If you find yourself constantly having to repaint your basement walls due to mold, bubbling, and cracking in the paint then by now you’re probably in despair and thinking you’re completely out of options.
No matter how many layers you do or how expensive the paint you use is, nothing seems to sit right on the surface of the basement walls and it ends up looking unsightly within a matter of weeks.
If this frustration sounds like something you’re experiencing then we’d hate to tell you but you’ve been doing it all wrong.
Basement walls require waterproof and moisture-resistant paint that is specially formulated for concrete. You can’t just use any old paint that you have lying around your home.
Specialized paint for concrete walls like masonry paint or sealant will be able to protect your concrete walls from mold and moisture even despite the limited airflow.
We’ve searched far and wide to find you the best paints for concrete walls in your basement so you can get started right away on fixing up your shabby-looking walls.
8 Best Paint For Concrete Walls In Basement Reviews
Liquid Rubber Foundation and Basement Sealant
If you’re after some heavy-duty for your basement, then our top choice Liquid Rubber basement sealant will certainly do the job.
It’s available in both a 1-gallon and 5-gallon container with 1-gallon being able to easily achieve one coat of a 200 square foot basement.
The sealant protects against moisture, mildew, chipping, and cracking and will stay looking as high-quality as you did when you first painted it for years to come.
There’s no mixing required with the Liquid Rubber sealant, so you’ll be able to apply as soon as you get it home with any painting tools you already have in your home.
Black may not be the color of choice for some customers, but if you’re only using your basement for storage, laundry, or even a TV den, then this will be the perfect choice for you.
The sealant’s formulation doesn’t have any solvents, emits low VOCs, and doesn’t emit any harmful odors so you won’t have any breathing issues when spending your time applying it.
You will require a couple of coats of this sealant but we promise you it is worth all the hassle and will provide ultimate protection without you ever needing to apply it again.
- Heavy-duty – No need for application in the future
- Low VOCs – No breathing or ventilation equipment required
- No mixing required – Easy application straight from the tub
- Ultimate protection – Protects against moisture, chipping, and cracking
- Only available in black – May not be to everyone’s taste
KILZ 1-Part Epoxy Acrylic Interior/Exterior Concrete and Garage Floor Paint
If you’re going to be using your basement for storage and don’t need it to be a lavish color to stand out and look homely, this KILZ Epoxy paint will do you just fine.
Out of 1-gallon, you’ll be able to achieve a large yield of around 500 square feet, however you may require more than 1 tin as you should always do two coats with epoxy on concrete surfaces
The formulation is highly durable and will be able to withstand heavy activity without altering in quality. It’s mildew resistant and will keep your walls looking fresh no matter what climate you live in.
This epoxy paint offers easy application via a brush, roller, or even a spray paint gun so you won’t need to buy additional equipment. However, this paint is a lot runnier than others and you’ll need to make sure you’re applying evenly and making sure no drips get onto your flooring.
The paint is marketed as concrete floor paint so it can be used on your basement floor as well.
- Easy application – Can be used with brushes, roller, and sprays
- Large yield – 1 gallon covers up to 500 square feet
- Highly durable – Formulation is great for basement conditions
- Drips everywhere – Will need to put sheets down
KILZ Interior/Exterior Basement and Masonry Waterproofing Paint
The KILZ basement waterproof is great for time efficiency as it’ll dry to the touch within just one hour, however, this will depend on humidity levels within the basement.
The paint protects against mildew and mold and also forms a barrier to stop water filtration from entering your basement.
According to the product’s description, you won’t need to reapply this product for at least ten years showing how resistant and high-quality the formulation is.
Two coats of this waterproof are recommended to achieve the optimum results and you’ll have to wait only 4 hours until you can apply the second coat, so you may be able to get your whole basement done within one day.
Due to the white color, you can also add colored tints to this product to achieve your preferred color of choice within your basement so you won’t have to go in after with another layer of colored paint.
You can apply this paint in numerous ways including with a spray gun, paintbrush, and also a roller, and requires no mixing beforehand.
Unfortunately, you’ll need to apply a primer before applying this masonry waterproofing so you’ll need to buy an additional product as well. KILZ does recommend their premium primer to be matched with this waterproofer, but any concrete primer should do the job.
- Dries within 1 hour – Can get the basement done in one day
- Compatible with tints – Get your basement to be the color of your choice
- Primer needs to be applied before – Adds extra time to the process
KILZ Interior/Exterior Self-Priming Masonry, Stucco and Brick Flat Paint
This high-quality, water-based interior paint offers great hiding properties with great adhesion and water repellency to keep all your basement walls looking brand new.
This KILZ paint offers a mildew resistant finish on properly prepared smooth surfaces and will be able to stay in great condition offering ultimate protection for up to 20 years.
The paint is self-priming so there’s no need to prime your surfaces beforehand saving you tons of time.
The paint can be applied in numerous ways including rolled, brushed, or sprayed on, so it’s suited to whatever equipment you’ve already got lying around your home.
The paint has low VOC emissions which is ideal if you’re going to be spending hours in a low ventilated basement painting your walls.
The self-priming paint is available in various color finishes which can suit most basement environments, however, if there’s not a color to your preference, you can apply another brand of paint on top of this paint.
- Easy application – Can be applied with sprays, roller, and brushes
- High yield – Can cover up to 400 square feet per just one gallon
- Water pressure resistant – Ultimate protection
- Customers have noted that they have received the wrong colors
Drylok 275 Masonry Waterproofer Water-Based
The Drylok waterproofer comes in a giant 5-gallon tub and will be able to cover basements that have measurements of up to 500 sq. ft easily. The brand does recommend two coats to achieve the best results, so those with larger basements will need to buy an additional tub.
The waterproofer is highly effective in resisting water and moisture so is perfect for those who have older basements that are run down and needing some serious TLC.
You’ll get a massive 10-year warranty on the waterproofer which truly shows Drylok’s confidence in how well it works. If you’re not happy with your results from using it then you’ll be able to get a refund or at least a replacement if the formulation is defective.
The low-odor formula by Drylok complies with all current VOC requirements so it is safe to use in low ventilated basements without the need for additional equipment or facial protection.
There is no pre-mixing or pre-wetting necessary and you’ll be able to apply straight from the tub, however, you should always follow the product instructions to ensure the correct application.
- 10-year warranty – Brand has confidence in the quality of their product
- Low VOCs – No hassle application
- Moisture and water resistant – Great for old and run down basements
- Two coats needed to achieve correct finish – May need to buy another tub
Rust-Oleum 261845 EpoxyShield Garage Floor Coating
Rust-Oleum is a popular and reliable brand used by both professionals and DIYers alike, they produce many specialized paints so you know you’re guaranteed great quality when using one of their concrete paints.
This epoxy formula is durable and can work on any interior concrete surface and leaves a clean finish with long-lasting protection.
The application of this formula can be a bit particular as it needs to be applied when the temperature is between 60 to 85 degrees, otherwise, the finish won’t be right and it won’t dry properly.
The formulation does take a while to dry, normally around 24-48 hours so you’ll want to leave your basement empty for a few days before beginning to add your stuff back into it.
The product has low VOC emissions so great for basements with little ventilation.
The superior adhesion coating of this epoxy protects against peeling, moisture, and cracking and you won’t need to reapply for over 10 years.
- No need to reapply – Can last over 10 years
- Full protection against elements – Stays in great condition
- Reliable brand – Guaranteed great quality
- Long drying time – Can take up to 3 days sometimes
- Needs to applied in certain temperatures – Inconvenient
Armor High Gloss Solvent Based Acrylic Concrete Sealer and Paver Sealer
This 5-gallon concrete sealant will allow you to achieve two coats with just one tin, so there’ll be no extra trips to the store or waiting for another one to arrive in the post.
Low VOCs means you’ll encounter no breathing or health issues throughout the application of this Armor sealant, however, most professionals would recommend masks or additional ventilation whenever using any sort of paints or sealants.
Depending on how well ventilated your basement is, the Armor sealant can dry in up to 4 hours but returning to using the room as normal should be left for 24-48 hours to ensure every area is dried properly.
The acrylic concrete sealer by Armor is durable, stands up to abrasion, and will be able to resist moisture and stains so your concrete walls will stay looking in great condition.
Armor does recommend customers use two coats of this sealant to get the optimum protection for their concrete surfaces which is not ideal for those who have very large basements to paint, especially when competitor sealants only require one coat.
If your basement does have windows that let sunlight in, then you should seek to only apply this high gloss concrete sealer after the sun has gone down or at least when the air temperature has dropped significantly, which can be highly inconvenient if you haven’t got tons of time to be dedicating to this job.
The sealer has a decent lifespan and will be able to last for up to 2-5 years, depending on the conditions inside your basement and also the traffic that it endures. After that time then the sealant will need to be reapplied.
- Large quantity in one tin – 5 gallons will do you two coats easily
- Low VOC – Easy to breathe whilst applying
- Can last 2-5 years – Won’t need reapplying for a long time
- Water-resistant – Year-round protection in your basement
- Can only apply when there is no sunlight – Not for those with limited time
- Two coats needed for the best protection – Inconvenient and time-consuming
AQUA-X 11 Clear, Penetrating Stone and Concrete Sealer
This concrete sealer from AQUA-X is easy to apply and will be dry to the touch in under 2 hours (will depend on ventilation in your basement) so you can cover your entire basement and finish the job in just one day.
The formulation comes with a UV additive, so if your basement does have small windows that let sunlight in then the walls will not be affected at all.
The AQUA-X sealer is ideal for painting in basements that have limited airflow as it has low VOC emissions so you’ll be able to breathe easily thanks to the low odor and not have to worry about being affected by the harmful chemicals.
With just one gallon of this AQUA-X 11, you’ll be able to cover up to 600 square feet of surfaces which should be more than enough for those with smaller basements. It’ll only need one coat for application and it’s applied with a spray gun.
The sealant is highly effective and will be able to protect your concrete walls against spalling, moisture, and freeze-thaw for up to 5 years before it’ll need another application again.
- Covers up to 600 square feet per gallon – May only need one container for smaller basements
- Long-lasting results – Won’t need to redo for another 5 years
- Extensive application guide included – You can’t go wrong
- Can’t paint color over it – Not to be used in habitable basements
- Difficult application – Can result in a lower yield than stated
Most paints for concrete walls such as masonry or epoxy come in limited colors like grey, white, or black as they’re most commonly used in garages or basements that are used for storage and not another reception room.
If you are going to be using your basement as a room to spend time in or even as a gym, then we’d recommend going with darker colors as they won’t show marks or dirt as much and will not clean less frequently.
If you do intend to use your basement as a room to relax in and want to paint in a color of your taste, then you’ll need to make sure the concrete paint you’re using allows you to paint a topcoat layer over the top.
Some concrete paints won’t allow topcoats to adhere to the surface so you’ll need to check the product descriptions before committing to your choice.
How Do You Apply Paint to Concrete Surfaces
Before painting your basement walls, you’ll want to make sure the surface is as clean as possible. You can do this by using a wire brush and mortar stain remover to get rid of existing remnants of paint or grime build-up.
Make sure the surface is completely dry before you move onto the next step which is sealing up any joints or cracks in your concrete walls.
There may be some cracks or holes in the concrete of your basement walls that are letting water through. You’ll need to seal these up before painting to ensure you have a smooth consistent surface and also to prevent water from damaging the walls.
You can now begin applying the paint to the concrete, a paint roller or spray gun will be one of the most efficient ways to do this, but the application will depend on the brand and base of paint you use.
Apply your first coat and give a sufficient amount of time to dry (according to the paint manufacturer) and then go in with another coating to make sure the concrete has sealed the surface.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best paint for concrete walls in a basement?
The best paint for concrete walls in a basement are:
- Liquid Rubber Foundation and Basement Sealant
- KILZ L377711 1-Part Epoxy Acrylic Interior/Exterior Concrete and Garage Floor Paint
- KILZ Interior/Exterior Basement and Masonry Waterproofing Paint
- KILZ Interior/Exterior Self-Priming Masonry, Stucco and Brick Flat Paint
- Drylok 275 Masonry Waterproofer Water-Based
- Rust-Oleum 261845 EpoxyShield Garage Floor Coating
- Armor AR500 High Gloss Solvent Based Acrylic Concrete Sealer and Paver Sealer
- AQUA-X 11 Clear Penetrating Stone and Concrete Sealer
What kind of paint do you use on concrete basement walls?
Waterproof masonry paint is usually the best paint to use for basement walls as it contains a binder that contracts and expands with the concrete.
Does waterproof paint work on basement walls?
Yes, even in rooms with limited airflow, waterproof paint will prevent the growth of mold from occurring in your basement.
Can you paint basement walls in winter?
Yes, you can if you want to be, but be aware that lower air temperatures will result in the paint drying slower. If possible, try to keep a heater or humidifier in the room to help the paint dry more quickly.
How do you clean concrete basement walls before painting?
Scrub your basement walls using a wire brush and muriatic acid to get rid of flaking paint or excess grime. You could even go in with a vacuum to get rid of any remaining dust or flakes of paint to ensure a smooth finish before painting.
Can I paint over painted concrete walls?
Whenever possible, try to scrape or sand off the existing paint that is on the concrete walls before going in with new paint.