How To Paint Basement Floors

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A basement is a great place to store your belongings and relax, but it can be difficult to make the space livable. Before you start painting basement floors, you'll want to apply a coat of primer on walls and floors if they are made of concrete. This will ensure that your paint job lasts longer and looks better overall. 

If you're looking for an easy way to give your basement a fresh coat of paint, then look no further. The following is a step-by-step tutorial that will help you get your basement painted in no time.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Paint roller
  • Epoxy paint
  • Epoxy paint primer
  • Paintbrush
  • Mop Bucket
  • Degreasing solution
  • Painter's tape
  • Concrete crack sealer
  • Paint tray
  • Vacuum
  • Paint Scraper

Choose the Right Paint

There are so many different floor paints to choose from, each designed for specific purposes. So, you must learn how to choose paint colors that will blend well with your structure. Before you buy any paint, make sure that it's suitable for your flooring type by checking the label or asking at your local hardware store. There are several paints that will work just fine on concrete floors, including epoxy paint and enamel.

Epoxy paints are specifically for concrete floors. They're extremely durable, scratch-resistant, and used on previously painted surfaces without stripping or sanding the old paint. Every brand is different, so it's important to follow the manufacturer's instructions when applying it. 

Enamel paints are also designed for concrete floors, but these are thicker than epoxy paints. You should be well conversant with how much paint you’ll need before you proceed to the next step.

Clear the Painting Surface

Basement subfloor has various other options providing support on the foundation. Before painting your concrete basement, clear all the furniture and other objects out of the room. If there are any electrical outlets or light switches, cover them with old rags before taping off the area with painter's tape. 

Take some time to purge the concrete floor materials that you no longer need. You can donate, toss or even sell. Make your concrete floors empty by moving other items to another room.

Clear the Painting Surface
Image Credit: Kitchen Infinity Photo

Prepare the Floor

Once everything is removed from the room, it's time to prepare the floor by cleaning it. Sweep the floor well and then mop it with a degreasing soap to get rid of any oil build-up that will prevent your paint from adhering properly. Use a wet-dry vacuum to suck up all the excess moisture and allow it to sit overnight if possible.

Prepare the Floor
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If you've applied patching material, then sand or grind the edges until smooth. Vacuum the room, then wipe down with a damp cloth to remove any dust that may have accumulated. You can read more on polyurethane for floors.

Cleaning the Floor

In order to achieve a neat paint job, it's important that the floor is as clean as possible. Sweep up any dust and dirt with a broom and shop vac, then wipe down with a damp cloth followed by a dry cloth. 

In some cases, you may find that there are lampblack stains on your floor if it has been painted in the past or was coated with something else. If this is the case, scrub the floor gently using a mild detergent before rinsing with water. Before applying the paint on your concrete floors, ensure your floor is dried completely.

Before you begin painting, adjust the temperature of your room to match the conditions of the paint you are using. Also, ensure adequate ventilation to avoid inhaling any fumes given off by your chosen paint for basement floors. You might consider learning how to get rid of paint smell and fumes before you start the job.

Applying Primer

Once you've finished cleaning and sanding down your unfinished basement floor, it's time to apply primer. Follow the instructions on the can or bottle of primer exactly in order to get satisfactory results. This is very important because some paints require priming before applying the paint.

Apply Primer
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Use paintbrushes and paint rollers to primer your concrete floors. Start at the furthest corner and work your way to the entrance. This will prevent you from accidentally painting a wall a different color than the rest of your concrete basement.

Use long strokes and then apply the primer as evenly as possible to cover the entire surface. If you see bubbles form, use a dry roller to smooth the application. When you're done, wait for 24 hours before continuing.

Apply a second coat of primer according to the manufacturer's specifications, making sure it is evenly applied, and wait another 24 hours before applying the paint. When you're ready, paint your walls with oil-based enamel or latex paint for added protection against water damage.

Tape Off

Before you give your basement a fresh coat of paint, apply painter's tape to the walls and molding to prevent getting paint on them. The tape will keep the color from spreading to unwanted surfaces, making the painting process much easier. If you're using two-part epoxy paint, then you need to be quick because the paint has a limited window before it begins to harden.

Mix the Paint Thoroughly

The mixing process can be time-consuming, but it's essential for getting the perfect color. Most of these paints come in powder form that you must mix with a liquid to activate them. Follow the instructions on your paint container carefully, and make sure you're using enough paint to evenly cover all of the floors.

Epoxy paints emit strong fumes, so you'll want to do this process outside or in a well-ventilated area. Follow proper safety precautions by using breathing protection such as a dust mask or respirator to keep yourself from inhaling any paint particles. Activate the epoxy by mixing two cans in the kit. Mix the two cans thoroughly. You can use a stick to stir the first kit and then upgrade the paddle paint mixer.

Apply a Base Coat One Time

Once you've thoroughly mixed your epoxy, go ahead and spread it over the concrete floors, going in one direction with a roller. The base coat is a flat finish, so it should cover completely with just a few coats. Start by painting the edges of the floor adjacent to the walls with a brush or wide paintbrush. Then, use your paint roller to spread the rest of the epoxy in one direction over the floor, overlapping each section with what you did before.

Don't try to paint more than one coat unless your container says it's ok. Most of these paints need at least two coats for maximum durability and protection, so if the color looks uneven after one application, let the coat dry and apply the second coat. Also, make sure you use concrete floor paint and not any other paint.

Hand Sand the Floor to Prepare it for the Second Coat

Once your floor is dry, go ahead and use fine-grain sandpaper to lightly smooth out any ridges or bumps to ensure even coverage on your second coat. Sweep concrete floors clean after finishing each step to avoid leaving traces of debris behind.

Apply the Second Coat

Allow the first coat to dry completely, then apply the new coat as instructed by the label instructions. Leave your paint to dry for 24 hours before moving to the next step. Remember to apply all floor coatings as directed by the manufacturer to get efficient and effective results.

Follow with Clean Up and Maintenance

When you're done painting, wash your concrete floors with a clean cloth and warm water. Wipe up any remaining paint drips or spills as soon as they happen to prevent them from settling into the flooring and staining it. Sweep and mop your floors daily for upkeep. Wash your paint roller and paint bucket to prevent paint from sticking to them

Use a putty knife to peel away the tape, if necessary. If you have a prefinished floor, check the label of your first coat to see whether it needs a top coat for additional protection. Some prefinished floors require a topcoat, while others don't.

FAQs on how to Paint a Basement Floor

Is it ok to paint the basement floor?

Yes. Painting your basement floor is a cost-effective way to revitalize the space, and it can also increase its value.

Can you paint the basement floor with Drylok?

Drylok works well for basement floors. This latex-based paint is durable enough, making it suitable for high-traffic places like floors, garage floors, and basements. This is also an oil-based paint which makes a better option in your basement floors.

Can you paint an unfinished basement?

Yes, it’s possible. Painting an unfinished basement has several pitfalls including moisture seepage. Therefore you need to have special paint for this paint job. Make sure you look for concrete-floor paint to paint your unfinished basement floor.

Final Thought on How to Paint a Basement Floor

Painting your basement is a cost-effective project that can add value to your home. Prefinished basement floors need to be finished in a topcoat for added protection, and it's important that you apply primer before painting your basement floor with drylok or another type of paint. So if you're looking to transform the look of your basement, then a quick paint job is all you need to do.


Mark Weber

Mark Weber

Mark started out as an electrical engineer before he became a licensed bathroom remodeling contractor. He loves writing about bathrooms and remodeling in his spare time, as it relaxes him to think of something besides work.

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