Friday, February 13, 2009

I Have a Cement Floor!

I have a cement floor. Yes, my family room, which is a good sized room, has a cement floor! My house was built in the early 50’s, so it just one of those “regular” track homes over by Cal State Long Beach. The previous owner had put on some additions, thankfully, to increase the square footage of the house. Most of you know that houses back then were small because why would anyone need a house any bigger than 800 or 900 square feet? I remember (not actually, since I wasn’t born yet) my parents bought their first house, their only house, in 1950 in Long Beach and paid a total of $8800 for it and the included appliances! It was a two bedroom, one bath, small living room/dining room combo, kitchen (where the washer and dryer also went) and a single car garage. The house next to them was on a corner lot with a double garage and an extra bedroom and bath. It was less than $2000 more, but they just felt why would anyone need that much room? That was pretty much like the house I own now was back in the 50’s when it was originally built. You know, those crazy fifties!

Anyway, back to my cement floor. There was so much I wanted to do to my house when I first moved in. I had to figure out where to start and how to do it without a lot of cash. The house was pretty outdated with dark paneling on the walls, white shag carpet, some of the rooms had “cottage cheese” on the ceilings, and there was linoleum flooring in the kitchen (along with dark, modern cabinets) and the same flooring was in the dining room and family room as well. I couldn’t afford to have someone come in and re-do everything, so I started it myself. I’ve always said when it comes to decorating there are no rules in my opinion. Do what you love, do what makes you happy, do what makes your house become your home. So, I started. My son and I ripped out a bunch of the ugly kitchen cabinets that went to the ceiling. We replaced most of the cabinets with antique cupboards I had acquired over the years and painted the remainder of the cabinets a dark red. Since we ripped out so many cabinets, there were now holes in the kitchen ceiling. After thinking about how to fix that problem, we decided to put antique ceiling tins on the kitchen ceiling. Bryce, my son, wasn’t real happy with that job! I think out of all the jobs he has helped me with that was the one he hated the most! Next, I tackled the ugly, dark paneling. It ran through part of the kitchen, to the dining room and into my huge family room. Actually, that was a pretty easy fix. I primed all the paneling first, then painted the dining room and kitchen paneling a bright yellow, and the family room was now a bright orange. What was a dark house soon became much more light and sunny by a few inexpensive projects. I wanted to put down nice wood flooring in the kitchen and dining room but it was too expensive at the time. Bryce and I went to Lowe’s and picked out tongue and groove planks that usually go on the walls. Once he laid them down, hammered them into place and I sealed them with Thompson Water Sealer, the transformation was amazing and I found my rooms looking so much larger.

It was now time to tackle the family room. When we bought the house, half of
the family room floor was covered in old, white shag carpet and the other half in worse looking linoleum than the other rooms had. Neither Bryce nor I anticipated what a project this would be. I mean after all, it looked relatively easy. When the carpet came out, we were shocked to find more linoleum which must have originally covered the entire family room floor underneath. So, that meant we had to take up two layers of linoleum in the family room. It was like that flooring was cemented down with the strongest glue and adhesive in the world. It took days to scrape it off. Bryce’s hands were blistered from the job. I’ll spare you the details of what we went through, but thankfully the end result was that I finally had my cement floor that I wanted! After I sealed it, I stood back in amazement that we had finally finished one of the worse projects in the house but I loved the way the floor now looked.

Shortly after that, I had my daughter, Katie’s, wedding reception at the house. Some people looked at me with sympathy as in, “can’t she afford carpet”, others just didn’t get it. I would see them staring and bending down and trying to understand why anyone would want a floor like that. The down side to a cement floor is that its cold in the winter, sometimes the dog slips when she runs too fast, and when you come in from the pool you need to make sure you don’t have wet feet! But the upshot, it doesn’t matter what you spill on it as clean up is easy, it’s cool in the summer and pretty soon by granddaughter Riley will be able to ride her tricycle around inside the house without ruining the floor!

Remember, when you want to decorate or re-model, do what you love, do what you like. It’s your house, your home. There are no rules in decorating except to make yourself happy. And remember big changes can be accomplished very inexpensively with just a little elbow grease. That’s why I have a cement floor!


  1. I like cement floors...and cement counters! Would love to see before and after photos!


  2. I haven't figured out where you live yet but in Waco Texas there's an antique shop named Bloom and be swanky and there cement floor is amazing. I want to do that to my house. She said the sealer for it costs $100 or so a bucket. I also love stained cement flooring. I need to do something about these floors!

    The Texas Woman