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Old 08-01-2011, 03:24 PM   #1
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How to Prep. Basement Walls for Painting


I have been browsing your forum reading some of the posts about water proofing and painting basement walls and wanted to get some advice before I proceed with my next project.

My basement is about 90 years old with a poured in place non-reinforced (i think) concrete. There are a few vertical cracks which I plan to seal using the Simpson Strong Tie Epoxy.
I get no water in the basement, but one of walls has evidence of prior moisture intrusion since I see efflorescence in a few spots. I did a test by putting 2' x 2' polyethylene sheet on the wall for a few days to see if got condensation and did not observe any.

I live in the SF Bay Area which is dry most of the year but with a water table that is pretty high so I think the moisture that we get is via evaporation or wick action from the high water table.

I think I can proceed with painting but I wanted to get some advice on how to prep the walls before painting and then if I should use DryLok.

Any help or advice will be appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

VC

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Old 08-01-2011, 03:55 PM   #2
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How to Prep. Basement Walls for Painting


Why are you painting the concrete walls?

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Old 08-01-2011, 04:28 PM   #3
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How to Prep. Basement Walls for Painting


We are trying to make them look pretty. It's a "honey do list" thing.
We are fixing up the basement but do not want to go so far as to finish by adding sheet rock.
Painting will make the place look nice and clean.
Do you have any pointers on how to prep and the walls in this relatively moist environment?

Thx, VC
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Old 08-01-2011, 04:35 PM   #4
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How to Prep. Basement Walls for Painting


may have missed this along the way but don't recall a pro or anyone else saying drylock materials are worth the effort,,, if your honey has another list handy, go for that 1 1st,,, whatever you do the the bsmt wall will not last if there's ANY indication of moisture,,, bsmts contain warmer moisture-laden air - when that contacts cool walls ( ambient earth temp is 65*f ), condensation occurs.
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Old 08-01-2011, 05:37 PM   #5
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How to Prep. Basement Walls for Painting


Quote:
Originally Posted by vcheez View Post
We are trying to make them look pretty. It's a "honey do list" thing.
We are fixing up the basement but do not want to go so far as to finish by adding sheet rock.
Painting will make the place look nice and clean.
Do you have any pointers on how to prep and the walls in this relatively moist environment?

Thx, VC
Unless "honey" knows what she's talking about, I'd ignore her. Blindly following the advice of the uninfomed has no good end.
Moisture will continue to come through the foundation wall from the exterior. Painting it will just trap the moisture for a short period of time until the paint fails and peels off the wall.
If you want less humidity, put in a dehumidifier.
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Old 08-01-2011, 09:00 PM   #6
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How to Prep. Basement Walls for Painting


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Originally Posted by Ron6519 View Post
Unless "honey" knows what she's talking about, I'd ignore her. Blindly following the advice of the uninfomed has no good end.
Moisture will continue to come through the foundation wall from the exterior. Painting it will just trap the moisture for a short period of time until the paint fails and peels off the wall.
If you want less humidity, put in a dehumidifier.
Thanks for your advice but ignoring the old lady usually ends with me have some lonely nights.
I'm not painting to stop moisture. Like I said, we don't get any water in the basement and I have tested the walls and we do not currently have a moisture problem. The efflorescence I see is from many years ago. I have already corrected the problems that caused moisture intrusion in the past. Now we just want to make it look nice and we think that painted walls are nicer looking than bare walls.

Assuming that I have no moisture problems in the basement, does anyone have a recommendation on how to proceed with painting and is there any special prep or is the recommendation not to paint the basement walls?

Thanks in advance, VC
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Old 08-01-2011, 09:06 PM   #7
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How to Prep. Basement Walls for Painting


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Originally Posted by itsreallyconc View Post
may have missed this along the way but don't recall a pro or anyone else saying drylock materials are worth the effort,,, if your honey has another list handy, go for that 1 1st,,, whatever you do the the bsmt wall will not last if there's ANY indication of moisture,,, bsmts contain warmer moisture-laden air - when that contacts cool walls ( ambient earth temp is 65*f ), condensation occurs.
Ok. If drylock is a waste of money, do you have any basic suggestions on how to prep. the walls for painting?

Thanks for the info on condensation temperatures. I'm not sure how to avoid mother nature. Will installing a dehumidfier will help reduce the affects of condensation? I did a moisture test and did not see any condensate on my plastic squares.

Thanks in advance, VC
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Old 08-03-2011, 11:23 AM   #8
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How to Prep. Basement Walls for Painting


Hey Guys,

I know you're busy helping us do it yourselfers out there but I'm just following up to see if anyone has any advice about painting my basement.

I must have mislead you to thinking that I'm trying to paint to fix a moisture problem. "There is no moisture problem" We are painting to make it look nicer. I can move my post to the painting forum if that is more appropriate but I thought that work in the basement and prep of the walls would be something that the construction forum could help with.

If you guys don't recommend painting a basement, please let me know and if you have any other suggestions on how to finish off the basement I would appreciate hearing your suggestions.

Thx in advance, VC
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Old 08-03-2011, 12:35 PM   #9
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How to Prep. Basement Walls for Painting


I don't think anyone is mislead. As someone with huge basement problems; the most I can do is clarify...

It isn't about having a moisture problem or not; it is about the natural way basements work. Even with a treatment of the walls on the outside; basement walls aren't painted/treated. If a basement is finished it is finished spaced from the walls a bit.

They have to breathe, moisture does come through; even just seasonally. This small amount of moisture/vapor is usually free to escape; but drylok/et all trap it.

So I think the general advice is that if you paint it; you may cause a moisture problem.
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Old 08-03-2011, 03:46 PM   #10
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How to Prep. Basement Walls for Painting


I agree, I'm a homeowner not a pro, but I would always use the drylock. It'll only cost you $100 bucks. No matter how dry it is, concrete will absorb water (it'll wick it away too, so you won't notice it).

As a nice bonus, the drylock can even act as a primer for your paint.

Make sure to use huge brushes and really push it into any chips, small hairline cracks, or any uneven surfaces. It will be a HUGE mess (wear old clothes and cover your hair), but it will keep the floors dry, give you a flatter and more even surface, and it'll make it easier to paint onto.
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Old 08-03-2011, 04:04 PM   #11
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How to Prep. Basement Walls for Painting


Oh, also, if you have level walls, aren't running any low voltage or electrical wiring along it, you can easily frame to the existing walls.

It's not ideal, but you can get 1By pressure treated boards to use as studs. Frame along the walls by pre drilling everything with a concrete hammer drill. First you glue it to temporarily hold it, then drill through the wood and into the concrete. Secure it with tapcon screws. You can then throw drywall up by attaching to the framing on the wall studs.

For an average sized basement (say 20x30, outer walls only) should take a weekend and about $150 worth of wood, glue and screws. Probably 2X that in drywall.

I'd still drylock it too. You don't want mold or mildew smell behind the drywall. Last, you should use greenboard on the bottom if you have a sump, sewer drain, or any other possible water problem (backed up sewer, plumbing leak, etc).
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Old 08-03-2011, 04:48 PM   #12
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How to Prep. Basement Walls for Painting


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Originally Posted by jdm001 View Post
I agree, I'm a homeowner not a pro, but I would always use the drylock. It'll only cost you $100 bucks. No matter how dry it is, concrete will absorb water (it'll wick it away too, so you won't notice it).

As a nice bonus, the drylock can even act as a primer for your paint.

Make sure to use huge brushes and really push it into any chips, small hairline cracks, or any uneven surfaces. It will be a HUGE mess (wear old clothes and cover your hair), but it will keep the floors dry, give you a flatter and more even surface, and it'll make it easier to paint onto.
I'm not sure who you are agreeing with?

I don't see any positive, use or especially bonus from using drylok. All I got out of our previous homeowner using it is to clean it off the walls as it peels. Once it is off the walls those parts can breathe again.

I'm not going to get into putting studs directly on the wall. I'm hoping some of the more experienced posters chime in here.
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Old 08-03-2011, 05:10 PM   #13
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How to Prep. Basement Walls for Painting


I've done my basement myself, to code, and passed inspections and electrical test. I had one small bathroom where I had to stud to the wall so I didnt lose 4" of space and that passed as well.
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Old 08-04-2011, 12:52 AM   #14
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How to Prep. Basement Walls for Painting


Quote:
Originally Posted by coderguy View Post
It isn't about having a moisture problem or not; it is about the natural way basements work. Even with a treatment of the walls on the outside; basement walls aren't painted/treated. If a basement is finished it is finished spaced from the walls a bit.

They have to breathe, moisture does come through; even just seasonally. This small amount of moisture/vapor is usually free to escape; but drylok/et all trap it.

So I think the general advice is that if you paint it; you may cause a moisture problem.
Hey coderguy, this is good information. It clarifies the potential problem of painting a basement wall and is pointing me in another direction that may have better longterm results. I really appreciate you taking the time to read my entire post and to educate me without making an abrupt statement with no explanation. I will ask you however if you think the basement walls will be damaged if they hold moisture that is not able to escape. Please let me know. The basement walls have been standing virtually undamaged for 90 years unpainted so I definitely don't want to do something that will jeopardize the strength and longevity of my foundation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdm001 View Post
It's not ideal, but you can get 1By pressure treated boards to use as studs. Frame along the walls by pre drilling everything with a concrete hammer drill. First you glue it to temporarily hold it, then drill through the wood and into the concrete. Secure it with tapcon screws. You can then throw drywall up by attaching to the framing on the wall studs.
This sound like a great way to make the place look nice. Is this your own technique, standard practice or did you have a guide to follow?

I did see a conflict between your explanation and coderguy's. You said that you would drylock the wall underneath the sheet rock and coderguy said that it is best not to paint a basement concrete wall to prevent moisture from being trapped in the walls. In your code compliant basement construction, did the City inspector know that you drylocked the concrete underneath the sheetrock? Please let me know.

Thanks in advance for your time, VC
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:27 AM   #15
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How to Prep. Basement Walls for Painting


Quote:
Originally Posted by vcheez
This sounds like a great way to make the place look nice. Is this your own technique, standard practice or did you have a guide to follow?

I did see a conflict between your explanation and coderguy's. You said that you would drylock the wall underneath the sheet rock and coderguy said that it is best not to paint a basement concrete wall to prevent moisture from being trapped in the walls. In your code compliant basement construction, did the City inspector know that you drylocked the concrete underneath the sheetrock? Please let me know.

Thanks in advance for your time, VC
It's fairly common practice, I saw the glue plus tapcon method on the 1By's on an old episode of Home Time from 1990ish.

It is to code. You HAVE to use PT lumber on the bottom of the framing, and it should be framed exactly like a regular stand-up frame. Most people even use flat 2x4s but I liked the thinner ones, it was much lighter and easier to work with.

I will say it is a PAIN getting good insulation in, and you'll need thin electrical boxes. That is MORE difficult, but if you're just throwing up drywall with no wiring and insulation (or use flat foam insulation, that'd be super easy and you can pressure fit it--but it's a lower R value so I had to fight the insulation a bit).

On the Drylok, it's one of those things that every pro has an opinion but there is no "industry method." My inspector (whom used to be a foreman) said it's "good stuff, and better and easier than a vapor barrier (which can be tricky to install properly for a first timer).

I called Drylock, they were super helpful. They told me my only issue would be behind the studs where the tapcon screws are. If I use a cheap drill bit, the concrete will make a hole but the face can break away a bit. They said inspect all the holes before putting in the screws, and hit them all with more leftover Drylok if there's more than a thin hole.

Here's their FAQ (last page) here:
http://global-4-lvs-usa.opera-mini.n...20Brochure.pdf


You can call the 800 # yourself to feel more comfortable. Of course they ARE biased, but you also know they'd NEVER say "yeah that's good" or "that will pass code" if they know they'd be liable. So get your own Piece of Mind. Dont take his, mine, or anyone elses advice as gospel... just consider it council.

Jm

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