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Basement wall finish for shop

  1. #1
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Basement wall finish for shop


    I have a poured concrete basement that is unfinished / unconditioned space. I am setting up a more legitimate basement workshop and looking to build out the walls a bit. My plan is to secure 2x3 studs with tapcon screws, then glue and screw 7/16 OSB to it. I have very little moisture in this basement. It is not ever going to be conditioned space so I am not planning on any insulation. I've seen folks do a light skim coat of compound and then roll flat ceiling paint. That is my plan and is more than good enough for my (workshop) use.

    I want to hang some cabinets and some french cleats for tool hangers and light shelving.

    Should I be prep'ing the walls with anything?

    My basement ceilings are not finished; just open joists with insulation loose fitted between. Were I maybe one day interested in changing that, how much space would I want to give for this? Figure a double layer of 5/8ths sheetrock for the sound insulation. By my math this would be 1 1/4 of sheetrock + another 3/4 for strapping. Add another 1/2 for shimming/fudge factor. Means one would be good to go with a 2 1/2" gap.

    Amirite?!

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  2. #2
    Lifer tsorfas's Avatar
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    Re: Basement wall finish for shop

    Similar situation here. The only “prep” I did on the walls was paint them with garage paint. In my head it helps with moisture. No idea how true that it is.

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  3. #3
    Lifer gixxer72's Avatar
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    Re: Basement wall finish for shop

    Quote Originally Posted by tsorfas View Post
    Similar situation here. The only “prep” I did on the walls was paint them with garage paint. In my head it helps with moisture. No idea how true that it is.
    I painted mine with bright white concrete paint, came out awesome and super cost effective/quick. Concrete anchors to mount shelves, etc.

    Edit: not nearly as nice as drywall would have been, like OP is considering.

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    Last edited by gixxer72; 02-05-19 at 06:37 PM.

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    Awesomeness, Inc. MattR302's Avatar
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    Re: Basement wall finish for shop

    I did OSB on the walls on my downstairs utility room/workshop. It's a raised ranch, so its not really basement, it's the lower level, attached to the garage. I removed 60's wood paneling.
    I only screwed the OSB to the studs, I wouldn't use the glue too. One of the benefits that I saw to this is if I ever wanted to run more wiring or plumbing, just unscrew it.
    I did the "smooth" side out. I rolled latex primer, and semi-gloss white - I think it took a couple coats of each, the OSB soaked up a lot. Some of the looser strands swelled and lifted up, had to chop them with a razor blade. I'm wondering if an oil-based primer would help prevent it from soaking/swelling up so much. The semi-gloss helps brighten it up quite a bit though.
    On the wall against the garage, I did the bottom 4' with the OSB, and the top with a 4x8 piece of pegboard. I installed my old kitchen base cabinets beneath the pegboard to make a workbench.
    Not sure why you're worried about leaving a gap at the top for possibly finishing the ceiling later?

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  5. #5
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Basement wall finish for shop

    In my experience it is generally a better idea to finish the ceiling before walls. Budget and laziness prevail here.

    I want the osb so I have something to nail or screw to.

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    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Basement wall finish for shop

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    In my experience it is generally a better idea to finish the ceiling before walls. Budget and laziness prevail here.

    I want the osb so I have something to nail or screw to.
    That’s really only true if you actually *do* the ceiling first

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  7. #7
    Lifer Falko's Avatar
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    Re: Basement wall finish for shop

    Just keep in mind concrete wicks moisture. Even though you may not have a sightly moisture issue, your walls might be pulling moisture through. If you put up OSB, you're trapping that moisture now and it might collect there. If you are confident there is no moisture issue, go for it. One way to check is tape a piece of plastic sheathing to the wall, seal all four sides with tape. See if that collects moisture behind it. If it does, you can dry lock the wall to help seal it up.

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  8. #8
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Basement wall finish for shop

    What is dry lock? Is that some kind of sealer?

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    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Basement wall finish for shop

    UGL | Latex Base DRYLOK(R) Masonry Waterproofer

    So I should (or could) just throw up a coat of this before putting up my stuff? Seems like cheap insurance..

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  10. #10
    Lifer Falko's Avatar
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    Re: Basement wall finish for shop

    Yes, that's the stuff. It isn't overly cheap, but to make sure you don't end up with a 70's bush of mold in the wall space, might not hurt. I have a very wet basement and have coated areas with this. It holds up fine as long as the water isn't really bad in that spot. It keeps the painted spot of the wall dry. Sounds like your basement is easily dry enough to coat it if you wanted to and it would keep any wicking to a minimum.

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  11. #11
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Basement wall finish for shop

    The moisture test that Falko mentioned is a good one, I'd forgotten all about it.

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  12. #12
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Basement wall finish for shop

    I imagine it is seasonal.

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    Re: Basement wall finish for shop

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    UGL | Latex Base DRYLOK(R) Masonry Waterproofer

    So I should (or could) just throw up a coat of this before putting up my stuff? Seems like cheap insurance..
    I did this for piece of mind. Never had a water issue but didn't want to build something and then have to 'fix' it.

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    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Basement wall finish for shop

    I know that my dehumidifier sucks a ton of moisture, so all my wood that has contact with concrete is PT, and all my sheetrock is the blue moisture resistant stuff

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    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Basement wall finish for shop

    I have a hybrid water heater now. That is basically a dehumidifier. I haven't gotten around to plumbing the condensate dump yet.. and haven't needed to. The water evaporates from the bucket faster than the heater accumulates it. I'm sure this'll change come May or June.

    Lots of problems with this house. But knock wood, a wet basement isn't one of them.

    I think I'll buy and apply the roll on sealant. Thanks all.

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    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Basement wall finish for shop

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    I have a hybrid water heater now. That is basically a dehumidifier. I haven't gotten around to plumbing the condensate dump yet...

    tell me more, is it LP ? tankless ? I have been contemplating replacing my hot water heater that can no longer keep up with demand, I have slightly hard water, not worth softening, but over 35 years, the minerals have built up in my Paloma tankless LP. been looking at a Rinnai, but if I could combine dehumidifier duty, I'd even consider a tank type if that is a requirement. But LP is a must

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  17. #17
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Basement wall finish for shop

    Hybrid heaters use a heat pump. They are electric and are tank type.

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    Re: Basement wall finish for shop

    I did my ceiling. Had open joists, so I threw insulation up there and then 3/8 sheetrock. Super half-assed, but it's great. I had wanted to insulate that floor anyway, and with the bright white ceiling the lighting down there is dramatically improved. Might do the walls someday, but I have a garage so this is only used on a few long-term bike builds, so I'm pretty happy as-is.

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    Don't bother me! R7's Avatar
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    Re: Basement wall finish for shop

    If you want to add the osb to your walls, the best way to do it is fasten steel high hats vertical to the concrete walls using a ramset gun, with 1” nails. Then screw the osb to the high hats making sure you leave an air gap between the floor and the wood. Same up top, you want air the flow behind the osb. If your basement is dry now, I wouldn’t bother painting the concrete with anything.

    I’ve finished a few basements in the past, I’ve never used wood of any type against the concrete. PT is nice because it doesn’t rot and insects don’t like it, but it’s still wood and still holds moisture... which = mold.

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    Lifer Kurlon's Avatar
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    Re: Basement wall finish for shop

    And as I just found out today, there are fire rated drop ceilings appropriate for garage/basement use.

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  21. #21
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Basement wall finish for shop

    I just put up the first coat of the dryloc stuff. Turns out the label is HUGELY optimistic about coverage. I'm barely doing 24 linear feet of wall here and pretty well killed a can with just one coat. I don't think I applied it very well either as there are gaps everywhere. I'm not sure there is a roller with a deep enough nap to get that stuff to cover well. It says you can spray it. But its so thick and has particulates in it.. can't imagine a sprayer that could throw this stuff.

    I feel like it was a waste of $25. Oh well.

    Quote Originally Posted by R7 View Post
    If you want to add the osb to your walls, the best way to do it is fasten steel high hats vertical to the concrete walls using a ramset gun, with 1” nails. Then screw the osb to the high hats making sure you leave an air gap between the floor and the wood. Same up top, you want air the flow behind the osb. If your basement is dry now, I wouldn’t bother painting the concrete with anything.
    This is probably a better fit for what I was looking for. I have no desire to finish the basement floor and actually plan to leave a 2-3" gap at the bottom anyway. Leaving a gap at the top would/will be fine.

    Metal strips is a good idea. Where does one find those?


    I have lumbar nailed or screwed to the wall all over this basement for boat racks, shelving, and misc other junk and none of it has shown any signs of taking on moisture. I'll probably be fine with the 2x3's I plan to use considering there will be airflow.

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  22. #22
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Basement wall finish for shop

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurlon View Post
    And as I just found out today, there are fire rated drop ceilings appropriate for garage/basement use.
    No thanks. Something about drop ceilings makes my skin crawl.
    Ceiling height is low enough down there as it is.

    2 layers of the fire-rated stuff with custom panels for accessing all the plumbing cutoffs and drain clean outs... someday.

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  23. #23
    Don't bother me! R7's Avatar
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    Re: Basement wall finish for shop

    You should be able to get metal high hats at at home Depot or Lowe's. They are basically ferring strips, but made of metal. Regular drywall screws will work for fastening the OSB.

    As for drop ceiling, it can be made to be nice. Put the tracks up, use the 2x2 grid system, buy some sheets of 5/8" sheetrock and make your own drop in tiles. There's your fire rated ceiling, that's sturdy, and a fraction of the cost.

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  24. #24
    Lifer 01xj's Avatar
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    Re: Basement wall finish for shop

    Guy who lived in my house before me painted the basement workshop floor with the UGL Drylock and while he did an unbelievably shitty job, it's held up incredibly well. I'd have no hesitation using that on my walls as some cheap insurance before you went with wood studs or another solution to finish.

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    Last edited by 01xj; 02-06-19 at 10:30 PM.

  25. #25
    Lifer Garandman's Avatar
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    Re: Basement wall finish for shop

    In our garage we covered the walls with white 1/4” pegboard.

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