How to Install Basement Drywall

What You'll Need
Drywall nails or screws
Masonry screws
Electric drill
Tape measure
Drywall plaster
Joint Tape

Hanging basement drywall is arguably the hardest part of finishing a basement, but it can also be the most satisfying because you are only one step away from having a room basement space that actually looks like a room.

Many homeowners with an unfinished basement want to finish without professional help, which can be done with the right knowledge and tools. If you have neither, you'll need to buy or borrow the tools. The know-how comes a bit more easily. Follow these steps to drywall your basement.

Step 1 - Providing Wall Framing

Normally, unfinished basements have bare concrete or concrete block walls. In either case, you will need framed walls onto which you will be able to attach drywall. Your form will need bottom and top plates, as well as vertical studs that are 8-feet high and are spaced at 16-inch intervals.

This spacing is designed to accommodate the attachment of drywall sheets that are typically 4-feet wide and 8-feet tall. With this spacing, the side edges of every drywall end at the center of a stud and the top and bottom edges end at the center of a plate, which is the perfect place for these sheets to end. It allows each drywall sheet to be tacked onto the stud with drywall screws.

Step 2 - Purchasing Your Drywall

Drywall comes in standard 4x8-foot sheets, but the thickness of the sheets varies. For application in a residential construction project such as finishing a basement, you should use sheets with a thickness of 3/8-inch. Stack your sheets near the room where you will hang them. If you stack them in the room in which you will be hanging them, you'll find yourself having to move them, a task that you will not relish.

Step 3 - Attaching Your Drywall Sheets

Begin attaching your sheets at one corner of the room. Use your power drill to insert drywall screws 16-inches apart on studs and plates. Continue this same process until you reach the end of the wall. The last sheet is not likely to end at the exact corner of the room and will need to be cut so that it ends at a corner stud where it can be attached. Finish attaching drywall sheets on other walls the same way.

Step 4 - Applying Tape and Mud

Cover each seam between the sheets with seam tape and mud. Using a joint knife, first apply a strip of mud down the seam. This mud will both fill the seam and act as an adhesive to attach the seams to the drywall.

Apply the seam tape over the mud, then apply another layer of mud over the seam tape to smooth its edges. At places outside of the tape strips wear screws have been inserted into the drywall, you'll find a shallow dent which needs to be filled with drywall mud. When the mud is dry, smooth the rough edges with sandpaper and your walls will be ready for their coat of paint primer.