Painting your basement floor is not just about making it look good. It’s about sealing it against water damage and protecting it against heavy footfall. Basements are below ground level, so they get a higher degree of dampness and water penetration.
We take a tour of the best basement floor paints, recommending our 5 favorite products and judging them on water resistance, coverage, and ease of application.
- Brush, roll, or spray it on
- Uses nanotechnology to create a hard seal
- Repels water to 12 PSI
- Seals joints, seams, & gaps
- Water-based, low VOCs, & low odors
- Multi-purpose paint for many jobs
- Maximum of 500 sqft coverage per gal.
- Works on garages, basements, & untreated concrete
- Dries for recoats in 4 hours
- Increases the grip on most surfaces
- Ada compliant
- 100% acrylic for easy cleanup
- 100% waterproof guaranteed
- Breathable to allow moisture to evaporate
- Prevents radon gas from escaping
Is It Good To Paint Your Basement Floor?
Laying down a layer of protection on your basement floor enables it to last longer, protects it against water damage, and preserves it against heavy footfall. Basements are not like other concrete surfaces, they have a high moisture content because they are sub-ground level.
It also helps to stop cracking and lifting.
How To Choose the Best Basement Floor Paint
So, your basement floor is drab and in need of rejuvenating, but how do you decide on the right product? Is it coverage or ease of application, or do you want something that waterproofs? Let’s take a look at some vital factors.
The moisture content of your sub-floor spaces is often higher than the areas up top, where the main living accommodation is. For this reason, waterproofing comes top of the list.
Also, if you live in an area of high rainfall, this consideration is more prevalent than in areas where the climate is hot and dry. Why? Because all that rainfall sinks down into the ground and soaks through the floor of your basement.
Once water gets into the material, it expands in colder air, creating gaps, causing cracks and lifting. Look for a high PSI (pounds for square inch) value, which tells you the capability of the paint. The higher the PSI, the more water it repels.
Type of Paint
There are several types of paint to choose from. The most popular basement option is a water-based product with penetrating qualities and it uses water as the main ingredient.
This makes it a great environmental option because it is low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which release low-ozone into the atmosphere as the paint dries. They also have less odor, so working in a confined space is easier.
The best paint for your basement is epoxy-based latex paint because it has a small amount of epoxy in the formula. You can get epoxy in 3 ways: water-based paint, solvent-based paint, and 2-part epoxy that requires a hardener to set solid.
While it’s accepted that waterproofing is probably the biggest concern, other protections should be at the top of your list. Look for anti-mold and mildew capability and scratch-resistance. Plus, chemical resistance and anti-stain technology are other considerations.
Ease of Application
How the paint goes down and how many coats it needs is another factor. Most paint is thin enough to spray using a pump-garden sprayer. This ensures you get a couple of really smooth coats without too much fuss or skill needed.
Other coverings, like 2-part epoxy, need a bit more skill to get the mixture right and make sure it pours correctly. Some oil-based products are too thick to apply with a sprayer, so you need a thinning agent, or resign yourself to brushing and rolling.
You want the best coverage for your dollars, so look for the maximum spread. Plus, don’t forget to account for the number of coats you need to apply. Some paints offer as little as 150 square feet, while others top 400 or 500 square feet. This does depend on the quality and porosity of the surface in question.
The Best Basement Floor Paints of 2021
With such a vast array of products to choose from, getting the 5 best basement paints was a challenge. Here are our favorites.
KILZ Interior/Exterior Basement Waterproofing Paint
This KILZ is an external and internal paint, so when you are done coating the basement floor, you can touch up your patio too. Basements are damp environments, so this paint uses nanotechnology to form a solid barrier that repels water and stops alkali damage.
You get between 75 and 125 square feet of coverage, depending on the quality and porosity of the surface, and you need to apply a couple of coats, allowing 4 hours to dry between layers.
It is low odor and resistant to water up to 12 PSI; plus, it is mold and mildew-resistant. And because it is water-based, it is better for the environment thanks to the low VOCs, which emit low ozone as the paint dries. It also cleans with soap and water.
This paint can be brushed, rolled, and sprayed on, so it is easy to apply, and it’s also a great price.
On the downside, you cannot apply it on oil-based paints, and all mold stains must be removed entirely before painting it on. You should also avoid using this paint on floors with an active water leak.
- Brush, roll, or spray it on.
- Uses nanotechnology to create a hard seal.
- Repels water to 12 PSI.
- Use indoors and out.
- Not for use on oil-based products.
- Not suitable for floors with water leaks.
|Coverage||75 to 125 square feet per gallon|
|Drying time||4 hours|
|Applications||Spray, roll, and brush|
Liquid Rubber Concrete Foundation and Basement Sealer
This liquid rubber paint is an excellent multi-purpose product that can seal basement floors, wooden fence posts, planter boxes, and metal and concrete.
It is environmentally friendly, thanks to its latex core ingredient, which is low VOC, contains zero solvents, and is low odor. That means it’s better for the environment and you because the health risks are reduced. It is also pet-safe and can be used indoors and out.
This product comes in 5-gallon tubs, so you should have plenty to get that basement floor done and enough left over for other concrete painting jobs. It fills gaps, coats joints and seams, and you can leave the leftover paint in the tub, and it won’t dry out.
The only downside is it only comes in black, which is a shame because basements are dark enough without painting your floor a dark color. Coverage is also meager at 50 square feet per gallon, and you need 3 coats to get full protection.
- Seals joints, seams, and gaps.
- Water-based, low VOCs, and low odors.
- Multi-purpose paint for many jobs.
- Comes in 5-gallon tubs for mass coverage.
- Only comes in black.
- Limited coverage at 50 square feet per gallon.
- Requires 3 coats for full protection.
|Coverage||50 square feet per gallon|
|Drying time||24 hours|
|Applications||Spray, roll, and brush|
KILZ 1-Part Epoxy Acrylic Concrete Floor Paint
When you need a bit more protection, try an epoxy paint like this KILZ. It isn’t a 2-part product that needs a hardener; it just has epoxy added to the mixture. This paint works on garages, basements, and untreated concrete floors.
You get 400 to 500 square feet of coverage on smooth surfaces and 200 to 200 square feet on porous and rougher floors. It is resistant to staining, tire burn, chemicals, oil, and gasoline, so it can withstand any punishment it gets on your basement floor.
It dries in 4 hours for a second coat, and the finish is gray satin. It is suitable for internal and external use, making it pretty versatile, and thanks to the slip resistance, it increases grip on patios and pathways.
The only negative is that you cannot use this paint on vertical surfaces, so if you want to paint your basement walls, you would need a different product.
- Maximum of 500 square feet coverage per gallon.
- Works on garages, basements, and untreated concrete.
- Dries for recoats in 4 hours.
- Suitable for internal and external use.
- Only suitable for horizontal surfaces.
|Coverage||Maximum 500 square feet per gallon|
|Drying time||48 hours to cure|
|Applications||Spray, roll, and brush|
FIXALL Skid Grip Anti-Slip Paint
When you want to enhance the grip on your basement floor, this FIXALL paint could be the answer. It comes in 6 colors, from cobalt to smoke, and is ideal for areas with high traffic. It also works indoors and out, so you can focus on other parts of the house when you are done in the basement.
This paint is 100 percent acrylic, so it is kinder to the environment and washes clean with soap and water. Plus, it adheres to asphalt and almost every other solid surface.
It is fade-resistant, exceeds the ADA Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, and reduces oxidation, preventing cracking, peeling, and erosion of the concrete below. The only downside with this paint is it only has one use, making it an expensive option. You could just add sand to your leftover concrete paint and get the same non-slip surface.
Plus, because it has anti-slip qualities, the coverage is severely limited to just 50 to 80 square feet per gallon, so it could work out to be expensive if you have a large basement.
- Increases the grip on most surfaces.
- ADA compliant.
- 100 percent acrylic for easy cleanup.
- Safe for the environment.
- Only suitable as anti-slip paint.
- Limited coverage of just 50 to 80 square feet per gallon.
|Coverage||50 to 80 square feet per gallon|
|Drying time||24 hours to cure|
Drylok Latex Waterproof Floor Paint
We all know that basements are damp environments, thanks to their sub-floor positions, so keeping moisture at bay is the number one priority of any basement concrete paint. This Drylok does precisely that.
It withstands 10 PSI of water, which is the equivalent of a wall of water 22 feet high. They guarantee that their paint is up to the task. And the film it creates is breathable, so any moisture beneath the surface of the concrete can evaporate to leave it bone dry.
And this is the only paint to feature that actively reduces radon gas seepage by reducing vapor transfer. It also has non-slip qualities because it dries to a sandy texture, and because it is water-based, it is kinder to the environment and you.
The only negative is this paint comes in 1-quart tins, so it is only suitable for smaller basements, or you will need several cans to complete your task. Plus, it only covers 15 to 25 square feet, so you might need to buy some spare tins anyway.
- 100 percent waterproof guaranteed.
- Breathable to allow moisture to evaporate.
- Prevents radon gas from escaping.
- Water-based, so it’s better for the environment.
- Limited coverage of just 15 to 25 square feet per quart.
- Only comes in 1-quart tins for smaller projects.
|Coverage||15 to 25 square feet per quart|
|Drying time||Not stated|
|KILZ Interior/Exterior Basement Waterproofing Paint||Best Waterproof||1-gal.||75 – 125 sqft per gal.||4 hours||Water-based||Spray, roll, & brush||$$|
|Liquid Rubber Concrete Foundation and Basement Sealer||Best Liquid Rubber||5-gal.||50 sqft per gal.||24 hours||Water-based||Spray, roll, & brush||$$$|
|KILZ 1-Part Epoxy Acrylic Concrete Floor Paint||Best Epoxy||1-gal.||Maximum 500 sqft per gal.||48 hours – cure||Water-based||Spray, roll, & brush||$$$$|
|FIXALL Skid Grip Anti-Slip Paint||Best Anti-Skid||1-gal.||50 – 80 sqft per gal.||24 hours – cure||Water-based||Brush||$$$|
|Drylok Latex Waterproof Floor Paint||Best for Concrete||1-quart||15 – 25 sqft per quart||Not stated||Water-based||Brush||$|
Tips for Painting a Basement Concrete Floor
Painting a basement floor is a simple enough task. However, if you want the best results, there are some hints and tips you should follow.
Keep a Bucket of Water Handy
Most basement paint is water-based, so it should clean up with soap and water. Keep a bucket of water nearby to make it easier to remove splatters and spots where you have painted by mistake.
Score Along the Tape
After the paint has dried, you will need to remove the decorator’s tape. To prevent it from lifting the paint as you pull it away, grab a sharp knife and score along the inside edge.
Basements are poorly ventilated, so to avoid any detrimental effects on your health, wear a respirator to filter the fumes from the paint. Different paints have varying odor levels, but by being cautious, you are protected.
When laying down 2-part epoxy, it dries smooth like glass, so if you are concerned about grip, consider adding textured paint to increase the anti-slip capabilities of your floor.
Allow the Floor To Dry
Don’t be tempted to walk on your basement floor before allowing enough time for it to cure. This is important because some paints are recoat-dry within a few hours, but that doesn’t mean they have cured.
Curing happens when the paint layer has dried from top to the bottom, rather than just the topcoat being touch-dry.
How To Paint an Old Concrete Basement Floor?
It’s all about the preparation when it comes to painting an old concrete basement floor. First, don safety goggles and a respirator face mask. Concrete dust can cause lung conditions that can have long-term effects. Remove all loose surface concrete, scrub away any stains or mold, and mildew to prevent growth coming back with a degreasing product.
You can use a pressure washer to get great results, but remember that you are in a basement, and they are damp enough without adding to the problems.
Once you’ve prepared the surface, use a stiff-bristled brush and remove all traces of debris and dust. Check the quality of the floor to spot cracks and dips in the surface. Use a concrete filler to fill small gaps and wait for them to cure fully before applying the paint.
Epoxy crack filler is the best product to use because it can handle larger dips, pits, and cracks.
When you are satisfied the filler is dry, and you have sanded it smooth and removed the dust, grab a vacuum cleaner and use the nozzle to remove the last remnants of dust and debris.
Now you are ready to mark out your area using masking tape. Use plastic sheeting and newspaper to cover anything you don’t want to get paint on, including skirting, pillars, and radiators.
Before applying your topcoat of basement paint, you need to lay down a primer layer to seal the surface and create greater adherence.
Wait for 24 hours while the primer dries, and then you are ready for the topcoat. The easiest way is to spray it on because you get an even coat, and every inch of the surface is covered. Wait 4 hours while the first layer dries, and then apply a second coat.
You should work in straight sections, working your way across the floor from left to right, and remember to start at the far end so you can finish near the stairs, or you risk painting yourself into a corner.
Wait for 24 to 48 hours for the paint to cure and remove the masking tape.
Can You Paint Basement Floor With Drylok?
You can. We feature a Drylok paint that is 100 percent impenetrable by water and is guaranteed to keep moisture at bay. It is also breathable to allow any trapped water beneath the surface of the concrete to evaporate.
Can I Paint a Concrete Floor With Regular Paint?
You can use regular paint, and it will look just as good, but it won’t last as long, and stains and scuff marks will quickly start to show. Save repainting sooner than you need to by using the correct paint for the job.
Should You Seal a Painted Concrete Floor?
You should seal the paint after it has dried, especially if you have a lot of footfall in your basement or there is a lot of furniture that could scrape the surface, chipping and scuffing the paint.
Is It Better To Paint or Epoxy a Basement Floor?
It depends on what look you are aiming for. If you want a transparent top layer that dries hard, epoxy is a great choice. However, epoxy is rarely breathable, so it seals tight, trapping in moisture beneath the layer of concrete. This leads to issues further down the line and could cause the concrete to crumble and fall away.
Paint gives you the chance to choose the color, and while it seals and protects, it still needs a sealer afterward to protect it from chips and scratches.