How to DIY Paint a Concrete Floor in Your Basement?

painting concrete basement floor

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

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

You may often 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 for your basement, painting the concrete floors will enhance your overall basement environment.

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

Pros and Cons of Painting Basement Floor

There are a few advantages if you decide to paint your basement floor. These include:

  • Painting your basement floor 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.

There are also 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 of the floor before painting and this can be a difficult and messy task.
  • It can be difficult to get paint to adhere properly to a concrete floor so you will need to use a special 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 need to follow.

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
  • De-greasing Solution

Choosing a good paint, 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.

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 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 in that case.

Also, 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 – Prepare the Floor

Next, you must 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 basement. The paint requires an expedient application.

Start by sanding the floor. If your surface is uneven, sanding it 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 – once the floor is thoroughly dry, smooth the surface.

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

Finally, 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 a much larger area to cover, you can speed up the process 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 readily available at paint stores or a hardware store near you.

Step 4 – Primer

Starting in the corners and on the edges, use your paintbrush or a roller (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 will need an angle sash brush that will work well.

If you plan to use a roller for painting concrete floors, make sure you get the one that uses a 1/2- to 3/4-inch-thick nap.

The thicker the nap (or a roller cover) you choose, the more paint it will hold and help to fill the cracks and rough concrete crevices better.

Make sure you 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, be sure to apply the coats evenly; otherwise, your topcoat will be uneven.

Step 5 – Apply Epoxy

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

Then using a clean paint roller, apply at least two coats of epoxy paint, starting from the far cornerback.

Be sure to wait two hours before applying the second coat.

Using a paint sprayer can help with the paint application if you have larger or uneven concrete surfaces.

A pump sprayer with 20-psi fluid pressure and 40 to 60 psi air pressure will work great for concrete flooring.

For more heavy-duty industrial projects, you should use airless paint sprayers with a pressure of 1800 to 2400 PSI.

Step 6 – Apply the Sealer

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

Then using a clean roller, apply at least two 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

After you have sealed the concrete floor completely, wait 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.

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

In case 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 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 Concrete Basement Floor?

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

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

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 do prefer it for the basement because these are very cheap and come 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 do not last long.

Unless you are tight on budget, you should not 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 challenging 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 go for the third option instead.

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 you can use it to provide shine and décor by adding some colored chips and flecks to your basement flooring.

You can also use a protective layer of clear epoxy on top of the paint coat to add 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.

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.

Green is another great option if you want to offer a more refreshing and livelier appearance to the concrete.

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.

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.

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.

A few other considerations you will need to make 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 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 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 as well.

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 the concrete much appealing.

Tiles for basement floors are 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 the moisture. The good thing is you can even apply them onto your concrete floors, provided they are smooth and free of cracks.

However, I recommend getting the concrete floors painted for various reasons, especially if you want them 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.

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 an expensive task but a valuable home repair you should consider investing in.

It protects your area from minor leakages and 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 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 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 the 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 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 floor can disguise imperfections while enhancing the appearance of your basement.

In just seven 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 that in less than a day’s work, you can renew your basement’s look and feel by painting the concrete floor by following the above steps.

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

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