When we moved into our home two years ago, our unfinished basement was kinda creepy and we mainly used it for storage.
It wasn’t until the pandemic hit that we realized its untapped potential. You can see in the before images below how large our unfinished basement is!
While in quarantine in 2020, we realized that our kids needed a dedicated space to run around and play with their toys. We created a makeshift playroom in the unfinished basement and it worked out great!
This year, I really wanted to give our unfinished basement a more finished look and began planning a budget-friendly basement makeover.
We built a utility room to hide the mechanicals, updated the overhead lighting, sprayed the exposed ceiling black, and painted the concrete floors.
When going through our flooring options, I decided to go with Rust-Oleum’s Epoxyshield Garage Floor Coating kit instead of carpeting because of its durability and clean finish.
With two kids and three dogs, I wanted low-maintenance floors where we didn’t have to work about spills or accidents.
The floors went from looking like this:
*Check out the complete unfinished basement makeover reveal here!
I absolutely love how the floors turned out and am excited to share how I used concrete floor paint to transform our unfinished basement.
Let’s get started!
How to Paint Concrete Basement Floors
*This post is sponsored by Rust-Oleum. All content and opinions are my own.
*To find a full source list of the materials used for this project, scroll to the bottom of the post. Affiliate links are used in this post, thank you for supporting Building Bluebird!
Step 1 | Measure the Room
Measure the size of the space to determine the number of kits to purchase. My basement was roughly 1,500 square feet, so I purchased 7 kits and used 6.
You can find the Epoxyshield Garage Floor Coating kit at your local Home Depot.
Before leaving the store, choose a tint color on the side of the box and ask the paint department to tint each kit.
I chose the paint color, New Concrete, for our floors because it is a light, neutral color that will go nicely with all of our furniture.
If you want to order the product directly to your house or curbside pick-up, Rust-Oleum offers a premixed option, EpoxyShield Garage Floor Coating Kit in Gray Gloss, Dark Gray, or Tan. They come in 2.5 car kits so you won’t need to order as many kits.
**I accidentally forgot this step and used an entire untinted kit before noticing that it was not the correct color. I don’t think it registered right away because I chose such a light tint. I took it all back to Home Depot and the nice woman at the paint desk let me know that I essentially painted a can of glue on the floors!
Each kit includes one base gallon (Part B), one quart of the activator (Part A), a mixing stick, a bag of concrete etch, and decorative chips.
Step 2 | Clean the Concrete Basement Floors
First, I began by removing all items from the concrete floor and thoroughly sweeping the surface with a broom and shop vacuum.
Clean & Degrease the Concrete Floors
Next, I used the Rust-Oleum Cleaner and Degreaser solution to remove as much dirt and grime as possible.
I followed the instructions on the bottle and mixed the solution with water in a large bucket.
Working in sections, I poured the solution onto the concrete. I used a deck scrub brush to clean the surface to remove as much dirt as possible.
Sometimes a section of the concrete would begin to dry up before I removed the dirty water, so I would pour more water over those sections.
Squeegee and Vacuum Dirty Water
Next, I used a floor squeegee to pool the water together and vacuum up the dirty water.
Cleaning the concrete basement floors took a full day to complete because of the size of the basement (1,500 SF) and the process of carrying the shop vac upstairs and dumping out the water.
Step 3 | Etch the Concrete Floor (Optional)
Disclaimer: Etching the basement floor adds durability and increases adhesion, but this step is not required. If you are using his product on your garage floors, etching is an important step for durability with cars driving on it.
Mix the bag of concrete etch provided in the kit with 2 gallons of water in a watering can until it is dissolved.
Using a hose, pre-wet the floors and evenly distribute the etching solution over the basement floor. Vigorously scrub the floors with the bristle brush to loosen dust and dirt.
Once you have finished scrubbing, use the floor squeegee to pool the solution together and remove it with a shop vac.
Step 4 | Rinse the Concrete Floor & Dry
Rinse the floor with water one more time to remove any remaining etch solution.
Use the squeegee and vacuum to remove the water from the floor. Once the floor is dry, rub your fingers over the ground.
If dust or powder comes off, repeat scrubbing and rinsing until the floor is clean. Turn on a few fans and allow the floors to dry for 24 hours.
Step 5 | Mix Part A & Part B Together
To activate the epoxy floor paint, mix the two cans in the kit together.
I poured Part A, the activator, into the gallon can of Part B, the base. The two cans should be mixed thoroughly for 3 minutes.
I tried the stir stick with the first kit and quickly upgraded to the paddle paint mixer attachment for my drill.
I purchased the Rust-Oleum Anti-Skid Additive and added it to the epoxy mix. This helps to prevent slipping when the floor inevitably gets wet.
When the epoxy floor paint is mixed, it has been activated and should be applied within the set time frame indicated in the instructions.
Step 6 | Apply Basement Floor Paint
When you are ready to begin, choose the furthest corner of the room and work your way toward the exit.
Working in 4×4 sections, use a synthetic paintbrush to trim the edges of the basement with the epoxy paint.
Use a ⅜ inch nap and 9” roller frame to apply the floor paint in the 4×4 section.
Continue brushing the edges and rolling the paint until you complete the concrete basement floors.
For the basement design, I decided to skip adding the decorative chips and only apply the paint on the concrete floors.
This product only requires one coat of paint, however, you may be able to see dark blemishes with the lighter tints.
Before painting our floors, I filled a few cracks with a dark gray epoxy crack filler.
You can see where I filled in the cracks with a single coat of epoxy paint.
I applied a second coat of paint to this area and the darker spots went away!
There were a few small spots on the floor that would not take the epoxy paint. I must not have removed all of the gunk from the floors.
Once the first coat of paint dried, I fixed these spots by painting a second coat on the areas where the concrete was showing.
It was an easy fix and they blend seamlessly into the concrete floors!
After my touch-ups, I allowed the floor to dry for 24 hours and then put the basement back together!
After | Painted Concrete Basement Floor
Don’t the concrete basement floors look so fresh and clean?! We now have so much useable living space in the unfinished basement.
Here is another angle of the basement before the makeover:
And the same area after!
This was a pretty physical DIY project, but totally worth it to get these results.
By choosing a basement floor paint that can be used in a garage as well, I know they will be durable and withstand the wear and tear of our family.
I hope you found this DIY helpful and that it gives you the courage to try it yourself!
**Check out the awesome basement stairs makeover using only leftover materials in my storage room!
Project Source List:
- Rust-Oleum Epoxyshielf Garage Floor Coating Kit – $200 per kit, I used 6 (gifted)
- Anti-Skid Additive – $15 per bag, (I used 6) (gifted)
- Rust-Oleum Cleaner & Degreaser $22 (gifted)
- Scrub Brush – $8
- 5 gallon Bucket – $0 (owned)
- Watering Can – $0 (owned)
- Squeegee – $30
- 3/8 inch nap Roller Sleeve – $5
- 9″ Roller Frame– $0 (owned)
- Extension Pole– $0 (owned)
- Floor Fan– $0 (owned)
- Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum– $0 (owned)
- Paint tray – $0 (owned)
- Paint Mixer– $0 (owned)
- Paintbrush– $0 (owned)
Frequently Asked Questions
How much did it cost to paint the basement floors?
Based on the paint product alone and for the size of my basement. (1,500 SF), the cost was around $1,300.
The remaining cost will vary based. on materials you already own, for example, I did not need to purchase a wet vac. Check out the source list above to see all of the materials needed and a link with their cost.
In full transparency, I partnered with Rust-Oleum for this DIY project, so the cost was minimal to purchase the remaining supplies (less than $100).
Does the basement floor paint smell bad or have fumes?
In my opinion, the fumes from the concrete paint were not bad at all. I had fans going and the two basement windows cracked so it was not a super strong smell.
There is definitely an odor but it is not as strong as an oil-based primer, for example.
How have the painted basement floors held up?
It has been over two years since painting the concrete basement floors and they still look great! We are in the basement every day either working out or the kids running around and playing. There is a lot of activity on the floors and I haven’t noticed any wear and tear.
Friday 7th of April 2023
Nice! Painting your concrete basement floor with high-quality paint will help preserve it from moisture while also giving it a polished look. https://epoxylouisvilleky.com
Tuesday 29th of November 2022
Nice job and good explanation. Cost approximately?
Tuesday 29th of November 2022
Nice job and good explanation. Cost approximately?
Wednesday 30th of November 2022
The cost will depend on the size of your basement and how many kits are needed. For my basement I estimated 1,500 SF (6 kits) and the cost of the paint materials was about $1,300.
Thursday 29th of September 2022
Hello! I'm considering using this product on our basement floor, and I'm wondering if you can comment on how it has held up now that it's been in use in your basement for a while. Thanks, and thanks also for your super detailed tutorial on how to apply!
Friday 30th of September 2022
Hi there, I have not had any issues with the painted floors in two years. Our kids play down there every day and it still looks great!
Sunday 28th of August 2022
How bad is the smell?
Monday 29th of August 2022
Not bad at all. I had fans going and the two basement windows cracked so it was not a super strong smell. There is definitely an odor but it is not as strong as an oil-based primer, in my opinion.