I did my research!! I read all the blogs I could find oof others who had tried it, and watched the how-to video these smart people posted.
I decided to just do my living room....which is no small feat! It's roughly 19x24, which is a LOT of space. I set what I thought was a realistic budget of $100. I took a week off of work and started pricing and buying the supplies.
Found this roll of paper at uline.com for about $13.
Now here's where I add the disclaimer that math isn't my strong point. So while I checked and double-checked to make sure that there was enough paper on the roll to cover my 450sq. ft., I didn't double check the dimensions of the roll. OOPS! 6x1200 WILL cover 450 sq ft, but only 6 inches at a time. When I picked it up, I knew all the other blogs weren't going to work for me. Yet again, I was going to have to Make-Do with what I had.
Some blogs called for Modge Podge, some called for just using a mixture of Elmer's glue and water. After pricing Modge Podge, I opted for the glue and water mixture. A gallon of glue is about $17 at my local Office Depot, and while I knew I would have a bunch leftover, it was the cheapest way to buy the glue.
I had seen one person add some paint to her glue mixture to add color around the edges of the paper strips, and since I had realized I was going to wind up with something akin to a wood floor look, I wanted a tinge of red to offset all the brown in my already dark living room. Bought a larger bottle of burgundy paint at Michael's for $5.
Also remember, when pulling up carpet and carpet tack, you're going to need to fill all those little divots with concrete patch.Home Depot for $8.
While there, get the Polyurethene you will need to seal the paper and prevent scratches and tears. In my head, I figured two coats would be fine, and since some folks had given me birthday money (did I mention I did this for my 40th birthday?), I splurged for the more expensive brand that claimed it was used by the basketball floor people. So....2 cans of Poly @ $46 each...yeah... there goes my $100 budget.
I got my paint brushes and a roller for the poly from Dollar Tree.
I do have this great little tool from another project I did YEARS ago (Never throw away tools!!), and it was perfect to smooth all the air and glue bubbles out.
The carpet and tack came up really quickly and I was so excited to be ahead of schedule, that I figured I would be done in 4 days instead of 5. Ha!!
So, I started at the far corner and started cutting and gluing down the paper strips. Paint on the glue mixture, flip the paper over, line it up with the previous row/wall, and lay down, smoothing with my hands, first, and then using the squeegee to smooth it straight. BE CAREFUL!! Once the paper is wet, it becomes fragile, and there were several places where I had a corner tear. I just would put the next piece over that tear and move on. Row after row after row. Paint, place, smooth. Cut more strips. Paint, place smooth.
If I had done it with the wider paper, like the other blogs, and let it be crumpled, like the other blogs, and not stressed over the strips all lining up in nice neat little rows....like the other blogs...it would have taken SO much less time.
As it was, I figure it took me 30 hours to get the paper strips all down...and the whole time, I'm trying to keep the dogs off of it and still leave a path for us to get to the kitchen and back door. I started off painting light red stripes down the top of the paper as I was laying it with a semi-dry brush trying to give it a wood-grain look. After the 2nd day of paint, place, smooth, repeat, I gave up and decided to do it all at the end.
On Friday, when I was STILL not done, I talked my kid into helping me after school, and we cut, painted, placed, smoothed for about 7 more hours. We were SO excited to put down that last piece about 1 am Saturday morning!!
And then it was time to put on the first coat of poly.
And here's where it got tricky, again. About half-way through applying the poly, my paint roller fell apart. So, it's 2am, and I'm standing there staring at the floor wondering what in the world I'm going to do. Remembering that one video off a blog, I taped a paint brush to the end of a long handle, and kept going. It wasn't nearly the same smooth application, but I was hopeful that it would all smooth out as it dried and besides I was TIRED!
The next morning, I was so sad! It was noticeable where the smooth ended and the streaks started. :(( Someone else had told me to use a big squeegee to apply the poly, so for my second coat, I taped it to the end of the long handle and did that, hoping it would fill in the gaps and give me a nice even coat.
Instead, because I did the application at night in the semi-darkness, I had MORE uneven areas and now it looked like the dog had peed in spots. It was BAD. I was so depressed!! All this work, and my floors looked WORSE!
Thankfully, I had days off the next week for Thanksgiving, and was able to think about it for several days while I did other things.
Went back to HD, and got the cheap brand of poly, but this time, instead of the gloss, got the clear satin finish, and PLENTY of rollers. $35. BINGO!!!!
After sanding down the high spots, and cleaning the floor thoroughly, I rolled on the new stuff. WHAT A DIFFERENCE!!!!!
Then I had to figure out the transition pieces from the carpet to the new (lower) cement floor. Wound up using molding that I painted red. $36 for molding
Now I LOVE my floor! And even better, when the kids and dogs are gone, I have a really great water barrier down for the real wood floor. :D
Sometimes, however, it doesn't pay to be the Make-Do Queen.
Final amount spent - about $250 Time - 10 days (non continuous)