Best Paint for Basement Drywall

What Kind of Paint Is Best Paint for Basement Drywall? Revealed

A lot of us don’t spend much time preparing the finish of our basement but doing so will let you have a gorgeous basement that can be used for multiple purposes.

It’s sad that most of us think that the basement color has to be plain and dull. That’s definitely not true. You can always add a stroke of color to the basement paint.

If you want to turn your basement into a study room, recreation center, or your very own man cave, then you must get the best paint for basement drywall that suits the theme of the room.

You’re at the right place if you’re getting basement painting done anytime soon. Read this article to the end, and hopefully, all of your questions will be answered. 

Basement Paint Buying Guide

Getting the right basement drywall paint for yourself can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you’re new to this. To make life easier for you, we’ll discuss the top factors that you should consider before buying paint for your basement drywall. Let’s get right to it.

basement wall paint

Type of Paint

There are different types of paint sheens to choose from when painting your basement. The type of paint that you’re going to pick depends on the traffic you’re expecting in the basement. It also depends on the expected wear.

  • Matte Paints

It is one of the most common types among the four. This doesn’t offer any luster or shine. Flat paint is best for hiding the imperfections on the wall. However, these aren’t that durable, and it’s best not to use flat paint if you’re expecting a lot of traffic and especially children around.

  • Satin Paints

Then there’s satin paint or eggshell finish. It’s called eggshell finish because it offers the same luster as any eggshell. These are quite hard, and it’s a good choice for your basement if you don’t want glossy paint but expect some traffic and there are children around.

  • Semi-gloss Paints

These are commonly seen in most households. These are durable and glossy surfaces that are hard to wear down. They not only resist stain better than satin paint, but these are easier to clean as well. If you want a balance between gloss and durability, then we highly recommend this.

  • Glossy Paints

Finally, we have glossy paint. It is the most durable type of paint that you can get for yourself. This type of paint is very durable, stain-resistant, and very easy to clean. One drawback with this paint is that the imperfections on the wall can be identified easily with this on.

If you’re expecting a high level of wear and traffic in your basement, then we highly recommend going with glossy paint.

Use of Space

The amount of space in your basement will vary from person to person, and it’s up to you how you’re going to utilize the space. Now, you don’t want your basement to look like a small space after you’re done painting it, and certain colors can cause the illusion of “less,” especially darker colors.

This is why we recommend picking a color that won’t make your basement look smaller than it is originally. Even if your basement doesn’t look small right after the paint job, it will get smaller when you move decors in.

Picking the Right Color

There’s a lot of colors to choose from when painting your basement drywall. One major point no one tells you about painting the basement is, the type of paint you get will restrict the color options you may choose from.

This is why you should pick a specific type while you pick the right colors for your basement drywall.

Quality of Light

The quality of light is one of the most important factors that can help you set the mood for anything, and the color of the paint can impact this factor. Now, if your basement doesn’t have any window or vent that lets sunlight into it, then picking the right color will get a bit easier for you.

In the rooms that get sunlight, it’s important to pick a color that’ll suit both the day and night light. For a basement that’s completely isolated from sunlight, there’s no need to maintain such a thing. This allows you to paint your basement drywall to fit a specific theme.


Basement walls usually come in contact with water, and that’s why it’s important to get waterproof paint. Painting the basement drywalls with waterproof paint can help you prevent mold buildup as well as water damage.

This is why we highly recommend getting paint with a high waterproof rating. Otherwise, you might have to repaint and get some severe repairing done in only a few years.

Sealing Capability

When you’re painting your basement drywall, you’ll come across many surfaces and corners that are hard to paint on and bond. Getting a paint with high sealing capability will help you bond the drywall pieces easily.

7 Best Paint for Basement Drywall

Now that you know what to look for while getting the right paint for yourself, hopefully, choosing one will become easy. Let’s take a look at the top 8 paint that you can get now.

1. Zinsser 2301 Problem Surface Sealer

The Zinseer 2301 Problem Surface Sealer is a very effective solution to the rough patches on your drywall. This offers multiple benefits if applied under the coat of paint.

It will also seal the surfaces that are difficult to paint on. So, even if you leave some corners with a thin layer of paint, you’ll still be able to prevent water damage, which is another specialty of this primer.

Plus, it’s great at putting a smooth layer that’ll create a nice base for the top coat of the paint.


  • Even surface creates a smooth base, so the topcoat doesn’t flake off
  • Seals the surfaces that are tough to paint on so they can be painted easily
  • Suitable for both bright and dark colors
  • Can protect items from wear and weathering


  • Creates a skin-like texture when painted over drywall mud


For painting a smooth and clear coat over rough surfaces and for ensuring the top coat of paint doesn’t flake off, this is the perfect primer for you.

2. INSL-X AMW100009A-01 WaterBlock Paint

Many consider INSL-X AMW100009A-01 WaterBlock Paint as the best paint for basement drywall because of its waterproofing capabilities. It’s a relatively cheap option for the features it provides.

You can use this paint for both interior and exterior painting as it comes with mold and mildew-resistant coating. This is water-based paint, so you’ll be able to wipe it without any problem. Due to the waterproof paint, the walls in your basement will remain dry even after heavy rain.


  • Mold and mildew resistance will make the walls last longer
  • Water-based paint can be wiped easily and keeps resistant to stains
  • Keeps your walls dry with high waterproofing ability
  • You can tint this if you want some more variety to the color


  • Doesn’t offer any color variation on its own


If you want white paint for your basement drywall, then this is a decent choice for you.

3. Rust-Oleum 02761 Perma-White Mold & Mildew Proof Interior Paint

This is a great choice for those who’re expecting a decent bit of traffic in their basement. It offers a semi-gloss finish, so it’s very hard and stain-resistant. Plus, you can clean it easily too.

It’s designed to prevent fading over time. One major benefit of this paint is that it doesn’t require you to sand the drywall after one coat. Unlike most other paints, this one won’t scrap off if you don’t sand it and apply multiple coats. So, it can save a lot of time of yours.


  • Doesn’t require you to sand the coat for making it last long
  • This water-base paint can be scrubbed and wiped clean
  • Semi-gloss finish is hard and can withstand a lot of wear
  • Fade resistance keeps it good as new for years


  • Paint becomes very thin under high temperature


We highly recommend this paint to those who want to save some time, as it can be applied super-fast. However, we discourage it if the temperature is high.

4. KILZ Interior/Exterior Basement and Masonry Waterproofing Paint

The KILZ Basement Waterproofing Paint is one of the few paints out there that are created using nanotechnology. Due to the use of advanced technology, it offers tons of features that you won’t find in many paints.

If you’re facing trouble keeping your basement drywalls free from water damage, then this is the solution for you. The nanotech of this paint lets it create better barriers to protect against water.

Plus, it lets you coat the walls very fast too. You need two coats of this paint for the best result. Unlike most other paints, you can apply the second coat 4 hours after applying the first one. So, it can cut some serious time for you.


  • Let’s you apply the second coat after four hours
  • Nanotechnology used in this paint can create better barriers against water
  • Only two coats are enough for optimal result
  • Can seal porous concrete for preventing water damage


  • Comes in one color only


It’s the best choice for you if the drywall of your basement is suffering from water damage.

5. Drylok 27512 Latex Water Proofer

If you’re looking for paint that can block 10 pounds of hydrostatic pressure for a wall that’s up to 22 feet high, then this is the right one for you. Surely, most people won’t require such high-rated paint. Then again, people who suffer from huge losses from water damage will find this handy.

It comes with a full cure time of 3 hours only. Then again, it’s great at reducing vapor transfer, so it will protect against radon gas penetration. This paint is made with a low-odor formula, so you’ll have a great time painting with it. As the film is breathable, it won’t trap any moisture that may cause water damage in the future.


  • Breathable film won’t trap moisture over time, keeping your wall safe
  • Made with a low-odor formula for offering a good painting experience
  • Requires only three hours for curing
  • Can block up to 10 psi, so you’ll be safe from water damage


  • A bit expensive compared to most other products


Despite being expensive, this is a product that’s worth paying for because of the amazing advantages it provides.

6. Rust-Oleum 276087 Mold Killing Primer Quart

Suffering from mold and moss for too long? You should definitely try the Rust-Oleum 276087 primer. It’s a water-based paint that comes with minimum odor, so it’s very easy to paint with. You can also maintain this easily. It’s resistant to stains and can withstand high traffic.

One of the unique features of this primer is that it comes with a special formula that can destroy existing mildew and mold. Each can will cover around 160 sq. feet if used properly, and it will dry to touch within 30 minutes. Despite having some anti-fungal and anti-mold properties, it’s not harmful to humans.


  • Comes with reduced odor, making it easier to paint with
  • Each one is able to cover up around 160 sq. feet because it’s very efficient
  • Will dry to touch within 30 minutes
  • Can kill existing fungus, mold, and mildew due to the special formula


  • Needs more than one coat for optimal results


If you’re on a budget, then you can’t go wrong with this paint. It certainly gets the job done well.

7. Contego International Inc. Latex Intumescent Paint

Finally, we have the Contego International Inc. Latex Intumescent Paint. While most paints are designed for waterproofing, this one’s designed to be fire-retardant. It’s not volatile at all, and the smoke produced from this is non-toxic as well.

It can be applied like regular paint, so you shouldn’t face any challenge doing that. If you find the color a bit bland for your taste, then you can add a top coat on it without tampering with the quality of the paint.


  • Absence of volatile materials makes this a fire-retardant paint
  • Smells nice because it doesn’t comprise VOCs
  • Smoke produced from burning this is non-toxic
  • Very easy to apply


  • You must apply it within 72 hours of opening the container


We highly recommend this paint for those who want fire-retardant paints. It can’t disappoint you if that’s what you’re looking for.

Comparison Chart

Product NameTextureSizeColorWaterproof
Montage Signature Eco-Friendly PaintLow Sheen/ Semi-Gloss1/5 Gallon18 variationsYes
Zinsser 2301 Problem Surface SealerMatte1/5 GallonWhiteYes
INSL-X AMW100009A-01 PaintFlat1 GallonWhiteYes
Rust-Oleum 02761 PaintSemi-Gloss1 GallonWhiteYes
KILZ Waterproofing PaintMatte1 GallonWhiteYes
Drylok 27512 Latex Water ProoferFlat1 QuartWhiteYes
Rust-Oleum 276087 Mold Killing Primer QuartFlat1 QuartWhiteYes
Contego International Inc. Latex Intumescent PaintFlat1/5 GallonWhiteNo (Fire-Retardant)

How to Paint Basement Drywall?

Painting drywall can be easier than you expect, but it might seem a bit confusing if it’s your first time. Then again, it’s very easy to make a mistake too, so it’s important to stick to the rules while you’re at it. If you’re new to painting drywall, then we highly recommend reading this section before getting started.

Preparing the Wall

The first step should be preparing the drywall itself. It’s found that drywalls often come with some imperfections, and it’s important to fix these imperfections before you even begin.

To get started, you need to dim the lights on the ceiling. If the lights can’t be dimmed, then turn all of them off. Now, take a utility light and look for any imperfections on the wall.

Fix Any Damage

If you find any drywall tape peeling off, sand that spots until the base of the drywall is exposed. Once it’s exposed, put new tapes on it, and apply drywall compound on top of it with a knife. Let it dry off for 24 hours, and you’ll get perfect drywall!

Bringing Perfection

To make the drywall perfectly even, we recommend sanding the rough patches properly. Then you need to wipe the entire drywall with a damp rag. This will clean the wall of any debris or dust that can ruin the paint job.

Applying Primer

Applying a primer before a paint job is extremely crucial. Primers help you smoothen the drywall, and they’re also necessary for making sure the paint sticks. You can find different types of primers on the market, all of which come with different properties.

We don’t recommend using AIO paint and primer combo, but we recommend using primers only. Once you have the primer ready, use a roller and a paintbrush to apply it.

When to Paint?

Don’t paint right after applying the primer, as it needs some time to dry off. Then again, you shouldn’t wait more than two days to apply the primer.

Mixing and Applying the Paint

Mixing the paint is properly is important for a fine result. Pour the paint into a bucket and add paint conditioner to it. When the paint is ready, start by painting the corners and joints of the walls with a paintbrush.

Once you’re done with the corners, take a roller and paint the wall. Make sure your hand is moving smoothly and evenly, so the paint is even as well.

The painting once won’t be enough. After the first coat of paint is applied, let it dry off for one or two days. Sand the entire drywall after it’s completely dry.

After sanding the wall, apply a second coat of paint on it. This will ensure that the paint doesn’t fade over time.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

1. How should you mix the paint?

Answer: You can try adding a paint conditioner or extender with the paint. Adding these will help the paint last longer. The ratio of paint to conditioner isn’t fixed, but it depends on the product you’re using.

So, make sure you check the label on the product you’re using. Most paints come with labels that provide the necessary information.

2. How long does it take for the primer to dry off?

Answer: Primers dry at different rates, so it’s important to check out the instructions on the label. In general, the primers take from one to two days.

3. Can you paint the drywall without applying the primer?

Answer: The paint will peel off unless you apply primer before applying the paint. This is why it’s important to apply primer or drywall mud before painting it.

4. Is it possible to fix peeling drywalls?

Answer: Yes. In fact, it’s necessary to fix peeling tapes before you paint the drywall. If you find any peeling tape, sand it until the tape completely peels off. Paste new tape on it and apply some drywall compound to it. Once it dries off, the drywall will be good to go.

5. How to deal with rough drywall surfaces?

Answer: To deal with rough surfaces, you need to sand the drywall properly. When sanding for smoothing out rough patches, you should use sandpaper of 80 grit. Using a higher number will wear the wall out, and a thinner one won’t make much of a difference.

Final Words

These are the best products that you can buy right now! So, if you’ve settled on a specific product that seems to be the best paint for basement drywall to you, we recommend you get it right away.

Getting the right paint is essential, but it’s not the only important factor here. It’s also crucial that you learn how to paint the drywall properly, or you’ll need to redo the process in a matter of time only. For that, we recommend checking out the dedicated section on how to paint.

With that, you’ll be able to get the paint job done fast as well as effectively.

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