If you’ve ever done a remodeling project, you’ve probably encountered drywalls as one of your potential material choices. These wall alternatives are very cheap, versatile, and convenient, hence their popularity. So, if you’re looking into learning how to properly install or understand what options suit your needs best, then keep reading as we created a guide that’s comprehensive and easy to follow! 

What is drywall?

Drywall, also known as a gypsum board, is a thin board sheet commonly used for interior walls or ceilings during a construction or renovation project. It’s made out of calcium sulfate dihydrate (gypsum), a lightweight yet sturdy rock that can provide versatile uses when ground up into a powder. The gypsum powder is pressed between two thick pieces of paper, which will result in a thin, sturdy sheet. A sheet of drywall can be installed in your basement by attaching it to the wooden frames of the basement walls using nails or screws.

Benefits of Installing Drywall in Basement

Drywall for the basement is one of the most common choices by homeowners. You wouldn’t be surprised to hear someone say that it’s the best material to use for basement wall covering. Ever wondered why that’s the case? Let’s dive into why!

Simple to work with

Attaching drywall to your basement walls is relatively simple. You don’t have to use any other material to install them. All you need to use are screws or nails. It’s so simple that some homeowners just DIY their basement wall panels. Save time and money when you use this in your construction project.

Relatively inexpensive

For material with excellent heat and sound insulation, fire resistance, and moisture-resistant properties, a sheet of drywall is budget-friendly. For example, if you installed a drop ceiling compared to a drywall ceiling, the cost would be almost double! Because basement drywall is easy to repair or replace, the price for renovation won’t be high compared to using other basement wall materials.

Attractive and customizable finish

Drywall is capable of creating many design features such as eaves and arches. It also allows custom paint to create an attractive finish, unlike most fiberglass basements that only come with a limited selection of neutral colors. If you’re eyeing a particular style or design on your basement walls, drywall is an exceptional choice.

Is there special drywall for basements?

If you’re wondering if there’s a specific type of drywall that’s for finished basements, we’re telling you right now that no, there isn’t. There isn’t one drywall-fits-all kind of panel that will magically cater to each basement’s needs. It varies from homeowner to homeowner on what purpose they’re renovating their basements for. Some renovate their basements to build a gaming lounge or a home theater entailing that the basement is soundproof. Some turn their basements into a workshop or utility room which would require fire-resistant material for their basement wall. The best thing about it is that there’s a wide drywall selection to choose from that will cater to your basement’s specific needs.

What kind of drywall do you use in a basement?

There are different kinds of drywall you use in a basement, and each type serves another purpose. If you’ve finally decided on how you’re going to use your basement, picking the right kind of drywall for your basement is the next step. Here are some types of drywall, along with their corresponding functions and properties.

White Board or Regular Drywall

Regular drywall is the most commonly used kind because it’s probably the most inexpensive type. It’s white on one side and brown on the other. It usually comes in 4 x 8 ft panels with varying thicknesses from 1/4th of an inch to 1 inch.

Green Board Drywall

Green board drywall is a moisture-resistant kind of drywall. Due to its green covering, the board repels moisture better and has mold prevention compared to the regular type. It’s usually used in laundry rooms and utility rooms. 

Blue Board Drywall

Blue board drywall, also known as plaster baseboard, works exceptionally well in bathrooms or places with high moisture. It’s because of its high mold and water resistance. It’s used for veneer plastering.

Paperless Drywall

Instead of paper, these drywall products are covered with fiberglass. This protects the gypsum against rot, mold, and mildew. Regarding material strength, paperless drywall is tougher than regular drywall, but some find it easier to cut. Fiberglass covered wall is also an excellent option for reducing noise in the basement.

Purple drywall

This sheet is not your average drywall as it is superior in impeding the growth of mold and moisture resistance. It’s used in areas where water contact inevitably occurs.

Type X Drywall

Type X is fire-resistant and made with special non-combustible fibers. You can layer the thickness of the drywall to achieve a higher fire rating. It’s typically used in garages, workshops, and apartment buildings, as required by several building codes.

Soundproof Drywall

Soundproof wall paneling is made out of laminated sheets of wood fibers, gypsum, and polymers. It’s denser and harder to cut compared to other kinds of drywall. It’s perfect to use in areas where noise is a problem, so It’s commonly used in music rooms and home theater rooms. It also provides extra insulation!

How thick should drywall be in the basement?

There are many kinds of basement drywall thickness options to choose from when deciding on the correct type of drywall for your basement. Drywall sizes can range from inches in thickness and square-foot areas. Due to its versatility and durability, the most common type of drywall used for basements has a thickness of 1/2“. It can be used to cover all your basement walls and even the ceiling. However, you might want to consider the 3/8” for your ceilings when your ceiling joists are 24” on center because the 1/2” will be too heavy and will sag on the center.

Steps Involved in Drywalling a Basement

So, you finally decided to use drywall for your basement walls. You’re probably wondering if you need to hire a basement renovation contractor, or you can install it yourself. Because drywall is forgiving and easy to use, you can install it yourself! Here are the general steps when installing drywall in your basement.

Figuring out how much and type of drywall will be used

The first step in any basement renovation would be to estimate the cost of drywall you’ll use. You can get enough estimates by adding all your wall area and ceiling area then adding an extra 15 percent to account for waste and errors. Once you get the amount of drywall needed for your basement, establish what kind of drywall you will be using. Once everything is decided, head off to your local lumber yard or home center to get your wall construction materials.

Wall preparation for hanging basement drywall

You now have all these drywall panels for your basement but don’t get carried away and install them right away! Preparing your basement wall for installation is just as vital as installing basement drywall. You need to make sure everything is just right. Add extra wall studs or support for the drywall edges as necessary. Cover wire runs with a 1/16″ metal plate when wires come within 1-1/4″ of the stud face. Mark pipe locations to make sure you won’t nail or screw into them. And finally, adjust the electrical box depth to fit the drywall thickness. If you’ve done all of this, prepare your hammer, screws, and nails and get ready to install the panels to your basement walls.

Hanging drywall

Most people think this part of the installation to be the most difficult. You’ll be surprised how easy It’s to hang drywall in the basement. First, decide on what fastening system to use – nails or screws. Screws hold better than nails, so fewer are needed. Nails would work just as fine as well. Their only difference would be the number of fasteners. Now that your screws and nails are ready, you can now start hanging the drywall on the basement walls. Set an allowance of 1/2” off the floor to account for floorboards, and then make sure to measure and mark on your drywall panels the electrical box cutouts with a tape measure and square. Then, cut out with a drywall saw. To fasten the drywall in your basement walls, set the drywall panel against the studs and place the fasteners at a minimum of 12 in. on center (o.c.) for screws and 7 in. o.c. for nails. Proper nailing and screwing technique are vital. It’s essential to set the fastener just below the surface of the drywall. When you fasten it too deep into the basement wall, you run the risk of the drywall breaking and compromising the fastener’s holding function. If you’re using screws for your basement drywall, make sure to stop when the screw head is just flush with the drywall surface. For nails, you can use a special drywall hammer with a convex head to set the pins just right. You can also use a regular hammer for the job. Just be careful on the last blow to avoid the drywall from breaking.

Finishing drywall

The secret to finishing basement walls is patience. While taping the joints and smoothing surfaces is repetitious and tedious, this is where you get to cover up any of those drywall hanging mistakes. In short, a thorough job here makes your basement drywall project look astounding and saves you time. If you’ve never done finishing basement walls before, here are the basic steps to guide you to that smooth basement drywall finish.

  • Use a thin layer of mud over the joint and immediately press the tape into the ground. Scrape off the excess dirt, then directly apply another thin layer of soil over the video. Again, scrape off the excess and flatten the mud out until it’s smooth.
  • Apply the self-adhesive fiberglass-mesh tape directly to your basement drywall joint. Then apply a layer of mud enough to cover the mesh. Smooth the edges and feather the edges by pressing down on them. Leave to dry overnight.
  • Remove any ridges and bumps by lightly sanding the dried mud, then apply another layer of soil. Once dry, lightly rub it again. Now it’s ready for the finishing coat.
  • Apply one last thin layer of mud and use a wide drywall knife of at least 12 in. The nail would raise the mud flush with the face of the basement drywall. Some experts add a little water to the mud for thinner and smoother mud.
  • Once the final coat is dry, lightly sand the basement drywall until you achieve the desired smoothness. Let it dry thoroughly. Make sure you wipe off the dust on the surface before painting or texturizing.

Things to Remember When Installing Drywall in Basements

Longer isn’t always better.

When picking out the length of your drywall panels, it would be more cost-efficient to use the 12ft panel. However, that isn’t always the case. It would be best if you considered how you access your basement. The panel must fit through the turn when bringing your panels down to the basement. If you have walk-in access (like from the backyard) to your basement, by all means, grab those large 12ft panels!

Check for moisture issues before finishing drywall.

Your basement drywall can still have some moisture issues even if it shows no visible leaks or cracks. You can do this simple DIY test to help you find out. Tape a one-foot by one-foot square of plastic (like a cling wrap) to the concrete basement walls with duct tape, and leave it in place for 24 hours. Then remove the tape and examine the plastic. If there is a hint of condensation present inside the plastic, there’s a humidity problem. Consult professionals on how to resolve humidity problems in basement walls.

Still not getting the hang of basement drywalls? Call a basement remodeling contractor! 

Drywall installation is an important task to do! Installing a simple wall option can be pretty straightforward, but as you scale according to your needs and area, that’s when it scales in the amount of work too! Ensure that you have the right skill and experience for your home project no matter how big or small! Don’t risk mistakes in your wall installation and compromise your basement finish as a result. Connect with a trusted basement contractor to help you with your drywall for basement needs! 

Read Next: Basement Support Post: Everything You Need to Know