Epic fail – Our damaged living room floor

In the interest of keeping it real, I bring you our biggest fail to date. The floor in our living room is f*cked.

001epoxy_floor_damage

That light gray spot… yeah that’s not supposed to be there.

It’s no secret that we’ve been using the downstairs living room and dining room as renovation central. We’re storing ALL the tools on the floor (it’s a great method that allows us to easily find anything we need… NOT!) and miscellaneous building materials in this space. That included eight sheets of treated plywood we needed to finish the walls of the workshop. We dropped it in the living room several months ago because those sheets are heavy and we were in the midst of another huge project.

When we moved the plywood to the basement to make space for working on the trailer components, we uncovered this.

002epoxy_floor_damage

We hoped it was a stain and instantly tried some citrus cleaner and wire brush, which did next to nothing. Which led to lots of anger and curse words. This is an epoxy floor! It’s supposed to be indestructible!

004epoxy_floor_damage

So now we think it was probably some sort of chemical reaction between the chemicals in the plywood and the epoxy floor. A little internet research revealed that this can happen when an epoxy floor isn’t installed properly. What? Something in this place wasn’t done correctly? I’m shocked (sarcasm).

003epoxy_floor_damage

We have one more heavy duty cleaner to try, but we’re not holding our breath. So we’re probably going to have to strip the top layer of floor and paint it with a heavy duty coating, like we did in the studio (although that was on top of concrete, not an epoxy floor.) Oh, and did I mention that this flooring runs throughout our downstairs living room, dining room and bathroom? Hello extra work we weren’t expecting. Ugh.

This is our one appeal to the interwebs to see if anyone out there knows whether this can be fixed or has experience removing epoxy floors OR scuffing them for paint/recoating.

23 comments

  1. Kati from so happy home

    Not to minimize the damage (or your frustration at unexpected installation blowback), but are you planning an area rug in the space? Is it possible to ignore it for now (i.e., cover it up), until other more pressing concerns are dealt with? I have no experience with epoxy anything other than knowing that I wouldn’t want to live (more like breathe) through an application of the stuff.

    Good luck. Hopefully there’s someone out there who can advise an actual solution.

    • Heather

      I almost titled this post “I guess we need a rug,” but based on our plans for the room a rug won’t make any sense. The damage is in a really awkward spot. Ugh….

      For now we are ignoring it (as best we can) and it’s on the list for this year’s kitchen/living/dining room overhaul.

  2. Steph H.

    I was going to say a rug but saw your comments. New idea! Paint to look like a portal to another world. Nobody said artwork is only for the walls…ha!

    But seriously that really sucks. Good thing you have that awesome bar to make some cocktails to ease the pain!

  3. Kristen

    This looks JUST like the time I left a tube of silicone caulking sitting on our concrete countertops (standing up). It burnt a hole through the sealer, and actually lightened the concrete. What fixed it for us was to wet sand down past the burn, then apply more sealer. How thick is your epoxy? Could you sand it at all, try to remove the top layer?

    • Heather

      Oh wow! That does sound similar. I think no matter what we’re going to need to remove the top layer – the shiny coating. To your point, maybe that’s all that’s damaged. If so, then we could just re-seal everything. Interesting…

      Also I fixed the typo for you 🙂

  4. Evan

    I wonder if you couldn’t use some sort of dye, perhaps the dye used for the initial application of the epoxy in some way, on the lighter portion. If it is some chemical reaction (which seems the only plausible explanation) I would go for masking the stain over trying to un-do it.

  5. Chris M

    Quick tip – I’ve painted more than my fair share of floors, mostly in warehouses & workshops that get a lot more abuse than you will ever put them through. A couple of tips:\

    1. You don’t need to strip the floor as long as it is sticking to the underlying concrete
    2. You need to rough to surface to get a new layer to stick – shot blasting is the best (you can rent a machine for this) but you can also sand it with a coarse grit.
    3. Lowe’s has the absolute cheapest 100% solid epoxy flooring. It actually comes from Epoxy Coat (IRC, they are an industrial provider) but is 1/2 the price. You can order custom colors (I have tile red in my kitchen) and it’s self leveling (although you need a lot if your floor is uneven).
    4. Use bondo to fill in gaps (yup, the CEO of Epoxy Coat told me this was the best/cheapest crack filler).

  6. Patty@homemakersdaily.com

    Okay. I asked the husband about it and he said it could definitely be a chemical reaction. His other thought was that it could be moisture. The treated plywood tends to be “wet”. You know how when you set something wet on wood, the wood turns white? Same kind of thing.

    He suggested you try to match the color and redo the damaged section. You don’t really have anything to lose. If that doesn’t work or you don’t want to try it, he recommended going to a paint store (not a store like Lowes or Home Depot – a real paint store like Sherwin WIlliams) and tell them what’s going on and ask what they have available to cover it and how to do it. He didn’t think removing the epoxy was a good option.

    • Heather

      Ha! Thanks, Patty! That was fast 🙂
      Yes, the plywood was wet with chemicals when we brought it in. We didn’t think about that fact and we honestly didn’t think we’d leave it there for so long. (Aren’t renovations fun?!?!)

      We’re definitely not planning to remove all of the epoxy. But we figure we have to get rid of the top/shiny coat to get anything else to stick (paint or otherwise.) Does that sound accurate (to your husband)? We appreciate the expert advice!

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  8. j.oliver

    some sort of coating like Ardex or something similar – should be able to go right over the top. I used to do design drawings for Old Navy and other stores, and they rarely ever removed existing – just did this right over whatever was there.

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