The Big K was mucking about in the garden on the house’s south side when she found plastic sheeting from a previous owner under the dirt. Karen thought it was for weed-prevention (it wasn’t), and was outraged. She immediately pulled it out. Big mistake.
The sheet was to keep water from soaking through the dirt and leaking into our basement. We usually don’t get enough rain for that to be a problem, but every couple years we get a multi-day deluge. Last year we got it.
Without grass or shrubbery to soak up the water like on the other sides of our house — and NO PLASTIC SHEET for protection, the water seeped down and drenched the old carpet in one of the basement rooms. We tried to dry the carpet out, but alas, in just a day it had that smell.
Out the carpet went, leaving a floor covered in hideous yellow mastic, hard as math. Getting a 900-pound grinder into the basement wasn’t an option. I didn’t want to use messy chemicals to get the stuff up either. So I forgot about it until earlier this month, when I accidentally spilled some water on the mastic.
Too my surprise, the nasty stuff immediately softened to where I could remove it with a metal scraper.
I still didn’t want to stain and polish, because I didn’t want to mess with heavy grinding and polishing equipment. But lucky me, PROSOCO had just launched Consolideck ColorHard at World of Concrete last February. It’s for concrete floors, even some exterior flatwork, where there’s NO POLISHING.
And it’s easy, which is a prime requirement for any Gary-DIY. You just mix 4 ounces of the ColorHard pigment with a gallon of Consolideck LS (lithium-silicate) Hardener/Densifier for concrete floors, and rub it on with a microfiber cloth. It’s all water-based; third-party certified for indoor air quality; makes the floor last the lifetime of the building, so it’s sustainable, which is why I’m writing about it in the “Green Journeys” blog.
I decided to test it, to see if a ColorHard floor would be better than replacement carpet or tile, which is what we have in the rest of the basement. Here’s what I did:
1. Scraped up some mastic to expose a little concrete.
2. Washed the exposed concrete with a mildly acidic cleaner called Consolideck SafEtch. That cleaned the floor and opened up the concrete pores a little, for better ColorHard penetration.
3. Mixed up a sample of Rose Quartz ColorHard which I got from Customer Care. Karen picked the color off the color chart.
4. Rubbed it on pretty lightly, as per instructions. Went a little heavier on the right side of the test panel than on the left, to see if I could get a more vivid color.The Big K liked it — anything’s better than the mastic. But she was surprised it let the mottling of the old concrete show through. I explained that was actually a good thing. It makes the floor more interesting looking. ColorHard is translucent after all — it’s not a color coating.
I also tested the hardness of the concrete, before and after, with some hardness picks I got from the Lab. The ColorHard treatment increased the concrete hardness from 3 to 4 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. That’s from soft to semi-hard, according to rocksforkids.com.
Rose Quartz the stone is actually 7 on the scale.
Next step is to try one of our glossy protective coatings over the test panel. I think Stand Off Gloss ‘N Guard WB (water based).