How To Cover Cinder Block Basement Walls

Cinder block walls are convenient to install and inexpensive, but they're not that pleasant to look at, especially if your basement is intended for living and recreation. Covering these blocks does not only improve durability but also your basement's overall design.

Since basements are prone to moisture and mold growth, covering walls may be quite a challenge. And so, before giving your cinder block walls a makeover, better fix the underlying issues first. Not doing so may cause further problems like wall leaks, stains, and the like, which you do not want to ruin your creative wall cover ideas.

A partly finished lounge in a new house. How To Cover Cinder Block Basement Walls

Basic Steps

In your wall makeover project, it's important to be fully aware of your basement's condition. If you're not confident with your plans, it's best to leave everything to a professional. But if you think you can DIY, then why not go for it?

1. Begin With Deep Cleaning

Chances are, your cinder block basement walls might have grease stains and surface dirt. If so, it's a must to start doing some deep cleaning.

Set of cleaning and washing equipment isolated on wooden table against mint background

Prepare a stiff brush, mild dish soap, and warm water for cleaning your cinder block walls. All you need to do is clean and scrub!

2. Repair holes and cracks

After cleaning, inspect whether your walls have holes or cracks. Not fixing them may damage the walls in the long run.

Mason using trowel plastering the concrete to build wall, Construction under building with mason plastering concrete to brick brick wall

To patch holes and cracks, you can use a concrete patch compound or hydraulic cement. Remove the loose bits of concrete in the cracks or holes, then adhere to the manufacturer's instruction in applying the patch compound.

You can also use epoxy, nails, sand mixture, and concrete in repairing the holes and cracks on your cinder block basement walls.

3. Consider waterproofing your basement walls

Most likely, the exterior walls of your basement were waterproofed during its construction. But older homes may not have exterior waterproofing. While some old homes have exterior waterproof installation, over the years the materials may have started wearing off due to the flow of groundwater.

Having visible moisture problems may signify your need for effective waterproofing. Waterproofing your basement walls will protect it from outside water and damage.

To prevent future problems, you should never miss this step. You can consult with an expert or search online for different methods of waterproofing that will suit your basement's needs.

4. Decide if you should insulate your basement walls or not

Insulating basement walls can aid in thermal performance and it can also help to protect concrete from freezing and damage. However, it will only be necessary to have your walls insulated if you live in a cold-weather environment.

If you have a warm climate where you live, it would be impractical to insulate your basement walls below grade.

Eco-friendly insulation in a home remodel project.

Insulating your basement walls is very costly. But if you're in for the expenses and you think it's ideal for your environment, you can opt for it, but it's better to weigh the pros and cons to prevent possible issues that may occur.

5. Choose the right materials or wall covering

Finally, we're into the creative part. A blank wall is too tempting to decorate, much more cinder blocks. Take note, though, that aside from your taste, it's ideal to choose wall construction materials designed for basements.

Many homeowners would rather hire a professional carpenter to do all the work. But if you want to proceed to DIY, you will need carpentry skills, and you also need to know that the local building codes usually require the use of moisture and rot-resistant building materials for the basement.


When it comes to applying paint to cinder blocks basement walls, experts have different opinions. Some don't recommend the use of paint for it may flake off over time as cinder blocks tend to bleed in more moisture.

Still, other experts suggest the use of paint for as long as you use the right materials like waterproof paint and primer.

To achieve this simple yet elegant look, all you need is white paint, Plaster Tex, and a trowel! Its rugged style of painting gives off an artistic and classic style.

Why cover the cinder blocks' outline if you can make it a design? Gray is a classy and expensive-looking color in combination with nice decorations and furniture.

You can also be creative, by making cinder blocks look like bricks or stone, making it look like a traditional American Home.

Click here to see this Rust-Oleum paint on Amazon.

Wood Covering

You should use pressure-treated wood whether you attach framing lumber or furring strips to your basement. Pressure-treated wood has a liquid preservative that protects it against deterioration due to rot, making it durable even with exposure to some water.

Pallet Wood Covering

These pallet wood panels create a rustic theme. A countryside design is never outdated—it makes your basement stylish and cozy.


Shiplap has been trending since the year 2015. It's classic and sophisticated, showing organic modernism. With its clean-lined white spaces, it incorporates a natural and raw look.

Wood Panel

Before putting the wood panels for covering, you should first put battens or corrosion-resistant furring channels to hold the panels. These wood panels display a luxury vibe design.

Click here to see these Vintage Harvest wood wall planks on Amazon.

Other Panel Designs

Wall panels have a variety of design types. It's not labor-intensive to install wall panels as it comes in big sheets with a wide amount of wall coverage. You need to attach battens or corrosion-resistant furring channels to hold the wall panel. Ideally, you have to use wall panels that are waterproof.

This dragon square-styled wall panel will help your basement achieve an upscale look. The panel is perfect for your basement because it's water and moisture-proof. And most of all, it's also bendable and paintable!

This 3D panel wall design can blow your mind! It's unique and classy. Its texture and design give a unique appearance, adding to your basement's aesthetic appeal. It's pretty more interesting compared to plain blank walls.

Click here to see this Art3d wavy wall panel on Amazon.

Click here to see this Art3d diamond design wall panel on Amazon.

Click here to see this Art3d wall panel on Amazon.


Finished Sheetrock in New Home Construction

Drywall is a common material for basements. There are various types of drywall that you can use for your cinder block basement walls depending on the problem you want to address. There are drywall types that are moisture-resistant, soundproofing, or even fire-rated that will help you prevent specific problems.

ZenWall Panels

ZenWall panels are durable, cost-effective and a washable solution for basement walls. It is easy to clean, waterproof and convenient for the basement drainage system. It has core fiberglass insulation and a reflective foil barrier. It is also stain-resistant and provides insulation. ZenWall panels are ideal and give a finished appearance for basement walls.

BrightWall Panels

Brightwall panels are beautifully made and don't need paint. It is also waterproof and maintenance-free. This paneling system is a quick solution for homeowners who wants a bright and beautiful basement but is not ready to have the space finished. These panels can also serve as a vapor barrier on your basement walls.

Everlast Wall Panels

Everlast wall panels are stronger than drywall with stud construction. This wall paneling system is convenient for basements with high humidity. Its structure does not rot and it won't support the growth of mold or mildew.

In Closing

Covering cinder block basement walls may be a bit complicated from cleaning and deciding if they need insulation. Waterproofing is also an important measure to consider. As for choosing the right wall covering, it's crucial to choose a material that will suit your basement's needs.

Aside from beautifying your basement, solving or preventing moisture issues and structural damage should be a priority. If you're not confident with your plan, you should consult an expert. Doing a wrong move might prove costly in the long run. 

To learn more about basement walls, check out these other posts:

Can You Drill Into Basement Walls?

How To Frame A Basement Wall Parallel To Floor Joists

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