Ok, so you've made it through the major phases of finishing a basement. How do you know when you're ready to start the drywall stage for your finished basement?
Have you passed both your framing and electrical inspections? If the answer is yes, then you're ready for drywall. If not, you still have some work to do. Don't do it, don't skip the inspections!
Installing drywall in your basement is bitter-sweet. On the one hand you're finally turning the corner from working on your basement to finishing your basement. On the other hand, all of your masterful framing, plumbing and electrical accomplishments are about to be covered up forever.
When I was getting close to the drywall stage of my basement finishing project I had a ton of questions:
- How much is installing drywall in my basement going to cost?
- What thickness of drywall should I buy?
- Do I install drywall in the basement bathroom? Or do I need some sort of special waterproof sheet rock?
- People told me that hanging drywall is super dusty. How dusty? What do I have to do to prep?
- How long will it take to install it.
- How heavy is a sheet of drywall? Can I lift a sheet on my own?
- What drywall tools and books do I need if I'm going to do it myself?
I'm going to write about all of the questions above but the big question to start with is...
Should I Install Drywall For My Basement On My Own?
Or, should I hire a drywall contractor. So let's get deep. Deep into some drywall discussation. Yeah, I made up a new word, I'll let you use it for free…. For now.
Let's talk about staggered drywall butt joints and the best off-seam taping patterns.
Or... let's not.
Look. I'm as gung-ho as they come when talking about home improvement but the numbers for installing all of your own drywall work just didn't add up for me and I suspect that they won't add up for you either.
5 Reasons to Hire Someone to Install Your Basement Drywall
First, I could not get the same pricing on drywall sheets that my drywall guy was getting.
He just bought a ton more drywall than I ever would and he had relationships with the best and most cost effective suppliers.
Second, I did not have any drywall tools.
There are multiple taping knife's, giant T measuring thingies, tape dispensers, pointing tools, mud buckets, you name it. It's different from buying tiling tools, which I did do, because I know I will use those again. I wasn't sure if I would ever use drywall tools again.
Third, I didn't have a willing or knowledgeable partner to assist me.
Yes, technically it's possible to drywall by yourself but you would have to buy a drywall lift for the ceiling sheets and a couple of other support tools which of course add even more to the cost. None of my friends had ever drywalled before and they had zero enthusiasm when I asked if they wanted to learn with me.
Fourth - I didn't want to wait.
I had been working on the basement for months. I knew I still had months to go after the drywall phase. I wanted to speed things up a bit and I didn't relish the thought of spending 8 to 10 weekends just on drywall.
Fifth - I was a afraid to screw up.
I had all of this beautiful framing and electrical work in place. If I went and botched my finished basement drywall job - it would all be for not.
Yes, I know, I preach on this website a lot to not worry about screwing up. But in this case, I wasn't even sure if I would know if I'd screwed it up until well after the first coat of paint went up.
I did several hours of Google searching and more than a few people were not happy with their first attempt at installing drywall. I just couldn't afford risking all that time and money only to be unhappy with the results.
Installing Drywall is My Destiny
Look, I know what you're thinking... "Jason is really wimping out on me here. I'm doing my own. I don't care how long it takes. I've made it this far and I'm not about to let someone come in here and rob me of my drywall destiny."
Fair enough, just make sure you know what you're getting into. If this is your destiny, and I am your basement Yoda, then I want you to be prepared. Here's a great website about hanging drywall. It has a zillion tips on how to do it right.
Personally my drywall installation crew was outstanding. In the end I think I ended up paying (maybe) a couple hundred bucks more than if I had tried to install it myself. Maybe. It really could have been a break-even situation.
They finished installing the drywall in my 1300 square foot basement in 10 days. They did 3 finish coats of mud and it was ready to be primed and painted. (which I did myself, more on that to come)
So who's tackled their own drywall out there? How did it go? What are your experiences with drywall contractors? Do you plan to install your own drywall? Let us know in the comments below.
Cheers - Jason
If you decide to hire someone to install your drywall be sure to check-out my e-book on how to hire a great contractor.
More Drywall Stuff:
- 4 Critical Things to Do Before Your Basement Drywall Is Installed
- Drywall sizes and other questions
- Need some basement tools? Check out my Amazon store
One of my top tips for saving money on your finished basement involves the drywall stage and it's the second or third email in the newsletter series. You can sign up for the free newsletter, right here.