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What is the best paint finish basement?

What is the best paint finish basement?

Choosing the right paint finish for a basement can make a big difference in the overall look and feel of the space. With basement spaces, there are some additional considerations beyond regular painting projects. Basements tend to be damp, have little natural light, and be used for storage or recreation. The right paint finish will be durable, brighten up the space, and stand up to wear and tear. When researching the best options, focus on moisture-resistant paints that will adhere well and add brightness.

Considerations for Painting a Basement

Here are some key factors to consider when choosing a basement paint finish:

Moisture Resistance – Basements tend to be more humid and prone to moisture buildup. Look for paints specifically formulated for basements that have mold/mildew inhibitors.

Reflectivity – Since natural light is limited, reflective paints that bounce light around the room are a good idea. Light colors also give the illusion of brightness.

Durability – Basement spaces often have a lot of wear and tear. Choose a durable paint finish that can handle being cleaned regularly.

Usage – Is the basement used for storage, recreation, or both? Make sure the paint finish fits the usage. Storage spaces need a tougher paint than leisure spaces.

Application Surface – Concrete, wood paneling, and drywall each require different paint treatment. Make sure the paint works with the surfaces in the basement.

Best Paint Finish Options for Basements

When researching the best paint for basements, three options rise to the top again and again:

1. Epoxy Paint

Epoxy paint has emerged as one of the top modern options for basement spaces. Here are some key advantages:

– Extremely durable and moisture resistant
– Applies thick to hide imperfections
– Wide range of color options
– Reflective finish brightens space
– Withstands cracks and scratches
– Resists staining and dulling over time
– Can be used on floors and walls

The main downside is the high cost, complex application process, and extensive surface prep required. Overall epoxy paint is a superior basement paint finish if budget allows.

2. Latex Paint

For those looking for an affordable and effective option, high quality latex paint is ideal:

– Budget-friendly compared to other options
– Simple application with brush, roller, or spray
– Low odor and fast drying time
– Provides a mildew resistant coating
– Available in flat, eggshell, semi-gloss sheens
– Dries to a uniform matte or subtle sheen

The finish is not quite as durable as epoxy, but latex paint resists moisture and hides imperfections well. It provides a simple DIY solution.

3. Oil-Based Alkyd Paint

Alkyd paint stands apart with:

– Excellent adhesion and penetration
– Hard, reflective finish
– Withstands mold, mildew, and moisture
– Can be scrubbed and cleaned repeatedly
– Long-lasting color pigments
– Uniform glossy or semi-gloss sheen

Drawbacks are strong odor and long dry time. Proper ventilation is a must during application. But for a tough paint finish, oil-based alkyd is ideal for basements.

Top Paint Brands for Basements

Along with the finish, choosing a top quality brand is key for basement paint projects:

Brand Known For
Behr Wide range of colors and finishes, reflective, budget-friendly
Benjamin Moore Aura line has excellent hide and reflectivity
KILZ Top performance for mold/mildew resistance
Zinsser All around performer, favored by painting pros
Sherwin-Williams Industry leader, ProMar line ideal for basements

These top brands offer various lines formulated specifically for basement use. Consult with sales associates to match the brand’s products to your particular needs.

Best Colors for Basement Walls and Ceilings

Color choice can transform a dark, dreary basement into a bright inviting space. Here are top color ideas:

Bright White

A bright white paint acts like a reflector bouncing light around the basement. It keeps things looking fresh and clean.

Soft Gray

From light pewter to charcoal, gray hues add a subtle sophistication without going too dark.

Beige and Tan

Warmer neutrals like beige and tan add a subtle vibrancy. They prevent the space from feeling sterile.

Light Blue

Soft sky blue or robin’s egg blue can give a soothing ambiance similar to white but with a hint of color.

Mint Green

For a crisp, open feel, mint or seafoam green are lively color choices. They pair well with white trim.

Avoid darker colors like navy, brown, burgundy, and forest green as they will make the basement feel closed in. Stick to lighter tones. For trim and ceilings, bright white is the optimal choice to maximize reflectivity.

How Much Paint is Needed for a Basement?

The amount of paint needed depends on the size of the basement. Measure the total square footage of the walls and ceilings to get the area. For unfinished drywall or concrete, plan for:

– Primer: 200-300 sq ft per gallon
– Paint: 300-400 sq ft per gallon

For previously painted drywall, estimate:

– Paint: 400-500 sq ft per gallon

Add an extra 10-15% to these estimates to ensure having adequate coverage. Also factor in if doing a second coat for improved hide and durability.

Having leftovers is better than running short on paint. Get more rather than less when purchasing.

DIY vs Professional Painting

Is it best to DIY or hire a professional painter for the basement project? Consider the following:

DIY Painting Professional Painting
– Lower upfront cost – Higher upfront cost
– Learning experience – Expert results
– More time consuming – Faster turnaround
– Inconsistent results – Consistent quality
– Basic prep work – Extensive prep

For novice or beginner DIYers, the basement space may prove challenging. The prep work, testing for moisture, priming and multiple finishing coats require skill and patience. Hiring a professional painter is advisable for those lacking painting experience.

For those determined to paint themselves, thorough preparation and buying quality paint is key. Patience and attention to detail will also help DIYers achieve decent results.


Choosing the ideal paint finish comes down to considering moisture resistance, reflectivity, durability, and usage for the basement space. Epoxy, latex and alkyd paint are top contenders based on their ability to withstand humid basement conditions. Combining a quality paint brand with lighter color choices will further ensure painting success. For novices, hiring a professional is recommended to get optimal results. With some careful planning, the best basement paint finish will revitalize the space with brightness that lasts.