Tired of ugly looking concrete basement walls and floor?  
Here are some do it yourself tips on how to clean up your basement, moisture proof and paint the walls and floor, make your basement look more then just a place where things get lost. 
Don’t worry if you do not want to finish your basement as a living space just now. But in case you still want to make it to look nice and clean when going down there to do laundry or put something away, or even use the space as a crafts work shop. You’ll need to do is a little clean up and paint the concrete walls and floor. With that said please keep in mid that not all painting products will work, I will elaborate on that in a minute. For now lets start cleaning. 
First of all keep in mid that to achieve a great result, preparation is the most important part. Since your finish look will only be as good as your prep job, it doesn’t matter if you have the best products to moisture proof or paint the walls, those products will only perform as well as the prep work was done, theres just no way around this. So please take your time to clean up everything. 
The Proper Clean Up Plan.
  • Remove any objects or items laying around the basement floor or against the walls (clothes, boxes, hanging tools, etc.) Temporarily remove or move shelves if you can, if not movable just remove everything from them to gain access to walls and floor, you can work around it and clean up around its anchors points as much and as close as possible. 
  • Protecting your valuables is very important, if there are items that you can not get out of the basement, then pile them up in the middle of the room, and cover them very well with plastic sheets, tape the edges shut, don’t leave the edges loose, dust will get under the plastic sheets. Best option would be to get everything out, otherwise you will have to move the around while you clean, moisture proof or paint the floor. 
  • For items that can not be moved and are anchored to the floor or walls, tape the anchor points where touching the wall or floor. Ideally you would want to tape about 6” from the surface of the wall or floor, so if you use painters tape buy the 3” tape and run the tape twice to get about 6” of protected edge. Important tip: when using the painters tape make sure to run your finger and firmly press along the edge of the tape where you’ll have the wet edge. If the tape is not firmly pressed at the wet edge, paint, water, cleaner or dirt will get under it. 
  • Start cleaning the wall and floor surfaces only after you make sure all your valuables are out of the dust harm and protected. Use a wire brush, to get all the loose pieces off, if you have white dust on the concrete walls or floor, those are called efflorescence, mineral salt deposits from the moisture traveling through the concrete or substrate. These efflorescence will cause the concrete to flake so make sure to get them off.
    Efflorescence buildup

    Use muriatic acid  to dissolve any grease or mineral deposits (follow instructions on the label for mixing and take safety measures), spray it with a garden sprayer and let it react for a minute, then use the wire brush to get all the loose dust off the wall or floor. Repeat for areas where needed. 

  • Sweep or vacuum ares clean of loose dirt, make sure there’s no grease and old paint. If there is old paint it needs to be removed and the best way to remove old paint off of concrete walls is to grind it off, make sure to ware safety goggles and a respirator, most of old waterproofing paints even the ones sold home depot like drylok they are carcinogenic and toxic to inhale.
After the substrate is properly prepared, its time to moisture proof the walls and floor to prevent any future efflorescence buildup and reduce the overall humidity and risk of mold growth. 
Best option would be to use a penetrating concrete sealer that is 100% solids and environmentally friendly, you would want the product to last so make sure to use a high quality concrete sealer. This is the concrete sealer we recommend, its something our contractors use on daily basis. 
After the walls and floor is moisture proofed and the substrate is sealed, only then it is recommended to apply a top coat to color the walls and floor. For the top coat concrete coating we would recommend Epoxy Plus which is a 84% solids environmentally safe polyurea coating, or Epoxy Platinum which is 100% solids polyurea, also environmentally safe. The concrete sealer and the top coatings mentioned here are very high quality, used in water treatment plants, tunnels and other high traffic areas, they are designed to last and are manufactured in Massachusetts, USA. The coatings can be easily applied with at brush or a roller, just like regular paint, if the surface is very pours and uneven then use a brush or a 3/4” nap roller to make sure the product gets evenly everywhere and reduce the palliation to one coat. 
The best part about these sealing and coating products is that you will most likely have to apply only one coat of each product to get a nice finish and in about 4 hours you can start bringing everything back in the basement and start using the space again. 
You can find the concrete sealing and coating products mention in this article… Right Here. 

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