Drywalling a Basement Ceiling

If you have a basement in your home you've got a lot of additional real estate that you could be using for entertainment, a hobby, or home office space. But that means finishing it; making a living area out of a previously unused space. Part of this involves drywalling a basement ceiling and that is the issue we will address in this article. First, let's look at the tools you will need for this project.

Tools You Will Need

  • Drywall hammer and nails or Screwgun or drill with #2 screw bit and drywall screws
  • 4' level
  • Chalkline
  • Drywall saw
  • Utility knife
  • Drywall T-Square
  • Sheetrock tape
  • Sheetrock compound (mud)
  • Taping and floating knives

Estimating Material Requirements

The first thing you need to do is get a square footage number so that you can buy your materials. This is the basic length times width number. If the area is cut up, break it into different areas and add them together.

You are going to have some non-useable scraps so you will have to figure this into your estimate. Of course the amount of extra drywall to buy depends on how cut up your basement ceiling is but you can figure on at least five percent. If you can visually lay it out you will be able to get very close.

Hanging lids (ceilings) is probably the most challenging sheetrock project so buy 4' X 8' sheets rather than 10' or 12' long. It may cost you a bit more but will save you frustration.

Other Preparations

If you are planning to install ceiling fans or light fixtures in your basement ceiling this is the time to run your wiring and nail up the junction boxes. You don't want to have to be messing with this later.

Hanging the Sheetrock

Your joists should be on reasonable centers, multiples of a standard number such as two foot, sixteen inches or so forth. It depends on the age of your home and your local building codes. You will want to start from one corner and work outwards, eventually finishing at the opposite corner.

Ceilings are much easier to hang using two people. There are lift devices on the market that allow one person to do it but that still won't give you another pair of eyes. You will need the other person to make sure that the seam splits on the center of a ceiling joist while you nail the other end and work towards him or her.

When you get to the other side of the room, you may find that the measurements do not call for a straight cut. One instance in which this can happen is when your room is out of square. If you find yourself in this situation, just take careful measurements and use your chalkline on the sheetrock to determine your cutting line.

Taping and Floating

Once you have finished hanging the sheetrock, you will need to finish it. Use the mesh style tape with the adhesive on the back side. On the first pass just mud in the joints and nail or screw indentions.

After this coat dries, you will need to do at least one float coat but most likely two if appearance is an issue. Then sand it down and skim any areas that are still a little rough. After a light sanding in which you feather all mud edges, you are free to texture or paint.