Ok, we’re back on speaking terms with the basement. After it gave us quite a hard time when we began our Dryloking-interrupted-by-oh-no-is-that-mildew adventure (read all about that right here), we’re feeling victorious after conquering the first step towards turning our cinder block insect shelter into clean and functional storage space.
If you recall, we had already faced the grueling disappointment of mildew spots making their way through our first coat of white latex-based Drylok (which is like painting with Elmer’s glue, btw)…
So with our second round of bleach-treatment having tamed the mildew a bit more, we crossed our fingers as we broke out the powerhouse oil-based Drylok (as recommended by the experts at True Value for being even more protective and durable).Talk about stinky. Sheesh. Thank goodness for our professional grade gas masks (we’ve read about people passing out without them when it comes to the oil-based formula). When it came to the consistency, it was like we had traded Elmer’s glue for natural peanut butter (you know, the kind that you have to stir to mix the oil in?). But we furiously trudged ahead as quickly as possible while October graced us with a convenient little “heat wave” last week (Drylok has to be applied at 50+ degrees so last week’s highs in the 70’s were a blessing to our otherwise unheated basement).
After two 5-hour days and eight additional gallons of Drylok (yes, eight!) we finally finished slathering a second coat on the walls and floor plus two complete coats on the ceiling. And with that we officially sealed our beige box of a basement (yup, that’s 13 gallons all together, totaling 325 beans- thank goodness for our True Value gift card!). And a few hundred bucks is still a small price to pay for a weatherproofed basement that can now serve as usable storage forevermore (in fact after the first coat we had about a week of rain and nary a drop of moisture seeped through, so the second coat convinced us even further that our basement was completely waterproofed for the long haul). And despite the premixed tan Drylok color being a little fleshy for our tastes (they offer it in white, tan, gray and blue- we went with tan to make it feel a bit less stark down there), it actually looks pretty good- especially compared to the raw cinder block “before.”
But the best part by far is no mildew (!!!) – even now, a week and at least two rainstorms later. Zero. Zilch. Nada. I guess the guys at True Value were right… that oil-based stuff is way better than the latex version.*
So with our Drylok finally packed away, this weekend we took care of the last bit of painting prep: the floor. See, we opted to use tan Drylok everywhere instead of painting with tan latex paint over white Drylok because painted Drylok can’t be re-Dryloked, which is recommended every 15+ years or so. But we wanted to bring some color to the floors to break up the big beige box of a basement (all of our moisture problems stemmed from the porous cinder block walls, not the concrete floor, so we’re confident in painting over it without worry that we’ll need to re-Drylok the floor in a decade or two).
And in the spirit of being cheap using what we have, we broke out some leftover chocolate brown porch and floor paint from our sunroom floor-painting project (Valspar’s Oil-Based Porch & Floor Paint in “Brownstone” in case you’re wondering), slapped on one thick coat, and called it a day. We love that the dark color will hide dirt and outdoor footprints (since it’s a separate entry basement that’s always a plus because we’ll always be trudging in from outside) and we also appreciate that the rich tone works with the rest of our home’s mocha flooring to make it feel like a part of our casa, even if it is a bit disconnected.
But of course this is all still just the beginning of the big basement overhaul. Once that floor paint has a few days to dry, we’ll be back in there planning how to minimize eyesores like the big water heater in the middle of the room, brainstorming some storage solutions, tidying up a few more areas – including the access to our crawl space – and hopefully finishing this basement makeover before the whole lack-of-heating-down-there thing really makes this project uncomfortable.
Oh and while we’re on the subject, tell us what you guys use your basements for. Are they storage only? Completely abandoned? Livable square footage with extra bedrooms and bathrooms? Man caves? Rooms where monsters live like in Home Alone? Spill it.
*I also mentioned our basement project to my very-expert-in-construction friend last weekend (at his wedding – I know, great “you just got married, but let’s talk about Drylok” conversation skills on my part). First question he asked was “you used oil-based, right?” I quickly responded “of course,” too embarrassed to admit our first coat mistake. Lesson learned.
No one has basements in Houston, since we’re below sea level. Instead we build lots of two-story houses, although my husband and I opted for a one-story. Wish we had all that extra storage space!
I would love to do this to my basement…
However, anything that smells that we do down in the basement seeps up the vents and makes our whole house smell like whatever is down there. I would like to drylok our basement, but since we have two kids under 2 I don’t want to use something that requires you wear war gas masks!! Do you have any suggestions as to what we should do about our basement, or will we have to get a babysitter for a couple days and do it? (I don’t think they make baby gas masks)
Leaving town for the weekend after you paint the basement is one idea, but you might also want to check with the paint professionals at your local home improvement store because they might have some less stinky options. Of course they might try to push the latex-based Drylok on you (which we know from experience is extremely inferior to the oil-based) but we hope they can help!
Wow, what a difference that made! It looks so clean now.
Our basement has many uses…we have a games room down there (pool, fooseball, pinball) and of course tv/dvd/xbox/wii/ps2 plus lots of comfy seating (I have 2 teenage boys plus 1 that is in training ;) Its also where we have plenty of storage, my office area, and eventually…a home gym. That home gym has been a long time in coming, like 6 years, but soon, I hope!
Good job! May I suggest a dehumidifier to keep it less damp?
Yup, that’s definitely on our list. Stay tuned…
We don’t have a basement, just an icky crawl space. I just wanted to say that your basement already looks SO much better. I can’t wait to see what you do next!
It looks great already. Just wanted to warn you about security once you turn it into something more. That big glass window is big enough for an unwelcomed guest to crawl through. If they look in and see something worthwhile it might be ugly. I see the deadbolt but that window means getting the door open isn’t really necessary. Frost the glass and/or back it with a plex-glass panel to make it more difficult to enter your casa. Can’t wait to see the finished project!
It’s like you’re reading our mind! We already have a fun glass-frosting project on our to-do list!
Hey Youngsters, It’s looking great.
Question on the floors. I have a concrete basement floor that was painted with what I believe is latex paint. I had some water standing on that floor due to a sewer back up(gross!) and a small area of paint bubbled and chipped off.
Can I just put the brown floor product you used over the latex, or do I need to somehow remove the latex paint first? And if so, what would you use? I also have painted front and back porches that are concrete and chipping too.
Thx for any advice!
Hmm, that sounds like a question for the paint professionals at your local home improvement store. We would guess that you can just sand down the bubbled paint and repaint over it with porch and floor paint, but you might need to paint the entire floor to keep it from looking like a patch job. And you’ll want to check with the experts just in case they have another idea for ya!
Karla D. says
This has happened in my bathroom a few times. It literally got to the point where at the end of my shower, there were several inches of water in the bathtub while I was still showering.
I took the drain cover off. I then used tweezers to pull out the hair and other goo from shampoo that had collected. I wore rubber gloves and dumped it all in a plastic bag and disinfected the tweezers after really good, being that they’re metal.
The second step is putting a lot of baking soda down and then adding the vinegar. Cover up the drain area. Then after it’s worked for about 5 mins add a lot of hot water. One thing you may not have tried is a plunger. lol. I used that to force the water and other stuff through and eventually it started to drain. It’s been a few months and my drain is still clear-no chemicals, and no expense.
Try it out! Good Luck!
That Drylock is potent but works like a charm. We used it in our rental house basement and it looks like new.
We use our basement exclusively for storage. When we moved in, my husband and dad build nice shelves all the way around the room. I’m glad they did because we did get water once (the ground just couldn’t hold it anymore, it came up through the drain).
I’m really liking the dark floor. I wasn’t so sure that you’d want a dark floor in a basement (something spooky about walking down into a dark basement with dark floors) but I really like it. And, it’s a great point to conceal anything you track in. Awesome work.
Half our basement is finished and half is a dirty, old storage space and laundry room. Your entry is inspiring me as we speak to get it in better working order. The half that is finished is really fantasic though. We have a bedroom with a daylight window and a large open room filled with kids toys and a huge playgym. I don’t know what we’d do without our basement play area in the dead of winter or the hot summer. We’re in KS and we have both extremes. Good luck with your project. Can’t wait to see the results!
Our basement is huge…the entire footprint of our house, and we love having that space! For now it houses our washer and dryer, and a small room with floor to ceiling built in bookshelves is our wine cellar — which we’ve had a fabulous time stocking since moving here to the Finger Lakes wine region earlier this year! We also opted to put our new Softub hot tub in the basement instead of outside. We don’t have a deck in the backyard yet, nor any privacy hedges or fence, plus it snows insane amounts here in the winter, so the basement just made more sense.
It’s not so pretty for now…just concrete floors and walls, with an ugly carpet in the big room, but it works. We’d love to finish it and make it a rec room at some point in the future, but it’s so low on our priority list that we’re not even thinking of it for now. There are big pipes from floor to ceiling in the middle of the room that will make it difficult to do a lot with it, but it sure works well for our hot tub and laundry room! ;)
looks like the basement is coming along quite nicely – hope the weather out there holds for you.
Ashley @ SouthMeetsSouth says
Great job!!!! That is going to be one awesome looking storage space, for sure!!
While my daughter was growing up, our finished basement was a TV/playroom. Our only guest bedroom is also down there, plus a storage/junk room. Now the TV room is home to things we have no other place for, ie. treadmill, piano, the old desktop computer. Everything is in desperate need of redecorating (the TV room has wood panelling, argh!) and we always planned to put another bathroom in down there, but with retirement age approaching I’m not sure how much longer we’ll be living here, so I think that will be left as a project for the next people who own our house!
I love finished basements, though. So much more living space, I don’t know why everyone wouldn’t take advantage.
looks awesome so far guys!
I’m so glad that you guys are sharing this project with us!! Our basement is used for minimal storage right now seeing as how it leaks every time it rains too. And the fact that it rains just about every day in the summer here in Alabama doesn’t help matters much. We have also tried a bit of drylock with no luck (we really only did a test spot and that didn’t hold up so we didn’t feel the need to go any further). But thanks to you guys it looks like we’ll be trying the oil-based version once the rain lets up a little. We hope to turn in into a game/workout room eventually…
Look-in’-goo-ood :) Man, paint is so amazing. And, apparently now I should say that Drylok is, too. I wasn’t a “reader” when you all were redoing your house, so this is fun for me to see a project from the ground up. Thanks!
we have an interior entry basement that is fully finished that adds about 750 livable square feet. It is one large room with 3 structure pillars in the middle.
We have the space broken down into 1/2 man cave/family room (big screen tv, ping pong table, large sectional), 1/4 craft area (organized sewing table, craft storage, ironing nook) and 1/4 was left empty for a future child’s play area.
Carol in Indian Springs Village says
We are lucky enough to have a ‘daylight’ basement that we finished about 15 or so years ago. It added about 1800 square feet to our liveable space and we have: office, full bathroom, exercise room, library/den and a ‘golf’ room for my husband. We left the ceiling out of that room and he has a net that he hits into every night for practice. We opted for a super deep basement when we built the house and have 9 foot ceilings down there. We also had a gas fireplace installed and off the back door we have a deck/screened porch. It is a lot of room but we use most of it every day. Our garage is in the unfinished part of the basement and in the next couple of years we will be adding on an elevator and storage area/workshop. Yes, it is kind of big for 2 people but then again, when we retire we can still be in the same house but out of each other’s way!
Jenny @ Making the Most of Money says
That basement looks amazing! I can’t even believe it’s the same room, and you’re nowhere near done yet!
I wish I had a basement to do this to – it’s inspiring!
@Cheryl – I’m so jealous :) I moved out of the Finger Lakes region last year and I definitely miss the wines! You just can’t get very many of them in the store out here in Arizona!
Great job on the basement!
My basement is unfinished at the bottom of the steps and houses the waterheater and furnace and a little space for storage. From there you enter a semi-finished space with the washer, dryer, double-basin utility sink and very tiny bathroom at the far end. The rest is used for storage and my fiance’s treadmill. I really want to do a bit of a basement redo and hope to be able to convince my contractor father to help. But maybe after next year’s wedding!
Wish I had a basement! All that storage space! Just have a very dark and yucky crawl space. Your basement is looking great!
Sherry – Ahhhhh, I understand now. You’ll only need to re-Drylock in places where there may be water seepage – not every surface. Missed that part. This is very helpful. Thanks for the quick answer!!
I must say I am loving this series. I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for what happens next. It’s been my favorite part of YHL to date. Watching other people work is a hobby of mine. Cheers! And happy remodeling!
It looks great already and the colors look perfect.
Jessica from We Took the Bait says
Not to minimize the work you guys have put into it (because I know from reading that it was a hefty job), but I am AMAZED at how different the space looks with the paint. Seriously, even if you guys stopped at this point you’d still have a storage space to be proud of.
We don’t have a basement in our tiny house, so I’m incredibly jealous – and excited to see what’s coming next!
Wow that looks great!!! I am so impressed.
Amanda Wright says
We are lucky to have a house with a finished basement. There is a full bathroom, a bedroom, laundry room, and a big bonus room with a fire place. I have my home business (stationery shop) set up down there. There are two sets of french doors to the yard which let in plenty of light. We do have lots of creepy bugs that come in when it rains, but a dehumidifier has helped a lot with that problem.
heather s. says
My basement is partially finished in that there is carpeting down there. ;) It’s all one large room that I’ve been trying to figure out how to update. I really want to have a half bath installed (I have only one bath upstairs) and drywall everything but I’m a little nervous about getting started on it. The basement was waterproofed years ago but I still wish they had put the DryLock on the walls vs. painting them. While water doesn’t come in the walls, I still get calcium on them which I think the DryLock would have prevented.
Where I live in MI most everyone has a sump pump regardless of your gutters or drainage from the house.
Thank you so much for this! We too have a not-so-good relationship with our basement as we found out two weeks after we purchased our house that the basement doesn’t just “have very slight water seepage” like our realtor said but actually collects a inch or so of water every time it rains in the rainy months. My poor husband has to “sweep” the water into the sump pump everytime there’s a heavy rain. Our basement was added to the house many many years after it was intially built. It was finished and liveable at one time even with a full bath! Unfortunately previous owners had to strip everything due to the water problem and we figured we were doomed with a basement we could never use. So I’m looking forward to your future basement posts as well as there may be hope for us still or atleast make the issue slightly more manageable! Thanks again!
My basement is currently unfinished. Used for laundry and storage – including freezer, pantry and wine cellar (not much in there yet).
I would love to finish my space somehow, but there are stone, not cinderblock walls. I wonder if I plastered with mortor mix and then drylocked if it would hold. I need to investigate.
ohh, our basement. it is quite large and partially finished, so we were able to have a workshed area, storage and a family room set up. That is until the flooding in the ATL. I am sure Katie shared the story of that disaster with you guys. Anyhoo, now we have a river flowing from the partially finished area back towards the workshed area. Fortunately our house is on the top of a hill, so we did not have a lot of stagnant water. Instead the immense amount of water running off the street had no where to go but through our basement. We never had any issues before, but now anytime it rains more than an inch, we have that stream of water from the front to the back of the basement. We don’t know if the amount of water has coused a crack of some kind or what. But we do know that we need to get it fixed. Does anyone have any suggestions??? We need help. I was just finishing up our living room after the fabulous mood board that we got in May and was hoping for more inspiration for our basement. But now we have put the brakes on everything until we can get the basement sorted out. Help!
It sounds like you need some drainage put in around your foundation to direct water away from your basement, which is something our house actually came with already (whew). This might actually call for experts digging it out and installing drains or deverters but it definitely increases your resale value and you’ll be amazed at how much it’ll help with water issues. Hope it helps!
My basement has to be one of the scariest out there! It’s a 6 foot deep creepy humid dirt-floored cave with a makeshift mud hole for a sump pump, our 17-year old furnace of DEATH (it tried to carbon-monoxide-poison us in our first months here)also lives there. :/ Ahhh the joys of first-time homeownership. The next house we own will NOT have any type of basement! Your storage area is starting to look pretty spiffy guys!
Hey Guys. Having a great time seeing the progress! Good work. It looks like you also painted the base under the water heater? Or did you put in a new darker support? Just wanted (believe it or not…) MORE detail. Thanks again for all your bloggy basement work!
Yup, we carried the Drylok up onto the two cinder blocks under the water heater and then it looked best to paint them the same chocolate color as the floor to keep things cohesive. Of course we plan to obscure that ugly water heater soon, but I guess we still like to keep things consistent underneath it all!
Funny you should ask! One of our not-too-distant goals is to refinish our basement — at least, on the cheap. Currently, it’s the storage and laundry area. When we moved in, there were strange boards up creating a sort of walled-off area, which gave us some inspiration. We’ll be putting a 1/2 bath in and making a nicely-insulated TV room. Oh, and there’s a perfectly-sized cut-out area that is just begging to be transformed into an art deco, Thin Man-esque bar!
Love that you’re working on yours, and kind enough to share it with us.
Dana Miller says
Our first home’s basement was a total disaaaaster. Old home + very leaky basement = snow-shoveling owners. That’s right. Every time it rained, our finished basement would get wet. When it snowed, we would shovel snow away from our foundation in the hopes of deterring any seepage. We had ruined carpet, walls, the whole sha-bang. You get the soggy picture. (We also Dryloked but we had much bigger issues.) In the end, we had to hire professionals to come in and install perimeter drainage in the basement. Concrete dust everywhere! Ugh. It did work though.
In our current home, we aren’t ready to tackle finishing our basement just yet but I think it may have something to do with our last basement. Right now, we prefer to house spiders in it.
You guys really have an amazing work ethic. It’s cool to see you jumping in feet first with this True Value thing, doing “real” hands on elbow grease stuff.
Are you keeping up with the other True Value blogs? Any projects worth sharing?
We’ve actually been dropping in on all of our fellow bloggers to see what they’re up to! It’s fun to watch them go. From construction projects to outdoor landscaping and fun makeovers with unique items (like a door redo for example) they all have really piqued our interest! Feel free to refer back to this post for all the links to stop by and see what everyone’s up to!
It looks so much better! Part of me is happy that basements are almost non-existant in California…
I so wish I could hire you guys to do my basement. I am too chicken to tackle my own. Its creepy! Any tips for getting past my fears?
We had a little bit of the “it’s icky and dirty” fears for our basement as well. So our best tip for getting past that is to wear some old clothes, buy some gloves and any other protective gear that can keep you from coming in direct contact with anything gross and then just go for it. We have to admit that it almost felt good showing those spiderwebs who was boss. Good luck and go get ’em!
Thanks for sharing your basement project, especially the specific products used and their cost. I really like the chocolate floor.
The basement here is where the clothes washer and dryer are–so glad not to have them on the main floor. I also store onions, potatoes, and winter squash in a dark area–not quite a pantry sized room. Wish I had a freezer to keep down there. Then there are the litter boxen for teh multiple kittehs who like hanging out down there in their towel-lined liquor box kitty mansions.
No basement here, but if we did have one I’d put a pool table in it. Hah or maybe our computers since they’re always heating up the house.
Condo Blues says
I don’t have a basement my condo’s built on a slab. I did have a basement in our old rental. We used it for storage and a former roommate’s pottery studio complete with kiln (long story why it was there years and years after she moved out.)
Danielle @ MissMouthy.com says
Even if that’s all you do, this is an amazing makeover! In the pictures you can’t even tell it’s cinderblock. Thanks for all the details, too. I love when you share the mishaps along with the successes!
It’s lookin sooooo good guys!!!
I would also recommend a paint product called “gripper” for stains etc. It worked better than killz and was actually cheaper at Home Depot. You can then drylock over it really well.
Our basement used to be half man-cave, half storage/laundry space. However, with a baby on the way, I had to move my desk area out of the second bedroom, and have thus taken over the basement. One half of our basement is finished, and divided into two rooms. The smaller of the two rooms is still my husband’s (perpetually messy) study. The other room used to have a huge, 1970s-era L-shaped couch plus a TV, small bar, movie posters, etc. The walls were cheap paneling and also 1970s-era wallpaper. It has all been painted over (turns out you can in fact paint right over wallpaper). Now it contains a little desk area for me, plus shelving, a work table, a futon, and still the TV. It’s a cozy little area now – even my husband is forced to admit it is much more pleasant!
omg! It looks fantastic. What a difference already. Congrats.
Thanks so much for posting this – we’ve just begun work on our new (old) house and, after removing TWO layers of terrifyingly moldy wood paneling and some shag carpet, we’ve got the mold under control, but we’re planning to Drylok the whole space to make future finishing possible. My wonderful hardware store folks didn’t know of any difference between the latex and oil based drylok products, so I’m so glad that I found your post before we bought tons of latex-based. We would’ve gone for the less-fumes option too, but now we’ll know to stick with oil. Thanks!
Anna K. says
Thanks for posting. Our basement is already finished but we are looking for ways to brighten it up!
What a difference paint makes! I like the beige walls and the dark brown floor.
Our basement has a lot of different rooms to it. It is almost 100 years old but it is in not so bad shape, meaning no crumbling walls and floors. No water seepage or leaks, etc.
One room was originally for canning, but I use it for ebay and items going to donation. Another room has the water softener and an extra shower. Another room is a work room with shelves for storage. Those rooms all have cement walls and floors that have been painted. Then there’s a larger finished den with painted paneling and berber carpet that never gets used.