This article is going to be on the topic of basement floor paint ideas. If you are considering painting your basement floor there are a number of factors to pay attention to. You want to look at this project from a number of different angles to get an overall picture. There are practical considerations having to do with durability, moisture issues, and how the paint or other material bonds with the floor. There are also design considerations regarding color and form. It’s important to get a basic understanding of all the elements involved in a successful floor painting job so that you can do the best job possible.
What Type of Paint to Use
There are a number of different types of paint that can be used on basement floors and knowing about them should guide your painting ideas of a more esthetic and visual sort. There are also other floor coatings such a stains and sealants that serve the same general function and share many of the same application issues as paint but are not classified as paint. The following are some of the primary ones. After taking a look at these we will discuss what types of floors they are likely to work well on.
Dedicated “Floor Paint”
There is dedicated latex paint types these days made specifically for floors or concrete in general. These are for the most part varieties of latex, but may be oil based or have resins mixed in for better adhesion and finish. These can be very good choices because of being designed specifically for the job. However they may also be expensive and you should keep in mind that they are a means for paint companies to sell paint at elevated price levels. There are more and less expensive varieties and brands, but beware getting overcharged. Ordinary latex, oil, or part epoxy (discussed below) may be perfectly adequate as well as cheaper.
Latex paint is water based and often used on house walls. It can be used on floors with reasonable success. This type of paint comes in a huge variety of colors and a number of different levels of glossiness. Generally this kind of paint should be put on over a coat of latex primer that is put on the floor first, but this may depend on the moisture level and this is discussed a bit more below.
As far as the actual application of primer to a floor, it can be rolled and/or brushed on in much the same manner as it is on walls. The individual doing the painting should use an extension pole on which the roller is mounted or there will be much too much stooping. The paint should be applied evenly in several coats, with each coat being allowed to dry before the next is put on.
Part Epoxy Floor Coating
One of the more common options for more durable paints is one part or two part epoxy paints. These paints have an epoxy hardener in them that set (epoxy is a strong glue) as the paint dries and makes for a very durable paint finish.
Oil paints are not as popular as they once were, mainly due to mixing, odor, and cleanup issues. However they are still widely available and often produce long lasting finishes. Just remember that is you use this type of paint you will most likely need to clean your hands with mineral spirits afterwards and you should wear old clothes. You should also make sure there is good ventilation – having windows open and even using a fan if necessary. Again, though, there are moisture and seepage issues that need to be taken into consideration so read below.
Non Paint Coatings
There are special stains designed specifically for concrete. These work well, but you need to learn how to apply them correctly, as a poor job can make for a disaster. If you read up on their application however, there should be no problem. They leave floors still looking like bare concrete but stained a different color and better protected.
Sealant can often be used over paint to increase its moisture resistance. It can also be used over the bare concrete for the same purpose. Read below regarding moisture.
What type of paint you decide to use will have a lot to do with the floor type. By far the most common basement floor type is the concrete floor. The above mentioned moisture considerations play into this heavily however and will affect your choice of paint.
With Moisture Issues
By moisture issues here we mean the tendency for ground water and rain water to seep into a basement. This may either be through holes in the floor or by a slower seepage through pores in the concrete itself. If a basement is very well designed and sealed, especially if the house is in an area that doesn’t have elevated levels of ground water, this doesn’t happen. But all too often there are seepage problems due to large amounts of water, grading, the age of the basement and so on.
In these cases, contrary to what you might think, using sealant or highly moisture resistant paints and primers in heavy coats is not recommended. This is because if water is entering at all, sealing the floor will tend to trap it in the floor and this can lead to damage to the foundation. The way to deal with basement water if it is an issue is to channel the water out once it comes in. It can be guided out through seepage channels along the walls, drains, and sump pits with pumps.
In these cases you’ll want to use a porous sort of paint like ordinary latex and not even seal of the holes where seepage is occurring.
Without Moisture Issues
If the basement is genuinely dry, then latexes, oils, and part epoxy paints can all be used. Stains and sealants will be no problem either. The epoxy paints can help to even better seal the floor and create hard finishes.
Though not as common, you may find tile on a basement floor. If you want to paint tile, this can work, but you should test out some different paints to make sure adhesion is not an issue. Some tile is very smooth and not designed to accept paint. You may want some stronger bonding agent in the paint in these cases.
Now we come to the esthetic considerations. Visually appealing paint can range between the cool and functional and the bright and fantastical. What would you like your floor to look like? This is a simple design concern and involves your creativity and imagination.
Hot or Cool Colors?
One basic consideration on this level is what color you would like. The floor can simply be made to match the wall color (if any) or you can aim to complement the color of the walls other room elements in some way. You might gravitate toward cool or understated colors like blues, greens, grays, and browns, but keep in mind that warmer colors like reds, oranges, yellows, and even white can work well too. This really is an esthetic judgment call on your part, so get creative and consider a range of options, finding one that inspires you.
You don’t have to paint the entire floor one color. A geometric pattern of some kind might be a very interesting effect. The basement is one of the few areas of a house where you have the possibility of actually painting a floor, so again let your imagination run wild and come up with something dazzling and eye catching if you are so inclined. Masking tape or large paper or cardboard templates can be used to block off areas to achieve the designs.
Rugs can often be used along with floor paint to good effect. You might have the rugs relate to the floor paint in terms either of color or form. Try to make some sort of stylistic interactions between these floor covering elements.
Just as with any other interior design project, be creative and thorough when coming up with ideas. Take all the practical elements into consideration but let them be guided by your inspiration to create a great basement room. There are many options from a practical and design standpoint, but they must be implemented properly so that you end up with a beautiful and long lasting floor.