This was probably by far the hardest physical work to date! This is the first time we hired someone to help us because we knew we would be hard-pressed to complete the floor in the time constraints (drying concrete, truck pour time). We first covered the floor with sheets of plastic to provide a vapor barrier between the pesticide treated plywood and the concrete. If you look on the exterior door of a shipping container it will tell you what chemicals were used on the floor to keep out the pests. We were worried about off-gassing so we chose to put a barrier down before the pour. We then installed one inch boards around the edges of each container, as well as a thin steel piece down the center of the living area. This provided something to screte (how do you spell that?) off of as well as crack control barriers. Finally, we laid down welded wire and tied it down to the floor with screws so the concrete would have more strength. We had all of this done before the truck and the pump trailer arrived. When the truck arrived we had 30 minutes to pour – which was impossible. We took 120 minutes to pour, paying an extra $1 a minute after the first 30. As the pump trailer operators were pouring we were all shoveling and spreading the concrete as quickly as we could. Once the 8 yards of concrete had been poured and the trucks left we thought the concrete seemed really wet so we decided to run and get a quick lunch at the small cafe in town. That was a mistake….. by the time we got back less than an hour later it was getting too dry to trowel. We put water on it and began to trowel to get the smooth finish we wanted. Have you ever done 1,500 sit ups in one day? Try troweling too-dry concrete to the tune of 1,300 square feet from a knee board. We felt every minute of concrete day for about three days after the event! It was a big change for the house. It made it feel more cozy and less like a steel shipping container!
Once the concrete had cured for 30 days we were able to start staining. We have a great little stain company just down the road from us (kind of in the middle of nowhere) called Kemiko. We were able to go visit their showroom, pick our stain color and learn about how to acid stain our floors. We had to clean the floors several times with a neutral cleaning product (we used the Kemiko brand) then let it dry completely. The stain was then sprayed on in a random pattern with a simple hand pump sprayer. This was done twice, then we cleaned the floor until no stain residue was left . The floor was finished with a glossy wax. I have to admit we were a bit nervous because in our previous home we had stained the floor (it was not an acid stain) and we did not like the results. However, as you can see by the pictures we did a great job and the floors look beautiful. We are pleased with the results, although we wish we had been able to get a smoother finish, but all in all, not bad for a family of do-it-your-selfers.