What Kind Of Drywall To Use For Basement Walls And Ceiling?

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While it is vital to pick the type of drywall that helps maintain the basement's condition, maybe you're finding it hard to select suitable materials for finishing your basement. We have done the research to help you in the decision-making process.

There are various kinds of drywall you can use for basement walls and ceilings. Your choice will depend on the problem you want to address in your basement. You can choose from moisture-resistant, soundproofing, or fire-rated drywall to prevent specific issues.

Aside from the type of material, you also need to select the right thickness of the drywall. The thickness will vary if you want to address issues like noise and temperature control. There are other types of drywall to suit your specific needs. Keep reading to learn more about basement drywall.

A worker using a small trowel in plastering the holes of the drywall, What Kind Of Drywall To Use For Basement Walls And Ceiling?

Choosing Drywall For Your Basement

There are various drywall options you can use for the basement. Your choice should be based on the problems you want to tackle, or a state building code requires a specific kind of drywall.

Listed below are the types of drywall and their properties:

  • Basement-board—A usual drywall for basements; it has a mold-resistant face and paper backing. It is less expensive than the standard and moisture-resistant types.
  • Standard—There are no special features for this type. You can use this drywall for living and bedrooms.
  • Lightweight—It also has no special features, but it is 25% lighter than the standard drywall.
  • Moisture-resistant—This type has sheetrock, treated core, and fiberglass mesh to prevent moisture. You can choose between a green or a purple board.
    • Green - This type resists more moisture than the standard drywall and is not totally water-resistant.
    • Blue - Commonly used in veneer plastering, this drywall also has noise minimizing capability.
    • Purple - A good option if your basement has high traffic and you want to avoid accidental holes that can let moisture in. This type is specifically mold and mildew-resistant.
  • Sound-dampening—You can add specialized drywall that is thick enough to absorb sound waves.
  • Fire-resistant—For multi-family residences, you need to use fire-rated drywall. Here are the two kinds you can choose from:
    • Type X—It can withstand 1 hour of fire and is cheaper than Type C.
    • Type C—This also resists fire for 1 hour, but more glass fiber support compensates for shrinkages during a fire. Type C performs better if installed horizontally.

Read through this previous post to find out if you should drywall a basement ceiling.

How Thick Should Basement Ceiling Drywall Be?

A basement with plastering on the drywall with a ladder and boxes filled with equipment

Aside from choosing the type of drywall, it is also important to get the right thickness. The varying thickness caters to the different needs in the basement. Thick drywalls have extra features like insulation, moisture, and fire resistance. Also, with the right drywall thickness, you can soundproof your basement.

Here is a list of the standard thickness of drywall:

  • 1/2 -inch—This is the standard thickness for residences. You can use this for both steel and wood framing.
  • 1/4 -inch—You can choose this if you have curved walls or you need to create new surfaces on plaster. You have to handle this thin and lightweight drywall to avoid bending or breaking.
  • 3/8 -inch—You can use this if you are remodeling partitions and patching worn drywall.
  • 5/8 - inch—Known as firewall drywall, this is common for commercial construction. It is the thickest option of drywall available, which you can use for soundproofing noise. It is also a heavier and more expensive option for basements.

If you are not sure, you can ask advice from your contractor for the suitable drywall thickness to align with your basement needs.

What Can I Use Instead Of Drywall In My Basement?

Drywall is not the only option to cover the basement walls and ceilings. Although cheap and easy to work with, there are also drawbacks. Drywall installation involves tedious steps like mudding, sanding, and taping. If you have problems with moisture or high traffic, drywall might not last long.

Below are some alternatives for drywall:

  • Brick or stone masonry
  • Cement board
  • Fiberglass-reinforced or mat gypsum panels
  • Foam sheets or panels
  • Lath and plaster
  • Textured wall panels
  • Veneer plaster
  • Wood planks

It is best to make the underlying structures ready if you will install the drywall alternatives. You can use steel frames and furring strips to get rigid support for the walls and ceiling. Then you can proceed to install some insulation and add some finishing touches to create a comfortable and functional basement.

Is Shiplap Cheaper Than Drywall?

If you want to get a rustic feel for your basement, you can choose shiplap. Shiplap is overlapping wooden boards with special rabbets or notch cuts on the edges. You can install a shiplap vertically or horizontally to create some illusion of a large or high space.

In terms of price, shiplap is more expensive than drywall. The drywall materials are cheaper than shiplap. Drywall use gypsum or sheetrock boards, which cost around $1-2 per square foot. For interior shiplap, it costs around $500-$1,500 for a 1,000 sq. ft. room. The costs also vary with the choice of wood.

Here are the types of wood you can choose for shiplap and the costs per square foot:

  • Hardwood—$0.80 to $4.00
  • Cedar—$2.50 to $7.00
  • Pine—$2.50 to $4.00 or $275-375 for 100 sq. ft. bundles

The costs can still go higher if your choose high-quality wood. You also have to include the installation costs in your budget, including the underlayment, priming, and wood finishing. If you have some experience with drywall installation, you can save money if you do it by yourself.

Does Shiplap Have To Go Over Drywall?

It is not necessary to install shiplap over drywall. It is easy as attaching the wood pieces to the studs. If you are remodeling, you can simply lay the shiplap on top of the existing drywall. The process is easy, and you won't even need a professional to help you.

When remodeling, here are the steps on how to install shiplap over drywall:

  1. You can paint your drywall first to match the color of your shiplap. The gaps might not look seamless if there are color differences.
  2. Then locate where you attach the shiplap on studs to get stability. Use a stud finder to help you mark the studs.
  3. After marking, use some adhesive to stick the shiplap. Then line up the starter boards. Level the pieces of shiplap and allow a 1/8-inch gap before each piece.
  4. With a nail gun, attach the wood pieces to the frame. Make sure that the nails are long enough to reach the studs under the drywall.
  5. For the nails, you can leave them exposed or cover them to have a smooth finish.

When installing a shiplap without drywall, skip the step in which you need to put adhesive. There is also no need for gaps between the boards because there is no drywall behind. Adding shiplap directly to the studs will save you more time and money.

In Closing

A man applying primer into the unpainted wall

There are different types of drywall you can use for the basement walls and ceilings. Among the choices, it is best to use a moisture-resistant option like purple or green board. Different drywall thicknesses address specific issues like noise and insulation.

If you don't want to use drywall, other alternatives can meet your preferences. One choice is using shiplap. You can attach shiplap to the existing drywall or directly to the studs. Nonetheless, drywall is still a good option for finishing your basement.

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