Finished Basements and Project Budgeting – Wall Options

When budgeting for a new finished basement project, depending on the level of finish you are expecting, there are a couple options for walls.

A list of the wall options are – 

  1. New drywall installed on standard framed walls and door openings.
  2. Leaving the foundation walls and applying Drylok. 
  3. Hanging curtains over foundation walls.
  4. Accent walls with trim-work or thin brick products or faux stone. 

Typically, a new finished basement has walls that are framed and then new drywall is installed.  As a Main Line contractor, we always install mold-and-mildew resistant drywall only.

If the spaces are going to be more informal, and the existing foundation walls are in very good or excellent condition, then 2-3 coats of DryLok can be applied.  This will give the walls a finished look and help with retarding moisture. 

To give an even more finished look – and to save money on walls, wall curtains can be DIY installed quite easily.  

By using either long, stable curtain rods or cable wire, light-weight curtains can be installed to run across the length of walls in front of the foundation walls.  

The best approach for long-term durability and use of the finished basement space is definitely framed walls, with planned door openings for closets and rooms, and to install new mold-and-mildew resistant drywall. 

Insulation and vapor barrier can be added to the walls, giving a thermal barrier from cold foundation walls during the Winter months.

If the budget allows, an accent can be applied to walls with new trim-work such as faux wainscoting or new chair-rail with shadow boxes. 

We also apply thin brick or faux stone to accent walls, typically in the main living room planned for the new finished basement.

Wood paneling accent walls are not recommended unless the basement is very dry and has had no history of water issues.  

Decades ago, before the knowledge how mold is nurtured by organic materials, that wood paneling was the go-to product for finished basements.  

Wood paneling is now the item that is being removed from older finished basements, with walls being converted to mold-and-mildew resistant drywall.