At Concrete Treat, we recently visited a homeowner with a big problem in his concrete basement. He had tried to use waterproof paints purchased at a local hardware store to seal his basement walls and floors. And then he tried to do it again. And then he did it again.
The final result? Multiple layers of disgusting, flaking mess all over his basement– a mess that did next to nothing to protect his basement from moisture penetration.
Flaking, Chipping Waterproof Paint On The Walls
When a layer of waterproof paint fails, it should be removed before a new layer is applied. Otherwise, the residue from the previous coating will prevent the paint from bonding properly — and the paint bonded to the old paint will just flake away when the original layer does.
The picture on the right-hand side shows a perfect example of just how ugly basement walls treated with waterproof paint can get.
In the photo, you can see three unique layers of waterproof paint that were used– one black, one dark blue, and one light blue. And despite these three layers, you can also easily see the concrete showing through in many areas.
The problem is this: while waterproof paint will seal a basement wall over the short-term, it can’t be relied on to hold its bond with the concrete over the years to come afterwards.
As moisture passes through the porous concrete walls, it will push continuously outwards on the waterproof paint, causing the paint to lost its bond with the concrete.
Additionally, long-term moisture will also leave a mineral deposit behind the concrete, known as efflorescence, which will also weaken the bond between the concrete and the waterproof paint.
In the end, using waterproof paints will only make the problem worse. This flaky, ugly mess will not hold back a significant amount of humidity, and it looks terrible on your basement walls.
Waterproof Paint On Concrete Floors
Waterproof concrete paint will quickly wear and flake off of basement floors, leaving an ugly floor behind that’s tough to clean.
In addition to the walls, the homeowner also applied waterproof paint to the floors.
Equally ugly, this coating also resulted in a failed coating. Normal wear and tear soon left the floor looking terrible, as the waterproof coating flaked off and left a big mess. In some areas, the waterproof paint was worn almost completely off.
Additionally, because this basement flooded often, multiple cracks formed along the concrete floor, as water began to seep upwards through the cracks.
The waterproof paint was unable to stop this water from flowing into the basement, and everything in the basement was badly damaged by water.
Waterproof paints and concrete sealers alone are not able to keep a basement from flooding. At Concrete Treat, we recommend that you use an interior perimeter sump pump system (with a battery backup pump) to waterproof any flooding basement before attempting to seal way water vapor. Once this is done, it is appropriate to seal the concrete with a sliane-based sealer only — not latex-based waterproof paints.
Alternatives To Waterproof Paint For Concrete Sealing
Waterproof paint coatings generally last between 6 months and 3 years before signs of wear and tear begin to show. Once it begins, it will get progressively worse.
Once waterproof paint outlives its welcome, it can be extremely difficult and labor-intensive to remove.
While it does little to hold back humidity, a portion of the paint will be trapped within the pores of the concrete, making it nearly impossible to properly remove.
This can ruin concrete walls for appropriate sealants in the future, and it can be a big challenge for homeowners wishing to finish the basement.
Latex-based paint can grow mold as well, and a plastic vapor barrier must be installed on the walls to protect any drywall or wood studs installed afterwards from mold, rot, mildew, and odors.
Instead of using a latex-based paint to protect your basement from moisture and humidity, we recommend that you use a sliane-based concrete sealer such as Concrete Treat: Concrete Sealer and Blanket.
This kind of concrete sealer will penetrate deep within the pores of the basement walls, where it reacts with the concrete to create a glasslike silicate bond.
This bond will create a moisture barrier on your basement walls and floors that will never chip or flake off, protecting your basement from damage on the long-term. Concrete Treat is colorless, nonhazardous, and can be applied easily with a brush, sprayer, roller, or by any other means. Once applied, it can be painted, and it will protect your drywall and wood studs from mold, rot, and decay caused by water vapor passing through the concrete.
To purchase Concrete Treat, check out or online store, or contact us for distributor prices. You may also contact us online, through comments to this post, or by phone with any questions you may have.