Basement Wall Refinishing

The 1960s version of the basement, with its dark, damp, musty corners, is long gone. The basement has become an inviting retreat for family rooms, offices and household storage. Adding some finishing touches to the basement walls not only makes it more inviting, but also adds to the insulation and seals out moisture. Several applications are available when choosing materials for your basement wall refinishing.

Intended Use

When deciding the type of material to refinish your basement walls, it is important to apply the appropriate wall covering to suit the use of the room or rooms you are refinishing. For example, it is not wise to apply drywall to laundry and high-moisture areas, as is it unwise to apply paneling to areas around water heaters, furnaces and other heating sources. Applying some sort of insulation to interior walls around laundry rooms will help soundproof these areas. For areas of low lighting, plan on painting the walls a lighter color to take advantage of available lighting.

Moisture Control

There are several choices for applying moisture control to your basement walls. Thick, fibered paints work to seal the concrete walls to prevent moisture from seeping through. For basements with cracks and high water leakage, professional applications are available to seal out the water and finish the concrete walls. Plastic sheeting works to seal out low moisture when applied to the block or concrete walls behind some other type of wall applications.


Before refinishing your basement walls, remove mildew with a mild bleach solution. Always wear some type of breathing protection during the removal of any type of mildew as fine particles of the mildew can enter your lungs and cause serious infections. Several types of mildew-resistant paints are available that help prevent the reformation of mildew in moisture-laden areas.

Fire Prevention

Areas of the refinished basement walls that surround furnaces, gas dryers, water heaters or wood-burning stoves require application of some sort of fireproof covering. One of the most common fireproof coverings is a fire-retardant drywall. Other fireproofing applications include sheets of metal, special fireproofing insulating blankets and special paints recommended for high-temperature areas. You may wish to finish areas around wood-burning stoves with decorative brick or ceramic tiles.

Wall Materials

If you do not desire to leave the bare concrete walls exposed, numerous materials are available to cover the concrete and create interior walls. Some of these materials include drywall, paneling, prefabricated wall panels, stone, brick and decorative ceramic tiles. When applied according to manufacturer's directions, any of these applications will create a warm, inviting and useful basement wall finish.

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