Is it Friday yet? That should tell you something about how my week is going. I didn't even bother to post here yesterday because is was such a non-productive day.
I had to leave early Monday, so Stacy stayed and troweled on this first base coat of the Granicrete system. Yesterday, when we arrived, the floor was still quite damp so we could not continue with the 2nd coat. We set up some fans and did some prep work on a Landing and in the Powder Room where we will also be doing this finish. That was basically all we could get done.
This morning we were able to get the 2nd layer of the base coat down and the first layer, partially done in the Powder Room.
The drill needs to be recharged, so we could not continue mixing up any more of the cement mix. We set up our fans and left for the afternoon. We are going to return late this afternoon, when we feel the floor will be dry. Then we will apply the texture layer over the 2 base coats and hopefully get the remainder of the first coat on the Powder Room and Landing floors. This will be left to dry over night and hopefully Thursday we will be able to color on the dried textured floor.
This is a fairly small condo, so are work space is limited. These are not my typical tools of trade that I play with on a daily basis, so I feel quite out of my element. The base coats and the texture coat have to be mixed in 5 gallon buckets with a squirrel mixer. Stacy is much more comfortable using these tools and with this set up than me! I don't like the fact that I need to wear a mask, gloves, and knee pads while working. All this gear is very uncomfortable. As you can tell, I don't quite have my heart in this whole process at the moment. I'm going to stop whining about it all though and try to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully, I will feel the end results are worth it all. Stay tuned.
I have two projects that I will be chronicling here this week. Once is my own project in my kitchen which I will call Adieu Asparagus. The other is my first attempt at installing a Granicrete floor system with Stacy over at a client's condo.
I decided that it was time to say goodbye to my Giant Asparagus in my kitchen. I've had it for a few years and I just need a little change. I'm not even a big fan of asparagus, but this space is tall and narrow, so the shape was right.
I started by troweling on 3 layers of Portofino plaster, mixed with Bella Fresco Gold. I put 2 layers on Sunday and 1 when I came home from work on Monday. This is some left over plaster from the Beacon Hill ceiling I did a few months ago. It has a little "shimmer" to it. Next, I will add a stenciled frame.
Now for the client project of the week, the Granicrete floor. I experimented with this cement based system in the class I took in Atlantic City with Nancy Jones. Stacy, has taken some extensive classes in NH and is a certified Granicrete applicator, so I am just along for the ride on this one, playing assistant.
The first step was to seal the plywood. There was wall to wall carpet in this room, that has been pulled up. The sealer is like a thick paint and is applied in a thin layer with a trowel.
This layer dries fairly quickly. Next we laid down this plastic mesh covering. It gets stapled to the sub-floor. That's as far as we got for today since we both had to leave early for other appointments. More tomorrow.
Today I thought I'd give you an overview of the 2 day class I took at the Decorative Arts Show/The Faux Event, last week in Atlantic City. "Creative Countertops and Beyond" was taught by the very talented, Nancy Jones. Nancy is the owner of Artworks!...Spokane and has been a decorative painting instructor since 1985. Let me tell you, this woman is the definition of the word "organize"! Basically, all I had to do was show up with a trowel for this class. For those of you who have taken classes in a convention setting before, you know you usually have to haul half your studio with you and then whatever you forgot, is what you need. Nancy supplied everyone with not only all the supplies and materials needed for this class, but also, very thoughtfully included a ziplock bag with granola and energy bars for us to eat over the course of this two day class. I am still pouring over the incredibly detailed notebook she gave us, which outlines everything we need to know about the 3 products we experimented with in class, Skimstone, E-crete, and Granicrete.
All three of these products can be used to resurface existing countertops or over existing floors. They all have similar properties, but are 3 different systems with their own primers, bonding agents, colorants and sealers. These products can go over surfaces such as vinyl shower stalls, ceramic tiles, Formica, etc. They are waterproof, stain and scratch resistant. They are great products to give new life to old countertops, tiles and floors when you are thinking of remodeling, but do not want to rip everything out and start from scratch.
The first three sample boards from this class I will show are all done with Skimstone.
This is one of my favorites and I am thinking of doing this in my small mudroom. I currently have some pretty ugly vinyl tile back there that is just begging for some help. I would like to do it like big, slate stones, with faux grout between the stones. You'll be seeing this project happen here later in October!
I also love this finish which Nancy calls "Rustic Hemingway". She designed this finish for the kitchen counters in a client's rustic cabin. Since I am still in the middle of my own bathroom makeover, I was hoping one of the finishes from this class would be one I would want to use over my ugly ceramic tile floor. I laid this board right down on my floor and it really works well. I am thinking of doing this finish in 18" square tiles, on a diagonal. Again, I will be posting this project here shortly. The push is on to
get this bathroom makeover done, so I can move on to the other zillion
projects I have on my "to do list".
Finally, for the Skimstone series, this Multi-tone Transitional finish would be great on a countertop.
This is an E-crete sample board with a finish called "Rocky Mountain Slate". Again, great for a countertop or floor. The possibilities with all of these products are really only limited to your imagination and creativity. Any combination of colors can be used and the finish can be matte, gloss or high gloss.
Last, but not least, is the Granicrete series of boards. These 2 boards show just a glimpse of the possibilities with this product.
All of the samples done in this class were only sealed with one quick coat of sealer, due to time constraints for drying. If you visit any of the the 3 sites linked above for Skimstone, E-crete or Granicrete, you will see the various finishes offered. Also, I have been working in the studio with my friend, Stacy Queen on a series of Granicrete samples. Once they are all sealed, I will be posting some more pics of those boards so you can see some different finishes.
It was a great idea to experiment with 3 different concrete surfacing systems, but the class got a bit rushed and hectic by the middle of day two. We created a total of 8 sample boards. I'd suggest adding a 3rd day or limiting the samples to 2 of each product for a total of 6 sample boards over 2 days. Nancy has such a wealth of information to share, I'm sure it's hard for her to try to edit, clearly wanting to give her students as much information as possible. These product lines are an investment and many lines cannot be purchased unless you have had some training. If you are a decorative painter and are thinking about expanding your service offerings, I highly recommend a class with Nancy Jones. Check out her website for her class schedule.