Basement Revamp

Old 10-23-00, 11:20 AM
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I'm trying to decide how best to brighten-up/revamp our basement to use it as a play area. It currently has dark "fake" pressed-board paneling with a " drywall backer nailed to 1"*2" furring strips that are attached to the cement block. There is no insulation or vapor barrier. We don't currently have any moisture problems.
Assuming I want to keep it cheap and simple, can I attempt to paint this type of paneling? If so, are their any special techniques (deglazers or special primers) I should use?

Would I gain sufficient extra comfort (I live in the Midwest) by adding insulation to these cement block walls? If so, what are your suggestions? Can I simply remove the paneling, install/attach foam boards to the drywall backer and then reinstall the paneling or would I have to rip out everything down to the cement block and start over? What about vapor barriers (no current moisture issues)?

As for flooring, I'm just planning on installing durable carpeting (the cement floor is a bit uneven due to 70 years of settling) - should I use indoor/outdoor carpeting - what about padding?

Old 10-23-00, 05:18 PM
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Not sure what you mean by a drywall "backer". Drywall is usually a finished surface. If you can get the paneling off without significant damage to the drywall, just take of the paneling, patch the holes, and paint it.

If you have no moisture problems now, I see no reason for a vapor barrier.

If you find you need to rip down the drywall anyway, then I'd probably install the vapor barrier underneath the new drywall -- it's cheap insurance.

Unless your basement is too cold to use, I wouldn't insulate it either -- there's not much room for insulation in the 3/4" space anyway.

Ask at your carpet store. You can use regular indoor carpet, but use a special vapor-retardant carpet pad.

Do you have sufficient electrical outlets? The furring strips don't allow for much electrical work. If you decide to upgrade the electrical too, then I'd take everything down and start over with 2x4 stud walls.
Old 10-24-00, 09:10 AM
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Thanks for the reply John.

A previous owner installed drywall over the furring strips to better support the flimsy laminate paneling. Unfortunately, the panel adhesive leaves significate reside on the drywall - plus the drywall seams were never taped/covered with joint compound.

Accordingly, I will try to simply paint the paneling. I've been told I can use a "blocking primer" (e.g. Kilnz) to create a better paint bond to the paneling. Hopefully the finish coat will look good enough - otherwise I may end-up pulling it all down and starting over (OUCH!).

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