Sealing the floor

Back in the post Removing the labels I talked about the documentation we found on the web about IM/Basileum SI-84/99, the pesticide/fungicide treatment in the flooring.  This blog tincancabin.com was one source of information.  Perhaps he’s an alarmist.  I confess that we didn’t research this as fully as we might: we read enough to convince us that working 8 hours a day in an environment that might be still gassing off an organophosphate into an enclosed space was not a good idea, and we needed to deal with it.   At the same time, the tincancabin guy didn’t seem to be too concerned about diluting his epoxy coating with xylene, but I wasn’t too enthusiastic about it.

By strange chance, the day we were discussing this we got a flyer in the mail from Watco. We usually get their Danish oil finish, and were unfamiliar with their line of industrial floor coatings, yet this was that was in the flyer.  Instead of the double coat of epoxy suggested by tincancabin, we chose a primer and floor coating from Watco.

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We started off by washing down the floor with a pressure washer and Simple Green concentrate.  (We had actually ordered a degreaser from Watco also, but it didn’t arrive in time, so we got Simple Green from Home Depot.)

We debated whether to fill the holes and simply to use the floor coating as the final floor surface. We decided to use a floating floor on top of the coating, so we didn’t worry about making the floor underneath smooth.

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After pressure washing, we let the floor dry overnight.

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Here’s Cali mixing the primer, which comes in two cans, each half-filled. We used an inexpensive paint roller and a disposable paint tray.  The first coat is Rust-Oleum 4-hour Epoxy Primer.

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Starting the primer coat

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Here’s the completed primer coat.  We let it cure overnight. What we didn’t use we left in the can to cure: once it’s mixed, that’s it, it will catalyze and cure. We didn’t anticipate how hot it got: after a half-hour, the can was too hot to touch.

 

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Here’s the real stuff.  Again it arrived in two parts and we mixed them to get them ready for coating the floor. It’s thick and gooey. In retrospect I wish I had held back a small quantity of resin and catalyst for later patching, but it worked out OK.

It took about 20 minutes to coat the floor, and another ten to go around filling in all the screw hole. Since the idea is to seal in the chemicals seeping up from the floor, sealing any open spots was essential.  It was helpful to be able to reach through the open window frame at the far end, and to be able to use the roller on the pole to reach into the corners.

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The contents of the cans was more than enough to fill all the voids and completely seal the floor without a lot of waste.  The paint roller and the pan were a dead loss, as expected. Incidentally you can see some spots against the wall where I wasn’t too careful with the roller.  We’re going to completely cover those spots later, so a little excess paint was not a concern.

Again we let the floor cure overnight before we walked on it.

As a scientist, I’d like to be able to have proved conclusively to myself that this was an effective solution.  I don’t know what would have been needed to assay how much organophosphate was gassing off.  Whatever it was, we didn’t have it available before or after the floor was sealed, so we really can’t evaluate whether this method is effective, or even whether there was a threat to start with.  Lacking clear evidence, I’ll just say that it feels good to have sealed the floor, and it has made later steps easier.

Next time: fixing dips in the ceiling

 

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