Depending on the finish of the basement walls; any regular or masonry paint can be used if you need to set about painting basement walls. However, if you are painting the masonry of a basement wall you might as well add a layer of waterproofing to the basement walls – by using a specialized vapor barrier paint. Modern vapor barrier paints are available in arrange of both bright and pastel colors.
Preparing the Basement Walls
Carefully preparing the walls before applying the paint will help you to achieve a better looking job and one that will last longer. The surface of the walls need to be clean and dry before even thinking of applying any paint.
Remove any loose or peeling paint off the walls with a wire brush or scraper, any wood that is to be painted should have loose and peeling paint removed by either rubbing it with an abrasive paper or by using a blowtorch/heatgun.
If your basement wall is concrete you could deploy a sand blaster or a Carborundum disc grinder. Any crumbling material on either a masonry or a concrete wall should be cleaned out and patched with mortar or cement accordingly, to create a good smooth surface ready for painting. If you do need to patch up any of the wall make sure it is well dried and cured before you start painting it.
Also, fill any smaller cracks with a suitable filler that can be sanded smooth to the wall. Mildew can be a problem in unheated or poorly ventilated basements. It must be removed and you could use a pressure-hose for this job, providing the excess water can be easily drained out of the basement.
Otherwise buy one of the preparatory mildew removers and follow the manufacturers’ instructions. If necessary hire a space heater, from a DIY store, to thoroughly dry the basement walls before painting them.
Priming Wall Surfaces
Unless the basement walls have been recently painted – you will need to apply a coat of primer to the walls in order to ensure the actual paint will adhere to the wall correctly. The same as for the paint itself; a primer can be applied with a brush, a roller or it can be sprayed on.
Spraying the primer is usually recommended and one gallon of it should be enough to cover approximately 200 square feet of wall space. Allow the primer to dry thoroughly before starting to apply the paint itself.
Applying the Basement Wall Paint
A specialized vapor barrier paint will normally have a surface coverage of about 1 gallon to 100 square feet of wall. You will probably be recommended to spray the paint on, but so long as you can apply it evenly, using a brush or roller is also OK. The paint will need to be applied in one continuous and unbroken seal.
The application needs to be quite thick, at around 1/8 of an inch, and at least two coats of vapor barrier paint will be required to provide a good water-proofing for the walls. Be sure to let one layer dry thoroughly before applying another coat of paint.
Painting a basement wall you should make sure that there is an adequate flow of ventilation before starting work.
This will both help to reduce the drying times for coats of paint and ensure you are not working in an area that paint fumes can accumulate. You should also wear appropriate clothing for the job and take care to protect yourself from the paint – especially if you are spraying it.