How to Frame Basement Drywall Around Existing Pipes

  • 4-6 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 100-200
What You'll Need
Drywall knife
Tape measure
Drywall bits

Basement drywall creates a clean and professional look. Many do-it-yourselfers install their own basement drywall, and you can be among them. The problem that most often confounds people is dealing with pipes, as basements are typically the area where all the pipes and ductwork terminate.

When you set out to finish a basement with drywall, you may have to deal with obstructions like pipes. Doing so can be easy, but it can also be difficult, depending on pipe placement and size of the pipes. The article below will explain how to cut the basement drywall to fit around the pipes.

Step 1 - Measuring for the Pipes

The pipes in your basement can come in various sizes, which makes fitting basement drywall a little more complicated. Determine which pipes you can unhook and which pipes have to stay connected. Never disconnect gas lines. Standard water pipes can be disassembled so that the drywall can be slipped over the pipe.

Use the tape measure to determine the width and height of the pipe. Examine the pipe as though it were a box. Measure the length and height of the wall. Divide the wall by the size of each section of drywall.

Step 2 - Marking the Basement Drywall

Mark the drywall where it needs to be cut. Doing is important because you want lines that are clean. Use the measurements you took previously and place them on the drywall. Make a horizontal line to the length of the pipe from the floor up. Do the same for the vertical line. You will have 2 lines that intersect. They represent the location of the pipes.

Follow the same process for each pipe for which you need to cut holes. Because pipes are not square, you need to make a proper guide in order to properly cut a hole for the pipe. Use a compass to do so.

Place the point in the center of the intersecting lines. Move the pencil to the end of one of the lines and slowly drag the pencil around until it meets the starting point. You will now be left with a perfect circle.

Step 3 - Cut the Drywall

Cutting basement drywall can be tricky, as drywall is not very strong. If you can remove the pipe to slide the drywall in place, then you simply have to make the hole. Choose a drill bit that matches the circumference of the circle and drill it out.

Use a jigsaw for holes that are larger than your drill bits. A drywall knife can also be used. For pipes that cannot be removed, you need to cut a channel. Cut out the circle for the pipe first and carefully remove the drywall from the circle to the edge. This piece of drywall you remove can later be replaced with mud and tape.