Should I Paint My Foundation Or Is It A Bad Idea? (Revealed)

Most homeowners saddled with the burden of external decor usually have it easy until it boils down to their home’s foundation. It’s quite simple to decide what flowers you want for your garden, what shape you want your lawn to take, and what color you’d like to paint your house, but it’s a more delicate issue when it gets to the foundation.

It is a good idea to paint concrete foundations as long as the proper steps are followed. The preparation could make the difference in a successful paint job. Failing to scrap, clean, prime, and choose the proper paint could cause your foundation to peel or even worse, crack or develop mold.

Foundation painting is tricky because it affects the longevity of the foundation itself at the end of the day. If a wrong choice is made in paint selection, cracks can either be hidden or begin to appear along the wall. The wrong type of paint can encourage fungi growth. We will dive into these and more topics below.


Why Would You Paint Your House Foundation?

Picking the wrong type of paint, or for the more visually oriented the wrong color, could crush the aesthetics of your home and leave you with the dire need to redecorate.

If you feel discouraged already and you think not painting is the safest option, then you’re mistaken. Your foundation should definitely be painted. 

Benefits Of Painting A Home Foundation

There are tons of benefits attached to painting that foundation.

Asides from the aesthetical value that painting adds, paint protects your foundation from moisture damage and breakdown from UV exposure. It could also help seal cracks and holes, thereby freeing you from possible insect infestations or reptilian appearances.

Next, you wonder, can concrete foundations be painted? Rest assured, you’re not the first to wonder about it since concrete is the most used kind of foundation in most homes, and yes, it can be painted.

Some Won’t Feel The Need To Paint A Foundation

Some people might feel indifferent to the idea of painting since they have a tar coating or even a brick veneer, but at the end of the day, your foundation is usually concrete and you really shouldn’t just leave it bare. So if there is not coating at all, painting could be a good option.

To paint, some coatings such as tar may need to be removed while others may require a special kind of painting and pre-painting treatment. Even though old tar coatings done in the past are substandard today, they are quite a bit of trouble to deal with. There are those that would not paint due to the hassle of dealing with tar.

Painting jobs like this are delicate as there are a lot to look out for, such as the nature of the paint, coating, and absorbance tendencies.

So even if you aren’t painting directly on concrete, the techniques here still apply to you.

For more great articles like this one, see more of mine here…

Should Concrete Foundations Be Painted?

Due to the porous nature of sand used in making concrete we find that it is an absorbent material that can trap and transport water and in some cases support plant or fungi growth. This also means that not just any paint can be directly applied to the surface without additives or putting on a primer.

Therefore, it is important to know that concrete foundations or surfaces, shouldn’t be painted without taking the necessary steps to ensure their longevity. 

Note that it is possible and even recommended to paint concrete foundations, as long as some precautions are followed.

In a study published in the Geomicrobiology Journal, it is noted that sometimes the soil composition itself can work against your foundation. It is important to be aware that painting a foundation will not protect it from all possible threats, but it can add a layer against some.

The rules for painting concrete foundations are:

● Clean The Surface Thoroughly 

You could water and a sponge or just a brush to clean the surface, just to ensure that the paint sticks well, so it doesn’t start peeling prematurely. Any residual dirt, oils, or grease can cause bubbling and later peeling.

In cases where a foundation has had a previous paint layer applied, strippers and scraping will be needed to get all of the loose paint off before beginning. If this step is skipped, flaking and peeling will be inevitable in the future.

● Fix All Existing Holes 

If there are noticeable foundation cracks and holes, it is best to patch them up and leave them to dry before painting. It is an unwise decision to use only paint in such cases, in hopes that it blocks any holes because in the near future they will serve as points of weakness for rodents and insects to exploit. 

If you don’t plan to chase rats or jumping spiders around your house, fix the holes properly.

● Prime The Concrete

Priming and sealing are done to ensure that the concrete doesn’t absorb water from the paint or surrounding environment. It is a sort of layering for concrete and can be done by the home owner, professional painter, or mason. After priming, you should leave it to dry at least 24 hours.

● Pick The Kind Of Paint To Use

There are various kinds of paints that can be used for concrete foundation painting and they all come with merits and demerits. They also have different qualities and functions to your home foundations. 

We swear by this all purpose Jetcoat Farm Pride Outdoor Fence and Barn Paint, Waterproof Exterior Paint for Wood Planks, Roofs, Concrete. If you are looking to cover your concrete foundation with a tough, long lasting paint, this is it.

● The Lazy (But Effective) Shortcut

For those that are just wanting to get it done with the least amount of effort, then there are solutions that can work on a concrete foundation without priming. These types of paint have binders mixed in with the paint to help cover over ‘a multitude of sins’.

Here is what I recommend for a quick and simple foundation paint job…

If what you are wanting is a quick and simple paint application to protect your home’s foundation, these two are the way to go.

What Color Should You Paint Your Foundation? 

Some kinds of paint used in the concrete painting are Elastomeric Acrylic paints, Latex, Non-Elastomeric Acrylic Paints, Concrete Stains, etc. Whichever color you choose, it will not remain the same hue if weather and other environmental elements get to the wrong type of paint applied to exterior concrete.

Each kind of paint used has its unique set of benefits hence the need to carefully make a decision that best suits you.

Elastomeric paints, for example, have waterproof attributes and can shift, swell or shrink along with your concrete foundation without tearing, making it a very good material if you’re looking for longevity. However, it is breathable in some cases and will put your foundation at the risk of having moisture.

Non-Elastomeric Acrylic Paints, on the other hand, works well under any circumstance and prevent any form of moisture, thereby providing a sealing effect.  However, unlike its Elastomeric version, it has an expiry date and you may have to repaint once it expires.

In the same vein, latex and concrete stains have their pros and cons and you are only advised to use that which fits your specific needs. In most cases, they will not be the best choice for foundations.

  • Latex is not advisable for outdoor concrete applications and would not hold up to the elements and any shifting.
  • Concrete stains, though adding color and uniqueness, would offer little protection against the elements.

Selecting A Color For Foundation Paint

You should know that it is completely okay if your foundation is painted in a different color from the rest of the home. In many cases it is advisable if for nothing more than the contrast.

In some cases, there might not be much flexibility in terms of color available for a particular kind of paint, and one is advised to go for more neutral or earthy colors like ash, shades of grey or brown, and the likes. 

But if you have a much wider choice that spans multiple options, the best selection would be a light color or a dull dark color that gives the right amount of contrast to the color scheme of the rest of the house. 

Colors like cream go well if you don’t have much mud around. If you’re looking towards something darker, it is advisable to use steel or dark grey. 

Colors like white may need to be repainted after a while, and any color choice that is too sharp or bright draws attention away from the beauty of your house to just the foundation. 

Overall, you should pick a choice that is in harmony with whatever you’ve painted your home with and one that wouldn’t need repainting even if you decide to repaint the house.

The most important part is to have fun choosing, and have fun painting!

The Final Touches On Painting A House Foundation…

Can you paint your house foundation?


Will it help with longevity?


Is it hard or complicated?

It is super easy, barely an inconvenience.

I hope this has helped you in making your decision on what to do with your home’s foundation.

If you would like to read more of my articles about how to care for your home and lawn…


Mathew Booe

Mathew has worked in landscaping professionally for over 10 years. He is a grandpa and frequently interviews other experienced landscapers and lawn care experts who are also grandpas for these articles.

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