Painting concrete shop walls - color & paint type?

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.
Mike
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type
to
white
Hi Mike,
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.
Harold
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<snip>
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 place.
Mike
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snip-----

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.
The

and
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 for paint.

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

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.

Apiece
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 great.
I hadn't though about

was
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 know.
Harold
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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.
--
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calmly ranted: snip
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 post.
cheers.. granpaw
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Harold & Susan Vordos wrote:
<snip>
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 00-60 nut 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 wish. But one can live with it :-)
Martin
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@ home at Lion's Lair with our computer snipped-for-privacy@pacbell.net
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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 bench work.
Mike Henry wrote:

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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.
Mike

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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 paint.

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.
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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.
--

Roger Shoaf

About the time I had mastered getting the toothpaste back in the tube, then
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On Mon, 3 Jan 2005 08:40:11 -0800, "Roger Shoaf"

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.
--RC
"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.
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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 hardware-store bulb.
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On Mon, 03 Jan 2005 21:52:26 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@TAKEOUTmindspring.com calmly ranted:

http://stitchers-paradise.com/Lamps_Magnifiers/Ott_Light.htm 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.)
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On Tue, 04 Jan 2005 06:58:14 -0800, Larry Jaques

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 >>--
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Electrician for Westend Electric - CA726700
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calmly ranted:

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?
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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.

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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 carpet tiles.
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)
Mark Rand RTFM
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calmly ranted:

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 paint.

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_.
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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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