Home improvement is a year round job for homeowners. Winter may keep you indoors, but you’re home improvements projects can still continue on. In the following article I will cover the winter friendly home improvement task of painting your basement flooring and walls to eliminate mold, mildew, and humidity problems associated with having a basement.
Basements are great places for storage and offer large amounts of open space. However, there are many reasons why basements are not particularly well suited for living in. Mainly, humidity that is commonly associated with basements cause a lot of problems. Humid areas tend to have mold and mildew growth. Humidity can damage items such as computers, electrical equipment, books, and so on. Therefore, the first step in making your own basement more livable and safe is to eliminate the humidity that builds up in a basement.
To reduce or eliminate humidity you could try several options. One, you could run a dehumidifier year round in the basement of your home. This will remove humidity, but offers several disadvantages. A dehumidifier capable of removing humidity from your entire basement will be a large and costly unit. Second, this unit will be expensive to run. Third, you will have to empty the water out of the unit. Finally, this dehumidifier will also remove humidity from the rest of the house making the living are upstairs excessively dry.
Your next option is to have a company waterproof the exterior of you basement walls. This option is costly, expect several thousand dollars. They will need to excavate the area surrounding you basement, apply and external coating and then backfill the area. This option will partially work, but there is no way to eliminate the humidity that will come up through the floor of your basement.
Finally, we come to your last option, painting the walls and floor of you basement with a waterproofing paint. This option is the least costly, and can easily be done by you. If you basement if full of stuff like most are, then this option will be more time consuming, but it is not difficult. A waterproof paint blocks water vapor from coming through in a way forming a barrier overtop of your cement walls and floors. This barrier will not allow moisture through if applied properly.
You may be asking “How much does waterproof paint cost?” Well a true waterproof paint is about $40 a gallon. However, this type of paint will actually block water under pressure. Humidity or water vapor is not under pressure and therefore you will not need a so called masonry waterproof paint. You could use this specialized paint to block leaking from your walls if your walls do in fact leak. However, standard exterior water based paint will block water vapor if two or more coats are applied to the surface. The choice of paint is up to you. If your walls leak, buy the specialty waterproofing paint, if they don’t, I suggest the exterior grade water based paint.
Now on to painting the basement. I like to begin in one corner of the basement. Move all of the items in your basement away from your working area. Take a push broom and scrub down the walls and the floor to remove any loose debris. Vaccum any remain debris and begin by painting the walls. Remember, you will need two coats to block water vapor. Coat the walls entirely with a thick nap roller. Allow to dry and apply the second coat. Now you can move on to the floor. Coat the floor with the same roller, allow to dry enough to walk on it and apply the second coat.
After one day you will be able to gently move your items back and proceed to the next area of your basement. You should be able to accomplish painting your basement in 4 sections. It may take a few weekends to allow for dry time, but the task of painting should not take more than a few hours.
Once you have completely painted your basement you will have eliminated a major source of humidity in the basement. You are now one step closer to having a basement that you can live in and enjoy.