The most popular way that homeowners can add drywall to masonry walls is with the use of furring strips. These strips are really only 1 by 2-inch or 1 by 3-inch pieces of lumber that are fastened in a vertical manner to mimic the actual stud work of a regular stick-built wall. The strips make it much easier to finish a basement, garage, or other room that has brick walls, with drywall. If you have a masonry wall and want to finish it off with drywall, then here is a simple step by step process to add furring strips.
Step 1 - Clean Wall
Give your masonry wall a good cleaning before you actually put up any furring strips. This will just ensure that there is no mold or any other type of contaminants or debris that will be contained on the inside of the wall.
Step 2 - Cut Furring Strips to Length
Before you start putting up the furring strips you will need to cut them all down to length. If you are using a bottom and top plate for your wall then you should put them into position before you start to measure for the furring strips. The strips will go on 16 to 24 inches on center spacing. The actual spacing is up to you. Measure for each individual furring strip and cut them all to their appropriate sizes before continuing.
Step 3 - Pre-Drill Holes
A powder-actuated tool often referred to as a Hilti gun or a Ramset gun—after their manufacturing companies—is a type of nail gun used in construction to join materials to hard substrates such as steel and concrete, by ejecting the fastener using an explosive propellant charge similar as what's used for a firearm. It does not require pre-drilling and will not work well with 1 by 2s though, causing much of the furring to split, but will cause less splitting on 2 by 3s. It does however require renting costs and a special license to operate. Most people will therefore revert to using the following method.
This is the most time-consuming part of the whole project. However, to ensure that your strips are secured correctly you will need to pre-drill for every fastener. Stand up one furring strip at the end of your wall and begin drilling the pilot holes. Use a hammer drill and mortar bit that is the same size as the concrete fastener. Drill into the wood while also drilling into the mortar of the brick. Do this at 10-inch intervals along the length of the furring strip.
Tapcon screws are a popular anchor that stands for the self-tapping or self-threading concrete screw and doesn't require a sleeve to install. This type of fastener requires a pre-drilled hole with a Tapcon drill bit, and are then screwed into the hole using a standard hex or Phillips bit. Using those anchors, however, you should be careful not to overtighten as the thread may slip and lose traction inside the hole.
Step 4 - Clean Holes
Once you have pre-drilled all of the holes for that one particular furring strip you will need to clean out the hole of any remaining debris. Use a shop vac for this and simply suck out the dirt and dust particles. You want to make sure that the anchor holes are clean so there is a good bond made between the anchor sleeve and the mortar.
Step 5 - Install First Strip
Position the furring strip back where you had it and line up the holes and start installing the concrete anchors. The anchors are inserted into the hole and might need to be tapped into position with a hammer. If that is the case do not bang on the screw head too hard. Tap it hard enough to push it into the hole in the concrete. Use a socket wrench or a drill with the proper bit to tighten the screw head into the sleeve for a solid grasp onto the mortar wall. Repeat this process with each anchor along the furring strip.
Step 6 - Repeat
Follow the previous steps for each new furring strip along the length of the wall until they are all secure. Once you have installed all of the strips you can then cover them with drywall.