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How to Get Paint to Stick in a Wet Basement

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Michael in Pennsylvania needs some help painting a basement. Tell us what’s worked and what hasn’t.

    MICHAEL: So far, it’s a neighbor of mine; it’s his basement. And I went in and I looked at it and I’ve never seen paint kind of like disintegrate right off the wall: I mean just a fine, powdery mist. And I do know that he’s had some moisture problems.

    TOM: Yep.

    MICHAEL: And he had painted it, I guess, five years ago and I asked him if he had prepped it or sanded it or primed it or anything and he said no. So I don’t know if that’s the problem or not and I was – he was asking me what could he do to remedy that problem.

    TOM: Yeah, you’ve got a water problem; that’s your problem. If the walls – if the paint’s not sticking to the walls, the walls are wet. And it may not be obvious to you but that’s most likely what’s happening.

    MICHAEL: OK. Is there any way to – I know he had a dehumidifier in the basement. That was …

    TOM: Oh, well, that further confirms our suspicion, right, Leslie?

    LESLIE: Oh, completely. If the basement is moist and the walls are moist, then nothing is going to stick. And really, the best way to keep a basement dry is yes, to use a dehumidifier. But look at what’s going on with the water and the drainage and the moisture on the outside of the house.

    And that generally – wet or moist basements usually mean you’ve got clogged gutters, clogged downspouts or when the rain comes through those downspouts, it’s being deposited right next to the foundation wall. So you really want to make sure that you’re keeping your basement dry, that those gutters and downspouts are clean, that where the water comes out of those downspouts is 3 feet from your foundation wall or more, that the soil around the perimeter of your home is sloping away from the house. And that will keep the moisture down in the basement and then you can go ahead and prime, prime, prime and then paint.

    MICHAEL: So, at this point, you wouldn’t suggest doing anything as far as putting paint or at least primer on the walls at all?

    TOM: No, I would get the moisture problem under control and then you can peel off the loose paint and then painting with a damp-proofing paint will be your next step after that, OK, Michael?

    MICHAEL: OK.

    TOM: Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    MICHAEL: Alright. Thank you.

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