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How to Paint Your Basement Walls
Painting your basement walls can do more than just improve the look of your basement; it can protect your home from moisture damage. Basement walls are typically porous concrete. Moisture can accumulate behind the concrete, and lead to mold and mildew growth or structural damage. Use these tips to paint your basement walls.
Method One of Three:
Prepare the Basement Walls for Painting Edit
Remove existing paint from walls. Masonry paint bonds to porous wall surfaces, so you must remove the existing paint before repainting. If you apply basement paint over the existing paint, the newly painted surface may crack, develop air bubbles or flake off of the walls. Remove existing paint by rubbing the walls with sandpaper or a wire brush.
Fill in all cracks and holes with a concrete repair product. To repair basement walls, use a fast setting hydraulic cement, which is available at most home improvement centers. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for application.
Remove mildew stains.
- Mix 2 tbsp. (29.6 ml) of bleach with 1 quart (0.95 liters) of warm water. Using a sponge or cloth, blot the area with the solution until the stain disappears.
- Use a commercial grade mold and mildew stain remover, which is available through most home improvement and paint suppliers.
Clean the walls. The basement walls should be clear of dust, dirt and oil before painting them.
- Remove loose dirt and debris with a broom. Clean the walls by wiping them down with a damp cloth.
- Clean walls with an etcher, which is a product that consists of chemicals that clean and roughen the surface of basement walls. The rough surface enables paint to better adhere to the walls. Commercial grade etchers are available at home improvement and paint suppliers. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for application.
- Use trisodium phosphate (TSP) to clean the walls. TSP is an alkaline cleaning solution used for masonry surfaces. It is available at home improvement and paint suppliers. Follow the manufacturer’s application instructions. TSP is highly toxic and is not permitted in some areas due to environmental concerns.
- Contract to have the walls cleaned by a masonry cleaning service. Masonry professionals that specialize in cleaning basement walls utilize products with high toxicity, such as muriatic acid. Do not attempt to use muriatic acid on your own to clean your basement walls. Even mild contact can cause severe burns and blindness.
Allow the walls to dry completely.
Before you paint your basement walls, remove small pets and items in the room that could be damaged by paint or paint fumes. Move all furniture to the center of the basement so the painting areas are clear of any obstacles.
If you basement is newly poured, the concrete must cure for at least 30 days before you can paint it.
Paint basements walls in a ventilated environment with an air temperature between 50 to 90 degrees F (10 to 32 degrees C). If your basement has windows, open a few windows for extra ventilation or consider using a fan to increase air flow while painting.
Contact your local refuse collection service to dispose of unused paint or primer.