How To Paint A Basement Floor: Epoxy, Sealers & Color Ideas

Transform your unsightly concrete floor/subfloor in your basement with a quality lick of paint. This simple trick can turn a dark and dingy area in your home into a much warmer space, making it more than just a place for storage. Our guide will touch on color options, techniques, and all of the basics to make your painting project quick, easy, and cost-effective.

Painting your basement floor is a good idea for several reasons. First and foremost, you’ll see a huge improvement of light being distributed in the space by painting the dull gray concrete. This, in return, will improve the atmosphere, so your space is a lot more inviting and functional.

Choosing the right type of paint will also add a protective layer to the floor and make it stronger, more durable, and more resilient. Some paints can even give your flooring a waterproof protective layer that helps deter water and moisture. We’ll focus on the types of paints and the painting procedure further in our guide.

paint roller

Choosing the Right Paint Color

There are a couple of factors you should consider before choosing the right paint color for your basement’s floor. The first thing to consider is what the space will be used for. Are you planning to add another bedroom in your basement, or possibly an at-home gym, game room, or movie theater? Each basement style has its own color needs, and a lot depends on how you plan to use your basement.

The second point is the amount of lighting in the space. Some basements have access to ground-level windows, which will allow some natural light to brighten the room. If that’s the case, dark or light colors can work without worrying about the room feeling small or confining. If your basement hasn’t got natural light, then the light fixtures and color choice becomes more important. Brighter and lighter colors on your floor will help reflect light from your ceiling and will leave your basement feeling less dreary.


How to Paint a Concrete Basement Floor (Step-by-Step)

The process for painting a concrete basement floor is divided into 4 steps- preparation, priming, painting, and sealing. But first, let’s go through the tools and supplies you’ll need before jumping in. Make sure you have:

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Mop and bucket
  • Dehumidifier (fan will work, too)
  • Paint tray and brushes
  • Paint rollers
  • Painter’s tape
  • Concrete primer
  • Concrete paint
  • Concrete sealer

1. Clear and clean the basement

Before you pour your paint or grab a roller, you’ll need to empty your basement of your belongings. By doing this, you’ll also be able to inspect the space for any water damage, including flooding. As basements are below-grade structures, the possibility of leaks from your drain system and plumbing pipes is incredibly high. Once everything is removed, inspect the space carefully, and be mindful of any unwanted water.

2. Prepare the surface

To prepare the surface, make sure to vacuum the space thoroughly so there’s no loose dirt or debris around. Otherwise, dirt will get trapped in the drying paint, and it won’t leave you with a smooth result. Next, mop the floor with water and detergent to remove any fine dust. Place a dehumidifier in the basement for a full 24 hours to remove any moisture from the space before taking the next step.

3. Prime the basement floor

Once your floor is clean and ready to go, use painter’s tape to protect your walls from being exposed to primer or paint. A primer will help your paint stay put by providing the right texture for the paint to adhere to. We recommend using a brush and begin applying the primer around the wall area and on any exposed joints. Then, roll out the primer over the surface of the concrete, and double-check that the whole floor is evenly covered.

4. Paint the basement Floor

Before you apply any paint, let the concrete dry completely. This should be at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. Now that you’re ready to start painting, begin by cutting around the edges of the floor with a paintbrush. Then, start to apply the paint with a roller and work from the furthest corner to the entrance. This will ensure you don’t paint yourself into a corner.

5. Apply the sealer

Sealing your newly painted concrete floor is an important step as it adds an extra layer of protection. You should apply the sealer in the same way as the primer and paint- begin with a paintbrush around the edges of the room, and then move to a roller for the rest of the space. There are often harsh chemicals and strong odors from concrete sealants, so we recommend wearing PPE while applying.


Pros & Cons of Epoxy Flooring

Choosing epoxy for your floor surface will leave it slip-resistant, shock-resistant, and less abrasive than untouched concrete. One of the best features of epoxy flooring is how easy it is to clean and maintain. There’s a wide range of colors and combinations to choose from to suit your basement’s aesthetic.

The one downside to epoxy flooring is that it can be messy and time-consuming to apply. With our tips and tricks below, you can apply epoxy paint effortlessly, and it will result in your basement floor looking great.


How to Paint a Concrete Basement Floor with Epoxy

1. Prepare the Surface

Just as applying concrete paint, you’ll need to prepare the surface by removing your belongings, vacuuming the floor, and cleaning the exposed concrete with water and detergent. Be sure to put a dehumidifier in the basement overnight to remove unwanted moisture.

2. Prime the Floor with a Suitable Epoxy Primer

Be sure to purchase an epoxy-based primer before applying the paint. Start with the edges of the room (using a paintbrush). Then roll on the epoxy primer onto the remaining area of the basement floor. Once an even and uniform coat of primer has been applied, allow it to try for at least 24 hours.

3. Fill all Cracks, Holes, etc. with Epoxy Grout

If there are any cracks or holes visible, you’ll need to fill these in with epoxy grout. Unlike traditional cement grout, epoxy grout does not need to be sealed due to its non-porous nature. So, you can begin the painting process once all cracks and holes are filled.

4. Apply the First Coat of Epoxy Paint

Now that you’ve finished the prep work, you can start to apply the paint. Pour some well-mixed epoxy into a paint tray and begin in the furthest corner from the door. It’s important to work fast and clean up any splatters or blemishes during the painting process so you end up with a professional-looking paint job.

5. Let it Dry and Apply the Final Coat

Epoxy paint will take at least 24 hours to fully cure. Once the surface feels hard and resilient (without feeling tacky), then you can add another coat. Apply the second coating in the same manner as the first one. It’s worth mentioning; most basement floors need 3-4 coats of epoxy paint before they are fully covered. Be sure to allocate enough time to complete this process.


How to Remove Paint from a Basement Floor

If you’re working on concrete with pre-existing concrete paint, then add this step before preparing and applying your new color. For epoxy paint, there's no need to remove all of the old paint. Just be sure to sand lightly to remove any lumps or splatters. Here are our easy-to-follow steps to remove paint from a basement floor.

1. Give the concrete surface a deep cleaning and allow it to dry

Once you clear out your basement, clean the floor as much as possible by vacuuming and have a premade solution ready to go. This can simply be warm water and detergent mixed together. Use a wire bristle brush and scrub the floor’s surface as much as possible.

2. Apply a paint stripper

You may see some of the old paint beginning to chip after a good cleaning. If that’s the case, scrape off as much as possible. Then, apply the paint stripper to the rest of the area and allow it to set. Some paint strippers work as quickly as 1-hour, or it may need to be left overnight. Read the instructions of the stripper carefully and follow their guidelines.

3. Scrub the surface

With a wide-wired brush, scrub off the loosened paint with a bit of elbow grease. If there's not a lot of paint being removed, there's a good chance it's oil-based paint on the cement. Don’t stress; this means you'll need to re-apply the stripper and repeat the subsequent steps.

4. Follow up the scrubbing with a power wash

Now that you’ve finished scrubbing off the peeling paint, use a pressure washer to give the concrete a thorough cleaning. As it’s in your basement, and not in an open outdoor space, we recommend working in small sections and soak up excess water as quickly as possible.

5. Access your work, and repeat if necessary

After power washing your concrete floor, leave a dehumidifier in your basement overnight, and inspect your floor thoroughly the next day. You might see patches of paint that are more prominent in specific areas. You can repeat the stripping process to improve its appearance.

6. Clean the area to get rid of all paint stripper

Now that all the paint has been removed, give your basement one last clean with water and detergent. Once it’s dry, you’re ready to seal or stain the concrete again.


Finding a Quality Basement Concrete Floor Paint

There’s a range of paints created for basement concrete flooring, and finding the right one is essential! You can choose a water-based formula if you prefer less harmful chemicals during the application process or an oil-based formula for more color pay-off and durability.

For long-lasting, non-chip paint, we believe the best option is epoxy paint. This acrylic latex paint is mixed with a small amount of epoxy, and it’s ideal for use on concrete flooring thanks to its hard finish and long-lasting durability. Read our guide on finding quality basement concrete floor paints here for more of our input.


Basement Painting Ideas: Color & Design Inspiration

  • Colorful walls and white floor
    Keep your space as light as possible by painting your concrete floor a white or off-white color. Use an accent wall for a pop of color to keep the space warm and inviting.
  • Marble for a luxurious look
    Nothing screams luxury other than some marble flooring. This faux marble design takes a few extra steps but looks great on concrete floors. Here’s a video so you can check out the process.
  • Epoxy gray floor paint
    Keep your space classic and multi-functional by using a neutral color like gray on your concrete floor. We recommend epoxy paint for this color simply because it’s durable and has a wonderful shine.
  • Floor paint with patterns
    If your basement is small, change the shape by adding some diagonal stripes to create the illusion of a longer room. Diamond squares are great in a narrow space as they will help to add more dimension.
  • Pool-like colors
    Use a glossy blue color on your basement’s floor if you wish for the space to feel more cool and airy. This color option is great for at-home gyms in your basement.
  • Earthy colors
    Browns and dark greens are great colors if you want to keep your basement as storage. If you’re creating a pantry for food supplies, then an earthy tone on the floor will be perfect for food that may pour or spill.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How long should concrete floor paint last?

This will depend on the paint you choose. As we mentioned in our guide, epoxy flooring is a lot more durable than water-based or oil-based paints. Overall, you should expect the paint to last anywhere from 2-15 years.


What is a basement floor sealer?

Basement floor sealer is used to prevent paint peeling, fading, and wearing off faster. It penetrates the surface of the concrete and then blocks all the pores and capillaries.


Is it better to stain or paint concrete?

Even though concrete stains are easier to apply, and they’re faster drying, you won’t get an even coating of pigment on your floor with just a stain.


What is the best basement concrete floor paint?

Drylok has a great range of latex concrete floor paint that’s beloved by users. For the best color range, we recommend The Spruce Best Home by KILZ. And for those on a budget,  KILZ Epoxy Acrylic Paint won’t break the bank.


How do you paint over old concrete?

Old concrete typically has stains or cracks that form over time. We recommend using a degreaser to remove any unwanted residue before taking any further steps. You can use concrete grout to fill in cracks or holes to create a clean and even surface. Now you’re ready to follow our steps listed above.


Can you put polyurethane over painted concrete floors?

Polyurethane can protect your painted concrete floor against future wear and tear. It will also give your paint a nice sheen to complement your room. You can choose polyurethane in satin, semi-gloss, and gloss finishes.


Conclusion

As you can see, painting concrete flooring is no walk in the park. With the right tools, techniques, and masonry paints, this job will be a whole lot easier. Whether you’re going for a clean neutral tone or a dark and luxurious print, we hope our guide gets you to the results of your dreams. 

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