Our foundation has been curing for 16 days now. Something we had planned on doing just after the pour (but got delayed due to life moving on…) was to score the concrete to look like tiles and then stain it. After discussing the options, we almost did not go through with this. Everything we read said to use a straight line and a circle saw for making score marks in the concrete. Well…the thought of being on my hands and knees for hours…and the uncertainty of what it would look like…had us convinced that it would look ok to not be scored.
I spent Friday working in my office and the more I thought about it, the more I decided I wanted to score it. Luckily, I have an uncle that has built a few houses and done much of the work himself, so I messaged him and he told me to rent a walk behind saw to do it. We have a Home Depot sort of close (we only have to pass 2 other HD to get to this one) that rents just about everything, including walk behind cement saws for $70 for 24 hours. We decided to get the saw first thing in the morning, so that evening Wade and I made grid marks along the perimeter of the foundation. Then we ran out of daylight.
Morning came and it was go time! We were at HD at 7am to pick up the saw. The girls had to help because there was no way to chalk the foundation with just 2 people. The girls helped stretch the line and then walked along snapping it to make the VERY faint marks.
We made the lines on a diagonal spacing them 3 feet apart (roughly a 2 ft square). Once we finished, Wade and I agreed we wanted bigger tiles, so we skipped every other line, making the diagonal 6 feet (roughly a 4 ft square). Pythagorean theorem at work! I decided to cut the first set of lines before drawing the cross lines so I did not erase them as I worked.
(Yes it was VERY hard to see the lines!!!)
Using the saw was not difficult, rather the hardest part was making sure the heavy saw stayed straight.
What I did not realize was that the saw blade (that was on it when we got it) was so worn, it was simply leaving a black mark! Seriously!?!?! Off I went back to Home Depot to buy a new blade (for $70).
***Side note- the saw rental does not normally come with a blade. This was left on from the previous user. The guy warned us when we picked it up that we might need a new blade. However, when we made the first line, it worked…barely…but it worked. That is why I kept going after the first line because it all looked the same even though it was not scoring.
I should have known I was not doing anything the first time, given this time there was dust flying everywhere as it actually scored the concrete!!! It looked awesome!!!
With something so big, I doubt a straight edge would have worked at all. Looking down the lines, you can see how wobbly they are, but when you stand above them you cannot tell. I think once we get the walls up, it will be even better.
The cross lines took much less time since we actually knew what we were doing. I would say the whole thing took about 4 hours…maybe less. We were out there all day because it was a learning process (including the practice run making black lines, then an additional trip to Home Depot for a new blade).
Total cost for the cement saw rental and a new blade= $150 and we have 4 ft tiles throughout the whole house. SCORE!! (get it…haha…)