Part 1: Painting Our Basement – The Walls

At the start of my stay-cation, M and I tackled our basement. Our inspector mentioned during our walk-through that the basement was fairly dry and could be finished if we ever desired to take on such a project. Although it wasn’t a requirement to move in, we figured now was as good a time as any to take a few extra steps to waterproof the area. As you can see from these photos, the basement was pretty bare when we bought the place.There’s some framing for a closet and laundry room, but other than that, it’s just your standard cellar.

bare basement walls

basement walls without waterproof treatment

We agreed that it would be best to paint the walls and floor before we started moving in any big items, like our soon-to-be-installed gently used oak cabinets, or our washer and dryer.

The corner by the bottom of the stairs has visible signs of water damage, but it appears to just be stained–no more leaks. You can see it clearly in my last post, about the progress we made during our first week as homeowners. Otherwise, we had a very dry space to work with prior to our start.

M decided to invest in premium masonry waterproofer: UGL Drylock Extreme Masonry Waterproofer from Lowes. We figured this is a 1-time job, so we may as well invest a little extra money so we wouldn’t find ourselves completing this project again anytime in the near future (by that I mean, in the next decade). We chose white to create a very clean look.

The whole project took about nine hours to complete, which we split into two nights. M’s sister came to help out both evenings, which definitely helped to expedite the process!

Day One: Getting Started

First thing’s first–be careful when you open the tub! M learned this the hard way. He tried to pry off the little pourer tab. Because he hadn’t opened the actual lid yet, he got a nice splash of paint on his shirt and face as a result. So sorry, no photo! I was too busy laughing to even help him clean up. He even got a little drylock on his glasses, poor guy!

This stuff is thick. It’s pretty awesome. With the 5-gallon bucket, we were able to paint all of the cellar, save the garage with about two coats. One thing to remember–because this is so thick, it’s really important to stir the “paint” really well before use, as well as a second time when you’re about halfway through the project each night.

Always be sure to properly stir the Drylock before applying!

Just before we took a break around 10 p.m. to eat some pizza from a local pizza shop in our “new town,” M and I noticed that the paint wasn’t quite as runny when applying as it had been when we started the project.

Applying the Paint

We tried not to make too much of a mess on our concrete floor, but we didn’t sweat it if we dripped a little paint on the floor, because the second part of this project was to cover the floor with a one-part epoxy concrete floor paint. With that in mind, we applied the paint evenly, but heavily across the surface of the walls, making sure to fill any holes or cracks with the paint as much as possible. We could’ve filled them with fresh mortar, but we figured that we could skip that step, because our basement was pretty dry from the get go. So, we just over-compensated with the paint.

M and I worked out a pretty awesome system for completing the project–being that I’m vertically challenged, M handled the top 3-4 rows of masonary block while his sister and I painted the bottom rows. You can see in the photo below, that I struggled to get to the higher blocks.

basement walls with some drylock paint

I also took care of the whole area under the cellar steps, save the very top row. M’s sister and I completed this whole wall, including the area above the stairs while M worked on some of the harder to reach areas that required a special trimming brush.

Can you tell which area M painted? Hint: Not the one with paint splashed on the wood frame :-|

By the end of Sunday night, we painted all of the back wall and the wall with the stairs attached. We also painted up to the basement door, and polished off the paint we still had in our little plastic Dollar General bowels by applying a second coat of Drylock to the areas where the block appeared to be absorbing the Drylock more than elsewhere.

half painted basement wall

completely painted back wall

Day Two: Painting the Laundry Room

The back wall of the laundry room almost as much time to paint as the main wall, because there were so many areas that that required us to paint around. Partway through the project, I asked M to kindly remove the rusting metal cabinet that hung over the utility tub. Talk about an eyesore.

rusted metal cabinet on wall in laundry room

When M opened the cabinet to remove it from the wall, he found all of our missing metal outlet covers. He already invested in some handsome slate-gray covers for the basement once the whole project is complete. Go figure.

Here’s a closer look at the rust on this guy–there’s no way we could salvage it, right?

rusted metal cabinet removed from wall

Good thing we’ll have some extra oak cabinets to put down here once we frame the laundry room in with drywall. My cousin/godfather really hooked us up!

Maybe it’s just me, but that wall looks so sexy without the ugly rusted metal cabinet 😛

finished laundry room drylock wall

Painting under, and around, the utility tub was pretty taxing, but it really turned out great! Wait til you see how nice it looks with the freshly painted floor.

We used the remaining paint to apply a second coat to the wall of the laundry room and the wall by the stairs, as well as a few areas here and there on the back wall.

The Finished Product

All in all, I’d say this project was a major success. It’s incredible what a simple a couple coats of paint can do to transform a room. Stay tuned for a post featuring part 2 of this project: painting our basement floor!

basement walls finished

finished basement walls


finished basement walls

Monetary Investment

  • UGL Drylock Extreme Masonry Waterproofer, 5 Gallon $129
  • Paint brushes $20

Time Investment

  • Sunday Night: 5 hours
  • Monday Night: 4 hours


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