DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum > DIY Home Improvement > Flooring > cheapest way to finish a basement

Help Support House Repair Talk by donating using the link above.
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 05-13-2006, 03:06 PM  
Junior Member
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1
Default cheapest way to finish a basement

I recently bought a new home with and unfinished basement. I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on the very cheapest way to finish the basement. The area I want to finish is 18'x14' w/ 8ft. ceiling. ANY advice would be appreciated as I have never done this before.

cdcellular is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 05-13-2006, 03:50 PM  
Square Eye
Senior Member
Square Eye's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,273
Liked 9 Times on 6 Posts


Drywall the ceiling, texture it lightly, paint the block, paint the floor. Trim it with 1x4s. Looks cheap, but it brightens things up.

Wire it with wiremoulding products, surface mounted boxes and decorative conduits. It can be painted before you mount devices in it (receptacles, switches).

For dividing walls (partitions), drywall. Treated bottom plates and hold the wallboards about an inch off of the floor. Insulate the walls where you want privacy. Keep the insulation up about an inch from the bottom plate inside the wall. Keeping space between the floor and the wallboards will keep moisture from ruining the wall board and keeping the insulation from touching the bottom plate will keep it from soaking moisture from the bottom plate.
I have also seen dividing walls in basements made of 3/4" plywood. A 2x3 with a groove down the center for a bottom plate and at the top for a top plate. The panels were standing on end with 1x4s back to back over the splices. It looked better than it sounds. T111 board would work also, with 1 pretty side and 1 ugly. It paints well and holds up to abuse.

Recently, I sprayed a basement ceiling flat black. The homeowner was setting up a home theater system in his basement and just wanted the ceiling to disappear. It looked really nice with recessed light fixtures and some track lighting. He installed wall sconces on either side of the big screen TV. And he painted the light fixtures with black, high temperature, bar-b-que grill paint.
I'm telling you, it looks nice.

Use your imagination, there are too many options to list here.

Square Eye is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 05-14-2006, 02:25 PM  
Go on, Create a Craze!
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 20
Likes Given: 1


I wholeheartedly agree with you there Square Eye, Drywall & Texture.
Dale is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 05-14-2006, 04:13 PM  
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 112

Personally, I like a drop ceiling in the basement for easy access to plumbing and electrical wiring. (But thats my taste). You dont even have to put it down, but a few inches, or even screw up the panels to the floor joists, so that you can gain access to various stuff.

Insulate the walls with one inch styrofoam, or, if you really have the room, build up the walls with 2X4 studs and put in R-13... (but, have the 2X4s a half inch away from the walls, unless they are treated, and have a pressure treated sill plate for the 2X4s to sit on).

Either paint the floors, or indoor-outdoor carpeting for some warmth, (at least to keep the cold off your feet). You wouldnt want to put down "good carpeting", until you make sure that no moisture is coming from the ground, through the basement floor.. and you can do that, by testing areas...

Simply take 4 mil plastic, (12"X12"), and duct tape them down in a dozen places or more, for 24 hour period. (I would perfer to do it when its raining outside, to really draw the moisture through, if it is).

(Note: Having a cap on the chimney can prevent some moiture from seeping below the floor, as a lot of rain comes down that chimney, just put out a 5 gallon bucket and see how much moisture is captured!).

But, before I would put anything like walls on the basement, like a built up wall frame, I would want to paint the entire basement with dri-lock (have plenty of FORCED VENTILATION for this, as it has a LOT of volitile organic compounds, and extinguish any open flames, like furnace and hot water tanks, for the fumes). wear rubber gloves also, and old clothes.

(This is only my opinion, and maybe a few bucks more, but, as you get older and wiser, you learn to do it 'right' then have to do it over and over again, because you tried to do it "on the cheap"... Nothing is EVER cheap, when you have to do it over and over again!...But, try telling this to the younger generation...)

OH, make SURE you plug up BASEMENT DRAINS, if your going to put carpet down!! Get those metal plugs with rubber bushings and a screw down lid, that forces the rubber out against the sides, so that you dont have sewer gas coming back up, when the basement drains go dry! (I had lots of people forget this and be overcomed by sewer gas from the basement when I was an operator at the local sewage treatment plant).

4' shop lights for the lighting, will give you all the lighting you need. put them up in the joists so you dont bump heads and even put in frosted frames on the rafters so that you dont get too much of a glare.

Ok, my two cents for what its worth, and a wee bit extra for the collection plate.

woodworkingmenace is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 05-14-2006, 06:47 PM  
inspectorD's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Litchfield, CT
Posts: 4,474
Liked 259 Times on 204 Posts
Likes Given: 749

Default Cheapest?(I like to use the word "inexpensive")

I'm with WWM on the drop ceiling,(Cheaper that rock?) Paint the walls and floor ,do the plastic test first as WWM stated to avoid grief....Then a good throw rug you can remove and clean every year (per WWM) . As SQ Eye said, Wire mold on the walls is good and inexpensive.All great ideas!!Just dont forget some dehumidification in the summer and some heat in the winter.
I have also seen streched canvas as a wall in the basement to separate areas. Also seen them used as ceilings then painted, I could not tell they were not drywall, they had crown or cornice molding at the walls.Wish I had taken pictures.
As far as the moisture control, make sure your gutters and drainage around the house is good to keep the paint on the basement walls.
Good luck.

Just My
Made in the
inspectorD is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter DIY Home Repair Forum Replies Last Post
ready to finish rough-ins in basement micgall Bricks, Masonry and Concrete 7 09-10-2008 01:39 PM
Warm, smelly basement. DaveX General Home Improvement Discussion 3 08-20-2008 01:14 PM
Wanting to Finish Basement. kotah General Home Improvement Discussion 7 08-04-2008 06:36 AM
Getting basement air into the return? Quattro HVAC 8 01-10-2008 08:51 AM
Old basement entry door found and leaks! wienerwater Framing and Foundation 1 09-07-2006 12:34 PM

Newest Threads