Can I just paint the concrete foundation?


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Old 02-05-14, 02:51 PM
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Can I just paint the concrete foundation?

Just found out that the previous owner who started to finish my basement did not do the framing to code, so I gotta rip it all out. I'm thinking that I don't necessarily want a totally occupiable space but still want the basement somewhat a little brighter and with color.

So I was considering after I rip out the out-of-code framing, that I just get the concrete foundation walls and floor painted and/or stained a bright color. Is that legal to do or do the concrete walls have to be unfinished and framed and dry-walled over?

Also, if I give it the "loft ceiling" look which is picking up popularity these days, is it legal to have all that spray coated as well, including the pipes, ductwork and utilities?

Like I said, it's going to be more of a storage area for the house anyways, I may have a little corner their for a TV and little loveseat as an option to watch games, so I figured why not at least make it a little brighter. My basement fortunately seems dry and well sealed, so it doesn't feel damp in it and there's already ductwork that was put in for heating, so it's actually fairly comfortable down there, so not really looking to totally finish it, but give it a somewhat semi-finished look.
 

Last edited by ngrome; 02-05-14 at 02:54 PM. Reason: meant to say loft ceiling, not just loft
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Old 02-05-14, 04:46 PM
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I don't recommend painting concrete but it's okay if that's what you want, to do.
 
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Old 02-06-14, 04:23 AM
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IMO you are better off using a solid concrete stain instead of paint. Less prep and it isn't prone to peel like paint. Easy to recoat when needed.

Unless local code prevents it, I don't see anything wrong with your plan. Is the local jurisdiction making you rip out the previous work? or was it just not safe?
 
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Old 02-08-14, 08:43 AM
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Thanks for the tip. Yeah, the previous owner didn't use pressed treated wood for the bottom plate, so said I have to rip it out, and I guess there's a new code that at least one window well has to be dug out wider to make it emergency escape-worthy if it's going to be habitable space (I thought that was only required if there was going to be a bedroom). It's become more trouble than it's worth. I figured painting the concrete foundation doesn't require a code inspection because it's nothing structural, just aesthetics. It's going to still be mainly a storage space down there, just want to brighten it up a little.
 
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Old 02-09-14, 06:04 PM
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DryLok vs. Sani-Tred

I did a little more research on this and there's some debate on whether to prep, prime, or combination of both to get good results when painting poured concrete walls. But I heard a lot about DryLok to seal the concrete, then I saw Sani-Tred, which supposedly seals against Radon as well as moisture. So what do you think? I was thinking if I'm going to go through the trouble with prep, might as well be able to mitigate or eliminated radon as well, maybe?
 
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Old 02-10-14, 03:51 AM
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Whenever painting below grade masonry it's a good idea to use Drylok [or similar] for the primer although I've never used it on slabs - walls only. I'm not familiar with Sani-Tred. If you use one of those type coatings on the floor, it would make more sense to cover it with a floor enamel than any solid stain.
 
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Old 03-05-14, 09:19 PM
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I've also heard that I should use primer on walls that allow the concrete to "breathe" rather than seal the moisture out as the moisture will just accumulate and built over time, picturing a dam eventually leaking before bursting, versus a primer like Kilz that supposedly allows the moisture through and evaporate, which makes sense to me. I dunno, I see arguments for either case
 
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Old 03-06-14, 04:54 AM
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If it were me, I'd use Drylok for the wall primer after I did all I could to waterproof the wall from the exterior. Any moisture that comes thru the paint will lift the paint sooner or later. While some paints breathe better than others [and some not at all] any paint will restrict the moisture from passing thru. If you are concerned with moisture getting trapped behind the paint, it's best not to apply any paint!
 
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Old 11-01-14, 10:08 AM
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Just an update on this, I did quote a bit of further research between dry-proofing or sealing (with DryLok and similar products) before painting the concrete walls, or using paint made for concrete, and came across a painter's web page that made great points of whether to seal out moisture or just let it in and evaporate. I chose the latter, which the website recommended, as I was concerned in the course of my research regarding static pressure behind the walls with blocking the moisture out. I read that some of these products stand up to 10 lbs. of static pressure but over time I was thinking it's going to give way, as I had a cousin who did seal out their basement, including putting up wallboard, and during heavy rains the moisture just busted through the walls, not even leak but more like pouring, so I'm guessing it just accumulated behind the concrete over time until it gave way, much like a dam giving way.

So I just wire-brushed any efflorescence and rather than prime then paint, had the primer combined with the paint and used latex, as it was advised on that painter's link to use latex as it breathes and allows moisture to seep through and evaporate. I also did not even etch the concrete. Just applied the first coat with a decent mid-range paint sprayer that's strong enough to push out un-thinned latex, and it looks good. Patching spots of cracks (I know probably thinking I should have done it before painting, but after the first coat it showed where the obvious cracks were clearly) and will apply a second coat by roller. Will use garage paint for the floor, not stain. I think it's going to look decent. Want to get it all done before it gets too cold.
 
 

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