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Painting old house basement walls and floor

We have a old house built in the 30's and the basement was painted at least twice by the previous owner sometime in the 50's or 60's. 2 years ago we had the basement water proofed which has eliminated 99% of the moisture in the basement. At this point I would say about 95% of the paint on the walls and floor are intact and the other 5% is either flaking or has been worn off the floor. My wife would like to paint or at least do something so it doesn't look like a dungeon and kids can safely play in the basement. From what I see I have several options, ideally I would like to paint it a lighter color. I can use a product like drylock which would help with any moisture left in the basement but I am worried that many people say not to use it as it locks the moisture in the concrete walls and eventually destroy the walls. All though this may not be an issue as I know there is no tar on the outside of our foundation walls. I can use a latex paint but I am worried it will not stick properly to the walls and old paint. Or I can sc**** off the old paint which seems to be the worst option as it will either create a large amount of dust which is probably lead paint or create a large amount of chemical vapors both of which would be very bad for my 3 young children in the house.

Re: Painting old house basement walls and floor


DryLock is not effective if put over existing paint, nor is it suited for floors.

If you have indeed stopped most of your moisture problems, I would consider just scraping or wire brushing the walls to where they look sound. You can test for the existance of lead on the walls. Even if there is lead present, you can lessen its going airborne by wetting it down as you sc**** or brush. A simple pressurized garden sprayer would do the trick. Wear a lead rated face mask. Keep the kids out of the area until you have vacumned and mopped up.

Prime the clean walls with a good acrylic primer such as Zinsser 1-2-3 and then top coat with a good interior acrylic paint. You don't need exotic masonry or stucco paints.

As to the floors, if vapor is coming up through the concrete floors, no paint will stick in the long run. However, an arylic breathes better than an oil and is less likely to pop. Just make sure to save plenty of touch up. My last home had a painted, but unfinished deep basement. It was only kept dry by the presence of a sump pump during rainy periods and overall the paint held pretty well. I would occasionally have to touch up the floor.

It is amazing what just a fresh coat of paint will do to an otherwise dark, uninviting basement. I did drywall the ceiling and add lights overhead, but otherwise it was simply painted walls and floor with a loose area carpet on the floor.

Re: Painting old house basement walls and floor

If there isn't very much flaking or peeling ?? You could do minimal prep by cutting where it's coming off, space smooth over it, & use an oil base primer over the walls. Then apply your top coat of water base paint. I personally would not use a water base primer. The oil base primer will guarantee the water base paint has good adhesion. I hope this helps in some way without you having to do the whole lead base routine.

Re: Painting old house basement walls and floor

What we did in our basement - after good prep - painted floor with a special concrete floor paint. I forgot the name of it but it's being sold at HD, nothing fancy... I believe it was oil based.
Then we put down Drycore layer which is a perfect base for any basement floor. It suspends your flooring in the air so it does not touch cold floor.
On top of that you can put anything. We put engineered wood. Could not be happier with our choice.
Hope this helps,

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