As you prepare your house to list it for sale, you may find yourself with a concrete conundrum. From utilitarian laundry room floors to porches and patios, versatile, inexpensive concrete is often a builder’s alternative to tile or other flooring materials. Concrete floors or patio surfaces can be the no-frills answer for even those homeowners who have advantage styling in their corners. However, if you want to add some pizazz to otherwise plain places, consider the noble stencil to reposition your home at the top of the market.

Today, with the global retail access made available through the internet, one can purchase the makings of a handsome flooring statement with a few clicks of the mouse. Beautiful stencils, constructed from high-grade plastic, come in literally thousands of patterns that can be used, with some paint and a bit of elbow grease, to make a plain concrete slab into a custom floor that is bound to lure the prospective buyer without breaking the bank.

Begin with a clean surface: The first step is to remove all dirt from the concrete’s surface. If you have removed tile, vinyl, or carpeting from the concrete floor, make sure all the glue is gone before you proceed. There are products specially created to remove such things.

Use a good, all-purpose cleaner and a stiff-bristled scrubbing brush to scour the rest of the grime away. Remember concrete is a very porous surface – you need to get down into the pores to be sure nothing lingers there. If you’re working on a patio where grease has marred the surface, ask your local paint store professional for the best grease-removing product on the market. There seems to be no logic in going through the other steps to create a ‘mosaic’ masterpiece if the underlying grease will eventually show through, spoiling the look.

Once you’re satisfied that the concrete is immaculately clean, rinse the slab at least three times. Use a wet/dry vacuum to suck up the dirty water. Allow the surface to dry very thoroughly.
Trust your Paint Guy: Just about every well-known paint manufacturer makes a paint for use on concrete or masonry surfaces. Trust your paint guy to know which one is best rated for exterior use (if you’re working outside) and wears best in heavy-traffic areas.

It’s a good idea to discuss the colours for your floor with your home stylist. The surface should blend well with the colours used on adjacent walls, of course, but your stylist will have a few suggestions that will particularly appeal to the type of people who will be shopping in your home’s price range. Having your own design professional team on hand to discuss these things with is one of those advantage styling secrets that can mean a bigger net when the home is sold.

Prime: Your first job is to cover the entire surface with a good coat of primer. This will help the paint to adhere to the surface and ensure that the layers of colours you’ve chosen will go on without ghosts of the colours beneath.

Stencil Away: Whether you plan to stencil the entire surface of your slab from edge to edge and corner to corner, apply just a simple border, or create a painted pattern that mimics a rug at the centre of the room, you will proceed with the stencilling in the same way.

Once you have your beginning place identified, place the stencil accordingly and use painter’s tape or spray adhesive to hold it in place while you “pounce” the paint into place. Applying a thick coat of paint over the stencil will result in bleeding. Instead, use your not-too-wet stencilling brush to apply the paint sparingly in dabbing motions until the entire pattern has an adequate coating.
Once the first stencil is complete, place the stencil on the floor using the little registration marks on the stencil itself to align it properly and forge on according to your vision. If you’ve chosen an elaborate and/or complicated pattern you may be changing paint colours from time to time, but it will all come together in time.

In the end, after your masterpiece has had the chance to dry for at least four full hours, you’ll want to apply a sealer coat – again your paint retailer can suggest the best sealer for you to use depending on the paint you used.

Remember that the other members on your professional sales team will want to be in on this transformation in an advisory capacity. You have the advantage styling your home along with a talented, experienced home stager giving you the edge over sellers who opted to do everything themselves. When all is said and done, you’ll be looking for another concrete pad to decorate with your new-found skill.

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