Q. Water was seeping into our basement through the concrete floor, and in an attempt to stop it we applied a waterproofing paint to the floor. Since then, although we have solved the water problem with an expensive drainage project outside the house, we have had a lot of problems with the floor. The paint bubbled up in some areas and we scraped it off. Parts of the floor are now white and crumbling. How can I get my smooth floor back? -N. Hermann
A. As you discovered, putting waterproofing paint on the floor was a mistake. These paints are designed to stop seepage through walls, and they often do a very good job of that, but they should not be used on floors.
You should have the floor examined by an experienced concrete contractor. It is possible the slab can be cleaned up and given an overlay of fresh concrete, but only a personal examination by an expert can determine that. You can also get a smooth, good-looking floor by covering the existing floor with interlocking tiles. The tiles are not fastened to the floor, and can be removed at any time, but they give a smooth, attractive, skid-resistant surface. For more information, visit www.XXXXXX.com and type Garage Floor Tiles in the search space.
Sadly, yet again, I have to make a correction on this:
These paints are designed to stop seepage through walls, and they often do a very good job of that, but they should not be used on floors.
Paints don't work for long-term solutions. If it covers, paints or seals, it can bubble, crack and peal. By "sealing up" the pores in concrete you're only doing this on the inside of the basement. For a sealing to truly work you must apply it on the exterior of the foundation in the first place. HOWEVER, even doing that, it's only a temporary stop measure.
Getting back to the inside: by sealing up the pores you're creating more pressure against the wall. If you poke a hole in a bottle, the water dribbles out, you put a stopper in that and what happens, the stopper eventually gets forced out because the build up of pressure behind it, due to the fact that the hole is the path of least resistance for the water to flow.
So what you're really doing is creating more pressure beyond the wall to force against this "paint". Because hydrostatic pressure build up is more common below floors more moisture comes in direct contact with your basement floor. So by putting a paint on the floor, the moisture seeps and travels through the concrete of the floor, and just like paint upstairs, will cause it to peal, crack and come right off the floor.
The paint bubbled up in some areas and we scraped it off. Parts of the floor are now white and crumbling
If you're experiencing "white" parts on your foundation, that's a sign of water contact with that surface. It's the left over mineral deposits from water after it evaporates.
Plenty of businesses sell attractive solutions for your basement flooring needs: www.homebasementfinishing.com and www.basementdepot.com are just two I know from my own network of friends.