) grind the floor down or (2) add a product to level the floor. Self leveling concrete would have been great but it’s not recommended to drive on and with all the thin edges it would be bound to crack and chip. Next we looked at pour down epoxy but from what we read they would be very difficult to put on ourselves and it’s hard to come by the materials. I called around and couldn’t find a company that would do our garage because it was too small of a job. Ugh. The last product we looked at was Nature Stone which is basically pebbles covered in a clear resign. They would be able to level the floor we walk on but it isn’t waterproof so the water running towards the wall would still be an issue. Plus, the product is significantly tall so they taper the product near doorways and raise the door slightly so it can swing open. Well with our short ceiling height the exterior door can’t be moved and right now it actually hits the bottom of the garage door track. Then when we saw the price tag of $6K we ruled that one out. Plus the problem with all of these leveling products is that they do just that they level the floor. What we really needed was the floor to be pitched toward the garage doors.

So we figured our only other option was to hire someone to grind the cement floor down. We called dozens of people and it seemed like no one would touch this project with a 10 foot pole. Every place we called said they would be able to pour us a new slab if we/they busted out the floor. Um it’s not bad enough for that much work! Just when it was looking like we’d be sucking up water for the rest of our lives with a shop vac we had one contractor agree to come give us a quote. He agreed that we needed to do something about the uneven floor. Then he noticed all of the tools we had stored in the side of the garage and suggested that we rent the equipment ourselves since that is what he was planning to do. *cue light bulb* He gave us the name of a company that rents the heavy duty equipment and went on his way.

DIY what a great idea! Now we had already called some local rental places (you know the ones that rent power washers and lawn aerators) to see if they had a concrete floor grinder with no luck so we figured that was that. But you can’t just call any old rental place when you need to grind concrete. Let that be a lesson. After multiple phone calls and a visit to the rental company Flannel Man had a good understanding of what we needed to do and which machines we needed to rent. When he first called the person at the rental company asked how we found out about them because they rarely rent pieces of equipment to the general public. It wasn’t against their policy but they don’t advertise to that demographic.

We ended up renting a scarifier and a floor grinder with both diamond and carbon steel blades. We rented the scarifier because we had a lot of concrete to remove and we had to pay a pretty penny for the wear on the diamond blades. Then at the last minute Flannel Man decided to also get the carbon steel blades because the glue and linoleum left on the floor was going to gunk up the diamond blades. At least those were a flat fee. Originally, we were thinking of renting one at a time over the weekend so we had the maximum amount of time with each machine but then decided that only spending one weekend full of dust and listening to loud machines was better than two.

Flannel Man went and picked up the machines on a Friday at noon and got a head start on the floor. He started with the scarifier which basically cuts multiple grooves into the floor. To remove material you pull it back and forth and side to side until you have lots of dust and a scratched up floor. Within a minute the whole garage is filled with a cloud of dust so thick you can barely see where you’re going. I got an emergency call after work to go buy the nicest respirator I could find because the one we had wasn’t keeping the dust out. I did just that but we still ended up still adding a piece of paper towel as a filter in the air inlet on the front of the masks. Crude but it worked. He spent a total of five hours using the scarifier on the floor that night! I’m sure the neighbors loved that.

0.3 seconds later:

The bottom of the scarifier wasn’t what I expected.

Somehow those rounded edges cut groves like this in concrete:

The next day we spent another 4 hours with the scarifier. Periodically we’d stop to do a “bucket test” where we dump a bucket of water on the floor and see where it flows to. Very scientific stuff.

The water is on the move people! That’s progress.

Eventually we had to stop because we started to hit the large aggregate. The scarifier wasn’t doing much to the rocks but kept removing concrete around the rocks only making the floor more uneven.


Next we took the floor grinder with carbon blades to the left over linoleum on the floor. It did get some nice curls of linoleum off the floor but still left a lot of spots untouched. Most of those spots though were in the low areas of the floor so the floor grinder couldn’t reach them. Dang uneven floors!

Finally, it was on the diamond blades on the floor grinder. Switching out all 6 blades actually ended up being kind of tricky because some of the blades wouldn’t fit in correctly so we had to keep trying different blades until one fit. After a lot of rubber mallet whacking and some cursing we got them in. With the diamond blades the floor grinder put out a lot less dust and was much easier to handle. It reminded me of one of those commercial floor buffers only it was scuffing up the floor.

Taking the floor grinder over the scarified areas it did a great job smoothing out the rough areas. Here’s a picture after only one pass with the floor grinder:

We tried to smooth out the scarified areas as much as we could but there were some low spots and deep gouges we couldn’t reach with the floor grinder because it was wider than the scarifier. Imperfection was OK to us because it would only give us traction when we painted the slippery epoxy on. We also made sure to take a quick pass over the rest of the floor so that the epoxy would adhere better.


In the end we had 4 garbage bags half full of concrete dust (because we couldn’t pick up the bags if we’d filled them fuller) and concrete dust in every nook and cranny of the garage/us. The garage had a bit of a spider issue to say the least and the dust really highlighted those webs:

And as we left to go run the hardware store we were both briefly scared something had happened to our beautiful dark brown garage doors when we saw this:

Luckily, it was just a lot of concrete dust! We weren’t able to get all of the floor pitched toward the garage door like we had wanted but we got very close. In the center dip we went from a 1” dip:

To a 1/8” dip:

And the dip near the wall appears to be completely gone. So hopefully we won’t have any more issues with the water rotting out our wall! It was a lot of work but we’re glad we took the time to do it.

Next up we prep the floor and put down epoxy…

This is the story of two twenty something newlyweds who are learning to adjust to life in their first house, a 1973 fixer-upper.
DIY Savings