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How to Install Drywall in a Basement Apartment

by HomeRepairExpert.com
Your basement offers living space that you can convert into an apartment. One of the most important factors of a basement remodel is the installation of drywall panels to form the covering for the walls. Unlike the above-grade parts of your home, your basement has concrete or block walls, so installation is slightly different.

  • Furring strips
  • Concrete screws
  • Drywall panels
  • Carpenter's hand and power tools
  • Drywall compound
  • Taping tools
Install furring strips on the concrete walls. You can't attach drywall directly to concrete so you must first build a frame. Furring strips are just dimensional lumber that you attach with concrete screws to the basement walls. Position the furring strips vertically, 16 inches apart.

Attach a horizontal base furring strip along the floor. The strip should be made from treated lumber, cedar, cypress or redwood. These lumber types resist damage from moisture that may occur at the bottom of a basement wall. Leave a space between the base furring strip and the vertical furring strips of at least 1 inch. This space is for installing electrical wires.

Install the drywall panels, beginning in an upper corner. Turn the first one horizontally and push it up as far as possible along the furred wall. Use drywall screws to attach the panels to the furring strips beneath.

Continue to install the drywall panels, doing the upper portion of the room first and then the lower portion. The typical basement wall is slightly higher than 8 feet. Two 4-foot-wide drywall panels will fit together snugly, leaving a small gap at the bottom. It's important to have a gap of at least 1 inch to keep the drywall off the floor.

Fill the seams between the drywall panels with drywall compound. Smooth on this mud-like goop with a drywall-taping knife and allow it to dry before adding one or two more coats.

Sand the walls to remove uneven drywall compound before painting or wallpapering.

Tips and Warnings

  • Correct any moisture problems in the basement before installing drywall.
  • You may use moisture-resistant drywall instead of standard drywall, but it is more expensive, and if the basement floods, it may still suffer damage or mold growth.
  • Consider installing a drop ceiling in the basement instead of drywall. You can run ducts, electrical wires and pipes above a drop ceiling.



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