Q: I need some basement floor paint advice. What’s the best option for my concrete floor? It has a few small cracks, but it’s in pretty good shape. Is there a product that can be used to fill these gaps before painting?
A: The best basement floor coatings do three things well:
- They’re tough under foot
- They’re thick enough to cover up the texture of concrete
- They look good.
There are many options, but one of the best is offered by a type of paint that hardens through chemical reaction. These are generically called epoxy-based floor coatings, but the range of choice can be confusing.
The best epoxies I’ve seen roll on thick after mixing a catalyst into the paint. They also include small colour flakes that you sprinkle onto the wet surface by hand immediately after application. These flakes make the floor look much better and more uniform by adding visual elements that distract the eye from surface flaws.
Epoxy floor coatings also fill and cover hairline cracks. Any gaps wider than these should be filled with paintable latex caulking before epoxy application. This type is water washable, making it easy to do a neat job.
As you do the job, keep the following key details in mind:
- Make sure the floor is completely clean and completely dry. Vacuum the floor thoroughly, don’t just sweep it.
- Mix the catalyst completely with the epoxy paint. Pockets of uncatalyzed paint won’t harden.
- Use a roller to apply the catalyzed paint.
- If your paint came with flecks of colour, apply it slowly, keeping an eye on previous sprinkled areas to keep things consistent.
Here’s an example of a floor part way through a coating of epoxy.
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