What color should I paint my basement

Painting the basement - preparing the substrate and choosing the color

In contrast to living spaces, there are usually different conditions in basements that influence the choice of color and the type of processing. A heated basement basement in a new building offers fundamentally different requirements than an old building with storage rooms. Regular painting is recommended for both.

Overview: colors suitable for the basement

You will find a large number of different types of paint on the market that differ not only in tone, but above all in composition. Depending on the basic substance and the additives, they have different properties that are suitable for certain environments. Colors for living rooms and the basement area are divided into:

  • Silicate paint, mineral paint
  • Lime paint
  • Silicone paint
  • Latex paint
  • Dispersion / emulsion paint

In a modern new building, you can use any color in the basement that meets the requirements for living spaces. Old buildings from a time before the 80s of the last century, on the other hand, often have no external sealing of the walls, which for this reason have a high level of moisture. The use of sealing paints without proper preparation leads to problems here.

Preparation of the cellar

The same requirements apply to an expanded and sealed cellar as to living spaces. Otherwise you will often find damp spots, limescale or salt deposits, crumbling plaster and, in advanced cases, mold. You have to remove these so that the paint adheres to the surface. In all places where the existing substance is not in perfect condition - few layers of paint, no damage - you should prepare the substrate as follows:

  • Remove old paint with a wire brush or sandpaper
  • Cleaning joints and water damage
  • Removal of mold stains with vinegar water or special removers
  • Repairing the damage with cement
  • Cleaning of dust, dirt and oil
  • Primer according to the color used
  • Twelve hours of drying time

Air-permeable paints: lime and silicate

Lime and silicate paint does not form a separate layer on the substrate, but rather combines with it through the crystallization of carbonates (lime paint) or the formation of stable silicates (silicification of silicates). The pores of the masonry remain open so that these colors do not impair ventilation. In addition, they do not contain any organic components, so that mold cannot find any nourishment. They are therefore ideally suited for unsealed cellars in old buildings and offer permanent and reliable protection even in damp conditions.

The processing of lime and silicate paints is difficult and requires a certain amount of specialist knowledge. Both have a thin consistency. You must therefore apply it in several layers with a brush or paintbrush or, alternatively, spray it on thinly. To make processing easier, some manufacturers offer the colors with additives such as binders. If the proportion is above five percent, the organic substances enable mold to form.

Properties of lime paint

  • Resistant to fungi and bacteria
  • Disinfecting due to high alkalinity
  • Ecologically harmless
  • Permeable to air and water
  • Paint chalked out
  • Very thin
  • Several orders (five or more) are necessary
  • Cumbersome processing

Properties of silicate paint

  • Long shelf life of several decades
  • Breathable and permeable to water
  • Kills bacteria and mold
  • Solvent free
  • Not suitable for gypsum plaster
  • Smudge-proof and waterproof
  • You can mix real silicate paint from two components (paint and fixation)

Water-repellent paints: silicone, latex and emulsion paint

In contrast to the "natural colors", water-repellent colors consist of pigments and a viscous binder that makes the solution stick to the surface. Chemical compounds such as synthetic plastics or mineral oil are used as raw materials. To make them insensitive to fungi and bacteria, they require the addition of mineral substances or killing chemicals.

Properties of silicone resin paint

Silicone resins are made from silicon that binds oxygen atoms to form a long-chain bond. Their great advantage is that they repel water from the outside without forming a closed film on the surface. This means that they remain permeable to gas and water vapor and allow the masonry to ventilate. The exact properties are not regulated by law and can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. In addition, the structure of the color creates a “lotus effect” inspired by nature, in which dirt and liquids cannot find a hold. Specific features include:

  • Breathable
  • Self-cleaning through the "lotus effect" - water and dirt roll off
  • Good coverage even with a single coat
  • Low susceptibility to mold or moss
  • Easy processing
  • Good shelf life
  • Facade paint, limited suitability for living areas due to the evaporation of pollutants

Properties of latex and emulsion paint

Latex and emulsion paints penetrate the pores of masonry, plaster or cement and form a sealing layer on the surface. A basement therefore needs adequate and regular ventilation to prevent moisture from building up. Because of the high costs, only selected manufacturers produce real latex paints from natural rubber - the name is usually dispersion paints with properties that are similar to those of a latex paint - durability, water resistance, opacity and gloss.

  • Waterproof paint layer
  • Good coverage
  • Can be used on most surfaces
  • Suitable for organic materials such as wallpaper
  • Contains preservatives and additives against fungi and bacteria
  • Washable
  • Impermeable to water vapor and gases