Repainting Your Basement

Congratulations! You’ve decided that because going out is kind of a terrible idea, you’re going to paint your basement. There’s a bit of a problem though; where on earth do you start? If you were just thinking, “Well, the basement, duh.” then boy do we have a surprise for you.

Painting your basement is going to be a little more complicated than, “Oh, I’ll just slap a few coats of paint on everything.” You’ve got to know (or at least you really should know) what color is best to use and you also need to be sure that your basement walls and the floor are waterproof – actually, this is the most important step when repainting your basement. Needless to say, there’s quite a bit that you need to be sure of, but as always, we’re here to help you out.

How to Prep for Painting

The first thing that we want to go over is how to get your walls and floors ready to paint. You’re going to have to strip off all of the old paint first and the best way to do that is with a wire brush. Just take the brush and go at the walls like they stole your money – really aggressively, with back and forth strokes. Concrete and cinder block are pretty much the same thing (cinder block just has grout between each block which can make it harder to paint) so this technique will work regardless of which one is in your basement.

If you’re working with smooth concrete, then a paint stripper will get the job done just fine. You don’t have to get all of the paint off, but whatever’s laying on the surface of your walls has to go. This can be pretty tedious, hard, and time-consuming; so you might want to pick a day when you have nothing else to do to allow for hard work and plenty of breaks.

Once you’ve scraped the surface layer of paint off, you can sand the walls down with some 40 to 80 grit sandpaper. This is going to put a lot of particles in the air, so make sure you’re wearing a mask. Go over the walls with firm, circular strokes 3 to 4 times to make sure that you’ve hit the entire wall’s surface.

Make Sure There’s No Water Damage

One thing we need to clarify is that water damage can take different forms. The first, less problematic type takes the form of condensation. This water doesn’t come from the outside, but rather happens when the cool temperature of water pipes causes moisture from the comparatively warmer air to condense and leaves it on your wall’s surface. You can mitigate this issue by:

● Increasing your basement’s ventilation
● Installing a de-humidifier
● Insulating your pipes

The second, less common, but more difficult to mitigate kind of water damage is groundwater seepage. As you might have guessed, this is simply water from the earth that’s found its way into your basement. Unless you’re willing to reconstruct your basement from scratch, you’re just not going to be able to make it stop and go away forever. You can, however;

● Plug any gaps or cracks you find with cement or polyurethane caulking
● Make sure that your footing drains are unclogged, if need be, open the cleanout and flush them with your garden hose
● You can install a curtain drain if you don’t have a footing drain – this is basically a 2-foot deep trench that’s filled with gravel and piping that diverts water away from your home down a slope

What Kind of Paint Should You Use?

Basements can be moldy, mildewy, and just generally a little gross. If you’re into that, then you should probably consider getting evaluated. Seriously though, If you do have mold, call a specialist to take a look and treat the problem. As for what kind of paint to use, something that’s waterproof can do an admirable job of keeping the mold at bay.

The paint will keep water from condensing and gathering onto your walls and floors which goes a long way toward giving mold the heave-ho. There are actually a variety of paints that you can use to accomplish this.

Acrylic Paint – this kind of paint isn’t really meant to take much of a beating. If your basement is well used, you’ll need to either pick something else or use a sealer so that it’s safe from damage

Urethane Paint – urethane is usually applied as a top coat and can be pretty hard to paint with properly; that said, it can form a tough surface that does wonders to protect concrete walls and floors

Latex Paint – latex paint is definitely one of the better options that we’ve got listed, it’s less liable to crack or peel which means that you won’t have to reapply it as often. It’s waterproof and durable, dries quickly, it’s easy to apply, and makes your walls lustrous and beautiful

Epoxy Paint – here we have what many agree is the absolute best choice to paint your basement’s concrete floors and walls. Epoxy is highly durable, stain-resistant, it’s got a satin finish, it’s hard to chip, crack, peel, blister, and it’s easy to clean. It’s the ultimate in basement paints

Choose Your Colors Wisely

If you want to paint your bedroom a dark, brooding, “I am the night, I am vengeance” black, you can totally do that. Your basement, on the other hand, can be a little trickier. See, because basements are inherently dark and dingy, you should really consider colors that take hold of what little light you’ve got down there and enrich it.

To that end, try to stick with colors that are pale and pastel so that the room feels bright and airy. Your bedroom’s Batman Black isn’t going to cut it in your basement as it’ll pretty much eat the tiny bit of light there is and make it feel small, dark, and scary.

It is always good to take into consideration whether or not your basement has any sunlight coming in or not though. If it does, you have a much wider selection of colors that you can use as the natural light can take the edge off the whole, “dank basement” vibe.

And there you have it! A breakdown of what you should consider (and do) if you’re trying to repaint your basement. It’s not exactly an easy job, but a fresh coat of paint can do wonders and it’ll be totally worth it once you can show off your new, not terrifying, dingy, or moldy basement to people.

If there’s anything else that any of you out there would like to add, then feel free to do so, that’s part of the fun of a comments section, after all. Happy painting, and whatever you do, make sure you’re doing it safely, hear?

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