Waterproofing Basement Walls With DRYLOK

13 Materials
2 Days
Recently I had to remodel one of my rental homes. And I was teetering with the idea of not touching the basement.

But it became clear that the basement walls were a nightmare.

So I decided to paint them with DRYLOK® and share that project with you today…just in case you’re in the same predicament!

I’ll add a supply list at the end of this tutorial.
That way you can check out all the materials I used for this project.

Step 1: Inspect Both Inside and Outside

I’ll say this right now: I’m not a basement waterproofing expert.
Okay, got that off my chest.
But I do know you should
  1. Clean gutters and downspouts at least twice a year
  2. Downspouts should extend at least 3 to 4 feat away from the foundation
  3. And the yard should slope away from the house if possible

Check the gutters and downspouts are draining properly and away from the basement walls.

The house I’m working on has the gutters and downspouts cleaned twice a year.


The downspouts work properly and extend away from the foundation.


And the yard is what it is – this house is landlocked by the neighbors.

Side Note: as I was painting the walls in the basement I noticed our neighbors had their downspout facing my foundation. Yep, that’s an issue and I’m sure they’ll fix it – they’re great people. But that explains some of the moisture in the basement.

Another issue with this home is that it’s over 100 years old. The walls are constantly moist and some of the old paint was pealing.

As a result, I had to prep the walls before applying the DRYLOK.

Step 2: Prep Basement Walls for DRYLOK Paint

Prep the walls before applying DRYLOK.

My basement walls looked terrible.

Some areas had pealing paint and cracks.
I used a 6 inch drywall knife to remove the old pealing paint.

And an angle grinder with a Sawtec blade to knockdown any high spots. My goal was to make the walls as smooth as possible.

Once that was done I brushed off the walls with a broom to remove excess dust.
Then I filled cracks and holes using UGL’s hydraulic cement.

Mix three parts powder to one part water and stir well with a putty knife. You’ll have a pliable cement mixture that sets up in 3 to 5 minutes.

Cut a ‘V’ notch in cracks or holes to ensure the hydraulic cement will adhere properly. Use a hammer and chisel for that.

I love hydraulic cement because it works fast and is simple to use. It’s a great way to prevent water from trickling into the basement.

I added extra tips in the video in regard to the Fast Plug, and show how to handle mildew with Concrobium.

Efflorescence should be removed with muriatic acid, but have good air circulation as this is potent stuff.

Step 3: Safety Precautions – Don’t Blow Up the House

Turn off gas appliances and air out the basement.

Some people will think I’m crazy but it’s best to be safe when working with paint in a confined space.

Open windows to allow fresh air in and out of the basement.

Turn off the gas to the furnace, hot water tank, and gas dryer if you have one or at a minimum don’t use the dryer while painting.

These are safety precautions because of the paint fumes.
Okay, let me know if I’m crazy or you’re just as anal retentive.

Step 4: Waterproofing Basement Walls with DRYLOK Paint

I used DRYLOK Extreme to waterproof the basement walls.

DRYLOK can be applied to walls with a brush, roller, or paint sprayer.
I toyed with the idea of using a paint sprayer but decided against it. Simply because I had the brushes and there were areas in this basement where a brush was better.

But any standard brush for latex paint will work.
Waterproofing basement walls with DRYLOK paint can be done with a 3/4″ nap roller, I got a 1 3/4″ nap roller because the walls were very bumpy in spots.

The DRYLOK I used for this project was DRYLOK Extreme.

Stir DRYLOK very well, pour some paint in a metal tray, and start at the top of each wall. I applied the DRYLOK across 3 feet of the wall then worked downward.

I moved left to right and applied enough paint to cover any bare spots.
Back brushing minimized drips and runs. The drop cloth saved my butt a few times when I got a little messy with the paint. I’m not the cleanest painter :/

Always wear protection when prepping or painting walls. My 3M respirator is seriously the best investment I’ve made for my lungs (well that, and not smoking two packs a day!).

Even though I used a brush, it didn’t take long to paint a wall – maybe 45 minutes.
In the video I said it took 60 minutes but that was an overestimate.

Watch my video tutorial to see the full effect of the DRYLOK and how it made our basement walls way better.

There was an immediate difference in the appearance and smell of the basement...no more musty smell!!!

What’s Next

There you go, waterproofing basement walls with DRYLOK paint is pretty easy.
Let me know your questions about this project.
I’d be happy to help.

They make a variety of different products for the home. I bet you’d be surprised.
It made a huge difference in the basements smell and appearance. I’ll have to do a follow up video or post in a year to see how the DRYLOK holds up.

Thanks for reading, watching, and being part of our DIY community.

Talk to you soon,

Watch my video for all the details and some extra tips I didn't mention, e.g. how to tackle mold and mildew.

Suggested materials:

  • 6 inch Drywall Knife ($7)
  • Venom Gloves (100 Count for $19)
  • DeWALT Angle Grinder (corded) ($124)
See all materials

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

  1 question
  • Emily Emily on Jul 27, 2020

    Hi Jeff, did your drylok still adhere in areas where you weren’t able to scrape off all the old paint? I’ve been wanting to do this as well, but I’m nervous about getting good long-term adherence.


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