Should I paint/waterproof my basement floor?

16 years ago

I am currently refinishing my basement. I painted the concrete walls w/ that DryLoc waterproofing paint before I put up my 2 x 4 walls. I saw the demo at Home Depot and it sold me on it. It wasn't fun to do (that stuff smells) as well as it takes some time but it's done and over with.

Now, the question is what do I do with the bare concrete floor?

I will be putting carpeting in half of the basement w/ a nice pad for comfort.

In the other part of the basement I plan to put Mannington laminate planks that look like real wood. Under this I will use the recommended vapor barrier per Mannington recommendations.

My question is before I do the above on the floor, should I coat the concrete floor w/ one of the special floor paints that also have a waterproofing effect? Or would this be a waste of time and money as the floor will be covered and water does not rest under the floor like it runs on the outside walls????

Thanks in advance for your advice.

P.S. - I like to do it right the first time. If it isn't done right the first time, why bother at all.

Comments (30)

  • jasper_60103
    16 years ago

    I know there was some discussion on this topic before. Try doing a search for Dryloc and/or Dricore.

  • ellenj
    16 years ago

    Do not put Drylok on the floor! It will crack under the water pressure. You can use Drylok's clear masonry sealer, but it is not a waterproofer, just a moisture barrier. (I used to be a customer service person for this company). For more info on what products of Drylok's to use, call their 800 number and ask to speak to a lab technician. They get a million calls about the same thing all day so they are very helpful. Their number is 1-800-UGL-LABS. They have techs available from 8:30-4:00 eastern time.

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  • jejvtr
    16 years ago

    I have same ? and have been researching
    will drylock - after cleaning masonary fieldstone walls
    floor will be carpet on finished side and vinyl on utility

    Here's what I found thus far
    1. 2 part expoxy - expensive for product
    2. Thoro seal
    3. Paint store owner just told me to use Zinser (?sp) primer which will act as vapor/moisture barrier and only $19/gal

    Let me know I'm following up

  • diymostoftime
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    I am leaning towards leaving the concrete floor as is. For the following reasons:
    1) in other discussions, they stated that if you ever tile, don't do it - i don't know if i will but just in case
    2) why do the extra work and spend the money if it isn't needed - no one is staying do it due to xyz (walls are a little different - i used dryloc simply because of the home depot demo as well as rain will hit the outside walls - rain won't hit the basment floor

  • akalvig_yahoo_com
    16 years ago

    You've probably completed the project by now, but, for those who are referring to this for help with the same type of project...

    After (or even before) you begin your project, build up the landscaping around your home. Even if all you do is dump more dirt around the perimeter of your foundation, do it. Make sure it's at least two feet taller than it was. This may cost you $100, depending upon the size of your home and how much dirt you use... but it's totally worth it.

    I'm living in a turn-of-the century home, and I have always had water in my basement. I get rivers.

    This spring, I built up my landscaping... put dirt around the house... and I've not had nearly as much water as I normally have. This past week, we had 10 inches of water fall on us in less than a 24-hour period. My neighbors who had finished basements were tossing out the contents of those finished basements... and I was just dealing with small rivers which had come in.

    Mind you, I haven't even started my waterproofing project, except for building up the landscaping.

    It's a must.

    Trust me.

  • smartindi
    16 years ago

    I am from columbus, OH. I just finished the dryall and ceilings in my basement. I was checking the local homedepot and other carpet stores.My main concern is water proofing the concrete floor of my basement.

    We want to install carpeting in our basement, one homedepot guy suggested a thicker carpet padding with a vapor barrier before laying down the carpet will take care of any water from the cement floors.

    The other guy from rite rug wants to install a $.80/sft vapor barrier, and wants to do it as soon as I can get it.

    I am looking at different options for water proffing or atleast water transfer prevention before getting any carpetting there.

    Here are some of the options I have researched so far..

    1. ThermalDry- it is not sold in any retail stores, but only installed by some basement finishing system companies.
    like 2 to 2.40/ sqFt intalled. I have 800 sqft to finish so its a costly option.

    2. BondPrep from ICI paints - a water proofing floor paint.

    3. 2 part Epoxy is not a waterproofer but a surface finisher.
    4. RadonSeal, looks like a viable option, $250 for product and shipping along with sprayer.

    The local ICI paints guy got this BondPrep for concrete floor water proofing, we are going to try this.

    Wondering what "diymostoftime" or "jejvtr" did for his/her basement floor?

    I will follow this discussion, please add your comments or suggessions. Thanks.

  • diymostoftime
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    I haven't done anything yet. I am still deciding. I am leading towards doing NOTHING. Simply in case I or next homeowner decides to pull up the carpet and install tiles.

  • subywu
    16 years ago

    I had just put in carpet from HD with the upgraded Ultra Berberbond padding which has a plastic vapor barrier on one side. Well... torrential rain storm hit and two weeks later, had to pull out everything! I have never had water in the basement in this 10 year old home.

    I would not put carpet in the basement if you have any chance of water at all. I will be tiling the floor up now.

  • cdawn
    14 years ago

    I don't know about painting the floors. I do know that our basement collects a lot of water on the floors during the 'rainy season', but that is mostly due to leakage from the walls. We have been looking into some type of waterproof/resistant flooring because we're planning to use the space now. We know to stay away from traditional carpet, but tiles aren't really an option for us because of the way our basement floor is. It would cost an ungodly amount of money to compensate for how uneven it is.

    Anyway, looking into I've run across a product that I'm seriously considering. The company is Water Recovery Carpets & Tiles, and they're selling something they claim doesn't absorb water like other carpet tiles. They interlock like puzzle pieces (stating that there is no need for any sort of glue as their product is real interlinking tiles and won't come apart if you hold a chain of them up in the air) and are easy to pull up if they get wet, and will dry withing a few hours and then can be put down again. They're EVA Foam Tiles, so warm and not cold, but I have doubts about the actual possibility of this so-called 'easy' drying. We'd have to move the furniture to pull them up. In your case, however, where your walls are sealed and there is little chance of large amounts of water, this product sounds like the best thing. (The site also says that, due to the products composition, they won't mold, so that's something too.)

    Good luck with whatever you choose to do, and I hope this helped. The website address is

  • countryboymo
    14 years ago

    I thought about doing the epoxy system that is sold for doing garage floors and throwing some rugs down. I would love to have a cushy carpet floor and home theater system down there but I think I will go with the rugs and possibly the floor epoxy. They sell flakes and color chips you can put in the epoxy for different looks. you could mask off lines in the floor and make stripes or a pattern so it does not look quite so industrial. If you sell the home down the road then it can be pitched as a craft/woodworking or hobby area that is easy to clean or as living space that is low maintenance and would be easy to deal with if there was flooding.

  • aviddiyer
    13 years ago

    I had an insurance adjuster out here earlier this week to look at my wet basement and she said do NOT waterproof your concrete floors. You do need to allow some weeping because if there's a flood, the water pressure will build up under the foundation, no place to go, and your entire foundation could shift. She said to just clean it and leave it alone.

  • saphire
    13 years ago

    Do not use the garage stuff if you get any type of water or have pets that might sprinkle some. Our basement had some minor seepage issues in summer if it was very wet and humid. We also had two elderly cats that are now gone. The cats were incontinent and anywhere they peed, the floor peeled up even if we cleaned it. The floor also came up in a few other places, rather it peeled

    Now that the cats are gone we are looking into finishing the floor

  • marilyn_2009
    13 years ago

    I'm in the same mess. My basement is partially finished. I have not had any running water (thank God!) in my basement but do have a damp cinderblock wall. House is 12 years old (including foundation). I am putting in an interior french drain system with "Basement Solutions". I have Dry-Lok on the unfinished wall which I am going to pay someone to remove! The problem is that moisture gets trapped between the cinderblock and the DryLok and then, IT BUBBLES! Putting nothing on your walls is best. I need to now find a flooring solution for the finished portion, of which hydrostatic pressure has forced moisture up through the floor and has discolored a portion of my (soon to be thrown out) rug. French drains going in there, too, but I don't know what type of vapor barrier to put down before putting down either carpeting or tiles, although I'd rather have carpeting. Any suggestions would be helpful.

  • matt09
    13 years ago

    I'm almost finished my own basement renovation project. Since the concrete floor was painted years ago, sealing over it is useless. Instead, I've been looking into subfloor options.
    I eventually decided on Superseal All-in-one subfloor. Like Drycore it has plastic dimples to raise the floor off the concrete but is only 1/8" thick and doesn't require a plywood top. Its relatively cheap at $150-175 for a 332 square foot roll; just roll it out, cut and tape. Lay a carpet pad right over it.
    Good for borderline cases without flooding/pooling water risks but allows the concrete to breathe a little if vapor is an issue.
    If you're worried about major flooding, I wouldn't go with carpet or wood flooring; maybe epoxy or some sort of laminate or plastic tile system.
    If you're only worried about vapor/humidity then a subfloor option seems the way to go.
    From what I understand, sealing the floor won't ever stop water from passing thru the concrete and evaporating into the air; the hydrostatic pressure is too great. So the better solution is to allow a space for the vapor to collect and reabsorb into the concrete. Dimpled/cleated Subfloors purport to accomplish this.
    Laying plastic sheeting or waterproof carpet padding on the concrete may allow the vapor to condense and collect as standing water.
    You can check for vapor/moisture problems by duct-taping a square of plastic sheeting onto the concrete and checking in a day or two for moisture. If the plastic is wet, you have a problem. If its dry you may be ok but take into consideration season; in my neck of the woods the ground freezes in the winter so performing this test now would probably come up dry anyway.
    Check out the Superseal at . I'll report back in July with performance results:)

  • routey
    13 years ago

    Lowes and other stores sells a floor epoxy paint kit with flakes and color chips. You can use masking tape on the floor and make stripes or a pattern. We did this to a garage and the effect is very nice and has lasted for years so far with heavy usage. Makes for a smooth finish easy to clean basement floor. Could get slick if wet though, don't recommend around pool areas.

  • Lordowinter_hotmail_com
    11 years ago

    I have a basement with a proper french drain and a proper channel at the joint of the wall and floor. I've only lived in the house for a year in June, but the previous owner had no issues with drainage. I was going to put down a subfloor with 2' panels sold by HD and Lowes. They are essentially plywood with raised plastic grooves attached to the bottom to allow it to breathe. At $5 for a 2'sq peice, it was going to run me a few thousand to finish my basement (with vinyl "wood-looking" tiles). After speaking with my brother he suggested I live in the house for a year and in the meantime I could paint the floor with a garage floor sealer.

    My question is that since I really don't have drainage issues, I have a proper french drain and also have the proper channel around the perimeter of the basement. Would I still have issues with hydrostatic pressure creating bubbles in the floor paint?

  • NextCoatings
    11 years ago

    If you don't have visable seepage coming up through the floor, the chances are that you are good. If you have hair line cracks in your concrete, you can run some material along the cracks and see if it bubbles. I'm doing a basement right now that has this problem. I had to apply a patch material we use and hold it in place until it set to avoid it from bubbling. We don't have a moisture issue anymore, simply an air pressure problem. You can test for pressure (local concrete company can do this). To ensure adhesion (bonding) we did surface grind the entire basement before applying the new floor. It's working out very well.

  • lvlife40_yahoo_com
    11 years ago

    I have a wet basement when it rains hard for several days in a row. The house was built 1930. I have patched the cracks and small holes on the walls with the hydrolock stuff and than painted with the DryLock it did okay much better than it was...however, now the water comes up through the floor. I would like to minimise this as much as I can. I don't plan on refinishing my basement but my washer and dryer is down there and i use it as storage. What can I put down on the raw concret floor to help with this?

  • jtphjl_aol_com
    11 years ago

    We have an 1898 house. I have graded around the perimeter, but I still get water in the basement. It comes through fine cracks in the basement floor, even though there is a sump pump. Is there anything I can paint on the floor to prevent water pushing up?

  • shoshonecreek_gmail_com
    11 years ago

    You should explore using cement stain....not paint sealers or epoxy based paint. The paint will eventually come up as the water pressure (even slight) pushes on a "sealing" type of finish.

    Stains will color the cement floor and remain it won't peel.

  • francisco8297_agapy_com
    10 years ago

    Hi everyone, I water proofed the walls and the floor of my basement with DryLok (latex based), but I also used it in the floor. After reading the posts in this threat I am a bit concerned. I hope I didn't mess up because I will be finishing my basement and will probably put carpet and tile. Should I remove the DryLok from the floor or leave it? Any suggestion would be really appreciated?

  • gtsycks
    10 years ago

    Question to did the Superseal subflooring work? I am considering the same option as I have water vapor coming up from my concrete basement floor which has caused mold to form between the carpet pad and concrete floor. Has anyone else had experience with this product and if so, is it positive or negative? I'm amazed that the flooring companies that sell carpet, etc. are largely unaware of this problem. I cant believe I'm the only one who has ever experienced this? Never had water in the basement so this was an eye opener.

  • C.Collier
    10 years ago

    Why not just stain your floors? That is my intention. Easy to clean up and they look great. A lot of high end homes have them as their main floors now. It is so easy to do. I did my huge drive way and garage for under $800. All you need is and acid sprayer ($30), rollers (3/8 inch nap) and time. Check out They even have free shipping.

  • waltertc
    7 years ago

    I'm sure you're done with your floor by now, but for others interested in carpeting a basement, I recommend DRIcore sub flooring, especially if you have a sump pump for excess water. It is basically OSB sitting on top of a plastic sheet with little legs that give you a vapor barrier and space for water to run out below your flooring. Best of luck.

  • elleau
    7 years ago

    Repainting wonâÂÂt prevent leakage. You need to apply some good waterproofing application or membrane to make your basement floor resistant from mildew growth, moisture and water intrusion. The use of a sheet or liquid membrane is highly effective because they were especially designed for flat surfaces. I tried waterproofers in Sydney when my walls and chimney started leaking. That was a long time ago, maybe 7 years or so. But since then, I haven't encountered any leaks so far. I believe it's still a matter of knowing the recommended coating thickness and durable membranes for you get the most of the benefits. I am thankful that mine last really longer! Counting for more years of leakage-free home!

    Here is a link that might be useful: Titan Waterproofing

  • moldreallystinks
    3 years ago

    This is a really old thread, but for anyone that finds this (like me), let me share my recent experience.

    We had an unfinished basement for 10 years. Over those years, we had seepage through the walls due to improper drainage outside (this was a brand new house). I agree with the poster above that suggests you fix your landscaping. We had spots where water was pooling, and water just...finds a way. It's what it does.

    Anyway, also during that time, I worked down in the basement on top of some old carpet and pad that we tore out of a room we put hardwood floors in. Never had any issue with that just sitting on the floor.

    We recently had our third child, and decided it was time to finish the basement. We decided that we would waterproof the north side of the house that had most of the water seepage in the past.

    For the flooring, we put down linoleum in the bathroom, laminate in my office, and carpet in the main part of the basement where the kids would play. Lowe's sold us on the VERY BEST (their words) carpet pad for basements. It's this newfangled crap that has a "breathable" vapor barrier. So water can escape from underneath but not penetrate through it from above. That's the claim.

    Well, fast forward LESS THAN ONE YEAR... The whole area where that carpet is smells musty and gross. If you are going to use a pad, DO NOT, PLEASE, GOD, DO NOT buy anything with a vapor barrier on it, even if they swear it is breathable. It may be breathable, but not enough. The crappy 6 pound rebond stuff I had sitting down there for probably 7 years never did this. The moisture from your floor needs to be able to escape, not get trapped underneath there.

    Lowe's is now sending out somebody to look at it, and they will decide how to handle this problem. It is going to be a huge nightmare. Even if they are super cooperative, and offer to replace everything, I still have to move all of our stuff out of there, have it all tore up, clean up whatever mess is there properly (somehow I don't think Lowe's will do this part for me), and then get it reinstalled again.

    From other things I have read, if you are going to put anything over top of the concrete, you shouldn't try to seal it. Walls are one thing, especially if you have functioning drain tiles that will drain the water that has nowhere to go.

    I'd be interested to know if anyone has opinions on the laminate I put down in my office. Underneath that is the foil covered pad, which is...a vapor barrier.. Every video you watch on the internet says this is how it's done in basements. I get stopping the vapor from hitting the laminate, but worry now that it's just trapped and will try to creep up the walls. Home ownership is so much fun!

  • Demille Vantigo
    2 years ago

    Did you ever find a solution to this? Despite desperate measures sometimes recommended by other homeowners and even so-called professional installers, I think you are correct that the trapping of water is a BAD thing.

  • amber04c
    last year

    Question for those that recommended concrete stain - how does that help with cleaning up? I have a one year old who I know will spill things on the concrete for years to come, so I'm looking for something that I can clean up without leaving stains. Sorry, I know this is a really old thread.

  • cage911
    last year

    this is a great post, however I'm still looking for an answer LOL.. perhaps we can simplify.. Installing padding for carpet is a BIG NO.. that has been made clear, sealing concrete in basements prone to "flooding" is not a good idea. Ideally Vinyl plank or tile seem to hold up best in wet/humid basement. The Question is- what about basements that are simply humid ( like most are) should one look at using concrete sealers with low VOC prior to installing vinyl or tile or is the concern that the concrete floor needs to "breathe" and hence nothing should be applied?