You can help keep your basement dry, and give a fresh new look to the floor under your feet by following four steps that will make you want to head downstairs more often.
1. Use a cleaner or degreaser
- Scrub the floor with trisodium phosphate (TSP) or a similar strong alkaline cleaner-degreaser and rinse with a hose.
- Be sure to get the surface as clean and smooth as possible. This is one of those times that cutting corners now will just lead to more problems down the road.
2. Use a hydrochloric or phosphoric acid
- While the floor is still wet, sprinkle it with hydrochloric or phosphoric acid and scrub with a stiff-bristled nylon brush for a minute or so. This roughens the surface so that it will accept the stain better.
- After 20 minutes, hose the floor three times to rinse away all the acid and stop the etching action.
- Before painting a concrete floor, you can apply a coat of white vinegar instead of hydrochloric or phosphoric acid. It will clean the floor and lightly “etch” or roughen the surface, so the paint adheres better.
- Vinegar works well for preparing metal before painting, too.
3. Now it’s time to stain
- When the floor is dry, use a short-nap paint roller on a long handle to carefully apply the stain in one-metre by one-metre (three-feet by three-feet) sections.
- Make sure that you let the stain dry for 24 hours before walking on it, no matter how dry it might seem.
4. Call a contractor if all else fails
- If your basement still gets wet after you have taken all the measures suggested here, you might be in over your head.
- It’s important to keep basement mildew at bay, so don’t put off hiring a contractor to fix the problem.