Choosing the right wall panels is crucial when finishing a basement. With different types available, selection can be challenging. But if you want to know what wall panel is best to install, we have consulted the experts and created a list for your reference.
Adding wall panels helps insulate and prevent moisture in the basement. The bare concrete or stone wall is not appealing on its own. With some wall panels, you can make your basement conducive for activities.
Basement wall panels can help insulate, waterproof, or soundproof your basement. Choosing suitable materials to keep your basement's condition will be beneficial. Keep reading to learn more about basement wall panels that are perfect for your needs.
Basement Wall Panel Options
Basements differ in requirements from the other floor levels. You can find materials that are best to use for below-grade levels. Some options we have listed help waterproof the basement walls. Before selecting, it is best to assess and check the usual issues of your basement.
Here are some basement wall panels you can choose from:
1. Rigid Foam Sheets
A popular and cost-efficient choice includes rigid foam sheets. These large sheets of expanded polystyrene foam (XPS) acts as barriers against moisture and water leaks. Using these sheets can reduce energy use and control indoor temperature.
As long as you avoid creating holes and gaps when installing, these will work well. Otherwise, it will not be effective because moisture and air can pass through.
2. Decorative Panel
If your goal is to show some style with your basement walls, you can pick decorative panels. You can have the freedom to customize the panel design. Costs and benefits will vary with the choice of paneling material. Some material choices are as follows:
- Gypsum board
- Pre-fabricated board
- PVC sheets
These materials are great for basements because of their waterproof properties.
3. Mineral Wool Board
Silica spun into wool and treated under high heat and pressure creates a fibrous but tough wall panel. These sheets work well to insulate basement walls because of their high moisture resistance. The product is also sustainable because of the all-natural or recycled components.
The board is also fireproof. Yet, the drawback of choosing this option is its cost. Mineral wool sheets will cost 3 to 5 times more than foam sheets.
A common choice for basement finishing is drywall. This panel is low-cost, natural fire-resistant, and easy to install. Just make sure to choose the correct drywall type to prevent moisture, molds, fire, and sound in your basement. The best choices are green or purple board. Although you can add some paint to ward off the water, drywall is not totally waterproof.
To learn more about drywall, check out this post: What Kind Of Drywall To Use For Basement Walls And Ceiling?
5. Plastic Sheeting
Plastic or polyurethane sheets create an effective vapor barrier for basements. It prevents moisture and water while keeping the basement insulated. You also need a proper interior basement drainage system behind the wall with the sheets.
The problem with plastic is that the material is not environment-friendly. The wrong installation can also cause micro-holes that make the cover useless. Also, stapling the plastic might rip the whole sheet after some time.
6. Tile Board
A tile board looks like a ceramic tile with grooves. You can match the tile boards with the basement floor tiles to create a cohesive look. These boards are easy to install.
You can place the boards directly on concrete. Before doing so, you must check the moisture levels coming from the slab and add some underlayment. The boards are not waterproof, but you can prevent water by grouting.
MDF (medium-density fireboard) is also great for basement walls. It is similar to a tile board, but instead of ceramic, it has wood. Compressed wood waste undergoes pressure and treatment to create a flat and dense panel. The board is cheap, eco-friendly, and sturdy.
Your primary concern is how MDF can combat moisture. Sadly, MDF is not resistant to moisture. With some wood components, it will soak up water and swell. To tackle the issue, you should apply a moisture-resistant coating like melamine.
On the bright side, you can use MDF to dampen sound in the basement.
8. Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)
According to SIPA, these panels have high insulation value due to an insulating foam core between two oriented strand boards. The unrivaled insulation and airtight panels benefit homeowners by reducing energy costs. You can also get better indoor air quality because the panels filter allergens and other air contaminants.
However, SIPs are more costly than wood panels. It also has limited fire and moisture resistance. There are wood traces in the panels that make them susceptible to common basement issues. Your remedy is to waterproof the walls first and expel the moisture with proper ventilation systems.
9. Acoustic Panels
If your concern is the noise in the basement, you can use acoustic wall panels. These panels are suitable if you convert the basement into a home theater, a music room, or you just want a quiet stay.
Yet, noise is not a major problem in basements, but moisture. Some brands offer moisture-resistant acoustic panels. You will also spend more on this special wall panel to tackle both issues.
Discover other ways to soundproof the basement from this post: How To Soundproof A Basement Apartment
10. Removable Wall Panels
Also called 3D wallpapers, these panels add some design, texture, or shape to the basement walls. These panels are very cheap.
If you have to change the walls for new occupants, the panels are easy to remove and stick on. You can paint it to achieve your desired style. For basements prone to moisture, you can also find waterproof options.
11. Wahoo/ DIY Walls
For those who want to DIY, you can do wahoo walls. These are pre-fab, pre-insulated, and waterproof panels made of inorganic materials. The panels are effective in preventing mold and mildew growth.
The R-value of the walls is between R15 and 16 if used without studs. The system includes aluminum tracks to aid installation.
There are also basement finishing and panel living systems. These systems offer complete protection and services to cover your basement walls. Read about them below.
12. ZenWall Paneling System
Zenwall panels is a modern wall panel innovation that serves as insulation for basements. It is a 1/4-thick fiberglass core with a reflective foil barrier on one side and a vinyl finish on the other.
Choosing this wall panel helps waterproof the walls and adds to the finished look. You should also install a perimeter drainage system for these panels.
13. Brightwall Panels
You get a bright, clean, and semi-finished look for the basement with Brightwall Waterproofing Panels. These panels are 100% inorganic and waterproof. That means you don't have to worry about rots. The panels are also washable, so you can keep them clean.
The system creates a vapor barrier that will keep out moisture and humidity. As long as a perimeter drainage system is in place, you are good to go.
14. CleanSpace Wall System
This system is common for crawlspaces with dirt floors but is becoming popular for stone basement foundations. Like the previous wall panel systems, CleanSpace also requires a proper drainage system.
CleanSpace uses 20-mil reinforced plastic liners that are much affordable and easier to install. The permanently-drilled fasteners hold the panels in place and will not crumble as time pass by. Always ask a certified installer to set up the panels.
15. Owens Corning System
A well-known basement finishing system is Owens Corning. According to their site, the panels are removable, mold & mildew-resistant, fire-rated, and acoustic. You also get a lifetime limited warranty transferrable to the next homeowner.
The company offers two types of wall panels. You can choose from paintable or fabric types. Either option, you can still get durable, dent, and maintenance-free walls. The more customized are your basement wall panels, the more you will spend.
There are different types of basement wall panels to suit your needs. You can also select a finishing system to get insulating and waterproofing features. After all, basement wall panels can keep a well-looking and functional basement.