Painting the Basement

Painting the Basement

While the rest of my basement makeover is combining both form and function, this one is all about making my basement look prettier 😉. And by prettier, I really just mean brighter, and less red! So, let’s get painting the basement!

I debated for a while whether or not I would also paint my ceiling. There are several articles out there of people spraying the entire ceiling, ductwork, and all, and this was intriguing. Ultimately, I decided against it for a couple of reasons, including the added time. But, the main reason was actually that we’ve had some electrical issues in the past and we’ve had to follow all the lines in the ceiling to try to locate the problem. I was afraid that painting this would make this tricky, and I didn’t want to risk the paint causing any more issues. Remember, it’s an older home, and this seemed like an unnecessary risk.

Basement Project Recap:

A Word on DryLok

My basement walls have previously been coated with DryLok. This is a waterproofing barrier that you apply, like paint, to seal out any moisture from getting in. On paper, this seems like a great idea. However, when I was researching how to patch and re-paint, I did come across quite a few articles warning against using this product. Apparently, it is a leading cause of basement mold because it seals the moisture in.

Given this, if my walls weren’t already coated with DryLok, I may have avoided doing this and looked for another solution. However, they are already coated, and I wasn’t about to try to remove it all! Anyways, that’s my disclaimer!

Prepping the Basement Walls for Paint

Painting the basement walls by dry brushing

Anytime you paint, you want to make sure you are prepping your surface. This is definitely true here when I was painting my basement! The first thing I did was take a hard bristle brush (the same one I used to scrub my floors before applying EpoxyShield) and dry brushed the walls. This does two things. Obviously, it will loosen up any debris, dust, etc., but it also helped to remove any loose or chipping DryLok.

I will say that I did a good job of this in some areas, but towards the end, I didn’t because I got tired, and I definitely paid for it. When you go to roll new paint over any of these areas, the DryLok will start to disintegrate right on your roller. This means picking off these pieces from your roller that’s covered in paint. It was not a fun experience, so, don’t do what I did!

Painting the basement prep by touching up the Dry Lok

Next, I picked up a quart size of the DryLok so that I could touch up the areas that I had scraped. This applied kind of like paint, but also not really like paint. It was interesting because it seemed both thicker and more watery at the same time. I definitely dripped a bit as I was painting, but it came right out. I ended up using a cheap chip brush to apply it. Then, I waited 24 hours before I started to apply paint.

There is also a small area near the closet that was just sealed with wood planks and paint. The paint was peeling quite a bit, so I started pulling it off and quickly discovered mold. I know, that could sound really scary, but luckily it was just surface mold which I was able to clean up. I took a small spray bottle and filled it with white vinegar and dish soap and sprayed down the area. Then, I took a wire brush and scrubbed it clean. I kept an eye on the space for the next few days and it was good to go!

Painting the Basement Walls and Posts

Once the new DryLok has dried for at least 24 hours, you can begin painting the basement walls with regular paint. According to DryLok, you can apply any acrylic or latex paint over it, as long as you wait 24 hours. I chose to go with Behr’s Polar Bear because it’s the white that I used in my closet and I like that it’s a bright neutral white. Normally, I would suggest testing any paint in the space before buying a gallon because colors look different in different areas of your home, but because it’s the basement, I didn’t think this was necessary. And luckily, it worked out.

Behr Polar Bear

I wasn’t sure how much I would need, so I started with one gallon of the Behr Scuff Defense in eggshell. This is on the more affordable spectrum but also helps with durability. I quickly went through that gallon, so I knew I needed another one, but unfortunately, they were out of the Scuff Defense, so I had to upgrade to the Behr Marquee line. I was a little disappointed because it was about $10 more expensive, and yes, I could’ve gone to another store, but in the end, it was fine.

Painting the basement walls

Like my other paint projects, I started by cutting in with a brush, then began rolling. It was quite shocking how difficult it actually was to roll! I had to move my roller in all different directions to get in all the crevices and it sucked up quite a bit of paint. I greatly underestimated how difficult this would be and it ended up being a great workout haha! But, in the end, it was very worth it. I know, painting white on white might not seem that groundbreaking, but it feels SO much brighter and cleaner now.

It took me three days to paint all of the walls, which is what I scheduled so that worked out. I had originally intended on painting the posts on the 4th day, but I already had the paint out and even though I was exhausted, I knew it wouldn’t take long. First, I wiped them down with a damp cloth, and then it was time to paint. 

Before Painting the basement posts

I used the same white paint as the walls and started by using a brush to cut in on the top and bottom. Then I used a mini roller to roll over the posts. Once I finished the last one, I went right back over and did an immediate second coat. This whole process took maybe 15 minutes so it was definitely a quick upgrade! 

Painting the basement posts

Painting the Basement Beam

Before Painting the basement beam

Next up was the beam. The beams are already black, but they were beginning to show some signs of rust and wear, so I just wanted to give them some new life by repainting them. I chose Rust-Oleum’s Stop Rust Protective Enamel in Glossy Black. Once again, this was very simple. I just used a brush and painted one coat and it looks new!

Painting the basement beam

I would suggest one thing here, definitely wear a mask if you’re using this product inside. It took me about 5 or so minutes before I realized how strong the fumes were. I know that this can be annoying, but please protect yourself! I really do need to invest in an aspirator mask, but I just doubled up two face masks and it definitely helped.

Painting the Basement Closet Area

Painting the basement closet tricorn black

And finally, the last step in the basement paint process: the red closet! I ultimately decided to go black with this closet because I wanted it to stand out more and was afraid that the white would be too boring. I’m still not 100% sold on it, but we’ll see as I continue to finish this space. Luckily, I didn’t have to spend any money on this paint! I actually had some leftover Sherwin Williams exterior paint in Tricorn Black from a summer project when I painted my gate. So, if I decide that the black doesn’t work, the only loss was the time!

Painting the basement closet black

I started by cutting in the top and bottom edges, as well as painting in between the crevices with my brush. Then, I went back over everything again with a roller. Normally, I would cut in everything at once, and then roll, but sometimes I like to break up these types of projects into sections. For one, it can be a bit monotonous to do one task for an extended period of time, so it helps keep things interesting. But, I was also just eager to see it all painted so I wanted to get a sense of everything as I was going. It just keeps me more motivated, I guess! Again, after I finished the first coat, I went back and immediately did a quick second coat.

After image of painting the basement closet tricorn black

What’s Next?

Now that I’m done painting the basement, the original plan was to move on the staircase. However, living with the chaos of storage while working down there started to get to me! So, I’m going to go a little out of order here and I’m going to build my basement shelves next! Once I get those done and things a bit more organized, I’ll start working on the stairs. Make sure to stay tuned!

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