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Painting a basement floor

Hey; I am going to paint a basement floor.

My first question, the hair line cracks -- should those be patched with a hydraulic cement -- like that rubber caulk stuff?

There are no drains in the floor, what is the best way to clean/prepare it for the paint? Should I just use water and a wet vac? Or is there a chemical cleaner I should use?

I would like the paint job to be a finish job; is there a recommended product that anyone would suggest?


Re: Painting a basement floor

First, if your cement does not have a vapor barrier under it, it may be that you will have continuing problems with adhesion. You should tape a square of heavy plastic from a garbage bag to the floor for 24hours. If when you pull it, you see water condensation underneath, you have moisture present which will compromise the paint.
This does not mean that you cannot paint the floor, but you will probably be having to touch it up now and then.

As far as preparation: the cement should be throughly cleaned. If it has been finished to a high sheen, you will want to wash it down with an etching acid to break the glaze.

As to painting: follow the directions of the paint manufacturer. Some recommend specific primers or bonding agents. If you do show signs of water vapor being present, I would definitely go with a latex/acrylic floor paint, as acrylic paints breath far better than oil paints. Oil paint, being a moisture barrier, is much more likely to pop or peel.

As to the hairline cracks: if they are not leaking water, I would leave them alone. Any treatment used to seal them will be more obvious than just leaving them alone. Hydraulic cement requires chiseling open the crack to an inverted "v" crack and would be highly visable.

Re: Painting a basement floor

rustoleum has great epoxy paint kits available for garage/basement environments. I've used this before with excellent results and easy to do but its important to etch the concrete with an acid solution to ensure proper adhesion and make sure any existing oils will not interfere with whatever solution you choose.

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