Need tips on painting an unfinished basement

Old 05-29-01, 11:52 AM
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The basement in the home that I'm renting has an unfinished basement that really needs a good cleaning. It's rather large and my section of the basement is by the washer/dryer and then over in the corner away from that area.

What I'd like to do is paint the walls and floor near my areas and then put down a cheap rug so that when I'm doing my laundry the area is clean.

What do I need to know before I do this? What type of paint should I get?
Old 05-30-01, 05:23 PM
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I would 1st make sure the walls that you will be painting are clean so the paint will stick well. This may get labor intensive for you, but well worth the effort. You will probably need a scrub brush etc. if it's how I'm picturing it in my mind's eye. Once you have this done, wait a little while (a day or two should be fine) for the humidity to go back down and the walls to thoroughly dry. Keep some windows open if you can. Regarding paint, if you have a Home Depot or similiar near you there are specialty paints made for this sort of thing. One of them is called "Drylock". This is a sealer paint and comes in white. These paints can be somewhat pricey. Maybe you can talk your landlord into paying for the paint if you do the work, as you're making an improvement to his place that will remain when you leave.

Hope this helps.
Old 05-31-01, 09:45 AM
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Smile Thanks for the information Dave

Yes, the walls have that pourous look to them and probably need to be scrubed like the rest of the basement. It could be nice but it's been neglected badly. I'm thinking I better get a mask before I even sweep the place out; don't want to get sick from whatever's been laying there for god knows how many years.

I was hoping that the paint wouldn't be that expensive, but if it is I will ask the landlord about reimbersing me. It's a fairly big basement but I'm only doing two medium size areas.

It looks like the original owner started to frame out the walls to seperate the different areas but either stopped or they have since rotted away. I would love for the free standing boilers/heaters to be enclosed so my kids could be down there when I'm doing laundry but that's a job I'm not willing to get into on a rental. I'm just trying to make the areas I use clean and semi-finished.

Thanks again
Old 05-31-01, 01:18 PM
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I have a full basement with nothing down there but the furnace and washer and dryer. It was completely unfinished with raw concrete walls and concrete floor. With all the rain, the walls, which were solid, would weep and just be damp. I first scrubbed the walls and floor with TSP, they have different types. The guys at Home Depot were a lifesaver. I went and bought a paint sprayer and after talking to several different paint stores, bought regular paint. They explained that regular latex paint would form a seal. I put up plastic sheets thinking the overspray would be terrible, but there was very little. I masked the edges of the floor and put down newspaper. Then I painted the floor with floor paint. With white walls and gray floors, it is great looking.

I had first tried using a brush but the concrete was so rough, it took me forever and needed several coats. After I finished the Laundry area, I went ahead and did the rest of the basement. It looked so good, I put carpet down in one area and we use it for Thanksgiving dinners set up with banquet tables.

The spray painter was the best investment I made. You can look into renting one but it took me several weekends.
Old 06-01-01, 07:15 AM
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Smile Thank you so much. I love this forum!

I never thought about the pourous walls not taking to the brush! So regular enamel paint works fine, great! So far I haven't really seen any signs of water or dampness in the basement which is a good sign.

Oh what's TSP?
Old 06-01-01, 07:20 AM
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Go to any hardware store or home center. It is a all purpose cleaner that really cuts grease. I learned about it from my friend who always washes her walls with it before painting. She says to deglosses the walls so the paint can stick better. You won't beleive how much dirt you will get off the walls.
Old 06-01-01, 07:37 AM
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That's what I'm worried about...

Very dirty basement. I just want to make it a bit nicer so I can do my laundry down there without feeling like rats will chew my shoes.

I can't believe the other tennants do their laundry in such an unclean space. Anyway, thanks Debra.
Old 06-01-01, 09:29 PM
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painting basements

Just passing through and noticed your question. Drylok does have a waterproofing paint that is available now in approximately 5-6 colors. They have two different formulas one is for walls and the other for floors so watch which can you are buying. A gallon runs approximately 19 USD. These are for areas that have moisture problems but can cover bare and pretreated surfaces.
Behr is another good product that is available in a much larger color selection and runs about 24 USD per gallon. This has a whole set of instructions for painting and can possibly be a little labor intensive.
Both of these are available at the Orange Box (Home Depot). Measure the area to be painted in square feet as their coverage area is different.
There is a brush avialable for rough surfaces and it looks like a scrub brush with a handle. It is refered to as a masonery brush and will be good for rough surfaces. These I have purchased at Sears but I believe HD also sells them.
As Debra stated be prepared to get dirty. The walls of a basement accumulate a LOT of dirt. I wash down with concrete cleaner or muriatic acid then rewash with clean water. For the floors vacuum them, then sweep, then revacuum. I also wash them before I paint them just to be sure its clean. Allow time for the concrete to dry. Remember, if the surface isnt prepared well you could be repainting again soon (or later).
Also,important !!! get written permission from the owner allowing you to paint!!! Also that you can pick the colors or else agree on colors and have it put in writing. You dont want to be sued or charged for repair of property when/if you move. Dont take a verbal OK get permission in writing.
By the way, I am also redoing my basement again! Last time I used Sears floor/concrete paint and it didnt hold up to traffic in the laundryroom or my work area.
Good luck!!

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