Basement drywall is a major step in finishing your own basement. So if you've made it to the drywall stage! Congrats!
Your finished basement is one phase closer to being a reality.
Your basement framing is done (at least you think your framing is done.) Your wiring is top-notch and your plumbing rough-in is rock solid. All of your inspections have passed and you find yourself giving people construction advice at cocktail parties.
When did cocktail parties go out of style by the way? Those sound like a really, really good idea and I don't think I've ever been to one.
Go ahead. Do it. You know you earned it. Pat yourself on the back. You've now accomplished something that many people in the world wouldn't even dare to think about.
Ok, now stop patting yourself and tell your back "heads up back, lots of heavy lifting to do in the days ahead"
Even if you've wisely followed my advice there's still a lot of prep work to do before your drywall crew comes swooping in.
Double Check Your Blocking and Studs
Before your basement drywall contractor candidates come out to work up an estimate make sure you've added all of the necessary blocking. When they walk around your basement part of their estimating is to determine how much framing they either have to fix or work around.
So go ahead and walk around to each corner of every wall and make sure you've got blocking installed. The blocking should be 2 x 4s at the edge of the wall for the drywall nail to grab onto. Just as guideline, I did 3 walk throughs the week prior to them arriving and I found 3 or 4 spots that needed an adjustment. I spent about an hour per walk-through.
Double check all of your walls. Are there any studs with bowing the sticks out into the room. Bowing inward toward the wall is okay. Bowing out will cause the drywall to have lumps or waves.
A great drywall contractor will fix some of these for you, because they want their finished work to look great. But an average or poor contractor will just install right over it and you'll be left with lumps.
Basement Drywall Insulation
Have you ever slept in a basement bedroom that's above a kitchen floor?
Well I have. It can be really loud. Like so loud that you march up the steps to yell at your sisters for being so loud only to find out that they are barely making any noise but yet to you, in the basement, it sounds super loud-loud.
That's why I spent some extra money and time to install insulation in all of the basement ceiling stud bays (the space between the floor joists). Plus, I insulated the walls around the HVAC room and the basement bathroom.
To me, this made a big difference. It's not theater quality or anything. I looked into staggered framing and sound dampening drywall hanging systems and even using thicker drywall. Oh yea, I was serious about the noise situation. But in the end the best value for my time and money was to install insulation.
Basement Drywall Dust - How Dusty Is It Going To Be?
Dusty. Really freakin' dusty.
Not so much while they're cutting and nailing the drywall to your basement framing but when they start to sand the drywall mud it gets insane.
I used plastic paint drop-clothes to cover up all of my stuff plus the doorway to the house and the HVAC area. I know what you're thinking - man, that is a major pain to cover it all. Let me tell you… it's worth the effort. Do it.
My friend Mark, who finished his basement before me, said that drywall dust got into his vent system and spread a fine layer of dust all over their house. Not just the basement… The whole freakin' house!
So when they come in to sand try to kill the A/C or Heat for a few hours. At least while they are sanding. Once the dust settles to the floor it's not a problem.
My drywall guys did three finishing passes with the drywall mud and each time required sanding. So expect about 3 days worth of sanding with some major dust. Be especially vigilant about wrapping electronics like tvs, computers and stereos - drywall dust will definitely destroy those.
What Should I Do with All of My Stuff in the Basement?
You need to move all of your basement stuff.... somewhere.
I know it sucks but pretty much everything has to go.
I crammed all of my stuff into the storage area that wasn't going to be finished. I really didn't think it would all fit, but it did. It was floor-to-ceiling.
I had to take apart the foosball table and a few other big things. It took me a full day to move everything into one corner of the basement and then cover it with big sheets of plastic. I had a lot of stuff on those big metal shelves with wheels so that helped quite a bit.
The only thing I left out was this big bulky couch. I removed the cushions then covered the whole couch with plastic and put it up against a wall. I told the basement drywall crew that this would be the only thing I couldn't move, he said they could work around it.
You're going to need room to hold all of the drywall once it's delivered. Plus, room to cut the drywall to size and maneuver pieces around your basement. So it just make the most sense to get as much as possible out-of-the-way, almost everything.
Basement Drywall Day - You Might Cry
The day that the guys came to put the drywall in I had to be at work. Jenn was home with the kids, calling me hourly about the noise and giving me updates on their progress. When I got home and went downstairs I could hardly believe what I was looking at.
A real room. A room that had walls, lights and definition. All of the learning, framing, electrical and plumbing had now all come together, culminating in this one moment. It was great. I stayed down there for about an hour just taking it all in.
Now imagine not just painting. Imagine designing, planning and building everything about it. That's the feeling.
Cheers - Jason
More Drywall Stuff:
- Thinking of doing it yourself? 5 Reasons Not to Install Your Own Drywall
- What Drywall Size is Right for Your Finished Basement
- Need some basement stuff? Check out the store