I'm thinking about painting the poured concrete walls in the basement shop
to get it looking a little brighter. What is a good color, brand, and type
of paint to use? Is a glossy or matte finish better? Is selaer needed or
can the walls just be painted as is? The walls are 12 years old and we
never have any water leaks - the sump pump has never come on.
Home Depot, Menard's, Lowes are all nearby as is a J.C. Licht paint store.
An archive search didn't reveal too much from rcm, but Boris Beizer seems to
like a really bright yellow in acrylic. Some seem to think that pure white
is not a good color
More lighting would also help but there are too many air handling ducts in
the way to do a better job of that and the ceiling is way too short to
consider a drop ceiling.
My shop is fully painted, *everything* except for the 6" thick concrete
floor, which we had dyed a light gray when it was poured. They simply add
lamp black to the mix in small quantities. Cheap, and looks great. To
paint my seasoned walls, I used a layer of an appropriate primer, then
two coats of Behr acrylic latex purchased from Home Depot. It's sort of an
eggshell luster, easy to clean and doesn't show all the defects in the
walls, of which there's more than enough. My walls are sand plastered with
a rough texture. The multiple coats smoothed the sand considerably. I
suggest you fill any divots with a filler material before painting, so it is
easy to clean when necessary. It need not be pretty, just make sure you
don't have multiple air holes in the concrete that hold dirt and make
scrubbing impossible. I used a putty knife and didn't worry about sanding,
just struck off the surface flush. Worked great. I did go back a time or
two to make sure deep holes were flush after drying. In keeping with
industry wisdom, I chose a very pretty light lime green color, which
reflects light well and is a pleasure to be around. That color is very
restful and doesn't lead to eye fatigue, at least for me. It probably
goes without saying that it's a good idea to choose a color that is soothing
to you. Red might be a bit much! <g> Pure white is great, but shows
every damned bit if dust and grime that comes near.
Thanks Harold I think that Boris liked the Behr acrylic latex as well. Do
you recall which primer you used and if you etched the walls first?? The
Behr web site lists a No. 880 Primer but cautions that the surface must be
etched with their 991 etcher. It looks like the most aggressive component
that their etcher contains is phosphoric acid which probably poses little
risk to machine tools providing that direct contact is avoided. One major
downside to this etcher is that it must be flushed completely with water and
that would be a major problem for me - just about impossible to avoid
getting the tools wet. Other sites recommend a dilute muriatic acid etch,
but I know that will destroy every tool in the shop.
I gather that the paint you used has a low gloss finish - is that right? It
seems like high gloss might reflect light better but the glare could be
annoying and maybe even distracting or dangerous around rotating tools.
I wonder if the primer will stick if the walls aren't etched first? A piece
of duct tape pressed against the wall came away with small flakes of
concrete and that's probably not a good sign. Perhaps scraping and wire
brushing would help, with the machine tools properly protected of
course.Concrete dust probably won't do the ways any good. The walls are
reasonably flat but there are some prutrusions at the form seams and a few
places where the reinforcing wire has come through. I hadn't though about
voidspockets but can see now where that would be a problem so I'll add
filler to the list.
It really sounds like you've done a nice job with your shop. I only wish
we'd had the foresight to do the basement up properly when our townhome was
built. It's a heck of a lot harder to deal with after the tools are in
I don't recall the primer, but it was compatible with 'crete for sure. I go
out of my way to make sure of things like that.
I also don't recall that we etched the walls, and the floor doesn't show
that we did so (how in hell can I forget things like that?). We have a
high gloss troweled finish on the 'crete, which would not exist had any HCL
touched it. I do remember hitting the wall with a wire brush and large
drywall knife and then cleaning it well with a vacuum cleaner before the
primer coat, though. Kept the loose bits of silica sand from getting in the
paint. I didn't have any efflorescence to deal with, and the plaster was
aged long enough it wasn't a problem. The walls have been painted for
almost 5 years now and there's not a problem anywhere.
Yep! Stay away from Muriatic (HCL) like the plague. My years of refining
precious metals taught me a very valuable lesson in that regard. *Anything*
ferrous was rusted in the lab (that includes a light rusting of stainless
steel), and I kept a fume hood running almost continuously.
I've had a most unhappy result of using a phosphoric primer. There are
paints on the market that have that kind of base, commonly known as rust
converters. I used one two different times with the same results. The
phosphoric that remains behind eventually leads to serious rusting.
There's no way in hell I'd use phosphoric again without being able to clean
it with water afterwards. When I've done that, I've had outstanding
results. It kills rust completely and etches the metallic surface perfectly
Yes, the eggshell is their terminology for low gloss as I recall. It's a
very nice luster, not completely dull, and scrubs *very* easily.
I've seen paints in hardware stores that can be applied to walls that have a
moisture problem. In one display I recall, one side of a block was painted,
and in a pool of water. With walls that are below grade, it's something to
consider. If your place was built recently, it should be well covered with
a damp proofing substance, pretty much eliminating moisture penetration.
Code requires the application. The question is did they put it on well
enough to do the job. It's not uncommon to see walls turned black, but
many of the little air holes in the 'crete aren't filled, so they allow
penetration. I like to do jobs like that myself to insure it's done well.
I've been known to spend hours on a job that could be done in minutes.
It also shows every damned defect, making an acceptable job not look very
acceptable. Your concrete walls will look much better if you can't see all
the variations easily.
I can't help but think that it would help, especially if you're getting a
powdery release from the walls. A good vacuuming is a good way to go after
you brush. Worked for me.
The walls are
In the interest of being able to clean the walls in the future, it might be
a good idea to hit any of the ties that come through the wall with a disk
grinder running a sanding disk, not a grinding one. That should flush them
without grinding a divot. I like to keep things like that in mind. May
not be a problem while painting, but could prove ugly when you try to scrub
at some future date. The protrusions of concrete at joints can be easily
removed with a diamond wheel (think Harbor Freight), which will cut it fast.
Real fast, in fact. As you've alluded, the dust won't do your machines any
favors, but a covering with a piece of visqueen and a blanket or some
weights to keep it down will prevent the vast majority of the dust from
settling where it's not welcome. If you drape almost to the floor, you'll
be surprised that the machines will be just as you left them. Some of those
inexpensive painting drop cloths (1 mil visqueen, actually) would work
I hadn't though about
We busted our butts trying to cover every detail before we brought anything
in. The shop is roughly 2,.600 square feet, but that includes two stalls
for RV storage. That portion is separated from the shop with an 8" block
wall with a man door for access. The block wall was also filled and
painted. Cleaning both sides will be easy. We even applied quarry tile
coving throughout both sides so the bottoms of the walls don't get chipped
when vacuuming and/or sweeping..
Unless you knew up front how you would use the basement, it would have been
hard to know what to do with it. The house we're building now has a full
basement, and it is not intended to get finished. I'm going to sand plaster
the walls and drywall the ceilings, then paint everything a *very* light
gray, the same color we used for the RV storage side of the shop. Easy to
keep clean, easy to light, and keeps dust and spiders to a minimum.
Good luck with the basement, Mike. Love to hear how it turns out. Let us
On Sun, 2 Jan 2005 11:55:47 -0800, "Harold & Susan Vordos"
I have found that the white floor is considerably easier to scan
for all those Jesus clips/nuts/bolts/pins/balls/snaprings (which,
thank Murphy, happen to fall on a daily basis) than a gray floor.
That's about the color I used on the exterior of my house: Catmint
Green. Some day I'll finish Bondoing the divots in the floor, but
most of my casters are 5" so they roll over the 1/4-3/8" dips with
ease. I thought I'd filled them before I started painting and found
out the hard way that I hadn't. A gallon of Bondo was on sale for
half price, so the $5 was a no-brainer. I need to fix that tailgate
of mine some year soon, too.
Any color does, but the smooth paint makes it easier to clean and
resists a lot of the dust gathering.
"Boy, I feel safer now that Martha Stewart is behind bars!
I have been wanting to jump in this thread and add that if the walls
reflect light real good (and the floor too) you could have a problem with
flash burn from any welding you do in there..not too safe for anyone
without a hood..If your not going to be welding then please disregard this
Harold & Susan Vordos wrote:
In keeping with
Green is used in hospitals and such. Pink is used in containment rooms as it
seems to really inhibit the mind from much.
I think the light green walls is good, white floor that shows specs and that
that was dropped. A real pain to make some of the escaped parts.
My new shop when we move, is white walls (metal) and light gray floors. Not my
But one can live with it :-)
Martin Eastburn, Barbara Eastburn
@ home at Lion's Lair with our computer firstname.lastname@example.org
I'd start with one coat of the concrete wall primer/sealer, the stuff
that is supposed to block moisture. Even though you have a dry basement,
there is still soil moisture that is coming through the concrete.
Put on a top coat of satin acrylic laxtex in a very light color of your
choosing. Eggshell white, a very light beige, a very light green, etc.
Nothing off in the yellow, orange, red or blue tones. The satin finish
is harder than the flat so it does not show the dirt and washes up
easily. Use the light tones to reflect the light. Ask for a finish that
is used in a bathroom, they are much tougher than the ones for walls.
I've got the same problem with heat ducts so I've been using 2x40watt
florescent light fixtures stuck up inbetween the floor joist. You have
to use the older fixtures or the commercial grade new units in order to
get decent reflectors. Plan on a watt of florescent per square foot if
you want to work anywhere in the shop (cabinet work, fabrication,
layout). Use task lighting if you are just running machine tools or
Mike Henry wrote:
Sounds like good advice and the walls have (sometimes) wet soil on the other
side of them anyway.
Thanks for the above. It looks like at least some of the primers are white
but can be lightly tinted. Should the primer be tinted to match the over
coat? It sounds like the overcoat needn't be formulated for concrete, if a
primer/sealer is used. Is that right?
The shop is about 400 sq. ft. but it's broken up into 3 separate areas and
about 100 sq. ft. are taken up with the furnace, water heater, a few
structural elements. I've got (3) dual 40 watt fixtures now but they are the
cheap ones so I'll look into upgrading those. Looks like the locations for
a couple of the fixtures might have enough room for quad fixtures and there
is room to add a couple more. Task lighting sprinkled throughout - a mix of
articulated incandescent, halogen, and fluoresent round fixtures. The
latter kinda suck but do add a bit of light and were used because there
wasn't room for much else. Do the type of bulbs make any difference? Some
seem to like a warm bulb for a basement shop.
You can get some moisture migration that will let the walls effervese
(sp?), you get some white powder on the surface of the wall. Various
carbonates from the soil and concrete, not harful, just messes up the
If you use the CONCRETE grade sealer, it wil be white. As long as your
top coat is light colored, I would not bother trying to tint it.
Depends on your age. At 20 you can use a trouble light and be happy.
Yours is fine for 40. By 60 you will want about double what you have.
Look at getting the 4 bulb ones or the 32 watt T8 HO bulbs. But all need
the full reflector that should be an inch or so LOWER than the bulb.
Color is pretty much up to you, I use the cool white for lower original
cost. having a mix of bulbs is a good thing.
But INTENSITY as measured in LUMENS in the big thing. More lumens are
better. Example: cheap 40 watt shop grade floresent bulb is 2500 lumens.
top of the line T8 HO bulbs run 3100 lumens on 32 watts. Compare that to
a standard 60 watt soft white bulb at 850-870 lumens. I have 8 2x40
fixtures (640 watts) in 380 square feet but I have various machines
lining all the walls, they all need lots of light to run. One of those
is a task light under the work bench cabinets, another is over the metal
lathe, another is over the wood lathe, etc.
The center item in my smallish shop is a 10" table saw with large wings.
I lower the blade, use it for the assembly bench. 2x40 floresent
fixture directly above, access on 3 sides. Light will be upgraded to the
4x40 fixture siting in the corner when I get around to it.
I think the full spectrum florescent lamps are best to work with. These
duplicate the natural color of daylight so you get true color. Also if you
have ever noticed that you feel sad or lazy in the winter but better in the
summer these lamps are supposed to fool that part of your brain that makes
you want to hibernate.
These will cost about twice as much as standard lamps at the hardware store,
but since a tube lasts for years anyway the cost is nominal for the better
light. Especially if you only have 400 sq.ft. to light.
You also might have to go to a lighting store to find the lamps but I find
that the quality of the light makes the task easier.
About the time I had mastered getting the toothpaste back in the tube, then
For fine, close work (ie, jewelry making) I use an Ott light which
duplicates the spectrum of the sun. I find it makes a big difference.
The suckers are expensive, however.
"Sometimes history doesn't repeat itself. It just yells
'can't you remember anything I've told you?' and lets
fly with a club.
-- John W. Cambell Jr.
On Mon, 03 Jan 2005 21:52:26 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@TAKEOUTmindspring.com
They sure are. And I'm not convinced there's a difference between an
Ott Light, and a full-spectrum florescant. Anyone have a spectro
chart for these? Google just gets me a bunch of marketing sites for
the Ott light, but none that show how this spectrum compares to a
On Mon, 03 Jan 2005 21:52:26 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@TAKEOUTmindspring.com calmly
shows that there are two versions of Ott bulbs in case anyone
is interested. Ouch, 13w bulb for only $27! 4' full spectrums
are only $5 or so in stores. I wonder how they'd differ in use.
Ebay has the true-color Otts for $47.90 + $13.90 s/h (right.)
When I die, I'm leaving my body to science fiction. --Steven Wright
http://diversify.com Comprehensive Website Development
Ott-Lite lamps are only "Daylight" 5000K lamps with a high Color
Rendering Index. Several major manufacturers have lamps with very
similar output spectra, for a lot less money - do a little research.
You will have to special order them unless you live in a big city,
because most distributors only stock the big movers.
And the "Special" Ott fixtures are overpriced for what they are,
too. They're selling the brand name at a big premium.
We have a few - bought at garage sales for reasonable prices. ;-)
--<< Bruce >>--
Bruce L. Bergman, Woodland Hills (Los Angeles) CA - Desktop
Electrician for Westend Electric - CA726700
PURE WHITE, period. And eggshell (satin) is the best because it's
easier to clean while not providing too much glare. Gloss is really
bad for glare if you have any sunlight. I painted my whole shop white
a few years ago and it _doubled_ the light from the existing fluors!
White (alkyd?) porch paint went on the previously sealed concrete and
white acrylic wall paint went on the walls and ceiling. I LOVE IT!
You might want to use a sealant paint as a base coat, anyway, just in
case. Mine's aboveground so I don't have any moisture worries at all.
White paint will make an astounding difference. Give that a try and if
you don't like it, change to a mellow jello, eh?
"Boy, I feel safer now that Martha Stewart is behind bars!
A friend just recomnended gloss as he thought it would be easier to clean
but the satin sounds better to me even though the only source of sunlight is
a couple of window wells and not much gets in that way. I don't use flood
coolant anywhere so the major source of oil splatter is from the lathe.
Never know what the future will bring though.
Primer/sealant is beginning to sound like a good idea. Guess I'll wander
over to the paint store tomorrow and see what they have.
My father's workshop (16'x10' with a west facing window and south facing door)
had the walls entirely covered with white tiles, they were seconds from the
factory where mother worked. The floor had yellow and green coconut fibre
I wouldn't recommend the carpet tiles, although they made the floor very
comfortable to stand on, but the walls allowed the workshop to be lit with
2x70W tubes and 1 30W tube)
My acrylic eggshell paint is completely washable and cleans easily.
The good paint I'm using inside now (Rodda Master Painter) is $17.22
a gallon at Dutch Boy Paints. It's a much better paint than I used
to buy and is much nicer to work with. It stinks less while drying
and curing, and is easier to clean later. Since I don't use any
solvents splashing around in the shop, I got away with cheap $9/gal
Buy the good stuff so you only have to do it once. DAMHIKT. And be
sure to clean (and dry) the walls well before using any paint or
sealer. Prep work is what makes a job _last_.
When I die, I'm leaving my body to science fiction. --Steven Wright
http://diversify.com Comprehensive Website Development
I bought a gallon each of Benjamin Moore Fresh Start primer and Aqua Pearl
satin finish top coat, both premium grades, apparently. It will take a few
weeks to get the whole shop done as all the stuff on/near the walls will
have to be moved. It's a good thing that the electrical outlets and lights
are on different circuits. There are quite a few outlets (with conduit)
along the wall that will have to be moved to paint.
On close inspection the wall is a little rougher in some spots than I'd
thought, so it seems like a good idea to start with one small section and
see how well my surface prep works.
Thanks (all) for the advice.
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