So that big project I mentioned a few post back... I am tasked with cleaning up the lower flat of a building the boss owns. We've been renting out the upper flat for years and using the lower for storage and that's been fine. However, boss wants to rent out part of the lower flat and that means "spring cleaning" but in the fall. I had to make some tough decisions and throw things out just to make room - items which could probably be used but we suddenly lack the space to store it. "If in doubt, throw it out". The renter will have access to a bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom while we get 2 bedrooms for storage. After shifting everything out of the storage bedrooms, I swept them out and moved stuff back in (at least whatever was still good yet), which left the other rooms bare.
The last person to paint in the building was a handyman in 2001 - he used flat paint. That's not bad for a flat used for storage, but for a renter? Nope, that isn't going to cut it. Semi-gloss it is. Spent the better part of 4 days getting the bedroom and living room up to snuff with a fresh coat of paint on everything. Sorry no pics of this: too busy getting it ready as the renter was supposedly moving in on the 2nd of September.
Turns out not yet (kinda) - he moved his stuff in but isn't living there yet. Anyhow, the kitchen and bathroom didn't require much painting as the handyman used semi-gloss in there (thanks to my suggestion at the time).
The biggest issue was the floor of the kitchen though, the toilet from the upper flat leaked a few years ago and caused the floor to crack and crumble in spots. Plus, a lot of people kept mentioning that the flooring had asbestos in it. Now, I'm not an asbestos expert but I did a little research online and then poked around discreetly in some corners to see what was up and didn't see any fibers or asphalt so it looked to be asbestos free. Still, I'm not going to take any chances just in case I'm wrong. Some online sites recommend either covering the old floor over with new vinyl flooring or to paint the floor to encapsulate any fibers. New vinyl flooring is out of the question so paint it is. There are two paints to use: epoxy (I got a quote for this and it's $100/gallon which is super expensive) or polyurethane floor enamel. Perfect, I always have that on hand anyway to paint the floor of the cooler or various tables around the shop. Started to roll it on but hit a snag with all those cracks.
Not only was the paint soaking into the flooring in spots but the cracks were sucking it up too. Remembering back to the nightmare I had with the tables in the greenhouse early in the year I decided to check with the folks at the paint store to get their recommendation on how to proceed. They advised against epoxy because it is pretty aggressive and would probably strip the enamel off the floor and could even attack the flooring itself. They were not too keen about me priming with their best latex primer but said it was probably my best bet. Well, for the small cracks at least.
The bigger cracks and chunks missing required something else, so I ended up using some floor patching compound (gypsum based). Mixed that up a little on the dry side and troweled that on yesterday. It dried just fine, but then came the unenviable task of sanding the spots so it was sorta level.
I really wasn't worried about asbestos fibers getting kicked up because I made sure not to sand deeper than the polyurethane coat I applied earlier. What a mess. But I at least got the floor smooth. After sweeping up, I vacuumed the floor to catch any loose dust, then lightly washed it to get rid if the "fines". Forgot to get a pic of this, plus I was dusty from head to toe and didn't want to expose the camera to that.
For the small cracks and areas where the polyurethane soaked in, I first hit those areas with some of the white primer I had left from the greenhouse escapade - figuring because it was thick it would fill the cracks in better. Worked pretty good overall. That dried almost instantly so I went over the white primer spots and the floor compound with the thinner grey primer so that hopefully I'll only need to use one final coat of polyurethane over the top.
The brown rectangle is a carpet remnant I'm using to kneel on, you can still see white dust in it even though I pounded it out. Unfortunately it started to rain and the humidity level rose so I couldn't continue with the final polyurethane coat. I left a window open and had a fan blasting into the kitchen to circulate the air to get the floor to dry. Should be good tomorrow, so I'll try to get a pic of the final result.