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We are putting a room in our unfinished basement in Mass. Anyone have any experience and advice on painting concrete floors that will be walked on? Any advice on how to do it and, especially, what to put down would be appreciated.
First, you want to make sure that your concrete is really dry. If your concrete is passing water vapor upward, it is doubtfall that any paint will adhere in the long run. You can test for this buy taping a foot square piece of heavy plastic ( try a piece of heavy garbage bag plastic) to the floor for 24 hours. If when you remove it you see water condensation underneath, you have problems.
If the concrete is dry, you want to make sure to etch the concrete so as to get a good bond. This can be done with an acid wash. Etching acids are avaliable at the paint store. Just follow the manufacturers directions.
Many paint manufacturers recommend a bonding liquid prior to using their paint. This is a clear liquid which is applied and allowed to dry for several hours before painting. Here again, follow the instructions given by the paint manufacturer.
As far as what paint to use: I prefer a lower sheen acylic based floor paint rather than gloss. Gloss paint becomes VERY slippery when wet or covered with dust. I used to use my basement as my woodshop. When covered with a fine layer of sawdust, the glossy floor it was treacherous! The same advise is true for a garage floor too.
If your sure the floor is dry like the other fellow suggested with the tape you can paint it. You should however check for moisture throughout the year to make sure you don't get seasonal dampness. Moisture under a painted floor can make a real mess and is hard to fix.
Another alternative is to use a concrete stain which comes in semi tranparent just like wood stain, or solid pigment. The thing is, this will soak into the concrete and color it and not lay on the top of the concrete like a coating. This will allow a certain amount of dampness to pass through and still have your finish in place. It comes in many colors and can be put down artistally also. You can do alternating colors, some places sell stencils to give a tile effect. The possibilities are really endless and it's safe with mild dampness. God Bless and Good Luck!:D
Ditto on the last post. These days, stains are very simple to use and are much more forgiving with moisture(though you always want as dry as possible) semi transparent stains like tru tint are akin to water colors you used as a kid but they are for concrete and just as easy to use. Apply with a simple garden sprayer in a light application. Add other colors for interest and then get a durable sealer. The sealer makes all the difference for longevity. Skimp on sealer, no good down the road. Try to avoid basic acrylics. Look for epoxies and acrithane. Not as slippery and quite durable.
They need a concrete polisher with diamond heads. And as the above other members says make sure the floor is dry.
I'd go with staining as opposed to paint. It will not need renewal, it will not be affected by wetness after it's dry, and it us just as aesthetically pleasing. Painted concrete always needs repainting, scaling, efflorescence, and moisture can lead to spots never wanting to hold paint, and it acts to seal moisture under it exacerbating any moisture issues present. I prefer to stain or to cover concrete; the latter will look better and while it too will need replacement eventually it will not become an annual task like paint sometimes is.
Painting concrete makes for a never-ending cycle of renewal; why make work for yourself when you don't have to?