How I Changed the Dungeon Like Basement Into Storage and Home Gym

Berta Lily
by Berta Lily
5 Materials
1 Week

We have a partially finished basement and an unfinished section which we utilized for storage. The unfinished part was a HOT mess, with dirty basement floors, dusty cinder blocks and random storage bins laying all over the place. I set out to update this space without hiring someone to finish it completely.

Here is a photo of the before. Like I said, a dirty disorganized mess! The first thing was to take EVERYTHING out of the space. Luckily I had a strong husband to do all the heavy lifting. Once the space was empty, I swept up as much dust as I could.

I used Sherwin- Williams' Loxon Water Blocking Primer & Finish. This is specifically formulated for concrete and masonry to trap in moisture. Since my basement is partially underground, this project was for aesthetics but also to protect the integrity of my home.

I laid a plastic drop cloth down and got to work. I used two coats of the water blocking paint and primer, allowing a full 24 hours in between each coat. The first coat I used a regular roller. Some of the cinder block in my basement had already been previously painted so the roller worked fine for that area. However, the cinder blocks that had not been previously painted had a lot of pours areas. For this I found that the 2nd coat went on much better utilizing a grout sponge. The sponge allowed me to get into all the crevices of the cinder blocks that the roller could not reach.

The next task was the floor. It was a concrete floor that had a tendency to flake and create a lot of dust. Initially I considered painting the floors as well. The reason I went a different way was because I happened to have a bunch of foam square exercise mats that interlocked. I used what I had for the storage section since they were worn and purchased additional mats to finish the rest of the space.

What a great thing to have stumbled upon it turned out to be! The floor is perfect for a basement , not only because it makes the space warmer and mimics an actual floor, but it's also perfect for a home gym!

I started on one side of the room adding one tile at a time. Once I reached the other side I used an box cutter to fill all the space with scraps so that it was held flat in against the walls of the room. Each box for the mat floors covers 48 square feet for $35. For my space I needed 3 boxes in addition to what I already had. This entire floor cost about $100 depending on the size of the room. Compared to any other flooring out there this is the most cost effective.

I am so pleased with how this space was transformed from a dirty dungeon to a place I can pump some iron and store seasonal items. I was able to set up one section as a storage area and the other as a home gym because the layout was in the shape of a L. I organized all the bins by season and utilized the walls while stacking as much as possible so that I can access everything easily!

I also applied the same technique under our stair case to create a secrete hide away for my daughter!

Suggested materials:
  • Loxon Water Resistance Primer & Finish   (Sherwin- Williams)
  • Paint Roller kit, drop cloth   (Home Depot)
  • Grout Sponge   (Home Depot)
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Frequently asked questions
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  1 question
  • Jen Bruns Jen Bruns on Apr 19, 2020

    Is the floor removable?... my bf is doing his basement as a gym/game room. Not sure what we are doing. It has gotten water in it before. It now has a sump pump but ya never know. Are thinking no permanent electronics and keep conder blocks handy just incase. 🤷‍♀️

Join the conversation
  • Aimee Aimee on Mar 18, 2020

    What a great transformation! Also love the space you created for your daughter. So sweet!

  • Thea Thea on Mar 29, 2020

    Amazing what a difference flooring makes. Yours makes the whole place so much cozier!

    • Berta Lily Berta Lily on Mar 30, 2020

      I couldn't agree more! It made it feel like a finished space :)