Painting your basement isn’t the most exciting task in the world, but it’s important to keep this room in good order. A painted basement is more comfortable, may raise your home’s value, and can help prevent future problems like dry rot and termites. Here’s our quick and easy guide to painting your basement’s floor joists:
Step 1: Prepare the room. Move everything out. Cover the floor and remaining objects with tarps or paper. Even a carefully painted joist can drip onto anything below.
Step 2: Prepare the joists. Paint will cling best to a clean surface. Remove mold, repair or patch cracks, and smooth the joists as much as possible. Go over them once more with a dusting cloth to make sure the surfaces are totally clean.
Step 3: Ventilation and lighting. Paint fumes are toxic. A well-ventilated room will take care of that and help the paint coats dry faster. Open windows and use a fan, if needed, to keep air flowing. While you’re at it, make sure to set up enough lighting that you can clearly see the workspace.
Step 4: Optional priming. Some paints require primer or base coats to look their best. Be sure to follow the base coat’s directions. Try to paint it on smoothly and evenly; imperfections may show up through later layers of paint and topcoat. It’s recommended to use an airless paint sprayer for ease and even results. If you must use brushes or hand rollers, work slowly and carefully to minimize drips, smears, and patches.
Step 5: Painting. Paint the exposed joists in the color of your choice. Some products may take two coats to achieve the desired coverage or intensity of color.
Step 6. Optional topcoat. If you’re using both primer and topcoat, make sure to clean out the sprayer and nozzle carefully. Then apply the product and let it fully dry.
Tips and Tricks
Before painting, protect any electrical wires and shut-off valves. For instance, you can wrap them in newspaper and lightly tape them down. This lets you access them in the future and keeps them from getting gummed up with stray paint.
If you’re painting the entire ceiling as well as the joists, double the amount of paint recommended. That will give you enough product to cover each joist on all three exposed sides.
Recruit an assistant. This tip is well worth the price of a pizza bribe … or just get a relative involved. Having another set of hands can help you in a wide range of ways. They can pass you tools when you’re on the step ladder, stir paint while you’re dusting, and adjust the lights as you work.