When painting a basement floor joist it's important to do the job correctly. The correct paint needs to be selected, as well as providing yourself with the proper protection for your body and eyes. A clean clear area is far easier to work in as you will be working overhead. Moving the stepladder is easier if the floor area is open.
1: Body, Eye, and Breathing Protection
Purchase disposable coveralls, masks, goggles, petroleum jelly, covers for your shoes, and some gloves. Cover yourself totally before getting started by using disposable clothing and include a mask, hair covering, and goggles. The paint you will be using will be extremely difficult to get off if it gets on your skin and hair. Any area of skin not covered should be protected with petroleum jelly.
2: Clear the Decks
It is best to cover the entire area of the floor and any immovable objects before starting to spray. By clearing the area as much as possible, you will make your job of spraying the floor joists a lot easier. Using a sprayer makes the task of painting easier but tends to make a fine spray throughout the area, whichever paint you decide on. The paint you will be spraying will cover everything with a fine dusting. It's better to invest in some throwaway plastic sheeting than to use fabric to cover items.
3: Types of Paint to Use
The best paint for painting floor joists is a non-shiny or matte paint. You do not want the ceiling to be obtrusive. A flat finish with water-based paint is a better option.
4: Apparatus to Use
Because you will be painting a large area over your head, it will be easier to use a spray gun. If you don’t already have one, rent one for the project. If however, you intend to do further projects, purchasing a spray gun would be a better solution. Check as to what consistency the paint should be mixed to and stick strictly to the directions.
5: Mask the Outlets
Make sure all wires and outlets are masked off. There could well be loose wires along the floor joists. Make sure you mask them off completely. You do not want the paint entering or adhering to these items. If possible, cover them with a cable sheath.
Use a primer first. Although you might be tempted just to paint, a proper primer will make the job last longer. Primer helps the paint adhere to the surface better and will provide a better opaque coverage along with giving a more professional look.
Paint over the entire area. Make certain no part of the ceiling or the joists remains uncovered. It could well require two coats. When spraying, spray lightly and move on to the next area. You do not want globs of paint appearing. If you leave the sprayer for a while, you will have to clean the nozzle or it will clog up. You will find it a lot easier to complete the job all the same day but make sure you clean the spraying equipment thoroughly if you intend on leaving it overnight. Paint should not be left in it for long periods.
It is not a difficult job to do and the basement will look far better once the floor joists are painted.