Basement Finishing: Do Not Paint Your Walls

I know what you are thinking; what do you mean, do not paint your walls in your basement. I am not talking about finished walls like drywall. I am talking about do not paint your foundation walls like concrete, brick, and block. Remember, most foundation walls allow lots of moisture and humidity into your basement. Many paints are not strong enough to hold back the hydrostatic pressure. Even if they are able to stop the hydrostatic pressure, paint is mold food.

Don't Paint Your Basement Walls

In the picture above the homeowner painted their basement wall. The paint did not reach the footer. Water still enters the basement at the cove. We had to do interior waterproofing system because the paint did not work.

Poorly Painted Basement Walls

You may have seen that display in the home improvement store with a block covered in waterproof paint. You got the idea that would fix your waterproofing problem in my basement. This is a mistake made by many DIYers and basement waterproofing contractors. Waterproofing paint is rarely if ever installed correctly. If it is not installed correctly, it voids the warranty and effectiveness.

What is Hydrostatic Pressure

Never Repaint the Basement Wall

Installing new waterproofing paint over old waterproof paint will void the warranty. It is right there on their install instructions. Chances are you did not know reapplying paint to basement walls, voids warranty. If the paint worked so well, why would you need to reapply? Simple, all paint needs a new application. The fact the the warranty is voided during reapplication should tell you they don't believe in their product.

Straight from the can of waterproofing paint:

Surface must be clean and free from dirt,
dust, grease, oil, form release compound, or

Concrete Does Not Support Mold Growth

Even if your basement wall is flooding it cannot support mold growth. Why add mold food to your wall? Have you ever tried to remove waterproof paint? You have to grind it off, trust me it is not easy and very messy. According to many experts, paints with antimicrobial additives will eventually grow mold if the conditions are right. Imagine you paint the basement wall and then decide to build a finished wall over it. The waterproof paint is the food. The hydrostatic pressure supplies the water. You just created a dark, damp mold food rich environment.

Other Articles About Basement Waterproofing:

Do you need help controlling humidity in your basement? If so, please contact Basement Waterproofing Ninja and we will be glad to help. Also, let us know in the comments below if you'd like to suggest a future blog post.

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About Michael Church

Michael Church has been involved with indoor air quality since 2005 and feels the unhealthy crawl space is one of the major problems causing poor indoor air quality.

1 Comment

  1. Cody H on February 17, 2021 at 7:20 pm

    Another good piece of information I found on about not painting walls, is cinderblock is engineered To be pores and allow moisture to travel through be cause hollow block is not designed to hold back the force caused by hydrostatic pressure build up that happens when you paint cinder block. Painting the walls drastically increases the chance for cinderblock walls bow. The article I read said you should not even tar the outside of cinder block walls unless atleast every 3rd cell was poured with concrete to support the extra hydrostatic pressure.

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