How to DIY Paint a Concrete Floor in Your Basement?

painting and sealing concrete basement floor

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

These may include your gym, mega-media room, home office, man cave, or bar featuring a wine cellar.

Alternatively, you may want to create a guest suite or perhaps an apartment for an additional income stream. Or there may be increasing radon gas in your basement that needs attention.

No matter what your purpose is, painting and sealing the concrete floors will enhance your overall basement environment.

In this blog post, we will look at how to get the project done, what paint products you should use, and what the benefits or drawbacks of getting the floor in your basement painted in the first place are.

Ready…Let’s get started…

Pros and Cons of Painting Basement Floor

First and foremost, there are many advantages if you decide to seal your basement floor. These include:

  • Painting can give it a fresh, clean look.
  • It can also help to protect the floor from stains and dirt.
  • If you use a sealant or primer before painting, it can also help to protect the floor from moisture.

That said, there are a few disadvantages to painting your floor in the basement, which you should consider before starting the project. These include:

  • The process of painting a basement floor can be time-consuming.
  • You will need to prepare the surface well, which can be complex and messy.
  • Getting paint to adhere correctly to a concrete floor will not be easy unless you use a particular type of paint designed for concrete floors.

Now, if you desire to get started in a DIY way, you will need suitable materials and knowledge about the steps you must follow. So, here are they…

What Will You Need to Paint?

You’ll need to gather 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
  • De-greasing Solution

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

  • The thickness of the floor
  • Number of cracks it has and the level of repair it needs
  • The finish quality you are expecting to get

Steps for Painting Concrete Basement Floor

After you have gathered all the essentials, you can now follow these steps to paint your basement floor:

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 heat and let it sit for 24 hours.

If either the concrete under the plastic or the underside of the plastic itself shows the signs of 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 also shows moisture, your basement is too humid. A dehumidifier can help create the appropriate conditions for painting in that case.

Also, if the temperature is above 90 degrees F or below 40 degrees, you cannot paint your basement floor – wait for the appropriate conditions.

Step 2 – Prepare the Floor

Next, you must prepare the concrete flooring to ensure the paint will adhere to it.

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

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

On the flip side, if the concrete is too smooth, sanding will roughen 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.

Also, using a heavy brush, scrub the basement floor with water and detergent, removing all grime for the paint to stick. Mop the floor with clean water and allow the floor to dry.

Next, check the cracks and holes you need to fill with compound – push the filler compound into depressions with a towel.

Once the floor is thoroughly dry and smooth, clean the surface by wiping it with a tack cloth, removing all residue.

Step 3 – Taping

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

If you have a much larger concrete area to cover, you can speed up the process using a painter’s tape applicator. It will help you do the taping job precisely and fast.

Most of these applicators come with a roll of tape and are readily available at paint stores or a hardware stores near you.

Step 4 – Primer

Starting in the corners and on the edges, use your paintbrush or a roller (maybe with an extension rod) to apply two coats of epoxy-based primer.

For flat concrete surfaces, you can use a thick flat wall brush, but for corners and edges, you must use an angle sash brush that will work well.

If you plan to use a roller for painting concrete floors, make sure you get one that uses a 1/2- to 3/4-inch-thick nap. The thicker the nap (or roller cover) you choose, the more paint it will hold and help to better fill the cracks and rough concrete crevices.

When rolling, start from the far cornerback (including stairs and steps, if any) and allow the floor to dry completely between coats for about two hours.

Also, ensure to apply the coats evenly; otherwise, your topcoat will be uneven.

Step 5 – Apply Epoxy Acrylic Paint

Starting in the corners and on the edges, use your paintbrush to apply the epoxy-based paint (such as KILZ 1-Part Epoxy Acrylic Concrete and Garage Floor Paint).

Then using a clean paint roller, apply second coat, starting from the far cornerback. Be sure to wait two hours before applying the second coating of KILZ 1-Part Epoxy Acrylic.

A paint sprayer can help with the paint application process if you have a much larger or uneven concrete surface.

A pump sprayer with 20-psi fluid pressure and 40 to 60-psi air pressure will work great for concrete flooring at home. For more heavy-duty industrial projects, use airless paint sprayers with a pressure of 1800 to 2400 PSI.

Step 6 – Apply the Sealer

After the paint has dried for about 24 hours, you can apply the sealer.

Starting in the corners and on the edges, use your paintbrush to apply two coats of masonry sealer (like DRYLOK) or an epoxy sealer.

Then using a clean roller, apply at least two additional coats of sealer on the floor – starting from the far cornerback. Allow the floor to dry completely between coats.

Generally, epoxy concrete sealers are the most durable for high-traffic areas. But as they cost more, you can use softer acrylic sealers with sacrificial floor wax.

These are more affordable and work well for residential concrete floors, including basements.

Step 7 – Wait for Drying

After you have sealed the concrete floor completely, wait at least 12 hours before allowing foot traffic.

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

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

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

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.

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

How much will it cost 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 the Concrete Basement Floor?

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

But the key here is choosing the right material type and color.

In general, three main types of paints are available on the market for concrete floors. These include:

1- Standard Paint

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

Most people prefer it for the basement because its cheaper and comes in various color options.

However, if you are in the market to buy the best paint for your basement garage floor, this is not the option you should go for.

The reason is pretty simple – these are not tough enough and do not last long.

So, unless you are tight on budget, you should never go for this type and look forward to the other two options below.

2- Epoxy Paint

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

Much more robust compared to the simple standard paints, this one will give your concrete the strength you may be looking for.

While maintaining a low cost, these paints can help get your unfinished garage basement floor painted very well.

However, if your pocket allows and you need something best, you should use the third option.

3- Two Part Epoxy Kit

This so-called 2-part kit is generally a mix of epoxy resin and polyamine hardener.

Known for providing maximum toughness and a long-lasting excellent finish, these are best for sealing and painting concrete basement floors.

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

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

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.

If your basement is small or narrow, softer colors like beige and light grey will pair well with white to make the area feel larger.

For a modern look, you can paint the floor with neutral colors like white, gray, or black, and to break up the monotony of the white, you can hang a colorful painting on your basement wall.

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

Whereas green is a prefered option if you want to offer a refreshing and livelier appearance to the concrete.

TIP: If you have stairs in the basement, paint the risers a glossy, bright white with a protective dark-colored stain applied over the tread steps.

How Long Will These Paint Last?

How long your finished garage basement floor paint will last depends on the paint product type and brand you have chosen.

If it’s 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.

But this will usually also depend on the wear and tear due to the chemicals like road salt and motor oil exposed to your basement floor.

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

Choosing the Paint for Concrete Basement Floors

Considerations When Buying Floor Paint for Basement

Before you purchase the paint, the very first thing you will need to do is measure the floor area to determine how much paint you will roughly need.

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

The type of paint you purchase will also tell you how much it will cover in terms of square feet for one coat – most of them will have this information on their labels.

Besdies the paint quantity, a few other considerations to purchase the correct type of garage floor paint include…

1. Style

You want your basement floor to look good, so several finishes 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

If you use your basement as a garage, taking the weight of your vehicles means the floor paint itself must 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 from walls is the heat resistance it needs for hot tires.

“Hot tire pickup” is the term used when the tires from your vehicle roll into the garage hot from the friction of running on the streets.

A good paint will have better heat resistance to prevent it from being picked up by your hot tires.

Typically, the more heat resistance, the better the paint will stick to the floor and not your tires. So, be sure the type of 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 also offers good resistance to chemicals.

Otherwise, you are going to lose your paint quickly.

Painting vs. Vinyl Tiling Your Basement Floor- What’s a Better Option?

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

Wood and rubber flooring are other good options for those who do not feel concrete much appealing.

But tiles for basement floors are particulalry the choice for those who want a more designer look than toughness.

The tiles come in a variety of styles and colors. And also, it’s not much affected by moisture. You can even DIY apply them to your concrete floors, provided they are smooth and free of cracks.

When is paint recommended?

Getting the concrete painted (with high-quality epoxy floor coating), is what I recommend if you want the hard surface of your concrete-based flooring to be tough, sturdy, and long-lasting for decades.

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

The only drawback of painting concrete or cement floors is that it is not typically an easy job for the average homeowner to do alone. 

Not only will you need to prepare the floor well before painting, but also you need to apply the sealer after painting. This can cost you both money and time, along with tons of effort.

DurabilityExtremely durable and resistant to scratches. Even suitable 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, it’s 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 as compared to concrete
AestheticsAvailable in a wide variety of colors and texturesAvailable in a wide variety of colors, styles, patterns, and textures

Related FAQs

Should You Consider Waterproofing a Basement?

Basement waterproofing can be expensive but valuable home repair you should consider investing in. It protects your area from minor leakages and heavy flooding, especially in a region with 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 seek.

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

Before considering the waterproofing treatments for the basement floor, ensure that the gutters are clear and pointed away from the stamped concrete walls.

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

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

Do You Need to Get Old Paint Off Before Painting?

An old rough concrete floor is one of the most challenging surfaces to clean paint off.

But no matter how hard it is, you must remove the old paint layer when repainting your floor. This is important to get the finish that lasts.

Depending on how old the paint is and the condition of the floor, you can use one of the following methods…

  1. Chemical strippers – designed for removing old stubborn epoxy paint from concrete and masonry surfaces
  2. Power washing – to remove the standard paints like latex without using chemicals
  3. Soda blasting method – an effective and environmentally friendly alternative where power washing or chemical strippers don’t work

Can You Put Polyurethane Over Painted Concrete Floors?

A high-quality oil-based polyurethane can seal best and provide strict protection to your painted concrete floor much better than many other materials.

If you want, you can also wax a painted concrete floor in the basement, especially if it’s coated with epoxy paint. This will help you maintain and protect the shine of your epoxy-painted concrete floors for a long time.

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

Wrapping Up

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

In just seven simple steps (mentioned above) that take only a few hours, you can create a new floor with a unique basement style.

So, why not get it ready before you park your favorite luxury car inside?

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