Finishing Basement Walls: Furring Strips vs Stud Wall

A basement with unfinished walls.

Homeowners who would like to expand the living area of their home often consider finishing basements as a means of providing this extra space. Many of these homeowners, who have experience in do-it-yourself projects, prefer to do the work rather than pay for others to do it.

If you are among those who would like to do some of their basement finishing, you might consider the advantages and disadvantages of installing furring strips on your basement walls, versus installing wall studs.


When weighing relative costs for installing furring strips and wall studs, you'll need to look at only material costs. Costs for 2x4 inch wall studs will be significantly higher than for 1-inch furring strips. That is not only because of the vertical lumber you'll need, but also because you will need to buy floor and ceiling materials.


The proper insulation space between furring strips and a concrete exterior wall is 1 inch, which is quite thin. Insulation is nearly 4 times greater with wall studs than with furring strips, allowing you to apply a hearty layer of insulation.

Plumb Walls

Since you'll be attaching furring strips directly to concrete walls that might not be perfectly plumb, you'll need to use shims to align the furring strips. Doing so adds both time and cost to your installation. Studs can be plumbed with less time and expense.

Wall Covering

When considering furring strips versus wall studs, you'll need to consider the type of wall covering you want. With furring strips, you're limited to using paneling that you can glue onto the strips.

Attach drywall with drywall screws driven into the furring strips. These strips are glued directly onto the concrete. If any of them become unglued, or if they warp, there will be little you can do to correct the problem. With wall studs, you'll be able to attach virtually any type of wall covering.

Cable and Power Outlets

If you plan to install power outlets or cabling for power, computers, or telephones, you can dismiss furring strips altogether. Wall studs provide 4 inches of wood through which you can drill holes to run your cable. With 1-inch furring strips, you won't be able to run the cable through them.

Additionally, flush electrical boxes for your receptacles require 4 inches of space. If you want any kind of cabling on a wall with furring strips, you'll need to run the cable through the surface channel strips. You'll also need to use surface mount receptacles.

Attaching to Adjacent Walls

Any plans to connect other interior walls to your concrete wall will require that you have stable vertical pieces to which you can attach ceiling plates. When attaching furring strips to your concrete wall, you'll need to also attach 2x4 inch pieces which can be attached to your ceiling plates.