We finished hanging drywall in the basement. More on that in a sec…
And I’ve gone through 800 paint swatches in the basement, guys. I love picking out paint, but when you’re picking out paint for a space that has little to no natural light, it just feels harder. I have gone to every major paint store and gotten enough swatches to wallpaper an entire room with, if I wanted to…actually, that would be kind of a fun idea. But I digress. Point is, the paint, people. We have picked the paint. And even though I continue to second guess said paint, it’s pointless to protest, because at this point, we just need to move past previous decisions. We are a go for painting.
The drywall installation, the paint, this is all big news. Because once upon a time, I considered boarding up this level of the house and pretending it didn’t exist anymore. Like a natural disaster site. But my faith in this basement project is slowly being restored. *This post contains affiliate links. Please read our full disclosure policy HERE.*
Basement renovation is a BIG project, and with a BIG project typically come BIG budget-busting, marriage-testing, hormone-challenging, sanity-testing issues. Sadly, I don’t have many helpful tips for you to make sure a padded room is not in your near future, BUT, we can help you with the budget-busting issues. That’s one of the things we do best here at the Nest. After all, we’re “cheap, cheap” (Get it? You know, like birds chirping…because our name is the Heathered “nest”…just making sure we’re all on the same page 😉
One of the DIY projects we always take on during any home renovation is hanging drywall.
Now, that may sound like a scary proposition to you if you have no experience with this task. But, if you are comfortable with a screw gun, you can tackle hanging drywall. Now, mudding/taping/finishing the drywall is a separate issue, and that’s for another time and post, and quite possibly a task you’ll want a professional to take off your plate. But just doing the hanging yourself? That could save a good amount from your bottom line, and it’s really not an overly challenging task.
supplies for hanging drywall:
installing drywall: tips & tricks:
1.) Buy sheetrock in the smaller, 4×8 1/2″ lightweight variety.
Do yourself and your back a favor. 4×12 sheets are available, but they are SUPER heavy, and are much harder to transport, if you don’t happen to drive a semi-trailer.
2.) Buy enough drywall screws.
There’s nothing worse than running out of a supply 3/4 of the way through your project. For 16″ on center studs, you will use about 36 screws per 4×8 sheet of drywall, as a rule of thumb.
3.) Consider hanging the sheetrock yourself.
Get an estimate from a drywall company for hanging the drywall and a separate estimate for finishing the drywall. If you’re up for the challenge, hanging the drywall yourself can save a lot of money, especially in a large space, like our basement.
4.) Buy a sheetrock carry handle.
Sheetrock is heavy, bulky and awkward…even the lightweight variety. These simple, inexpensive tools make the lifting much easier, and a lot more ergonomically appropriate.
5.) Hire a professional to do the taping.
I was taught how to do drywall taping by my father. But I still hire someone to tackle larger taping/finishing jobs because a professional can do the work in half the time, and it will look twice as good as it were to tackle the project. PLUS, it’s a VERY messy job.
6.) Consider doing the sanding yourself.
If you’re really looking for cost savings, this would be another aspect of a drywall job to consider for your DIY list. Sanding isn’t rocket science. You’re just trying to knock down any high points and create a smooth surface for priming and painting. Use a sanding block in one hand, and your bare palm is the other tool you’ll need. Sand LIGHTLY. The biggest mistake people make is OVER-sanding. You don’t want to completely eliminate the taping mud. Use your bare palm to feel the surface for smoothness. When you are satisfied that the surface is free of any lumps and bumps, it’s almost ready for paint.
7.) Proper ventilation and gear is a must for sanding.
If sanding yourself, make sure to have proper ventilation or a fan/sanding vacuum system, perhaps a fine dust filter for your wet-dry shop vac (that’s what we use), respirator and eye protection. Sanding is the messiest part of a drywall project, and the dust generated is unbelievable. Cover any openings to adjacent rooms/spaces with painters plastic. Trust me, you don’t want that dust escaping to the rest of your home.
8.) Lightly mark where the studs are on the sheet of drywall
before you hang it. This makes it easier to put the screws in without missing your mark and wasting time and screws
9.) Best way to cut drywall is
by using your drywall square as a straight edge to run your SHARP utility knife against. The knife should score the sheetrock, then you simply snap the drywall along your score. If it doesn’t give you a clean break, you may want to sand down the jagged edge a bit prior to installing. Remember to change the cutting blade often…the gypsum dulls the blade quickly.
10.) Trim out the electrical outlets and switches after you hang the drywall,
not before…I have made this mistake and it is a pain to remedy. OR, better yet, spring for one of these blind mark electrical box locator tools. They work great, and take a lot of guesswork out of this part of the job.
11.) Buy a drywall square...
trust me, it is worth the $20-ish investment.
12.) Consider renting a drywall screw gun.
If you don’t want to buy a dedicated screw gun for drywall, consider renting one. They really make the job much easier.
13.) Make sure you have all wiring run before hanging your drywall…
including all the wiring you need for an entertainment system. It can definitely be tempting to “just get the drywall up”, but believe me, take the time and make sure you have the wiring, and anything else you want to hide behind the walls, up before you hang the drywall. I also will install wiring pathways using 2″ PVC piping to allow you to pull wire from one area of the basement to another…or to run that HDMI cable from your TV to your AV components.
14.) You always need a solid surface for the edge of your drywall sheet to land on. Plan accordingly.
It’s worth the time to plan ahead and put up 2×4 wood strips where ever the edge of the drywall is going to land. It really slows you down when you are hanging drywall and you have to stop and go cut a 2×4 and get out the nail gun because the piece of drywall you are about to hand ends and there is not place to screw it into
15.) Hang the drywall about 1/2″ off the floor.
This helps to prevent the drywall from wicking up any water that might find its way onto the floor. (This was one of the big problems we discovered in our basement during the demolition phase. The drywall had been installed all the way to the floor, and when a water heater had leaked, mold was able to form because of the moisture wicked by the sheetrock. Yuck.)
And there we have it. 15 tips to help you tackle hanging drywall, and possibly even finishing your drywall, DIY-style. Hope that saves you some cashola, and maybe even just a teensy-weensy speck of your sanity in your next renovation project.
As for our own sanity here in the Nest, well, that’s always been questionable at best. But, I’d say we’re doing ok. Next week is reveal week for the One Room Challenge, and as such, we’re starting to enter that uber-fun phase, technically called P-A-N-I-C.
I kind of hear a certain type of 70’s song in my head when we fire this thing up, but whatevs, it cranks out some serious heat, and it makes me smile, and laugh…you can change the color of the flames…WHAAAT?! Hilarious. Never knew I needed this option, but I’m gonna call it a win.
AND, I went for it in the painting department. We had a big, blank wall on one side of the rec room, so I decided I needed a chalkboard wall. A BIG chalkboard wall.
The hubs isn’t so sure, but I have confidence this thing is gonna be awesome. Fingers crossed. Just more fodder for our next marriage counseling session, right? Any couple who is gonna tackle DIY projects together should line up a counselor ASAP if you haven’t already, you’ll want them on speed dial (count that as tip #16 today).
Thanks for stopping by, friends. And if you’ve missed the other posts in this basement renovation series, here are the links: