Progress: Painting the Unfinished Basement

2 min read While the “unfinished”  side of the basement isn’t high on my to-do list of spaces to make glorious, I did take a break last week to give it a good scrub and a fresh coat of paint. 

I’ve been on a painting kick lately.  I guess I don’t know what to do with my spare hours now that the outside of the house is finished.

The result surprised me.  I’d gotten used to crossing my eyes at the spider webs and dingy paint in the north side of the basement but now that the walls are fresh and white, I actually enjoy going over there to pull wood from my scrap stash. 

It was a slightly dirty job – scrubbing the old yellow walls with a wire brush yielded several decades of grime AND some flaking paint.  I washed the walls in a strong TSP solution and then rinsed them, squeezing black water out of my sponge the whole time.  I took the time to caulk a few small cracks.  I wasn’t worried that they were letting in water, or demonstrating dangerous settling – they’d clearly been around since this coat of yellow was applied but I knew it would look neater once they were covered.

Here’s the lovely brown caulk I had on hand, first smeared thickly along the cracks, then sponged over to make a smooth, paintable edge.  It covered well with the primer and perfectly after one coat of paint.

For paint I went with the family favorite: Hallman Lindsay.  I used up a the rest of my exterior grade white primer (I somehow bought way too much for the amount of trim I have outside) to get great coverage on the wall, then switched to a no-VOC interior paint for the top coat.

Rolling over rough concrete was no joke – the folks at HL recommended a 3/4 nap roller and when it was full of paint it was so heavy it made my wrists ache.  When I got around to the utility sink area the job got more complicated.  I ended up using a combination of big roller, little roller, brush and a last resort of spray paint.  I used a little more than a can to cover the hard to reach pipe areas.  MAN DOES IT STINK, but it got the job done.  An hour of fan venting later, I was delighted with the job.

The walls are so dramatically improved by a fresh coat, I’m looking forward to trying out a coat or two of epoxy on the floor come spring.