How to Cheaply Remodel a Basement

Finishing a basement can be an expensive undertaking. Framing and drywall alone are costly and labor-intensive. But there are other less expensive alternatives to these traditional basement finishing methods. Most alternatives not only save you money, but also can give the room a fun and whimsical feel -- perfect for most basement uses.

  • TSP (tri-sodium phosphate)
  • Wire brush
  • Foundation sealer
  • High-nap paint roller
  • Concrete paint
  • Rolls of fabric
  • Staple gun with staples
  • Tape measure
  • Wire
  • Screw gun and screws

Paint Foundation Walls

Clean the surface of the foundation walls with TSP (tri-sodium phosphate). Use a wire brush to work in the TSP into all the nooks and crannies. Loose dirt and dust can keep the paint from adhering.

Apply foundation sealer to the surface with a high nap paint roller. Allow to dry for at least 24 hours. Check the can for your product's recommended drying time.

Apply concrete paint using several thin coats. Wait one to two hours between coats to allow for sufficient drying (multiple thin coats will create a much harder surface than one thick coat).

Install Fabric Ceiling

Select a wall to begin installation. Attach the fabric to a ceiling joist above this wall using a staple gun. Unroll the fabric along the floor to the opposite wall and cut it to length.

Attach the cut end of fabric to the ceiling joist above the opposite wall. The fabric will be sagging down from the ceiling.

Measure over from the installed fabric to your liking, (typically 10 inches) and install another row as in steps 1 and 2. Repeat until the entire ceiling is covered.

Measure the length of a wall parallel to the installed fabric and divide it into evenly spaced sections -- between 5 and 6 feet each. Mark these intervals at the ceiling over the wall. Repeat for the opposite wall.

Attach a wire to the first section using a wood screw and run the wire under the fabric to the opposite wall. Pull the wire tight and attach. Repeat for each section marked in step 4.

Pull each fabric panel between each of the wires so that they sag evenly. This will give the ceiling covering a scalloped look.

Tips and Warnings

  • To further save money, look for closeouts and discontinued fabrics. Play with different patterns and mix and match them if you cannot find enough fabric for the entire ceiling.

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