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DIY Concrete Wall | Kara Paslay Design

DIY Concrete Wall

DIY Concrete Wall
One night I was looking at my entry way and I felt like it was just a bit boring.
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So, on a whim I decided to DIY a concrete wall because well, I love concrete! And about 20 minutes later, the wall looked like this.
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This was after one coat. . .
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And this was after the second coat (the next morning).
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So, do you want to know how to do it?
I used a product called Ardex SD-M. You can find a distributor of Ardex in your area by clicking here. It is usually about $50 a bag and we used around 1/3 of a bag for this project.
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Step 1 -I mixed the Ardex with water until it was a pancake batter consistency.
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Step 2- I then used a drywall knife to spread the product on the wall.
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There is no right or wrong way to spread the product on. I simply kept my pattern completely random to give the wall a hand-troweled look. You can see some trowel marks in a few of the close-ups below. If you don’t like that inconsistent look you can sand the marks out, but I’m a fan so I left them.
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I let the first coat dry completely (you can tell when it’s dry because it changes colors- it gets lighter) and then I applied the second coat in the same way.

I was left with a lovely look that I feel could fit into a number of settings and styles!

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And it’s really that easy! What do you think?

This article has 49 comments

  1. liz @ bon temps beignet

    Ok, I would have never thoguht to put concrete on a wall… I thought it would just pop right off. This looks great and seems to be very ‘Kara’. And you have a dog? Why did I not know this?? Have you ever shown him/her to the blog world?

  2. Paisley Card Co

    Wow! I can’t say this is a project I would take on myself but it certainly adds a whole new level of dimension to the entry way! Just came across your blog today and love it! I am maybe a little unhealthily in love with mason jars so your DIY chandelier is a fave of mine!

  3. Meg

    This has me re-inspired to figure out a way to turn our nasty tile countertop into a concrete countertop. Thanks for the kick in the pants. I love it!

  4. Kara Paslay

    Ladies,

    I do love me some concrete and it sounds like you gals do too! 🙂 You should definitely try it out!

    Anonymous- I think you could do this as a bathtub, shower surround as long as you waterproof underneath it. Actually Tim and I are planning on trying it out on our next home (whenever we sell the house).

    Liz- I do have two pups. I guess I need to do a proper introduction! 🙂

    Angie- I bought the knobs from a garage sale years ago. As you can see there is one knob that is different from the rest- it came from Anthro a couple of years ago.

    Banclothing- that sounds like one hip grandma!!! I’d love to meet her!!! 🙂

  5. Mike Paslay

    Kara — I’m amazed; if this looks this good as a “surprise” in the entry way of your cottage style home, it certainly would be fantastic in the utility or “mud room” of a more traditional home or in a space with a more “industrial” style.

  6. hearttypat

    this is fantastic!! I’ll try that on my walls and floors next time!! I just wonder though, is there any finishing we can use so that it won’t crack over time??

  7. Stephanie Conn

    This looks super — a bit rustic yet urban at the same time. It’s just what I’ve been looking for– you are brilliant!

    I was wondering– will the concrete be difficult to nail/drill into? How would one hang pictures on a wall?

  8. Kara Paslay

    Hey HearttyPat- I am pretty sure that this finish won’t crack unless you have foundation issues. It has a very strong bond and can also be used to resurface concrete floors that have cracks in them.

    Stephanie- So glad you like it! 🙂 The concrete is just a very thin layer and so it is not hard to hang things- just treat it like a regular wall.

  9. Anonymous

    Very cool! Do you think this treatment would accept a poly coat over top? I’m thinking of doing a table and would want a coating of some sort. Thanks!

    KC

  10. Kara Paslay

    I don’t know how it would take a coat of polyurethane. I have used a couple of water based sealers over this product. You can check and see if either of these are sold in your area and if they come in a reasonable quantity. If you can’t get either of these in your area, I would contact the products technical support and they should be able to advise you.

    Smith’s Seal W/B
    http://www.smithpaints.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=92&Itemid=129

    GST International Satin Seal
    http://www.gst-intl.com/products/products.html

  11. Anonymous

    This is amazing and just what I was looking for..

    I have a few questions though that hopefully you can answer.

    1) Would this work on ceramic tile?
    2) Does it take acid stains for color treatment?
    3) How thick is the finished product after 2 coats? Are we talking millimeters or centimeters?

    Thanks Kara, so awesome!

  12. Kara Paslay

    I have seen it done on ceramic tile. A guy I know that has worked with this product a lot used to recommend using a diamond pad to rough up the surface to help adhesion, but at this point I think he has worked with it long enough and has enough confidence in it that he doesn’t do anything to prepare the surface or me might try some sand paper.

    I haven’t seen anyone use acid stain on this particular product. I have some reservations about acid stain because in my experience you just don’t know what it is going to look like until you have done it and once it is done it is pretty much done. Smith Paints sells some water based stains for this product that are pretty easy to work with.

    http://www.smithpaints.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=102&Itemid=140

    You would want your coats to be in the millimeter range. 1/2 cm max.

    Thanks for reading and hope this helps. Let me know if you have anymore questions.

    Tim

  13. Kara Paslay

    We didn’t tint this product. We used in straight out of the bag. I have never used a mixed in color with this product, but in an earlier comment I told someone about a water based stain by Smith Paint that you could use.

  14. Anonymous

    This is awesome! I love your wall! I’m redoing my boys’ bathroom and it gets pretty steamy in there. It’s not a very big bathroom but can’t stand the wallpaper in there! Could I do this over the wallpaper or should I strip it off first. Would there be any other wall prep I should do because it’s in a bathroom?
    Thanks for the idea!

    C. Stone 🙂

  15. Kara Paslay

    C. Stone-As much as I hate stripping wall paper I would try to strip it first. There shouldn’t be any extra prep work for the bathroom, but I would make sure that I sealed it really well. You can see earlier in the post which sealers are my favorites.

    Tim

  16. katie akana

    Hi Kara-

    This looks fantastic. Is Ardex the only kind on concrete you would recommend for this finish or do you think regular concrete would work just as well? If Ardex is the only way to go, where did you buy it? Thank you!

  17. Tim Paslay

    There are a couple other “micro-toppings” that you could use, but I don’t have any experience with them. I think there is one called elite-crete? Regular concrete won’t work. It is way to thick.

    We get our ardex locally at Van-Crete. At one point they had an online store, don’t know if they do anymore. Good Luck!

  18. Constance Laing

    Hi Kara,

    I’m quoting a 900 sq. ft. “concrete” look for a condo sales office. This looks like an option to a faux paint or portland cement slug fest. Can this be put directly onto drywall without falling off? What was the dimension of your entrance wall, I’m trying to gauge amount of material. It looks great and you make it do-able.

    Thanks,
    Constance

  19. Tim Paslay

    From our experience this stuff sticks to almost anything. We have even put it over the top of a laminate countertop and we haven’t heard of any issues. I would feel very confident that it will do just fine on drywall. That is exactly what we did in the entryway and we haven’t had any issues. I would estimate the area of our wall at about 60 sqft. I think you could probably find coverage estimations on the product website. They should have some other good technical information as well.

    Good Luck with the project and we would love to see pictures!

  20. Constance Laing

    Tim, Thanks for your quick response. Since I emailed you I talked to someone at Ardex (U.S) and he told me that tomorrow they are launching a new product for just such purpose. It’s called Ardex W1. Do you know anything about it? I would have to special order it since my Canadian suppliers haven’t even heard of it yet. Is there any chance of roughly rolling the Ardex on with a second person following with a smoothing trowel?

  21. Tim Paslay

    I have not heard of W1. I know there a lot of “micro-topping” products out there. I would think you would be safe using any concrete floor overlay product on a wall, since it isn’t going to get near the abuse and generally drywall is a fairly good substrate. I would suggest calling any local contractors who do overlays and they maybe able to give you some names of products readily available in your area.

    I am always up for trying new methods, but based on my experience with the product, a roller is not the application method I would go with. Troweling is what I suggest, but would love to hear how it goes if you try it.

  22. Jaime Dray

    Kara! This is a great post! 🙂 I work for ARDEX Americas and happened across your blog last week. This is a great use for SD-M! 🙂

  23. Shauntelle @ Being is a Verb

    Hey Kara!

    I was wondering if you think this would work for covering a wood shelf? I had an idea to give the shelves a concrete look, but I don’t want them to be too heavy to hang. This seems like it would give a light coat that would be perfect. Is this product the same as a concrete resurfacer?

    Thanks!

  24. Tim Paslay

    Hey Shauntelle,

    I obviously can’t speak for the company, but I think it would work fine over a wood shelf as long as the shelf is plenty strong enough to hold whatever is on the shelf. If the shelf were to flex I think it would crack the “concrete”, but as long as you don’t see it bow when you set things it, it should be great. Send some pictures if you do it!

  25. Kristen A.

    Hello! I have been trying to do something exactly like this for weeks and this is perfect – thank you! It looks like your pre-existing wall had a texture to it – do you think the Ardex will adhere properly to a painted, smooth wall? Or do I need to do some surface prep in advance?

    Thanks again! Wish I could hire you to come help me!

  26. Ralph Pena

    Thank you! This is exactly what I was looking for. I’m going to embed some brass rivet heads on the wall before doing this. Your site is amazing.

  27. Matty T

    Ah Ha!!!! I’ve literally been looking for exactly this for about two days now. Thank you soooooooo much!!. I’m in Afghanistan living in what would be best described as a comfy jail cell and I thought to myself “You know what, I’m going to make the next 9 months fun!”. It’s good to come back to a place that feels like your place. Thinking of a concrete wall with “floating” brushed black aluminum panels (that are also really hard to find in user quantities)that are then illuminated from behind with warm-white LED SMD strips. Maybe with a 5″ wide stripe of matte Tangerine/Rescue Orange paint across the lower 1/3 of the wall that is recessed in from the concrete wall and also illuminated from a hidden LED SMD strip. I will make sure to reference this page if it turns out like I think it will.
    Q: Do you know of any sealant I could use to give it a slight glossy/smooth look?
    Much appreciated!!!

  28. Tim Paslay

    We like to use Satin Seal by GST International. It isn’t glossy, but sounds exactly like what you are describing. Sanding it will help smooth the texture and should help get the look you want. Can’t wait to see it!

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