While you could hang drywall or wood paneling to finish your basement walls, sometimes a fresh and smooth coat of cement and a layer of paint provides a more modern and affordable alternative. Of course, you need the right materials and plenty of experience to get the walls looking clean and even. Try these five tricks if you plan to take the DIY refinishing approach.
Patch and Bond First
As with all other home improvement projects, the amount of time you spend on preparing your wall surface directly increases the chances of a successful and attractive resurfacing. Applying a layer of stucco, cement, or mortar over a wall with loose chips and big gaps is the fastest route to a finish that cracks and loosens up as it dries. Take a chisel and carefully tap out any crumbled material until there is a solid backing to start building over.
Create the most even, level, and smooth layer of concrete you can first with patching compounds and epoxy or polyurethane crack fillers. Install fiberglass rods or straps to straighten leaning or separating block walls so that the movement of the foundation doesn't ruin your brand new surface.
Choose the Right Mix
Most concrete resurfacing products are meant for floors, countertops, and other horizontal surfaces. For refinishing a vertical surface like a basement wall, look for surface bonding cement or mortar mix. This type of cement includes polymers to make the dried material more flexible and strongly bonded to the underlying wall. Fiber reinforcement also helps, and the lightweight artificial strands come mixed into the blend so you just wet the powder and get to work. Surface bonding cement is also used for reinforcing and sealing concrete walls, especially structures built from block without mortar.
Dampen the Surface
Practice is the only way to get a feel for how thick to apply the cement to your basement walls and what wrist movements create the smoothest surface. However, even complete beginners can get a better resurfacing experience by using a basic mister bottle to dampen the working section of the wall. A damp wall holds the layer of cement better from the first moment of application, preventing the slumping and sliding that leads to an uneven wall.
Try a Mortar Dye
Plain surface bonding cement and mortar come in both white and gray varieties to give you a blank canvas to paint. If you prefer to get both the texture and color done in one step, try dyes that mix into the slurry instead of just sitting on the top. Other decorative ideas include
Don't be afraid to try something new while refinishing your basement walls. Even if you decide you want something different a few years later, you can still paint or apply epoxy coatings over all of these decorative techniques.
Cure with Moisture
Some surface bonding cement mixes claim to dry without the need for curing, but keeping the walls warm and slightly damp is still the best way to prevent cracks and failed bonding. Spray the cement or mortar every few hours with the same mister you used for dampening the wall before you started the application, starting about eight hours after you first apply the coating. Keep the area evenly moist for at least 72 hours before letting it dry completely. If the basement already has high humidity, you may not need to do this at all. Check the surface of the cement to see if it's slightly damp already before adding extra water.
For more information, or for help with your project, contact a local masonry and concrete company like Mara Restoration, Inc.
Do you desperately desire to remodel your kitchen? Before you can begin this worthwhile task, you’ll need to secure a reputable contractor in your area. Inform this professional of your specific wants and needs for your space. For instance, you might wish to remove the wall separating your kitchen from your living room. Your contractor can determine if this wall is a load bearing one. You may also want to move the sink in your kitchen from one location to another one. On this blog, I hope you will discover valuable tips to help you design the kitchen of your dreams. Enjoy!