Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Flooding: Update 6

Scrubbing the basement floor

I am so sick of this basement store room floor. The grey layer didn't come up with paint stripper. It turned into a slick, goopy mess that you could skate around on in rubber boots like an ice rink. The skating certainly didn't help the attempt to scrape the goop up. I ended up having to scrub it up on my hands and knees.

Then, there was just a layer of black left on the floor, you can see it in the corner of the photo above. I thought it was paint, but once I tried to strip it, it turned to goo, just like the previous layer. I wish I had tried just stripping a patch. The paint stripper bottle recommends to try a patch first to see how long you will need to wait, but I think it's a good idea to try just to make sure you're stripping something that won't turn to goo, before you have to scrub it from the enture floor. And also before you waste a nearly $30 bottle of paint stripper.

Once I realized that the black was adhesive, I tried a different tactic that a friend had suggested: mineral spirits. We didn't have a lot on hand, but I was able to mop the small amount over the entire floor. We were able to scrub it clean in one spot, but it was a lot of work, and the fumes were intense. Scott suggested that we let it sit for a while before scrubbing, to let it work. That seemed like a good idea at the time, especially since he felt like he was about to pass out (he had given me the really nice mask). Unfortunately, we didn't return in the right amount of time. It only occurred to me later that he and I were thinking of mineral spirits differently, because he had only used it in high concentrations: dropping a painted item in a jar for a while to strip it. He didn't realize that if we left it too long, it would evaporate and the paint or adhesive would simply dry again. He had never used it as a paint thinner. I wasn't quite thinking of it myself. Given how it had effected us earlier, we avoided going back to it until it was too late. The scrubbing didn't work so well when we tried it again. That night, the fumes pervaded the house, and I could smell it in our bedroom. Under the influence of mineral spirits, we both had terrible dreams and woke up feeling awful.

The final result was more like it was in the beginning, before applying paint stripper. Not wanting to deal with mineral spirits again -- it was not worth the price of the dreams alone -- I decided to simply mop up all of the chemicals before painting. After hours of mopping and many buckets of water, I finally reached clear water, then started it all over, adding TSP cleaner. Eventually, it was ready to paint.

Floor Painted in Basement Storage Room

I had bought the darkest pre-mixed color of epoxy paint available. I was thinking of going back to the store and exchanging it for a mixed color I wanted more, but in the end, my impatience to finish the room -- and the fact that it's just a storage room -- won out. I am so ready to start moving things into the storage room, to clear out the rest of the basement so that we can start working on it, and clear out the stuff from the rooms upstairs where it is currently stashed.

We'll be able to start moving things in just a few hours, as soon as the last corners are dry.

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