Tips for Painting Your Concrete Basement Walls

gloved hand painting concrete basement wall with roller

Painting your concrete basement walls includes choosing colors, adding sponging or stenciling techniques to enhance the appeal and attractiveness of the room, and correctly preparing the wall surface for painting.

Another equally important, but often overlooked consideration, is doing it all safely, economically, and easily.

The biggest mistake in any painting job is neglecting to cover surfaces that are not being painted, not wearing protective devices such as goggles and face masks, and not providing the necessary adequate ventilation of fresh air through the use of fans. Safety first is always a good rule to follow.

Preparing Surfaces

Once drop cloths are placed to protect surfaces and furniture not being painted, safety gear should be worn at all times. All basement wall surfaces which are to be painted must be cleaned and free from dust, moisture, and debris.

Much less preparation will be necessary if basement walls are covered with drywall, but if that is not the case, prepare all walls by ensuring that they are clean enough to absorb paint. Some paint manufacturers recommend using trisodium phosphate for this purpose.

Priming Walls

Applying one or two coats of primer may seem very tedious, but this preliminary step will save a lot of extra, expensive work if you do it properly.

Primer paint is inexpensive in comparison to finishing coats of paint. It will prepare many rough surfaces for finishing paint, thus allowing the finish coat to adhere better to surfaces.

Apply primer freely and evenly, paying attention to cracks, small holes, and uneven surfaces. One or two coats of primer will dramatically repair the surfaces of even the toughest walls. The finish coat will go on smoothly and rapidly, reducing the amount of finish paint needed to cover basement walls.

Using a good brush and rollers will greatly improve the finished product. Use a brush to establish a five-inch border between ceilings and walls, around light fixtures, and above baseboards.

Once the border is established, use the roller to quickly apply the first finish coat, working up to overlapping the border by approximately two inches.

This brush and roller combination will ensure seamless matching between the fixtures and ceiling, allowing perfect borders and neat paint lines. Most of today's modern paint will be water-resistant and aid in keeping basement walls dry and free of light moisture. For the best protection, apply two or more coats of finish paint.

Practice Safety

As mentioned earlier, safety apparel is recommended when painting, especially in a confined area such as a basement. Eyewear, face masks, and ventilation are often overlooked. With toxic paint products, care must be taken to avoid health hazards.

Circulating fans are highly recommended to adequately ventilate the room being painted. Additional care should be taken with the use of ladders and scaffolding when used to paint the border along and close to the ceiling.