Cost to Drywall a Basement

The cost to drywall a basement is $1.40 to $2.35 per square foot when studs or furring strips are in place. That’s a narrower range than the cost to drywall a house, since there are fewer cost factors.

The cost to frame and drywall a basement is $3.90 to $7.70 per square foot. When furring strips are used instead of 2×4’s, cost is $3.35 to $5.10 per square foot.

For a 1,000 square foot basement when just perimeter walls are covered:

Low Cost$1,850
Average Cost$4,000
High Cost$5,750


Additional cost factors are discussed below that explain the wide range of basement drywall cost per square foot.

This page answers the question – how much does it cost to drywall a basement? If you want to drywall more than just the basement, check out the cost to drywall a house page.

Cost factors are discussed with specific pricing details based on those cost factors.

Note: Drywall is also called sheetrock, gypsum board and wallboard. See the difference between drywall vs plaster.

How Much Does it Cost to Drywall a Basement?

Since you can’t simply glue drywall to a concrete foundation, this section includes itemized basement drywall costs.

We also answer, how much does it cost to drywall a basement ceiling?

These basement drywall prices are for drywall that is hung and finished by professionals.

  • Average cost to drywall a basement (drywall only): $1.40 – $2.85 per square foot
  • Average cost of furring strips plus drywall: $3.35 – $5.10 per square foot
  • Average cost to frame and drywall a basement: $3.90 – $7.70 per square foot
  • Average cost to replace basement drywall plus disposal: $2.50 – $4.20 per square foot
  • Average cost to drywall a basement ceiling: $2.25 – $3.55 per square foot

Basement Drywall Installation Cost Comparison

This table shows average cost to frame and drywall a basement, or install drywall only, with the major price factors included. Price factors are spelled out in detail below.

Cost to Drywall a 1,200 Square Foot Basement
Cost FactorLow CostAverage CostHigh Cost
Cost$1,680 – $2,820$4,020 – $6,120$4,680 – $9,240
FramingNoneFurring2×4 Framing
Drywall TypeStandardEitherMold Resistant
ThicknessLess than 1/2″3/8″ or 1/2″1/2″ or thicker
Ceiling Height8-9 Foot8-9 Foot9-10 Foot
Corners44-66+
Drywall RemovalNoYes or NoYes or No
Ceiling DrywallSee CeilingDrywall PricesBelow
Cost per Sq. Ft.$1.40 – $2.85$3.35 – $5.10$3.90 – $7.70

Price Factors

These cost factors will play a role in the prices you hear from contractors when you request basement drywall estimates.

Drywall Type: Standard drywall for basements has paper on both sides but is not treated. Specialty drywall is treated to resist moisture and mold. Fire-resistant drywall is also available but isn’t typical for basements except, perhaps, in or near a mechanical room containing a gas furnace or boiler.

Drywall Thickness: Drywall starts at 1/4”.  The most commonly used thicknesses are 3/8” and 1/2″. Only 1/2″ and 5/8” drywall is used on ceilings. The others are not suitable for ceilings because they aren’t rigid enough and will sag on ceilings. Homedepot provide a full range of drywall thicknesses and options.

Installation Complexity: An open, 4-corner basement is easy to work with. Challenges like additional corners and working around obstructions raise the cost.

Ceiling Height: Whether the ceilings are 8’, 9’ or 10’ affects cost when an additional seam is necessary. Sheetrock 4’ and 4.5’ wide is available, but not 5’ wide.

Ceiling Finish: When the ceiling is covered in drywall, your options are to have it textured or finished smooth. A smooth finish takes much more labor – three layers of joint compound applied, allowed to dry and then sanded smooth. Texturing is quick – compound sprayed onto the ceiling and allowed to dry. It is often then “knocked down,” or scraped to finish the ceiling.

New or Replacement Drywall: Removing old drywall and disposing of it adds $1.00 to $1.50 per square foot to the cost.

Basement Ceiling Installation Cost Comparison

We did not include basement ceiling drywall costs in the comparison chart above because many basement ceilings are not covered in sheetrock/drywall.

Some are left open; others are covered with a drop ceiling system of rails and panels that makes it much easier to access overhead pipes, wiring and ductwork.

How much does it cost to drywall a basement ceiling?

Cost to Drywall 1,000 Sq. Ft. of Basement Ceiling
LowAverageHigh
Cost$2.25/sq. ft.$2.90/sq. ft.$3.35/sq. ft.
Total Cost$2,250$2,900$3,350
Drywall TypeStandardEitherMold Resistant
Ceiling TextureTexturedEitherSmooth
ComplexityEasyModerateDifficult

Average Cost to Drywall a Basement by Basement Size

This table covers three common basement sizes in terms of square footage, i.e., the footprint of the basement.

The difference in square footage in the Low/Average/High ranges for each basement size accounts for interior walls that are covered in wallboard.

Average Cost to Drywall a Basement By Size
Cost to Drywall a
1,000 square footBasementTotal Cost
Low Cost x 1,120 square feet
$2,072
Average Cost x 1,680 square feet
$6,720
High Cost x 2,240 square feet
$12,880
Cost to Drywall a 1,500 square foot Basement
Low Cost x 1,280 square feet
$2,370
Average Cost x 1,920 square feet
$7,680
High Cost x 2,560 square feet
$14,720
Cost to Drywall a 2,000 square foot Basement
Low Cost x 1,480 square feet
$2,740
Average Cost x 2,220 square feet
$8,880
High Cost x 2,960 square feet
$17,000

For each basement size, the Low Cost tier if for drywall installed on perimeter walls only. The Average Cost and High Cost lines are for basements with interior walls, either a few (Average) or a significant number (High).

  • Low Cost: $1.85 per square foot. This price range is for basements where drywall only is being installed. No furring strips or framing is included.
  • Average Cost: $4.00 per square foot. This price is for basements where furring has been installed around the perimeter. Any interior walls are already framed.
  • High Cost: $5.75 per square foot. This price includes 2’x4’ framing of the perimeter walls but not framing of interior walls.

Don’t Forget Vapor Barrier & Treated Lumber

There are two additional steps you should consider when drywalling a basement.

The first is to install a vapor barrier against the foundation because moisture does migrate through poured concrete and block.

Also, the bottom plate of your framing should be treated lumber to avoid moisture issues – or install barrier under the plate too.

  • Vapor barrier and tape material costs: 25 to 45 cents per square foot.
  • Installed vapor barrier cost: $1.70 to $3.50 per square foot.

Avoid This Drywall Calculation Error

It might give you sticker shock, if you do.

A common mistake is to take basement drywall cost per square foot and multiply it by the size of the basement.

However, the basement drywall cost per square feet refers, of course, to the square footage of the wall space – or ceiling space. To gain this, you have to measure the height and width of each wall, or the length and width of each ceiling section, and add them together.

What Kind of Drywall is Best for the Basement?

There are two types commonly used – standard drywall and drywall that is resistant to moisture and mold.

Use standard drywall if: You climate is arid or you don’t have basement moisture issues because it is a walkout basement and gets good ventilation or you run a dehumidifier in summer and heat the space in winter.

Standard drywall ranges from about 17 cents to 20 cents per square foot, or $8 to $10 per 4’x8’ sheet.

Use mold/moisture resistant drywall if: You definitely have a damp basement or you don’t mind paying a little more “just to be sure.” It’s what we recommend.

Mold- and moisture-resistant drywall costs just  little bit more – in the range of 20 to 24 cents per square foot, or $10 to $11.50 per 4’x8’ sheet.