Paneling vs Drywall for new basement?


Old 02-17-03, 05:44 AM
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Paneling vs Drywall for new basement?

Hello! I would love to get some opinions on wheather or not to use paneling or drywall for finishing a basement. It's a fairly large area, probably 800 square feet of living space. Anyway, I am torn between what to use on the walls and my wife and I are at a standstill. I haven't priced anything at all and was wondering what would be less expensive to apply. I am no good at drywall finishing so I would have to pay to have that done. I can put it up with no problem but would not even attempt to "finish" the drywall! So, based on that information, which would be a cheaper way to go? Paneling or drywall? Keeping in mind I'd have to pay someone eventually to sand and finish the drywall seams. The paneling I could install start to finish with no problem but I don't have any idea what all this would cost! I plan to frame in the walls of the basement with 2x4 construction BTW and add a drop ceiling later on with indoor/outdoor carpeting for the floor.

Thanks for any help or advice in advance.

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Old 02-17-03, 06:16 AM
Lew Falconer
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Good morning. I think you should check with your local building authority. From what I've read in other threads; in most areas you must install drywall under paneling. You don't have to tape the drywall but it must be there. Now you have to compare the cost of paneling against the cost of taping and jointing the drywall. From a re-sale point of view, a nice drywall finish is easier to sell than paneling.
Check with the building authority whether or not you're pulling a permit for the job and see what is required in your area.
Have a good day and let us know how your project works out.
Old 02-17-03, 06:29 AM
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Oh really? I was unaware you HAD to install drywall regardless. Of course, this is IF I were to get a permit. (wink) I built a deck once (a few years ago) and doing it the "legal" way by obtaining a permit, having it inspected, etc was the worst possible experience in my life and I swore to myself I'd never get a permit for anything as long as I lived. LOL I live in a township and they rake you over the coals for anything you build! To extreme!

Anyway, just some food for thought, we do not ever "plan" on selling this home. This is hopefully our last. I know, anything can happen but seriously, we are building a new home and it's everything we have always wanted. So, I have plenty of time to finish this basement because they haven't even broken ground on it yet! I am just getting ideas.

My basement will be an "entertainment" room complete with a wet bar, pool table, dance area, etc. LOL So I am planning around this thought just so you know. I want something that will be low maintenance and not easily damaged from guests who may have a little to much to drink one night. Let's hope that doesn't happen but just in case. You never know...

Thanks for the info!

Old 02-17-03, 08:29 AM
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Just to let you know, the issue of paneling is regarding the fire codes. Anything less than 1/4" thick paneling does require a sheetrock backer - ***THIS IS FOR FIRE PROTECTION***. In most municipalities, only 1/2" is allowed. It should be firetaped (one coat at all seams) and then the paneling can be placed over it - No sanding required. This is for your safety in event of fire.

I have attached 2 examples of what is required in lower levels. - This is a "general rule of thumb" format for basements but you will get the idea as to what is and isn't allowed. This includes fireblocking, heat and cold air returns, etc.

Check with your local building authorities as to what requirements are within your area.

Hope this helps!
Old 02-17-03, 08:32 AM
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Sheetrock in the basement may save your life upstairs if you have a basement fire. Homes scare me to death that have only wood or paneled walls. Sheetrock I'm sure is code. in the US. Good luck with your new home.
Old 02-17-03, 08:57 AM
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Ok, good point guys. Thanks. Nobody ever expects a fire to happen to them do they? So I guess after more thinking I will probably just do drywall and pay to have it finished off. This way I can always change colors or patterns. And you are right in the fact that resale would be better with drywall just in the event we do need to sell for whatever reason.

Great advice! Thanks a million!

Old 02-18-03, 07:28 PM
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Good choice. Stay away from panelling. If you ever decided to change the look of panelling, it's a real pain. You can't just paint it.

Besides, when was the last time you were in a pool hall that had panelling on the walls?

Good luck with the house
Old 02-21-03, 08:24 AM
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: North Reading, MA
Posts: 136 forward a few years. You've long ago built your basement, put up with the temporary mess, headaches and disruption to do it, and you are sitting down in your nice basement watching the superbowl on a 60" TV...and behind it, staring at you is that paneling. And you're thinking, "because I wanted to save $500."

...and meanwhile your house is worth half a million dollars.

I know that money can be an object for most people, esp. when all the big expenses come at once, so I don't fell comfortable advocating to people to spend extra, but you admitted you will be in the house forever. As painful as the extra cost is now ($100, $500, $1000, or whatever it is), if you do have the cash, remember that you are doing this for YOU, and you will get the benefit of the sacrifice, and not someone else that will be living in the house in a few years...cause YOU will be living in the house for the next many, many years.
Old 02-23-03, 08:35 AM
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For those that are thinking of paneling in the basement, may I sugest 1/4" luan. It is designed for underlayment, has a moisture barrier and the one side is mahogany and is sanded to an A finish. it is easy to handle and takes paint very well. I suppose one could stain it if wanted. The other great thing about this product is that it is about 1/2 the cost of wall paneling. Most paneling has those groves in it, this dose'nt. If you watch for sales at home improvement stores you can pick up a sheet for about $6.00- compared to $12-15 for paneling.

I work in theatre and have used this product for stage walls for years. Low cost and it looks great. I have used it in my basement as well.

It might be a regional product and not available in all areas of the states.

Just my 2 cents

Old 02-23-03, 09:09 AM
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Just to make sure that everyone understands what you are suggesting let's just mention some facts;

First, this 1/4" Luan is not the typical grade that you use for underalyment for flooring which the cost would be normally cheaper.

Second, you must purchase a Type 1, which is an Exterior grade Luan which does provide a moisture barrier.

Third, cost is approximately $10.00 per sheet.

Fourth and final, even with this, a drywall backer should be applied as it will not be as flat a surface as you would like over time.

Finally, check with your local building officials to ensure that it is permitted to install in your basement. Again, application of this is not permitted everywhere as per Fire Codes.

Just to let everyone know!
Old 02-25-03, 07:30 PM
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Unhappy paneling or drywall

If I were you, I would pick drywall for your basement walls. We thought real wood paneling would look good for a rec. room, but it doesnt all match. The coloring of the wood and the grain doesnt always match up. Ofcourse if my husband would have layed them out before putting them up it would have helped.

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