How to Paint a Concrete Floor in Basement?

how to paint a concrete basement floor

A great place to practice your DIY skills is your basement!

Painting your concrete basement floor in a do it yourself way can transform a drab and dull surface into a clean and slick look.

Not to mention, spills and leaks are much easier to clean off of paint than they are off of concrete.

With just a few items and even fewer steps, you can paint your concrete basement floor in less than a day.

Why Paint a Basement Floor?

Your basement is the perfect spot for rooms you may not want in the main house.

These may be such as your personal gym, a mega-media room, your home office, or even a bar featuring a wine cellar.

You may want to create a guest suite or perhaps an apartment for an additional stream of income.

Or there may be increasing radon gas in your basement that needs attention.

No matter what your purpose is for your basement, painting your basement concrete floor will enhance your basement environment.

And for this reason, you should definitely consider painting them using good paint.

Choosing a good stain, the workload, and the cost will, however, depend on various factors which may include:

  • The thickness of your floor,
  • How many cracks does it have,
  • The level of repairing it needs,
  • The finish quality you are expecting to get, etc.

What You Will Need To Paint?

You’ll need the following items to paint your concrete basement floor:

  • Hand Sander
  • Bucket
  • Tack Cloth
  • Vacuum
  • Paint Roller with an Extension Rod
  • Good Quality Paintbrush
  • Plastic Sheeting
  • Masking Tape
  • 80-Grit Sandpaper
  • Mop
  • Acrylic-Base Masonry Sealer
  • Concrete Bonding Primer and Stain Blocker
  • Degreasing Solution

Steps for Painting Concrete Basement Floor

After you have gathered all the essentials you can now follow these steps:

Step 1 – Test for Humidity

Start by testing your basement concrete for humidity:

Tape a piece of plastic onto the floor in an area not exposed to the sun or to heat and let it sit for 24 hours

If either the concrete under the plastic or the underside of the plastic itself shows moisture, the moisture is coming up through the concrete.

You must remedy the situation by cleaning out your gutters and downspouts.

If the top of the plastic shows moisture, your basement is too humid. A dehumidifier can help create the appropriate conditions for painting.

If the temperature is above 90 degrees F or below 40 degrees, you cannot paint your basement floor. Wait for appropriate conditions for painting.

Step 2 – Clean Basement Floor

Prepare the floor to ensure the paint will adhere to it.

Because you’ll need to paint the entire room at once, move all furniture and other items out of the entire basement. The paint requires an expedient application.

Start by sanding the floor. If the surface is uneven, sanding will even it out. Or if there’s old paint, sanding will remove the paint.

And if the concrete is too smooth, sanding will rough it up, creating a more porous surface for the new coat to stick to.

Once you’ve sanded off old paint and uneven sections of the floor, vacuum the floor. Then, wipe the floor with a tack cloth, removing all residue.

Fill cracks and holes with compound, pushing it into depressions with a towel. After the floor is thoroughly dry, smooth the surface.

Using a heavy brush, scrub the basement floor with water and detergent, removing all grime in order for the paint to stick.

Mop the floor with clean water and allow the floor to dry.

Step 3 – Taping

Tape the areas you want to be protected, including the bottom of your walls, baseboards, and fixtures.

If you have much larger area to cover, you can speed up the process by using a painter’s tape applicator.

This will help you do the taping job precisely and fast.

Most of them come with a roll of tape and are easily available at paint stores or a hardware store near you

Step 4 – Primer

Starting in the corners and on the edges, use your paintbrush to apply the primer.

Using a paint roller also apply two coats of Ultra-Spec primer, starting from the far cornerback and allowing the floor to dry completely between coats.

Be sure to apply the coats evenly; otherwise, your top-coat will be uneven. Wait two hours before applying the second coat.

Step 5 – Apply Epoxy

Starting in the corners and on the edges, use your paintbrush to apply the epoxy paint (Benjamin Moore).

Then using a clean paint roller or paint compressor, apply at least two coats of epoxy paint, starting from the far cornerback and allowing the floor to dry completely between coats.

Be sure to apply the coats evenly; otherwise, your top-coat will be uneven. Wait two hours before applying the second coat.

Step 6 – Apply the Sealer

Starting in the corners and on the edges, use your paintbrush to apply the masonry sealer.

Using a clean roller or compressor, apply several coats of masonry sealer, starting from the far cornerback and allowing the floor to dry completely between coats.

Be sure to apply the coats evenly; otherwise, your top-coat will be uneven. Wait two hours before applying the second coat.

Step 7 – Wait

Wait 12 hours before allowing foot traffic.

Generally, you should wait for around 24 hours before walking on your new floor, especially if the epoxy count is on the higher side.

If you want earlier you may need to check and ensure for the instructions on the paint product you have picked and used.

In any case, if you want to park your car in the basement, don’t ever do it for at least 72 hours.

Bonus Tip: Areas like a basement in your home are prone to get affected by chemicals and gases that are dangerous to breathe.

This can be especially true if you have a xylene coated concrete floor in your basement.

We, therefore, recommend wearing goggles and a paint fume respirator mask before you start painting your basement floor.

How much to paint concrete basement floor?
An average cost to seal and paint a concrete basement floor may range between $2.50 and $4.5 per square foot. This will, however, not include the labor cost and may depend on the quality of sealer, stain or paint you will be using.

What Kind of Paint to Use for Concrete Basement Floor?

Switching from the cold, hard concrete to a warmer color will not only improve the appearance of your basement, but it will also help your basement feel warmer.

So, choosing the right material type as well as color is most important.

In general, there are 3 main types of paints available on the market for the basement floor. These include:

Standard Paint

This category usually includes your basic most latex acrylic paints that are ideal for most of the floors including concrete.

Most people do prefer it for the basement due to the fact that these are very cheap and comes in various color options to choose from.

However, the fact of the matter is if you are in the market to buy the BEST basement floor paint or paint for your garage floor this is not the option you should go for.

And the reason is pretty simple – these are not tough enough and does not last for long.

Unless you are tight on budget, you should not go for this type and look forward to the other two options below.

Epoxy Paint

This is typically a regular paint that has some epoxy content mixed into it.

Much tougher as compared to the simple standard paints, this one will give you the quality and toughness you may be looking for.

While maintaining a low cost this can help you paint your garage basement very well.

However, if your pocket allows and if you are in need of something best for your basement you should go for our third option instead.

2-Part Epoxy Kit

This so-called two-part kit is generally a mix of epoxy resin and polyamine hardener.

Known for providing the maximum toughness along with long-lasting excellent finish these are best to have for your basement floor.

The beauty of this product is you can use it to provide the shine and décor by adding some colored chips and flecks to your flooring.

If you want you can also use a protective layer of clear epoxy on top of the paint coat to add the toughness and durability.

What about the Colors?

Wondering what is the best color to paint on your basement floor?

Let’s check out…

White is simple yet sophisticated. In fact, it’s an ideal match if you want to paint your checkerboard concrete floor.

So for a modern look, you can paint the floor a neutral color like white, and to break up the monotony of the white, you can hang a colorful painting on your basement wall.

Blue is a good choice if you’re searching for a relaxing and natural feel to your basement.

Green is a good choice if you want a more refreshing and livelier appearance.

If your basement is small or narrow, light and soft colors like beige or light grey will make your basement feel larger.

How Long will These Paint Last?

How long your garage basement floor paint will last will generally depend on the type of paint product and brand you have chosen.

If its an epoxy you have done, you may expect it to last for anywhere between 25 to 30 years. In other cases, it may be about 5-15 years.

This will usually depend on the wear and tear due to the chemicals like road salt and motor oil that your basement floor gets exposed to.

A good paint brand (such as Sherwin Williams, Drylok and many others) is good to choose if you want them to last longer.

In case you are looking for some best paint to use on the concrete basement floor here are a few of them from a trusted brand…

*Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Considerations When Buying Basement Floor Paint

Before you purchase any paint for your basement garage floor, the first thing you need to do is measure the floor area to determine how much paint you will need.

It helps if you have a square foot calculator to help you with the measurements.

The paint you purchase will tell you how much it will cover in terms of square feet for one coat.

What follows are a few considerations you will need to make to purchase the right type of garage floor paint.

1. Style

You want your basement floor to look good, so there are a number of finishes that are available.

The color variation is considerable with garage floor paint, so you can go with something simple or add shards that will provide an extra bit of color and splash.

It’s your choice, so get to know all of what is available.

2. Durability

Taking the weight of your vehicles means the paint itself needs to be tough and durable. However, the tougher the paint, the more difficult it will be to apply.

So, while a two-part epoxy kit is going to have the toughest finish, you may have to spend a considerable amount of time applying it to the floor.

3. Heat Resistance

What separates paint made for garage basement floors compared to walls is the heat resistance it needs for hot tires.

Called hot tire pickup, this is the term used when the tires from your vehicle roll into the garage hot from the friction of running on the streets.

The paint will have a heat resistance to prevent it from being picked up by your tires.

Basically, the more heat resistance, the better the paint will stick to the floor and not your tires. Be sure the paint you choose has resistance to heat and hot tire pickup.

Finally, if you do a lot of work in your garage with oil, gasoline, and the like, look for a product that offers good resistance to chemicals.

Otherwise, you are going to lose your paint quickly.

Painting vs. Vinyl Tiling Your Basement Floor?

Due to the fact that the stained concrete basement floor has its own pros and cons, many people prefer tiling them – using premium quality ceramic tiles or vinyl tiles.

Wood and rubber flooring are also the other basement flooring options for those who do not feel the concrete to be much appealing.

However, for good reasons, I highly recommend getting them painted especially if you want your concrete basement to be tough, sturdy and long-lasting.

Applying a high-quality epoxy floor coating is best if you want to live with that hard surface concrete-based flooring.

On the plus side, these epoxy paints come in lots of color options to choose from, most of these are completely waterproof and are easy to apply as well.

Tiles, on the other hand, are the choice for those who want to get more of a designer look than toughness.

These come in a variety of styles and colors. And also, it’s not much affected by the moisture.

You can easily apply them onto your concrete floors, provided they are smooth and free of cracks.

DurabilityExtremely durable and resistant to scratches. Even good for heavy furniture and parking vehicles.Comparatively less durable than concrete and not completely scratch proof
MaintenanceEasy to maintain, may need waxing or sealing once or twice a yearExtremely easy to maintain, but needs a good wipe and grout care occasionally
WaterproofNo, its vulnerable to moisture and hence mildew and moldYes, efficient in protecting the water damage and humidity to some extent
AffordabilityCosts vary depending on many conditionsHighly affordable than as compared to concrete
AestheticsAvailable in wide variety of colors and texturesAvailable in wide variety of colors, styles, patterns and textures

Should You Consider Waterproofing a Basement?

Basement waterproofing can be an expensive task but a valuable home repair you should definitely consider investing in.

Not only does it protect your area from minor leakages but also from heavy flooding, especially if you live in a region that gets heavy rain.

The cash you spend on it will, however, depend on the region you reside in, the size of your home and the level of waterproofing you are seeking.

When painting or getting the repair done, you should carefully evaluate the condition of the concrete floor and your budget. Then accordingly take the necessary steps for waterproofing and to prevent flooding.

Before considering the treatments for the basement floor make sure that the gutters are all clear and are pointed away from the stamped concrete walls.

Also, if your home has a drain tile or a sump pump, ensure that they are in good working condition.

In case the flooding is a severe issue in your area and you do not have a sump pump system installed, consider getting it installed as soon as possible.

Can You Put Polyurethane Over Painted Concrete Floors?

Polyurethane can essentially provide a tough protection to your painted concrete floor.

In fact, if you are using a high-quality oil-based polyurethane it will provide you much better protection than other materials.

If you want you can also wax a painted concrete floor in basement, especially if its coated with epoxy paint.

This will help you to maintain and protect the shine of your epoxy-painted concrete floors for long.

However, if you want to apply it for shine, you may understand that the shine may not last for long.

How to Get Paint Off Concrete Basement Floor?

Old rough concrete is one of the most difficult surfaces to clean oil paint off of.

But believe me, you may need to do it multiple times when you are repainting your floor.  

Like with every surface, wipe up the wet paint without smearing or spreading it further before beginning on the hard part.

Once that is done, let’s move to step one.

Step One – Soak and dry

You can use something absorbent to soak up any remaining wet paint overnight.

Something granular that can get into the small porous parts of the concrete like cat litter or sawdust will work well.

Just lay it out over the stain overnight and sweep it up in the morning.

After you have soaked up as much paint as possible, let the rest of the paint dry for 3-4 days before continuing.

Yes, it sounds counterintuitive, but if there is remaining paint after you have tried to absorb it, the only other way to remove it from concrete is to wait for it to dry.

Step Two – Mix sawdust

After the paint has dried, mix fresh sawdust or cat litter with paint stripper until it has a paste-like texture.

Then spread the compound over the stain and let it sit for about 30 minutes before scraping it back up.

Step Three – Scrub

After the paint stripping compound is removed, scrub an abrasive cleaner such as sand or baking soda thoroughly over the stain.

This may take some hard scrubbing with a heavy-duty brush that can get into the narrow, porous surface of the concrete.

Nylon brushes usually work well, but any heavy-duty scrubber should work.

Finally, use a pressure washer or heavy-duty hose to rinse the area clean.

Wrapping Up

Easy to maintain, your freshly painted floor can disguise imperfections while enhancing the appearance of your basement.

In just 10 simple steps that only take a few hours, you can create a whole new floor and a brand new basement style.

The good thing is in less than a day’s work and the above steps in mind, you can renew your basement’s look and feel by painting your basement floor.

Why not get it ready before you park your favorite car!

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