If you're looking for an inexpensive way to finish your basement floor, why not paint it? This is a project that we did a few years ago, and it has held up quite well, with just a few scratches. We've done a lot of painting projects, but we'd never painted a concrete floor before. We have, however, spilled enough latex paint on concrete to know it doesn't come off easily, so we knew latex paint would work well for this job. It's also the easiest to work with.
We decided to start painting in a bedroom. I figured by the time I finished the bedrooms, bathroom and hallway, I should be a pro, and ready to take on the family room.
We painted the floor with a base coat. We had a big pail of ivory paint left over from painting our walls upstairs, so we used that. We added some dark brown paint just to give it a little more colour. The nice thing about painting a floor is that you don't need a paint tray....Brian just sloshed some paint on the floor and I rolled it on...a little smaller slosh might have been better, as the paint in that area is pretty thick
Just having the base coat on made such a difference, I could have just left it like that! You'll notice in this picture that the walls are just primed. We decided to do the floor first and then the walls...for a couple of reasons....one, I'm impatient, and wanted to get at the floors! And the other...I planned to do faux painting on the walls too, and figured it would be easier to wipe spatters off a painted floor than bare cement.
Brian got the fun job of crawling around the floor marking off the squares. I taped the lines with 6mm paint tape...just wide enough to create the look of a grout line.
I asked Brian to pick up three shades of brown paint. The original three colors were too close, so we took the middle one and added some ivory. This gave us the contrast we needed.
I applied the paint to a large sponge with a paint brush, creating a pattern on the sponge.
Dabbing the sponge on the floor, I painted one square at a time. It's important to change the position of the sponge, giving a little turn here and there, to create variations in the pattern. Once I'd covered the entire square, I'd go back and dab more paint on to add more of a pattern, then moved on to the next square. By doing each square separately, the pattern is somewhat different; more like real tiles would be.
This is a short video showing how I used the brush and sponge.
Painting the floor took less than two hours...not bad, for a first try!
After about two more hours, the floor was dry enough for me to remove the tape. It came up very easily.
It turned out even better than I had hoped!
Once the first bedroom was done, we did the hall closet, and then I started working my way from the bedroom door, down the hallway.
I also found a faster way to apply the paint. I dabbed it directly onto the floor with a paintbrush, then sponged it around, until the square was covered, overlapping the tape just a little. Either method works well, and the pattern looks the same.
Once the bathroom was done, I continued down the hallway toward the family room. The two other bedrooms were next.
This is the view from the stairway, looking toward the family room...the next stage of the project!
The family room, all prepped and painted, and Brian is marking the lines.
As I went along, I got brave and started to do a few squares at a time!
All done, and tape removed.
Three coats of Varathane clear coat over the entire floor gave it a nice finish!
The entire project, 3 bedrooms, a bathroom, hallway, and family room, was spread out over about 6 weeks, with some walls painted during that time too. It was a huge job, but it was definitely worth the effort. It's such an easy to clean floor; just a damp mop is all that's needed.
I've seen this same method used on a porch floor, but I think in an unheated area it might be better to not apply the clear coat over top. We tried painting a storage room in our garage, and the varathane seemed to lift the paint. In a warmer climate, this probably wouldn't be an issue, so it would work fine on a porch floor, or even a covered patio.
I also did some faux painting on the bathroom walls, that I think turned out even better...but that's a post for another day!