Thursday, December 13, 2012

Basement Floor Paint: The Options

Painting a basement floor is a great way to improve your home without dropping a lot of money.  However, while the project isn't complicated, there are a few things you should know.  First off, as we wrote here, you first must make sure that your floor is even a candidate for paint.  If you've done that and you've determined that your floor can be painted, the next step is to determine which floor paint to use.  

There are many options out there, but you should be aware of fancy packaging and vague marketing promises.  The box may "say" that the paint wears like steel.  It may highlight the fact that the paint is an epoxy.  But understand that not all epoxies are the same.  And that marketing claims can sometimes be made based on a "best case, controlled-environment, scenario".  (They're also quite subjective--as some marketer's idea of what steel wears like is not necessarily what you think steel will wear like!).

So with that said, let's discuss a couple options we have at RepcoLite when it comes to basement floor paint and let's compare these to the standard kits you see at the Big Box Stores.  Hopefully this will give you the information you need to make an informed choice based on your situation.

This is a very basic floor paint and offers a number of benefits.  Single-component latex floor paints are incredibly easy to use.  There is no mixing, no catalyzing, no "open time" or anything along those lines.  Simply stir or shake the container before use, pour out, and roll on.  

These paints apply easily, usually cover quite well, and best of all, they dry very quickly and with very low amounts of residual odor.  There are no dangerous fumes to deal with and there's no concern regarding turning off pilot lights and furnaces.  Also, single-component latex floor paints like RepcoLite's AquaTred floor paint are usually more inexpensive than other basement floor paint systems.

On the downside, these paints are probably the least durable of all floor paints.  Yes, a lot of the durability of a particular product is directly related to proper surface preparation, but still, latex single-component paints are best suited for areas that receive only light to moderate foot traffic.  If you're painting a work room or some other area where you'll be using (and potentially dragging) equipment across the floor, this might not be the best option for you.  
BOTTOM LINE:  In comparison to other "Big Box" epoxy systems, these paints are a little less durable.  However, they compensate for this however by offering you ease of use, a quick dry time and a great price.  However, if the room you're working in is simply a storage area or a lightly trafficked laundry area (and you're looking to accomplish the job quickly, inexpensively and with little or no residual odor) this might be perfect.

The second option RepcoLite offers when it comes to basement floor paint is our Urethane Floor Enamel.  Like its latex counterpart, Urethane Floor Enamel is relatively simple to use.  No catalyst is required, no "open time", and so on.  All you need is the paint itself, a quick stir or shake, and you're ready to go.  

These paints apply well, self-level beautifully and offer much better absorption than a latex would.  The added urethane in RepcoLite's product provides dramatically increased durability over other "solvent-based" floor systems.  This added fortifier makes Urethane Floor Enamel nearly equivalent in durability to those Big Box Epoxy kits--at a much lower price.  

Urethane Floor Enamel is suitable for moderate to high foot traffic floors and will even hold up (once they're cured) to dragging and sliding of small equipment (bench saws, small cabinets, etc.).  

However, there are some drawbacks.  First and foremost, as is the case with any solvent-based product, there is an odor.  Also, you will have paint fumes to deal with.  You will need to ventilate your room well while working and after you're finished.  Turning off pilot lights and furnaces is also important.  And, speaking from sad experience, if you have a gas clothes dryer, you MUST make sure the fumes are entirely out of the room before using it.  (If you don't, all the clothes you or your wife dries will end up smelling like Kerosene and your wife will make you rewash them.  And will remind you about this experience for the rest of your life.) 
BOTTOM LINE:  These paints are a great option if you can't or don't want to work with an epoxy coating.  They'll provide great durability for almost every basement application at a fraction of the price of the more expensive (and often less durable) epoxy systems.  They do, however, pack a bit of a wallop with paint fumes, so be sure to ventilate well.
Painting  a basement floor is a great project.  It's inexpensive, can be accomplished in just a few short hours, and will make a world of difference in your basement.  However, finding the right product can seem tricky for those who aren't familiar with paint and all the new technologies out there.  If you're considering the project, don't just pick up a floor kit at a Big Box Store and roll it on!  Take time and head to a RepcoLite near you for some straightforward advice and information.  We'll help you find the best product for your job and we'll walk you through the proper steps to make sure the product lasts for years to come!  (And if you're nowhere near a RepcoLite, head to a reputable paint dealer in your area.)

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