Painting concrete floors can be a great way to add warmth and style to a basement. Basements can be very cold and uninviting. When used for storage this is fine but if you use the area for any type of game room, or living area where people will congregate, you want the feel of the room to be a little less stark.
If you just want a nice smooth, easy to clean floor, then you also have the option of applying a concrete sealer/hardener. If you plan on finishing the basement any time in the future with ceramic tile flooring, then do not paint your floor, as the thinset mortar used for tiles will not adhere to painted surfaces., and you will be forced to strip the paint off the floor, a long dusty smelly tedious project.
Paint on concrete surfaces will be an ongoing maintenance point. In damp basements, even after only a few years it will begin peeling off and require touch-ups or stripping and re-painting.
Darker colors highlight dust and dirt. They also burnish readily, showing scuffs from shoes, or anything heavy dragged or rolled across the floor. Brighter colors can add more light to a dark basement, but black absorbs light.
Most concrete sealer types are formulated to in some way repel water; and the additives used for this can make it problematic to get paint to adhere. To test your concrete floor for adhesion, pour some water on it. The water should soak into the cement in a reasonable amount of time. If it does not, but beads up or just sits pooled for a long time, the concrete has either been sealed or is grimy with grease or oil. If the concrete is severely oil saturated, it probably will never be able to take any type of paint or epoxy. Talk to your local paint store salesperson about the best way to proceed.
Before painting concrete, make sure there is no damage to your floor because of water damage. If the concrete floor is at all wet, you will need to locate where the seepage is and get it professionally repaired. Then, you will need to wait until the floor is completely dry before you can start painting concrete floors. This may take some time to thoroughly dry, so be patient.
Vacuum and sweep the floor so it is clean. All bare concrete floors must be acid etched before painting. Previously painted concrete floors do not need to be acid etched where paint is sound, but acid etching should be performed on any bare spots. Make sure you fix any cracks or holes using an available cement fixing compound. Once the floor is dry you can start painting concrete floors.
The first step in the painting itself is to prime the floorusing a primer such as Kilz. You will need to apply two coats of primer and let each coat dry before painting on the other. If you have plenty of time to accomplish this, it is best to do this over twenty four hours. You can roll on the primer using a standard roller that you get in the painting section of a home improvement store or hardware store.
Once the primer is completely dry, you can begin painting concrete floors. Painting concrete floors should either be done with a roller or paint compressor. You can buy rollers in a hardware or home improvement store and home improvement stores may sometimes rent compressors.
Make sure you get a good quality flat latex paint. You do not want to use an inferior quality of paint. You should use two coats of paint on the floor for your solid colored bottom coat.
You can stop there and have a solid color or you can get creative and add different colors or faux finishes. You can make patterns on the floors or create a tile look.
The final step to the project is to apply a sealer. Use two coats, letting it dry between each coat.