Paneling without drywall

Old 01-27-03, 10:04 AM
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Paneling without drywall

My basement has a half wall of cinder block, 6 1/2 blocks high, then the rest studs with insulation. When I bought the house the top part was unfinished, i.e. studs and insulation (paper side toward inside) were exposed. I put up paneling to cover it, and later heard it was a no no to panel without drywall. Why was it ok for me to buy the house with no wall covering in a basement, and an issue to have paneling- i.e. I did not remove any drywall- just added paneling.

P.S. The family room and downstairs bedroom (split level) are paneled with no dry wall and I believe it was practice of the builder of that time, circa 1970.

Should I worry about that paneling in the basement?

Any advise appreciated,
Old 01-27-03, 05:04 PM
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Now what I am about to say varies by municipalities and ergions so here goes;

The issue of placing paneling only over studs of less than 1/4" does require a drywall. This is due to fire codes. In the event of a fire, paneling will go burn like crazy and the lack of a drywall backer and/or fireblocking is a major issue. SAFETY FIRST!

I am not sure but I believe that the code in 1970 was such that paneling was not allowed unless placed over a drywall backer, again if it was less than 1/4" paneling. Even if this was acceptable then, it is not now and as such the codes were changed to help protect all in the event of a tragedy. If this is larger than that, it was acceptable. If you have placed 1/4" or less, then it is not acceptable.

you may want to make a call to the building officials within your area to confirm the requirements.

Hope this helps!
Old 01-29-03, 05:27 PM
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Yes, thanks I did call. And they said it was ok, but I still wonder. The paneling in the upstairs looks like original construction, I mentioned this and he seemed surprised, but then said it was ok?? It's 1/4 inch I believe. One room with finish, the other plain (looks like that thin wood hollow closet doors are made from) and wallpapered over. The stuff I did for the top of the half wall was press board with faux finish looks maybe slightly larger than 1/4. Thanks again.
Old 01-30-03, 07:47 AM
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Even if it is allowed, I would not do it. Thin wood burns very quickly and makes a very hot fire. When I was a volunteer fireman we would not venture onto roofs with I trusses to ventilate. The webs loose strength to quickly in a fire. Even putting up a layer of drywall under the panelling and not bothering to tape and mud it would be better.

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