Help - resurfacing basement floor, DIY hack job

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  #1  
Old 06-22-08, 07:38 AM
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Help - resurfacing basement floor, DIY hack job

Okay, tail between my legs with shame, feeling like I screwed up, but laying it all out here! At least I am trying to DIY!

Basement concrete floor old, worn and ugly. Nowhere close to level, but I can live with that. Want to use as a shop, so intent was to resurface it, then coat with either epoxy or urethane fortified floor paint. Am in the resurfacing part and have problems.

I used 12 bags of Quikrete Concrete Resurfacer ($25 a pop), but have a few problems. First, it is not a self leveling product (Quikrete said so when I called) and sets up fast, so I cannot get a nice "feathered" edge between pour areas. I cannot mix it thinner to flow better because it will fail in strength (again, Quikrete said so). So, the floor looks much better, but has these little overlapping "edges" between all the areas where I applied this stuff (about 12 areas in all). I just can't get it smooth!

I may just be a simpleton with no flair for this, but short of grinding down all these "edges" (did a bit already - it would kill me) or buying another $300+ of this stuff and risk getting the same sloppy results, what can I do to get this floor suitable for coating so it will look, well, not like a hack job? Can I "skim" coat this with something else that will flow more easily yet set up strong? If so, what would that be.

Quikrete recommends a different product - "Floor Resurfacer Self Leveling." Actually spoke to their sales rep in the area and he said it would be the perfect product (should have used it from the start), but nobody carries it. Might be able to order via a home center, but if there is some other suggestion, I'll take it. Someone else said Top and Bond mixed thin would work, but...

Much to my shame, attached are pics. In some (not all) areas you can barely feel these "edges" so maybe they won't show so bad once coated, but I would like to take a little pride here and do it better (if not plain right)!

P.S. I just let the stuff set after using a squeegee - maybe I should have brushed with a broom, used a float..., but it sets so darn fast and gets clumpy. Videos I saw of using this stuff made it look much easier than it was.

P.P.S. A little self confidence booster here - I parged those stone basement foundation walls (most had crumbling stucco everywhere) all by myself with 20 bags of Quickwall and they look pretty darn good!



 
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  #2  
Old 06-22-08, 10:17 AM
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P.S. I mixed the daylights out of this stuff with a drill/paddle, but when I pull it thin with the squeegee I end up pulling a lot of gritty sand like stuff at the end of the pull. I read somewhere on a similar product to mix thoroughly, let it sit five minutes, then mix again. I'm worried about the stuff setting up, but should I try that?
 
  #3  
Old 07-18-08, 02:55 AM
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Deke, This is what I recommend you do next. First off, looking at your pictures I'd say you've done a great job so far. You're almost there just a couple more steps and these wont break the bank either.

Items needed:

Bag of Portland cement........make sure it's pure Portland cement and not a mixure like quikecrete or sand topping mix.

Rubber float.......good condition makes it a lot easier.

Block stone........looks like the rubber float but has heavy abrasive type material on bottom. Masons use this tool for rubbing green poured walls to smooth them or block layers use it to rub walls down after laying block. I've used a flat peice of cement block or a brick in a pinch before. though they dont work nearly as well.


Clean area to be skim coated well. No loose material, especially small pebbles or sand. You've already found out what sand does.

Wet area to be coated, no standing water though. Just get it fairly damp.

Mix Portland to the consistancy of toothpaste. Start small...mix only bout a half gallon untill you get the timing down. Portland will set very fast. You may temper ONCE with a little cold water. Have another bucket with you for clean cold water. The trick here is to keep that rubber float WET....if it dries out while skim coating, the Portland will start to tear and seperate. Take only a swipe or two holding float at a 45 degree angle. Dont push down too hard and keep things WET. Slipperery is the key to a good skim coat. Feather the edges and dont be finicky about a few high spots. Thats what the block stone is for on the following day. A few rubs and the high spots will be right where you want them. If need be you can "layer" Portland skim coat for deeper fills. Just allow a day or so between coats. Usually never more then a Half inch at a time.

Try to remember...skim coating is wham-bam. The more you play with it trying to get it perfect the more it dries out and the worse it gets.


Greg Smith
Finisher since 1983
 
  #4  
Old 07-18-08, 04:45 AM
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Man, you are my hero! Thanks, I had given up on finding some advice on this. I will follow your directions, but give me a little while to get to this.

You see, I have started using the basement for its intended purpose (as a shop) and have a few projects going, even on the imperfect floor. As for skimming, I think I have a genetic aversion to it. Whether it is walls, drywall, plaster or masonry it has to be my least favorite thing to do and/or the thing I do then think, "Why didn't I pay someone to do this?" It's hard and you are absolutely right - messing with it too many times (oh let me just make one more pass) is my worst enemy.

Thanks!

P.S. Can I bother you with one more question? With the portland cement skim coat, it sounds like it might be a nice finish all by itself and maybe I don't need to go with an epoxy floor paint. If you think the skim coat would be a suitable final surface, would you recommend sealing it? If so, with what please. Thanks again.
 
  #5  
Old 07-18-08, 04:51 AM
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after drying for 30 days you will definantly want a epoxy floor paint. the portland will adsorb any spills and stain. also some spills could cause the portland to delaminate. but make sure that floor is dry and clean before the floor paint is applyed. also the epoxy will help to cut down on dust.

are you going to cowboy up or just lay there and bleed?
 

Last edited by Speedwrench; 07-18-08 at 04:53 AM. Reason: more thoughts
  #6  
Old 07-20-08, 06:55 PM
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The portland skim coat as described is a huge mistake. Portland cement has to be mixed with some type of aggregate (sand, stone, etc.) to become a viable product. Sure it will be simple to apply, but when finished you'll be able to flake it off with a fingernail. It is NOT a wear surface. If that were the case, people would be using it as an overlay all the time. It MUST be mixed with aggregate to work. For a highly smoothable overlay, the finest aggregate you could mix it with would be silica flour (also called silica fume), but even this is a very weak surface. The hardness of the aggregate is what makes an overlay resistant to traffic. Pure portland cement would be absolutely worthless.

Pecos
 
  #7  
Old 07-20-08, 08:01 PM
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Pecos. Could you please describe your advice on best way to skim coat this floor?
 
  #8  
Old 07-21-08, 03:14 AM
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I don't mean to sound negative, but overlays are best left to a pro. I have been in the concrete biz for over 22 years and I don't apply them unless I have absolutely no choice. You did the right thing initially by buying the quikrete resurfacer. Unfortunately you were misinformed about it levelling itself.
Almost any good overlay that is not a self-leveller contains a polymer liquid that greatly enhances bonding to the slab. Unfortunately, this same polymer makes the mix very sticky and hard to trowel. Likewise, the sand in it does not yield a smooth finish.
The way to actually do it smooth like you apparently want it is to...
A) buy a self levelling overlay like Mapei or Ardex (the self levelling grades of them), or
B) use portland cement, sand, and concrete bonding agent to apply the scratch coat, then follow it up by trowelling down a mixture of portland cement and silica fume mixed mostly with water but with a splash of bonding agent as well. This option is cheaper but more work, whereas the self levellers are very expensive. Good luck.

Pecos
 
  #9  
Old 01-08-10, 09:42 PM
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Portland only

Pecos is right about using portland only.

Has a group of guys who tried to use only portland cement to resurface my basement in 1/8 to 3/4 sections and it cracked flaked all over the place. I had to hammer it all out, at least it broke off fairly in big chunks and fairly easily. The 1/2 to 3/4 areas held, so I'll probably try to self level against them.

I'm going to try (A). Anyone know where I can pick this stuff up?

Steve
 
  #10  
Old 01-09-10, 06:43 AM
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Lowes carries some Mapei products back in the tile section, but I don't know if they carry the self leveling overlay. They may carry some self leveling underlayment, which is different. It isn't as strong and doesn't wear as well, because it's meant to be covered up with something else which would sustain all the abrasion.
For the Ardex, you'll almost definitely have to go to a construction supply. Make sure you ask for self-leveling overlay, not an underlayment. Also ask which grade of the product would be best for your application. Good luck.
 
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