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How to Buy Basement Floor Paint

Updated on November 4, 2011

Why Paint Your Basement Floor?

The biggest eye sore in an unfinished basement is the drab look of a concrete floor. If your basement floor remains dry all year, even during the heaviest rain storm, paint the surface with a durable floor coating.

Painting a basement floor is an inexpensive way to improve its value, appearance and durability for years to come.

Preparing the floor and applying the paint is a job that any able-bodied homeowner can accomplish in a few days or less. This article provides information about choosing the best paint for your basement floor and how to apply the material.

Is Your Basement Wet?

Moisture is a common problem in basements, so it's important to make sure your basement is totally dry before painting the floor.

Painting a moist basement floor will eventually lead to paint failure and even serious problems with the foundation of your home. This is because after painting a wet floor, the water can no longer escape through the surface, so it becomes trapped underneath, cracking the concrete foundation and causing all sorts of problems.

If there is an existing water leak in your basement, definitely seek a professional repairman, even if you decide not to paint the floor. Floor paints, like all paints, require a clean and dry surface prior to painting.

The easiest way to check for existing moisture on your basement floor is to tape a piece of transparent plastic to the surface. Tightly seal the edges of the plastic with tape so air cannot enter. Inspect the plastic the next day for the presence of moisture. If the plastic appears dry, buy your basement floor paint and start preparing the floor.

Select the Best Basement Floor Paint

Choose an epoxy paint that is specially designed for basement floors. Rustoleum sells special kits for basement floors and paint stores like Sherwin Williams also sell floor coatings. Do not use any old latex paint lying around the house, because it won't protect the surface against moisture and it will probably peel off of the floor one year later.

The best paint to use for a basement floor is water-based epoxy, not solvent-based. Solvent-based epoxy is meant for industrial use, not inside a home, due to the harmful vapors. Solvent epoxy is the most durable, but it's also very expensive and it requires timely application. The fumes are horrible.

Latex epoxy paint for basement floors is very durable because it seeps into the concrete like a sealer, creating a barrier against water. Latex basement floor paints are very easy to mix and also easy to apply. These coatings also dry fast so it's possible to walk on the floor the day after application.

There are also regular paints designed for basement floors, but epoxy is your best option when it comes to durability. If you choose a regular latex floor paint, then you will likely have to apply a primer undercoat before finishing the floor. Epoxy usually does not require primer.

Apply the Material

Painting a basement floor is easy, but it's important to make sure the floor is clean and dry. If the basement is damp, get a dehumidifier. Fill all existing cracks in the concrete before coating the surface.

It is possible to paint a previously sealed floor with latex epoxy, but if the floor is really smooth then it might be necessary to etch the surface first, so the paint is able to grip the surface better. Read the recommended preparation instructions on the container.

Sweep the floor. Do not leave debris on the floor or it will end up on your paint roller and ruin the new paint finish. Use a throw-away paint brush, preferably 3-inches, and cut-in around the edges where the floor meets the walls.

Roll the paint onto the floor using a clean paint roller. If the roller is new, wrap tape around it a few times to remove loose roller hairs. If you don't do this, the paint finish will be riddled with roller hairs.

When rolling the basement floor paint, start at one end of the room and work towards the opposite end of the room. Don't paint yourself into a corner. Use an extension pole when rolling the floor.


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    • MelloYelloMan profile image

      MelloYelloMan 5 years ago

      Epoxy for the win man :) I hate working with it though, to be honest... haha!

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