Chattahoochee floors, also known as pebble floors, look really great and can be done inexpensively with advanced DIY skills. Collect your own stones and pebbles for a walk though memory lane while going through your own house. Pebble floors have smooth stones or small pebbles suspended in resin over a concrete base using a two-part epoxy. Resin is the result of mixing two liquid epoxy chemicals together. When the liquid mix dries, it forms a hard, clear bond with the stones. Vary patterns, pebble sizes and colors to create a wonderful floor finish with durable and lasting results.
Pebbled Epoxy Floors
Remove all of the existing carpeting, vinyl and wood flooring in the area to be pebbled. Scrape the slab until the surface is smooth and all glue or other debris is removed. Clean floor with broom and vacuum. Fill carpet tack holes and small dents with quick set concrete repair paste. Slab cracks will transmit through the epoxy.
Lay pebble floors only over concrete slabs. Epoxy finishes create a complete moisture barrier to the slab. Damp slabs will continue to wick moisture and the epoxy will bubble and chip off. Do not use epoxy finishes on damp slabs.
Check the slab for moisture before starting any preparation work. Make sure that the floor is dry. Tape an 18 inch by 18 inch piece of heavy, clear plastic over a section of the slab using blue painters tape. Leave the plastic in place for two days. Moisture condensates on the plastic if the slab is still drying or if the atmosphere is too damp for an epoxy finish floor. Moisture free slabs are best for epoxy finishes.
Power-wash the slab with water and tri-sodium phosphate with a rented high pressure washer. High pressure washers remove grease and grime by increasing the water pressure going through a special hose and nozzle. Pressure washers rated between 2000 and 3000 PSI. or pounds per square inch, are best for concrete cleaning.
Rinse with clear water until all soap residue is removed. Allow the slab to dry.
Wash pebbles or stones with a mixture of water and tri-sodium phosphate and rinse completely. Tumble rough surface stones in cement mixer with a bucket of sand to smooth edges. Sharp edge stones will not work for flooring surfaces and should never be used.
Follow the epoxy manufacturer’s instructions completely. Mix the two-part epoxy with the pebbles in a portable cement mixer. Transport the pebble mixture to the job site in a wheelbarrow in batches. Spread the mixture onto the slab using a shovel, rake and a broom. Use a steel trowel to smooth and level the mixture to 3/8 inch to ½ inch thickness. Use a solvent soaked rag to wipe the trowel after each pass.
Keep a four-foot level handy to check that the floor is lying flat and even. Make the batches of pebble mixture small enough to use within one hour of mixing.
Wash all equipment with solvent after use. Epoxy will set up on the tools quickly and is almost impossible to remove.
Keep pets and children off the floor until the resin is completely dry. Allow the floor to dry for four days before anyone or anything walks on it. Another two weeks of curing is necessary for a floor ready to accept furniture and traffic.
Wash pebble floors wash with soap and water. Pebble floors resist most stains but may discolor over time. Wash often to remove dust and mud from the irregular surface.