How to paint your basement walls

How to paint your basement walls

The best basement paint colors are often light and airy in feeling. This can help counteract the dingy quality that many basements can have, especially below ground level varieties. While dark colors can add coziness to a large basement, some walls painted in a coordinating lighter shade may make the space seem more interesting. Sticking to a color scheme for the basement can help make picking paint colors easier.

If you’re not sure what color scheme to use in your basement, look to wood finishes or carpet colors first. The basement paint colors you choose should coordinate well with the other finishes. If possible, take samples of existing colors in your basement that you want to incorporate in a color scheme to the paint store. You can then compare these samples with paint chip cards to create a pleasant color scheme. If you still feel at a loss, consider asking the store clerk to recommend top selling basement colors.

Getting a few different sample size bottles of paint colors you’re considering and brushing them onto basement walls or on large pieces of plaster board or cardboard to leave them sit for a few days can give you time to make your final decision. The lighting, or lack thereof, will affect the overall look of basement paint colors, so having large swatches of each color you’re considering for walls or floors to examine at different times of the day can be a good idea.

If you’ve decided on a dark basement paint color you love, don’t hesitate in using it. It’s often best to use darker basement paint colors on window walls to break up the intensity. This tip can also work well with a bright basement paint color. Consider using a light neutral color for window curtains or blinds.

Rather than painting the whole basement in a single dark or bright color, the end result may be much more attractive if you also use a coordinating neutral. For example, if you want to paint some basement walls red to liven up the space, consider painting others in a lighter neutral shade such as pale gray or light taupe. If your basement is large and you’d like to make the space look cozier, using darker neutral shades can be best. Good quality painter’s tape used at wall corners can help make the border between the two paint colors look flawless.

How to paint your basement walls

Painting basement walls can go a long way to spruce up a subterranean space suffering from limited natural light. With a little paint and imagination, a neglected space can be transformed into an office, playroom, studio, gym, or media center.

Painting basement walls is very practical because it protects against moisture, extending the life of your home. Painting basement walls is a quick and easy project; however, painting basements presents some challenges that other spaces do not. Here are a few pointers to get your project off to a good start and provide fabulous results.

Step 1 – Remove the Previous Paint

How to paint your basement walls

Basement walls are actually part of your home’s foundation. They breathe and produce condensation unlike other walls in your home. This unique trait is important because it affects how the paint adheres to the wall. Your basement wall is probably concrete and since concrete paint will only stick to a porous surface, you’ll want to remove the prior layer of paint if you have one. If the home is old, consider running a lead test before beginning removal and have a professional handle the task if the lead test is positive.

Use a scraper or wire brush to remove the old paint. Once all the paint is off the wall, clean it with white vinegar and then with a mixture of one cup baking soda per gallon of water to neutralize.

Step 2 – Do Away With Faulty Material

Building materials erode over time. When that happens, concrete crumbles. Crumbling may go unnoticed. Use a sand blaster or disc grinder to smooth out the rough surface of the wall to reveal loose materials.

Before painting, remove deteriorated materials and patch the area with mortar or cement. Once all repairs have been made, clean the walls with a TSP mixture.

Step 3 – Evaluate Mildew and Mold

Not only are these two substances potentially dangerous to your health, but they also weaken the structural integrity of the basement. There are plenty of chemicals on the market that can kill both of these organic troublemakers. Look for any signs of mold or mildew and treat if necessary.

Step 4 – Prime the Basement Walls

Primer ensures that paint stays on the wall. Cement absorbs paint through its porous surface. Primer floods the surface and prevents the subsequent layers of paint from being absorbed. It also adds to the paint’s waterproofing capability. Applying primer is a key step to the success of your basement painting project.

Step 5 – Apply Paint

How to paint your basement walls

Apply the paint with brushes, rollers, or spray guns. A paint sprayer is by far the fastest method, but some areas are sure to be missed. Rollers present the same dilemma. As you roll the paint on a textured surface, you can create a lot of splatter. Paint brushes do the job right on the first attempt and are the best option for the primer layer. To apply the paint once the primer is dry you can use any option since your primer will create an accepting surface. Apply one to two layers of paint and dry thoroughly between applications.

This article was co-authored by Patrick Coye and by wikiHow staff writer, Eric McClure. Patrick Coye is the owner and operator of Patrick’s Painting & Home Improvement in Alexandria, Virginia. With over 15 years of experience in residential construction, Patrick specializes in painting, wallpaper removal/installation, drywall, staining decks and fences, and kitchen cabinetry painting. To date, Patrick and his team have painted over 2,000 houses and stained over 800 decks. Patrick’s Company won a “Top Job” award from the American Painting contractor magazine in 2020.

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Painting your basement walls can do more than just improve the look of your home; it can protect your foundation from water damage and moisture. Basement walls that are made out of finished drywall can be painted the same way that you would paint a standard wall in your home. The one adjustment that you’ll need to make for finished walls is to use waterproofing primer instead of standard primer. For concrete walls, use a waterproof sealant to seal the porous material, and opt for a waterproof masonry paint to finish the job. While painting a basement can be a time-consuming process, it shouldn’t be too tough to pull off if you’ve got the right materials and a steady hand!

How to paint your basement walls

Are you wondering what color to paint your basement brick walls? You may be considering paint for your basement brick walls whether your space is finished or unfinished. Today we will explore some possible paint solutions to get you started.

Painting basement brick walls – the finished basement

Exposed brick walls in a finished basement can be very modern and stylish. It can help add to the personality of the space, like a unique artistic touch that doesn’t take much effort. On the other hand, a brick wall can be just that – an immovable block or obstruction. Maybe the color of the brick just doesn’t match the mood you are hoping to achieve. Are you going for serene and calm, but feeling overcome by blaring red bricks? To achieve the perfect look you have been dreaming of in your basement, you may need to add a coat of paint.

Your finished basement is a tranquil retreat. Earth tones are your direction. You’ve used beiges, browns, white, greys, blues, and a touch of green. To complete the look on your brick walls, you may choose to go with a white or off-white color. If you have already gone with a lot of white in the space, you may want to add a touch more color to the brick. A beige or grey tone would be the perfect backdrop to this wonderland.

How to paint your basement walls

The Finished Basement

Let’s not completely rule out red brick walls for a basement. If you have red bricks and just want to dull the color down a bit, the next tip is for you. I’m talking about the whitewash approach. This is perfect for the homeowner who wants to mute a brick wall without suppressing its natural beauty. Using whitewash paint and a sponge will give a semi-transparent look. This is unlike the solid paint color that is achieved by using a roller or paint brush.

Perhaps your goal is to create a red brick wall. Why not turn a boring concrete wall into a flashy red accent piece? A sponge or roller will help you out with this task. Being careful to paint only the surface of the existing brick, use a sponge or roller to create a red brick pattern. Be sure to leave the mortar untouched, unless your intent is to fill in this space as well.

Brick Staining by Home Painters Toronto

How to paint your basement walls

Painting Basement Brick Walls – The Unfinished Basement

You may find yourself needing to paint your unfinished basement walls. Has your basement suffered from storm damage, flooding or leaking? Maybe your basement is moldy or prone to moisture. In either case, it may be time to restore your basement waterproofing. When done correctly with the right products, painting your basement brick walls can offer the waterproofing protection you need.

You may not be fussy on the paint color for an unfinished basement where the goal is solely waterproofing. Choosing a white, grey or blue tone may be sufficient for this type of space. It is more important to choose the right type of paint in this case. Use a paint labelled for waterproofing below grade masonry when waterproofing a basement brick wall.

Steps on How to Paint Basement Brick Walls

I am now going to briefly outline the steps in painting basement brick walls. This is only a general guideline as masonry walls can differ greatly in terms of care and maintenance. Before starting your paint job, be sure to address any underlying moisture issues first.

  1. Thoroughly clean walls. Be sure to remove all traces of efflorescence. Efflorescence is powder-like salt deposit that settles on brick or concrete walls. It is caused by moisture that has entered the wall and evaporated. Remove efflorescence by wiping with a brush or by using a light power wash. Rinse well with water.
  2. Remove all traces of mold and mildew. A mild bleach solution is effective in removing mold and mildew from brick wall surfaces.
  3. Allow walls to dry completely.
  4. Repair any holes or cracks in the walls with a concrete fill.
  5. Prime and paint walls. Use a primer and paint specially formulated for below grade interior masonry.
  6. Stand back and admire your handy work!

Painting masonry walls is not as straightforward as it sounds. Due to the porous nature of brick and concrete, special treatment may be required. If you prefer to leave this job up to the professionals, go ahead and give Home Painters Toronto a call!

Basement walls aren’t like the other walls in your house. They are part of the foundation, and because they lie below grade, they are subject to moisture produced by condensation and seepage. Failing to remember this when you paint them could result in peeling and bubbling shortly after the paint dries. You can’t avoid a certain amount of condensation, and if the walls are seeping, you may need to improve drainage before you start painting.

Taking Stock

Assess the condition of the walls. If there is a previous coat of paint, you’ll need to remove it if you want to repaint with concrete paint, because concrete paint needs to adhere to a porous surface. If the paint is old, it may be lead-based. You can check by purchasing a lead-paint test kit online or at a home center. If the paint turns out to be lead-based, consider getting professional help in removing it, because lead-based paint is toxic. Look for areas of seepage and high moisture. You’ll want to seal leaks by filling them with hydraulic cement, but excessive seepage is a sign of drainage problems that you need to address before painting.

Preparing the Walls

Scraping the old paint off the walls can be time-consuming, but it’s a necessary evil — do it with a paint scraper and wire brush. Once the walls are clean, look for efflorescence, the white salt deposits that accompany seepage. Clean them with vinegar or, if they are stubborn, with muriatic acid. Neutralize the walls after an acid treatment by washing with a solution of 1 cup baking soda per gallon of water. After you fill cracks by troweling in a mixture of hydraulic cement mix and water, you should give the walls a good cleaning with a strong detergent solution, such as a mixture of 1/2 cup trisodium phosphate per gallon of hot water.

Choosing Paint and Primer

If proper preparation is 90 percent of a top-notch paint job, priming is probably 9 percent. The primer not only seals the pores of the surface you’re painting, it provides an adhesive base coat for the paint. The primer you use should contain a mildewcide to control fungus growth on the walls, and it should also be alkaline resistant, especially if you had to seal cracks with hydraulic cement. Choose a waterproof masonry paint for the topcoat. If your basement has poor ventilation, you’ll want to stick with low-VOC water-based products, of which several are available.

Applying Paint and Primer

Because bare concrete soaks up primer quickly, it’s best to apply it with a brush. You don’t have to worry about streaks, but it’s important not to leave voids, or areas without primer. Once the primer dries, the paint goes on much more smoothly, and you can speed things up by rolling it with a thick-nap roller, using a paint brush to fill in cracks and depressions and then back-rolling. Apply a second coat in the same way. Some efflorescence may leak through and become apparent after a few days, so save a small amount of paint so you can brush an extra coat on these areas.

Find out what it takes to successfully “finish” a basement’s concrete walls to create a comfortable living space down below.

How to paint your basement walls

With the cost of living space going up, many homeowners are looking down—creating a “finished” basement—to expand their home’s square footage. This can be an affordable solution to cramped quarters, but a basement’s concrete walls require special attention. Basements are surrounded by soil, allowing moisture to leak through cracks or seep through the concrete itself, resulting in damp or humid conditions. Read on for must-know info on what to do (and not do) when finishing basement walls to achieve quality, comfortable conditions.

DO pull a permit before making major changes.

While community building rules differ, in general, you will not need a permit just to seal or paint the concrete basement walls. If you’re going to build new walls inside the existing concrete walls, however, and/or run wiring or plumbing in the walls, you probably will need a permit. Because basement remodels are not visible from the curb, some homeowners may consider skipping the permit application, but failure to obtain a permit can result in a number of problems. You may need to pay a steep fine or have to remove the walls if the local building authority finds out. What’s more, not getting a permit can hold up the sale of your home: When prospective buyers discover that your basement doesn’t match the description recorded in the county records, they may be unwilling to make an offer.

DON’T finish walls until the basement is dry.

Even if your basement walls have no visible cracks or leaks you may still have moisture issues. A simple DIY test will help you to find out. Tape a one-foot by one-foot square of plastic sheeting (plastic kitchen wrap will do) to the concrete wall in your basement with duct tape, and leave it in place for 24 hours. Then remove the tape and examine the sheeting. If condensation is present inside of the plastic, there’s a humidity problem.

If the moisture test showed condensation but the walls feel dry to the touch, the solution might be as simple as rolling on a coat of masonry sealant, such as DRYLOK Masonry Waterproofer (available from The Home Depot) on the concrete walls. In some cases, taking steps to keep water away from the foundation, such as installing gutters and downspouts, will reduce basement humidity. For visible leaks and standing water, waterproof your basement walls, which may include filling cracks or having an interior drain installed beneath the floor to direct water from leaks and seepage to a sump pump that will pump the water out.

How to paint your basement walls

When it comes to painting your basement, it’s not just a case of choosing any old paint as long as it’s in a color you like. Basements aren’t like other rooms in your home, and a very different kind of criteria applies to its treatment. While it’s tempting to think that paint manufacturers have created different kinds of paints simply as a marketing ploy to shift more units, this is one case where you really should be checking the label carefully: a universal paint that can be used in any room of the house would make things simple, but unfortunately, it just doesn’t exist. As The Spruce notes, different rooms in the house have different micro-climates and different level of humidity, with the result that niche paints are a very real requirement. If you’re not quite sure of the differences between the various options, there’s a wealth of information around to help you, starting with our comprehensive guide to choosing the best paint for basements.

The Unique Requirements of Basement Walls

Some people’s basement masonry walls are a little moist. Some peoples are downright wet. If you’re among either category, consider yourself Mr. or Mrs. Average. Basement walls are notorious for seeping water, and unfortunately, there’s precious little you can do to stop the problem at its root cause (short of knocking the walls down and starting over). There are, however, plenty of options to consider when it comes to minimizing its effect, starting with ensuring proper drainage and treating any cracks in the walls. Choosing an appropriate paint is also essential. And when we say appropriate, we mean waterproof….

Benefits of Waterproof Paints

Mold Resistant: Unless you don’t mind your basement smelling like a mildewing chamber, you’ll need to ensure that any mold is treated promptly and prevented from coming back. While there are plenty of temporary options on the market (pop into any hardware store and you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to moldicides), sealing the walls with a waterproof paint will do a far better job at keeping mold at bay on a permanent basis. The paint will effectively stop any water condensing between the drywall and concrete, minimizing the chance of mold forming.

Preventing Water Seepage: If your basement walls are made of concrete (as most are), then short of knocking them down and starting over you’ll never be able to stop all water seepage. You can, however, stop a lot of the small seepages that come through the small pores of the wall by applying a coat of waterproof paint.

Paint Options for Concrete Basement Walls

Although you might be dazzled by the number of waterproof paints on offer at most hardware stores, they all break down into one of four categories: acrylic, epoxy, latex, and urethane).

  • Latex Paint: choosing paint with a latex base has a number of key advantages. Firstly, latex is less prone to peeling or cracking than many other varieties, resulting in fewer re-coats down the line. It also has a super-quick drying time, minimal odor, and fewer fumes than a lot of other paints on the market. In addition to its excellent functionality and ease of application, it also adds a beautiful luster to your walls. Well-rounded protection plus a great aesthetic equals one seriously worthwhile investment. ? Tick. Highly Durable? Tick. Satin Finish? Tick. There’s a reason that Epoxy paints tend to be many people’s number one choice for concrete basement walls. Highly resistant to cracking, peeling, and blistering, easy to clean, and available in a good variety of colors, Epoxy paints are a great option for basements.
  • Acrylic Paint: as Hunker notes, acrylic paints are generally not designed to take too much abuse: if your basement is well-trafficked, you may either need to consider another option, or, if you do opt for acrylic, you’ll need to invest in a sealer to help preserve and protect it from damage.
  • Urethane Paint: Urethane tends to be used primarily as a top coat and sealant, offering a very resilient (albeit tricky to apply) option to protect concrete floors and walls from damage.

Consider Color

Once you’ve chosen the type of base paint you want, the next step is to determine which color is the most appropriate. Unlike some rooms of the house where you can allow your own style and personal preference to fully guide your choice, you’ll need to apply a little more discretion when it comes to choosing the right hue for your basement. Light (or the absence, therefore) tends to be a major issue in most basements, so it’s important to consider which colors are likely to enhance what little light there is, and which may have the effect of making your basement even darker and dingier than it already is.

Pale, pastel based colors will usually work to make a room feel lighter and brighter, while darker colors will tend to absorb the light and make a room feel smaller and darker. You don’t need to avoid the dark side completely, but it’s best to keep darker shades to accents only, as opposed to the main feature.

Not all basements are alike, of course, so it’s always a good idea to assess what kind of natural light is coming in before making your final choice. If your basement is blessed by lots of sunshine, your color choices will open up dramatically. It’s also important to reflect on how you use your basement: darker colors can make a room look smaller, but if you want to use the space primarily as an intimate spot for late-night entertaining or as a stylish media room, it’s not necessarily a bad thing to consider colors on the darker side of the spectrum. Conversely, if your basement serves as a kid’s playroom, you may want to keep things lively, bright and cheerful with yellows, whites, and other light-enhancing hues.

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About The Author

Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are entertainment, travel, health, food, celebrities, and pets. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

RadonSeal Deep-Penetrating Concrete Sealer seals poured concrete and concrete blocks deeper and tighter than any other sealer on the market. The best basement sealer for your foundation walls and concrete floor against water seepage, vapor transmission and even radon gas.

Subsequently, question is, how much does it cost to seal a basement? The average homeowner spends around $4,313 to seal a basement or foundation, with minor repairs costing as little as $600. More comprehensive issues that include fixing cracks in the foundation or adding drains & gutters can cost upwards of $10,000.

Also Know, how do you waterproof basement walls?

A Step-By-Step Guide to Basement Waterproofing

  1. Check for Cracks. With the excavation completed, clean the wall and check for any cracks or areas causing the water to seep in.
  2. Apply Sealant. Apply a coat of cement based sealant to all exterior walls.
  3. Apply a Membrane. Install a waterproofing membrane.
  4. Install Drainage Mat.
  5. Complete the French Drain.
  6. What to Avoid Doing.

Can you waterproof basement from inside?

If the foil has condensation on the inside surface (next to the wall), it may be the soil around your house is naturally damp from a high water table or poor soil drainage. In that case, waterproofing your basement walls can be useful. You can waterproof just your interior walls, which may solve the problem.