Framing Basement Walls
LESLIE: Kevin in New Jersey listens to The Money Pit on the Discovery Radio Network. What can we do for you?
KEVIN: OK. I have a split-level house. So that means the very first floor – the ground level – is a little bit below grade.
KEVIN: We call it the nothing room because (laughing) we just don’t know what (laughing) … I mean we don’t know what to do with it, you know?
TOM: (laughing) OK.
KEVIN: Halfway up the wall is the … is concrete. And then it’s like a little bit of a shelf and then it goes to sheetrock.
TOM: Right, uh-huh.
KEVIN: How can I cover that cinder block up so it just looks nice, you know what I mean?
TOM: Well, in a situation like that, it’s probably … there’s really two ways to do it. Typically, if you were refinishing a basement room, we would tell you to build a wall in front of it. But in a small area like that, I think it’s OK to attach firring strips to the wall and to actually frame around that wall and then put a drywall over it.
However, in this case, I would not recommend traditional drywall. I would recommend a product called Dens Armor Plus. The reason for it is because Dens Armor plus has a fiberglass face; as opposed to a paper face. You know, regular drywall has a paper face and that can be mold food.
KEVIN: Well see, what I want to do is I want to get rid of the shelf look.
TOM: Alright, if you want to get rid of the shelf look, you have to (inaudible). Here’s how you do that. What you have to do is you have to frame out the wall to be as thick as the block wall below it. So you have to frame out the wood wall to match the thickness of the block wall.
Now, there’s other consequences of that, Kevin, because what’s going to happen is your window jambs are going to be much deeper. Your door jambs are going to be much deeper. So you have to frame out for that and you know, it’s just going to … it might be a little bit odd, but if you want it to be a continuous flat wall, that’s what you have to do.