DIY Painted Concrete Walls- my gym makeover on a shoestring budget

If you want to work out there’s something to be said for the convenience of working out at home. Instead of a gym membership we bought a weight bench and weights. I’ve been working on creating a gym in an unfinished area in the basement. Believe it or not this is the AFTER picture so just hang in here a sec to see the original state of affairs.

Spending a lot to spruce up the small room would not add value to our home so I wanted a minimal financial investment.

First, my husband and I removed the exposed insulation strips in the ceiling. I didn’t plan to put in a ceiling and love the open beams like you may find in a gym, skatepark or more urban settings.

Insulation does help with temperature regulation and noise but no one is typically in the office upstairs when someone is in the gym downstairs so that’s not an issue.

Next I approached the biggest eyesore which was these walls. There was silver foam insulation boards attached to all of the exterior cement walls when we moved in. I didn’t feel it was worth the money to frame out and dry wall over the cement walls. As you can see my kids thought it was really fun to hit and kick the foam for sport. After that we had dents and styrofoam beads coming out of the walls…….sigh.

I decided to remove it all and paint it. Basically just tugged at it and it popped right off. Some glue remained on the wall which came off easily with a scraper. The end result was quite unsightly, very dark and I was instantly second guessing my decision. I mean just look at that!??

I purchased 3 gallons of Drylok at Lowe’s to seal and waterproof the cement walls per my brother’s instruction. It is applied like regular paint and smells slightly like chlorine to me.

The paint is a thick and gritty consistency. I hand brushed it on using a 4″ brush. Cement is VERY porous (think of it as an English muffin) so I had to brush the paint vertically and horizontally to get it in the nooks and crannies. I tried a paint roller but it wasn’t effective so I went back to the brush. I was envisioning that I was in Mr Miyagi training from the Karate Kid!!!

The white paint brightened up the walls considerably and covered all the ugly rebar patches …thank goodness! It made the small space appear much lighter and cleaner.

For the hard cement floor we decided to use interlocking foam mats. I was kind of working around a big weight bench adding interlocking flooring. The flooring needed a few cuts along corners with a utility knife and was super easy to install. The soft mats are perfect for the gym to cover the floor so it’s comfortable to do floor exercises.

I did all of the work except we had a handyman hang this punching bag to ensure it’s sturdy. I sure wouldn’t want that coming down on anyone!

I may add a fun vintage sign or a flag to add some interest to the longest wall. I’ve considered some cafe lights zig zagged across the ceiling too. Thought about a big shelf to hold towels, bottled water, a speaker. For me it’s an incomplete blank slate. But let’s be real -none of those details really matter to the gym users (because I’m not one of them).

As of now the walls are clean and bright, the floor is soft and the room is functional. Now my people can go pump some iron!

Happy working out ~Kristen

About Desperate Craft Wife

Mom of 4 crafting her way through life one project at a time!

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