Why Painting Basement Walls Is A Bad Idea

First off, we aren’t referring to finished drywall, but instead, the original walls of your basement typically made of concrete, brick or block. In other words, the material used to build the original foundation of your home.

Many homeowners aren’t aware of the issues painting basement walls can cause, and rightfully so. After all, isn’t improving the appearance and sealing those ugly concrete walls a good thing? 

Unfortunately, painting over concrete, brick and block creates more problems than it solves.

The Main Reason You Should Never Paint Basement Walls

Paint is mold food.

Mold doesn’t grow on concrete, brick or block alone which makes it a great material for foundations. Mold does, however, grow on paint and coatings. If there’s one reason homeowners should avoid painting foundation walls, it’s this. 

By painting over your original basement walls you are creating a food source for mold to grow on. Although paint might improve the look of your basement and provide a short term barrier, mold is going to make your basement its new home overtime.

mold on painted basement wall

What about Drylock?

Although Drylock does a good job of blocking water, it’s still not a reliable waterproofing solution. Drylock is like a band-aid and works temporarily, but at the end of the day, Drylock doesn’t remove water like a reliable waterproofing system. Due to the costs of installing a professional waterproofing system, many homeowners opt to give Drylock a try, but it’s only postponing water from entering the basement at best.

Fun fact: Drylock was originally used in swimming pools to help keep water contained inside the pool. So sure, Drylock will trap water between the paint and walls, but then where does the water go? That’s the problem with Drylocking walls.

What if my basement walls are already painted?

If you or a previous owner of your home already painted over your basement walls, there’s a few options for you. It is possible to remove paint from the basement walls, but as you can imagine, this isn’t an easy or fun task. In rare cases, an angle grinder is used to remove all of the paint. 

More commonly, waterproofing contractors will remove chipped paint, but not the entire surface. A vapor barrier is then installed over the paint as long as a pressure relief system is also installed. This helps ensure water is removed properly and doesn’t settle on the paint and create issues.

What if my basement is finished with drywall or paneling?

If you are noticing signs of water and have a finished basement, matters can become much worse. The only way to prevent basement water damage is by controlling it at the source. The source is your original basement wall structure, not drywall or paneling. 

If you notice signs of water in your basement, it’s generally coming from the exterior of your foundation and can be fixed using a reliable exterior or interior waterproofing system. This means finished walls generally need to be torn out so that a reliable waterproofing system can be installed at the base of your foundation.

This is why it’s always recommended a waterproofing system is installed prior to finishing a basement. Without one, water is going to find its way into your home whether it’s a few months or a few years from now.

water damaged basement

Ready for an expert opinion?

Our team has worked on hundreds of basement waterproofing projects adn we’ve seen it all. From finished basements to moldy walls Wise Waterproofing has you covered. Contact Us today to schedule a free inspection and receive an affordable waterproofing quote.

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