I have been doing vintage markets for a couple years now and if you ever saw an episode of “Hoarders” you would think I was auditioning, because my yard was being overtaken by some “wonderful treasures” (although my neighbors were thinking that it was junk). DH decided it was best to move my glorious bounty into a warehouse that had enough space for storage and a workshop. But do you ever really have enough storage space? Anyway back to the topic. This warehouse, which had been sitting empty for quite some time, had an office area at the front and I had a vision that with a little elbow grease it would make a really good retail area. So I decided that I would like to put together a monthly sale. By having the occasional sale, this would allow me time to pick, salvage and recreate one of a kinds and still be able to do shows. So I started the renovation with the goal of repurposing as many things as I could and to do it on a very low budget. I believe I accomplished that goal. My total cost of the renovation was around $500. If you go to my Instagram or Facebook page, you can see the finished projects.
With all that being said, one of the things that allowed me to keep the cost low, was using kraft paper for flooring. The floor had some carpet that had been glued down and needless to say, I probably should have worn a hazmat suit when removing it.
I had been consulting with my dear friend, Pinterest, about ideas on what to do and came across several blogs where people had used kraft paper on the floor. There were mixed reviews and different supplies used. So here is my version, which includes – “don’t do as I did, do as I say”:
I purchased the rolls of kraft paper from Home Depot (in the paint department). Then I tore the paper into random sizes and crumpled them up, to create more interest when you glue it down. (if you have access to child labor, this would be a great task for them). Now we were ready for the gluing. In hindsight, I should have went over the floor with a scraper to remove the carpet adhesive but I was hoping the glue pattern would transfer through the paper.
Attempt #1 – On the blogs I read, they used Elmer’s glue that was watered down by 50%. Brush the glue on the back of the paper, place it on the floor and then with a wallpaper squeegee or plastic putty knife, smooth out the air bubbles. According to what I read, as the paper dries, you will see bubbles but after sitting overnight, they will disappear. My DH, who does commercial concrete, had several gallons of concrete bonding agent sitting around so I tried that. After doing approximately ¾ of the room, we realized that the bubbles we had looked more like the paper curling up. At that point, we decided to switch to the Elmer’s glue solution. After letting that room sit overnight, we came back the next morning and to our surprise (not really), the paper that the bonding agent was used on had not stuck. FAIL
Attempt #2 – We started over using the glue solution and could immediately tell a big difference. We still had bubbles but that was to be expected. The paper we applied with the bonding agent had turned a really cool dark color, so we decided to try and salvage some of those pieces. Not the best idea, they didn’t suck down to floor as well as the other paper did.
Once everything dried overnight, it was time to use a sealer/polyurethane. This is where a lot of blogs varied on what product to use. I chose H&C Concrete Sealer. It is a water-based product and you were also able to purchase a product called SharkGrip, which is a slip resistant additive. I applied several coats of the sealer, letting each dry overnight. As I would add each coat, I could see some of the paper bubbling up but then most of them sucked back down. There were some areas where the paper was exposed, especially in the areas where we had reused the paper from the first attempt. I took a palm sander and went over those areas. However, in doing that, there were several areas where the sander caught the paper and pulled it completely up.
After sanding and vacuuming, I applied two more coats of sealer.
Overall, I’m pleased with the look and the cost. The floor has a tackiness to things that sit on it for a while. So I’m not sure it that would have happened if I had used a flooring polyurethane.
Would I do it again? Probably so, but with a few changes. 1) Maybe remove the old adhesive (in all honesty, I doubt it would make a big difference). 2) Definitely start with Elmer’s Glue. 3) Don’t reuse the paper. 4) Use a polyurethane for flooring.
The way I look at it is if it doesn’t last, I can change it. Besides, I get bored easy.