Should I Paint My Foundation?

paint house foundation

We get a lot of people asking about whether or not they should paint their home’s foundations. For many people, their concrete foundation walls can be kind of an eyesore, and so they wonder: should I paint my foundation?

There are a couple of different schools of thought, but generally, yes, you should paint your foundation. The main reason for painting your foundation is to increase your home’s aesthetic value and curb appeal. Additionally, high-quality exterior paint can provide your home with another layer of defense against UV or moisture damage.

Additionally, most homes have a concrete foundation, and the process for painting concrete is actually pretty straightforward.

For the rest of this article, we’ll talk you through the benefits and potential drawbacks of painting your foundation, and we’ll run you through how to paint your foundation.

Additionally, we’ll share some of the different products you could use to paint your foundation.

paint exposed home foundation

Why Should I Paint my Foundation?

Concrete is the most common type of foundation used in homes.

Typically, it’s visible above ground level but beneath your siding. A lot of homeowners simply choose to leave it alone, and that's okay – but not only will painting it make your home look more appealing, paint can also help protect your foundation from damage.

Painting your foundation can make your home less susceptible to water damage and UV damage.

Modern paint products can cover concrete for up to ten years without peeling, and they’ll allow you to let your foundation look a little prettier than drab gray or white.

Water and UV light are the two biggest enemies to an exterior surface.

Concrete, although it is generally an extremely durable material, is susceptible to both water and sunlight- over time, this exposure can cause your concrete to begin to crack or crumble.

Can I Paint Over my Foundation Coatings?

Typically, your foundation will already have some sort of protective coating over it. It could simply be tar, which is the waterproofing layer that the original builder put over your foundation. It could also be parging, which is a smooth grey coat of mortar applied over your foundation walls. Depending on the layer, you’ll need to take different steps to paint your foundation.

Tar Coatings

Tar is one of the most common foundation coatings, and you’ll see it a lot in older homes especially.

Tar has been around for decades, and it does a fantastic job at providing a light, weathertight barrier between the ground and your home.

In terms of painting, however, you cannot paint directly on a tar coating. You will first need to remove the coating, which requires using heavy-duty hydrochloric acid mixed with water and a heavy-duty scrub brush attached to your drill.

You’ll then want to manually scrape off the remaining tar before using your hose to wash everything down.

This process can be pretty tiring and time-intensive, but unfortunately, it is the only way that you’ll be able to paint your foundation if it has a tar coating.

Parging Coating

Parging is simply the smooth layer of decorative mortar that’s often put over foundation walls to give it a smooth, uniform look and cover up any cracks or weaknesses.

It’s a largely aesthetic coating that doesn’t really provide much protection but is able to be painted over, unlike tar.

However, you need to be cautious when painting because parging is known to absorb and hold moisture.

Painting over parging with waterproof paint, which is obviously recommended in terms of protecting your foundation, has the potential to trap any moisture inside the parging and cause your foundation to deteriorate quicker.

On the other hand, not using waterproof paint means your foundation won’t be as well protected from moisture.

The best thing to do is just wait for a prolonged dry spell before you paint over your parging. It might require some patience, but it’s the easiest way to ensure you’ll be properly protecting your foundation.

paint home foundation

Different Types of Paint

There are a bunch of different paint or stain options that you can use to cover your foundation.

We’ll take you through a few of the options and their features down below.

Concrete Stain

Concrete stain comes in two forms: water-based and acid-based.

Acid-based stains last much longer and are permanent, which is important to consider color-wise. In order to apply concrete stain, you’ll need to pressure wash your foundation, use an airless sprayer, and then apply a layer of concrete sealer afterward.

Water-based stains are easier to apply and have a greater variety of colors, but won’t last as long as acid-based stains.

Elastomeric Waterproof Paint

Elastomeric waterproof masonry paint is another good option to use.

It’s waterproof and lasts a long time. Additionally, as the name elastomeric suggests, the paint itself is elastic and can stretch to fill in little pores and cracks in your concrete. This paint still is breathable, and therefore should only be used above grade.

Acrylic Waterproofing Paint

Acrylic paint is very similar to elastomeric masonry paint, but with two key differences.

Firstly, the acrylic paint isn’t elastic, and secondly, it is a much more waterproof seal that can be used both below and above grade. This makes it a very versatile paint choice to use.

Latex Paint

Latex paint is another type of paint you could use to paint your foundation.

It’s a more budget-friendly option than acrylic paint, but its downside is that it doesn’t have the same waterproofing ability that acrylic paint has.

However, it comes in a variety of colors and is still a solid choice.

should i paint my foundation

Colorado Painting

If you live in the Denver, Colorado area and are looking for a commercial or residential paint job, you should look no further than Colorado Painting.

We have been Denver’s best painting company for 38 years, with a proven track record of excellence, no matter what your project calls for.

We’ve done it all – interior, exterior, deck staining, and foundation painting, so you can be sure we can handle your job.

Contact us today to discuss your painting needs and get a free estimate.


Ready to Get Started?

We can’t wait to hear from you. Contact The Best Denver Painting Contractors today!.

Get a free estimate