Monday, August 31, 2009

Faux Tile

Many artists have their studios in garages, in basements, or converted spaces with concrete floors. Sometimes the concrete ages to a not-so-attractive patina. Even new concrete can be painted, but waiting 30 days before painting is recommended. This morning I was reading Cindy of Dirt-Kicker Pottery blog about her new studio. She was mentioning they want to stain the concrete floor, so I thought I would post how I transformed our screen room concrete into a faux tile floor. The first photo is the finished floor, but look at the next photo. Believe it or not, it's the same room. Warning if you try this, it is a lot of hard work, so be prepared, but the results are worth it.

What you will need:

concrete cleaner
concrete patch/filler
disposable tray liners
paint roller with pole
package of paint rollers
concrete paint primer
concrete paint in your choice of colors
painter's tape for grout lines
hand held flat paint applier
tape measure
large t square or L square
foam pads for your knees
strong knees and lots of will power

The first step to the transformation is cleaning the concrete really well. Pressure washing is optimum, but since our screen room has a wood half wall we couldn't pressure wash the concrete, so we swept, vacuumed, mopped, scrubbed and cleaned and cleaned. If there are any grease stains, those should be removed with a grease remover. Once the concrete is thoroughly clean check for cracks even small ones. If there are any cracks fill them with concrete filler and let it dry. If the filler recedes, fill it again and let it dry thoroughly.

You can paint just one color on your concrete and it won't be that difficult, but as things often go, I took the hard road and wanted a decorator look to the screen porch. I had it in my mind to paint the concrete to look like tile. Since our screen room is very large, 12 x 40, I wanted large tiles. I made my tiles 24 inches in size. Since it is long and narrow I wanted the "tiles" set on a diagonal to minimize the narrow look. I mapped out the size and pattern on paper and then set to work.

I obtained all of the primer, patch, and concrete paint at one of the big box stores. Make sure you get the type of paint made especially for concrete. There is a minimum temperature below which the paint shouldn't be used so check the can. I did my screen room in the Spring when the weather was warm but not too hot to work. The first step after the concrete is cleaned, patched and thoroughly dry is to paint the concrete primer over the whole floor. The primer helps bond the concrete paint to the concrete. My primer needed to dry for 24 hours, be sure to check the can to see what the manufacturer recommends.

Since I wanted a tile look, I painted the whole floor with a first coat in a gray color to simulate the grout lines. After the first coat dried, I starting marking off for the grout lines with painters tape. It isn't easy getting diagonal lines straight. I used 1/2 inch painter's tape to mark off the lines and the tape stretches, so I had to constantly keep checking to be sure I wasn't wavering off a straight line. Those foam knee pads work good, but they kept slipping down, so I finally settled for the foam gardeners kneeling square to save my knees a bit. This is a very slow process, but worth it in the end. Make sure the painter's tape is pressed down real well onto the concrete.

Once I had all my grout lines covered with painter's tape, I painted the whole floor with an orange peach color. I painted right over the painter's tape. Then I let this dry. I then used two more colors, a beige and a darker orange/red color, and dabbed each one onto each tile and quickly took the hand sponge and rubbed those colors of paint with a swirling circle motion on each tile, staying clear of the painters tape. Only one tile can be done at a time because the paint dries quickly. If you don't like the look you can paint over it till you get it right. The idea is to have the edges look like they are slightly receding r curving down to the grout line. Having a real satillo tile as a sample to refer to would have been a good idea, but I didn't do this. Now that I am writing about it I am thinking of things which I could have done to make the job easier.

Once I had the whole floor painted I let it dry thoroughly and then I started to remove the painter's tape to reveal my new faux tile floor. What a transformation. Several people have actually thought the floor was real tile and one person had to reach down to touch it. What a compliment to our handy work. A sealer is recommended, but I have yet to put one on. I always thought if I wanted to touch it up or change it I couldn't if I put a sealer on it. If you are going to use the floor in a clay studio and mop it often the sealer is probably a good idea.

We liked the paint so much we also put it on our garage floor. But we just used one color, that was much easier. But even the garage floor went from an ugly duckling to a swan, don't you think?


  1. GREAT Blog!! Just the information I needed! Your floor turned out fantastic.

  2. Holy Cow Woman! you are multi-talented :o))

  3. Gesssshhhh That's Peeeeerrrrttttyy!

  4. like everything you do- well done!
    I want to sit on that porch!!!!

  5. Hi Cindy, thanks, hope you can use the information.

    Hi Cindy, thanks, as you know I've worn myself out doing all this.

    Hi Mary, thanks, isn't it a transformation, we amazed ourselves.

    Hi Meredith, thanks, we want to sit on it too, but never have time - next place we are changing our ways, and that's a promise.

  6. wow linda! great post... if my basement didn't leak, i'd think about doing the same thing down there and maybe i could work down there part of the year. thanks for the step by step, very thorough.

  7. Hi Jim, I am going to post a few of these home improvement thingy's before we move since I have the photos in my archives and hopefully someone can make use of them.

    re your basement leak. I used some stuff called redgard on my shower behind the tile which I painted on the backerboard before I put in the tile, that is really good at preventing leaks but it is expensive. Of course you would have to see where the water is seeping into the basement before you could apply it. It is much too expensive to do the whole thing. try the french drains all the way around your house to try and move the water away from the foundation to see if that helps. Do you have gutters? - that also helps get all that water away from the house if you connect them up to that corrugated drain pipe under ground and deadhead them out further away on a downhills slope or into the storm drains. too bad you don't live near us or visa versa, as we gave some of that drain pipe away after our garage sale last week.

    when I saw your great wall I had visions of some broken pots being mosaiced on it - perhaps some of Sofia's tiles? Thanks so much I hope you get your leak sorted out what a pain in the petute some things are.

  8. You are amazing. You've put so much TLC into the home and the grounds. Beautiful. What a jewel.

    And, hey, I love the pendant. I'm sorry for the delay in getting back to you... I've had to put on my "paycheck career" hat and keep my nose to the grindstone lately. (Actually, I'm very grateful for my awesome clients and love working with them, so it's all good... but busy!)

  9. Hi Patricia, thanks so much; I knew you were busy and I should be packing. I guess I'll motivate myself to do some of that today. I've gotten to be a real dreamer and writer rather than a doer - life changes I guess. I'm glad you like the pendant.

  10. beautiful job - you're ambitious to say the least! I don't know if you can even see our garage floor! :)

  11. Hi Kyle, I'm not as ambitious any more, just worn out, except for clay. Ha!, Thanks. We had a time cleaning up our garage to do the floor too.

  12. Great article, very interesting

  13. I just stumbled on your blog. Your floor is fantastic! I'm contemplating doing my carport, probably when the weather warms I know how much work I have installed for me. Thanks for posting.

  14. Hi College Headache, good luck with your carport. We did our garage too, but with one color and that wasn't half as bad, either way it's well worth it.


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