Let’s be clear about something – basement waterproofing paint, does not waterproof your basement.
Doesn't make sense does it?
Think of it like fix-a-flat for your car tires. Putting fix-a-flat in your tire doesn't FIX the real problem (the nail sticking out of it), it just mitigates a bigger problem until you can get the real cause fixed.
In the same way, if you have cracks or improper/insufficient drainage around your basement, using basement waterproofing paint isn’t going to fix that. Basement waterproofing usually requires a combination of solutions.
So why am I reading this? What benefit does basement waterproofing paint provide? And what is the best method to apply it? I’m glad you asked...
Basement Waterproofing Paint Benefits
Vapor Barrier – Most basement waterproofing paint products serve as an excellent vapor barrier. This is the primary benefit of waterproof paint. It will help prevent the diffusion of water into your basement.
If your basement is concrete, like mine, it’s very porous and even if all of your ducks are in a row as far as drainage, you can still see quite a bit of minor seepage during heavy rains without it.
Mold/Mildew resistance – Mold: The Joker to your Batman (The serious Heath Ledger type too, not the goofball Jack Nicholson kind).
By waterproofing, you prevent water from condensing between your drywall and concrete. The water has nowhere to go but to sit on your studs or insulation and form mold. No bueno.
Minor seepage prevention – Again, the paint will not prevent major seepage, but it should do a nice job of preventing the small amounts of seepage you will see through very small cracks and cement porosity.
In order to work as intended though you need to make sure paint adequately gets into these small areas, which leads me to my next point…
How to Apply Waterproof Paint
For my basement, I used Behr Premium Interior/Exterior Basement Waterproofing Paint. It is slightly thicker than standard paint, and it was a “bear” to apply (see what I did there?).
My initial plan was as follows: Use a paintbrush to “trim” around windows, the floor, ceiling, and corners, and then roll the rest just like you would paint a normal room.
Good idea right?
Well, phase one went well enough. A paintbrush did a good enough job of getting the paint into the tiny holes in the concrete. It took me a solid hour to trim the whole basement. Then I was on to the roller…
I used a standard 3/8’’ nap roller – you know the kind you use for drywall. This was terrible at getting into the holes in the concrete. Also, because of the paint thickness, it took me FOR-EV-ER to roll one small wall.
So almost another hour later, I had about 1/10 of my basement painted, and that 1/10 looked like swiss cheese with no paint in the holes. I gave up.
While complaining to a buddy at work the next day, I got thrown a lifeline. Shout out to my buddy Andrew, the proud owner of a Graco airless sprayer. He volunteered to help and he works cheap too – it only cost me a new spray tip and some Chicago deep dish pizza.
Because the paint is thicker, it requires a 0.023’’-0.025’’ tip. Standard paint typically uses 0.015’’-0.019’’ tips. We had the whole basement painted, and painted well, in under an hour.
I highly recommend having a friend with an airless sprayer. If that’s not an option for you, or they don’t work as cheaply as my friends, you have a couple options:
Rental – The D’Po rents airless sprayers. It’s certainly pricier than having a cheap friend, but may still be worth it rather than pulling your hair out rolling for hours. They offer 4 hour and day rentals.
I can’t imagine a basement that couldn't get done in under 4 hours the way those things cover. Take note of the available sprayer tips. If the tip is too small you risk clogging the gun.
Buy One - If you're friendless, or your lame friends don't have paint sprayers then pony up some cash for your own.
They're pricey but not outrageous. Plus, with the money you're saving by not hiring painters - you're actually making money. Check out the Amazon reviews for paint sprayers here. Airless Paint Sprayer Reviews
Rough Surface Roller – If you must use a roller, go with a heavy nap (3/4’’ or larger). This should help get paint into the small holes in the concrete. Don't skimp on paint either. Lay it on thick and use at least 2 coats, more if you have the spare paint.
Hope this helped you on your way to a drier basement. Questions? Leave them in the comments section below!
(my profile picture and bio are coming soon... stay tuned)