The Basement Project – Part 2

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The Basement Project,

As I’ve mentioned before, my basement project took forever to finish, but that’s because I made so many errors in the first place.

When I think back upon it, I would have to say that the biggest mistake I made was not cleaning the floor properly before painting it. I thought that if I washed the floor thoroughly with soap and water, it would be clean enough. This is not the case.

My second mistake was thinking that I could use BIN as a floor primer.

The Basement Project,

My third mistake?  I thought that I could take the word of a twenty-something-year-old in Lowes’ paint department when she told me that as long as I used Valspar’s Porch & Floor paint, I would be fine. This was also not the case.

You see, I did all of the above – and sadly, after spending weeks painting the floor, the horrible truth unfolded. A few months later, the humidity set in and my basement floor started peeling. At first it was just a wee little bubble here, then another bubble there, but then the whole dang floor bubbled up like a pot of boiling water.

The Basement Project,

I called my husband in tears (yes, it’s true), and begged him to take me to Home Depot on his lunch break so we could find out what went wrong.  (I was mad at Lowes so we went to the competition.) When we got to Home Depot, the older man at the counter looked at us like we were a bunch of knuckleheads, and said, “So you just painted the floor without degreasing it?” Degreasing? What the heck does that mean?

Long story short, you need to degrease your basement floor with a special cleaner before applying paint because paint won’t stick to concrete once oils, dirt, and other goo, have been tracked onto it. Really? Are you kidding me?

So, we left Home Depot with a bottle of BEHR Concrete & Masonry Cleaner/Degreaser, as well as, two cans of BEHR 1-Part Epoxy Concrete & Garage Floor Paint. (FYI – If you have bare, untreated concrete, you will also need to use BEHR 1-Part Epoxy Concrete & Garage Floor Paint..) 

 Home Depot, BEHR paints 
Unfortunately, the basement floor stayed bubbling and peeling until the weather cooled off because the degreaser/cleaner stinks to high heaven. However, after the floor was finished, we knew it had finally been done right, and we were able to move on to the next phase of Project Basement… 

So, here’s what I learned while painting the basement floor:

1.) Before you paint your basement floor, you must use a degreaser/cleaner. It doesn’t matter that you washed the floor with soap and water repeatedly; it’s just not the same thing.

2.) Zinsser BIN, although awesome, is not a degreaser; nor can you use it to skip over the process of degreasing your floor in the first place; you’ll only do more work in the end.

3.) Porch and Floor paint is not the same product as Epoxy Garage & Basement paint; don’t be a fool – buy the real deal, or you’ll have a bubbling and peeling mess on your hands.

4.) Don’t talk to anyone in the paint department that hasn’t owned a home, or is younger than you – they will only tell you what they think is right, and you’ll be right back where you started.


Happy Reading,


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  1. Brennan says

    Love that picture of our son staring aimlessly at the TV amidst the randomest assortment of objects in our basement.

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