Should You Drywall A Basement Ceiling?

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Unfinished basement ceilings are bare, with wires and ducts exposed. It is crucial to select a practical and durable finish that suits your style and needs. You might wonder if drywall is a good choice for the ceiling or not. To help you decide, we have done the research on whether you should drywall your basement ceiling.

If you want to get a simple and versatile finish, you should drywall your basement ceiling. Your ceiling instantly becomes aesthetically pleasing. But before placing the drywall, you should be careful with the existing ductwork, pipes, wires, and joists. You also have to do the proper installation to get the benefits of drywall.

Adding drywall to your basement ceiling also has some drawbacks. You have to do the necessary processes and select the right materials to avoid problems in the basement. Keep reading to learn how drywall can upgrade your basement ceiling.

A basement with plastering on the drywall with a ladder and boxes filled with equipment, Should You Drywall A Basement Ceiling?

Pros And Cons Of Drywall On A Basement Ceiling

Before putting the drywall on the ceiling, you must know the pros and cons. To help you brainstorm and come up with the right decision, you can refer to the table below:

Pros Cons
It gives a simple and clean look that is pleasing to the eyes. Installation needs more effort and time to complete.
Allows more flexibility to follow any design. Warping of the drywall causes screws to pop out.
Easy repair and cleaning. Not resistant to impact and water.
Material and labor costs are fairly cheap. You have to replace the whole drywall if there is water damage.
Great for low ceiling basements. It can be difficult to enclose the exposed wires and connections.
Fire resistance due to the gypsum material. You need someone to help you hang the drywall.
Helps in soundproofing the basement.

Read further for some tips when installing the drywall.

Tips For Installing Drywall

Two workers installing a gypsum board on the ceiling

To help you install the drywall on the ceiling, you can refer to the list below:

  • The drywall panel should fasten on each joist on the ceiling. By doing so, the drywall attaches firmly to the foundation of your house.
  • Determine how you hang the drywall. If you have wooden joists, hang the drywall horizontally. For metal joists, the direction of hanging is vertical.
  • It would help to use large sheets of drywall boards instead of multiple boards. The process of fastening the drywall will reduce the time for installation.
  • Make sure to press the drywall firmly to tightly bond with the wall.

Can You Put Drywall Directly On Basement Ceiling Joists?

Placing the drywall directly on your basement ceiling joists is possible. But the process won't be easy. Before you can install the drywall, you have to check the framing of your basement ceiling. You should know where your ceiling joists run to get the right placement of the drywall.

If you have an existing basement, your ceiling joists might not have adequate space or might not be in the same plane. To solve the issue, you can use furring strips to support the drywall.

Choose the strips that have the same width as your ceiling joists. You will save around 1/2-inches of headroom when they get attached to the joists.

To install the drywall, you have to position the panels perpendicular to the ceiling joists and furring strips. Then you have to drill 1/8-inch pilot holes. With some 3-inch or 10D fluted nails, insert the nails for every intersection between the joists and furring strips.

Does It Matter If You Drywall Ceiling Or Walls First?

A worker installing a drywall using rivets

If you want to avoid issues when finishing the basement, it is best to hang the drywall on the ceiling before the walls. It would be easier to install the drywall from the top going down. The corners will also look seamless if you start from the ceiling.

The drywall ceiling comes first because it tends to sag. The borders where the walls and ceiling meet are more prone to cracking. The walls act as a support by carrying the weight of the ceiling.

But do not only depend on the strength of the wall. You have to tighten screws and nails when installing the drywall.

What Kind Of Drywall Do You Use For A Basement Ceiling?

You also have to select the best type of drywall to use for the basement ceiling. The kind of drywall matters because the conditions inside the basement differ from the main floor levels. Since basements are below ground level, it is a must to tackle the problem of moisture.

It would be best to choose drywall made of sheetrock that is moisture-resistant. This type of drywall that is moisture-resistant comes in the color green.

But if you want to battle mold and moisture, you can select purple board. The core of the boards has a fiberglass mat and may have a layer of moisture-resistant paper.

Aside from moisture-resistant drywalls, you can choose other types to suit your needs. Listed below are some drywall options for the basement:

  • Blue board - This type of drywall is common for veneer plastering. Selecting a blue board is also a great choice to tackle moisture and noise problems in the basement.
  • Fire-resistant (Type X or Type C) - A fire-resistant drywall is a good choice if you have to separate space in your home, like a basement.
  • Soundproofing - If you want to reduce the noise from the upper floors and vice versa, you can use soundproofing drywall. Check out other soundproofing techniques for your basement.

How Much Does It Cost To Drywall A Basement Ceiling?

It is also important to account for your basement drywall ceiling. You will spend around $2,500 to $8,000. You have to decide on the drywall size, type, and other materials needed with the estimated costs. You also have to include the labor costs if you hire other people to install the drywall.

Below are some factors to consider when adding drywall to your basement ceiling:

  • Drywall type - Mold and moisture-resistant drywall like green or purple boards have a higher cost than standard drywall.
  • Drywall thickness - The typical drywall used for ceilings measure are 1/2- or 5/8- inch thick. The thicker the drywall, the higher the price.
  • Ceiling height - If your ceiling height is higher than 9 feet, the cost is higher than the standard 8 feet ceilings.
  • Ceiling finish - To complete the drywall, you have to decide if you want a smooth or textured finish. A smooth finish will take more effort and cost to finish. While for a textured finish, it is easier and cheaper.

From the list above, it is best to budget for high-quality materials and reliable ceiling contractors. Your choices should be durable to make the drywall last longer. After all, you should align your needs to the materials and labor you select for the drywall.

Are Drop Ceilings Cheaper Than Drywall?

If you want to create some drama in your basement, you can create a drop ceiling. Drop ceilings allow you to reach wires and plumbing connections and even reduce noise. Before deciding to make a drop ceiling, you have to consider the costs.

On average, it would cost you around $2,400 to $6,000, which would also vary due to the size, materials, and labor.

The labor can be minimal compared to drywall ceilings because you can do the drop ceiling on your own. The labor costs are around $2–$5 per square foot. Aside from labor, you have to include ceiling tiles and grid rails, which cost around $3–$23 per square foot.

Other than labor and material costs, you would also spend on rail covers, lighting, and insulation. Complex designs and configurations for your drop ceiling also add to your costs.

In Closing

Adding drywall to the basement ceiling is possible. With drywall, you can add some style to your basement. In the installation process, you can place the drywall panel on ceiling joists. Also, adding the drywall is easier if you start from the ceiling down to the walls.

The cost of a drywall ceiling is around $2,500 to $8,000. You must select a suitable drywall type to address basement issues like moisture and noise.

In contrast to drop ceilings, drywall is cheaper and more aesthetically pleasing. Thus, installing drywall is great to upgrade the look of your basement ceiling.

To learn more about your basement ceiling, you can read these other posts:

How Do You Prep A Basement Ceiling For Painting?

Does A Basement Ceiling Need A Vapor Barrier?

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