Paneling the basement walls is very popular in North America. However, it is frequently used to finish the concrete walls of a basement because of its affordability, durability, and ability to make the downstairs livable. And pine paneling can add a slightly rustic charm to any room, while hiding worn, cracked or otherwise damaged plaster walls.

Basement ApartmentFinishing a basement with paneling requires only basic skills and is inexpensive for a home owner content to do the project himself.

The basics of panel installation are the same, even when the panel styles require a slightly different method.

Typical basement refinishing wall panel installation time is 100 square feet per hour.

You can get the job done fast! Tongue and groove edges press-fit together quickly and easily, constructing a solid insulated floor over concrete.

Preparation:

1 – First of all, let the panels sit in the room where they are going to be installed for a week or two before installation, as the wood will initially expand or contract with the environment of its new setting. You can either stand them up individually on their long edges around the room or stack them flat using plenty of wooden sticks between each panel to allow air to flow freely between them.

2 – Make sure concrete wall is clean. Before paneling your basement it is first necessary to waterproof the basement to prevent mildew and damage to your foundation. Walls that appear dry may actually become damp when enclosed by paneling. So, it is essential to make sure your basement walls will stay dry before installing paneling. Some problems can be fixed by attaching a simple moisture barrier, while others may require the drainage around the home to be altered.

3 – With moisture problems eliminated, begin by installing furring strips. Furring strips are simply small pieces of lumber that you will then nail the paneling into. Furring strips are necessary to even out the supporting walls as well as provide space in which to install insulation between the paneling and the concrete wall.

4 – Measure out from one of the corners 16 inches and snap a vertical chalk line. Measure out from that chalk line 16 inches and snap another line. Continue until you have a series of vertical chalk lines that are spaced 16 inches around the entire perimeter of the basement.

5 – Start by screwing furring strips to the wall that are flush with the floor and ceiling. Furring strips can be attached using masonry screws and a screwdriver, with screws spaced every 10 inches. If your walls are severely uneven you will need to install furring strips horizontally in addition to the vertical furring strips described here.

Installing Insulation:

1 – When the furring strips are completely installed, you should then plan on installing some insulation. There are a variety of insulating materials that can be used to insulate basement walls. Your best bet will be to use foam board insulation. Foam insulation is preferred for its narrow depth and relatively high R value.

2 – Measure the exact distance between the furring strips and cut the insulation to fit between the furring strips. If you are using insulation with paper or foil facing, the facing can be stapled to the furring strips. If you are using rigid foam insulation, you should glue it in place with adhesive.

3 – Then staple plastic sheeting to the furring strips being sure to pull it taught between each furring strip. The facing or plastic sheeting protects the insulation from any moisture that may come through the paneling from your living space.

Installing your Paneling:

1 – Now you can install the basement paneling. Most paneling comes in 4 feet by 8 feet sections. You should install the basement paneling vertically, starting from a corner. The ends of the paneling should meet over a furring strip, allowing you to secure both ends of the paneling.

2 – Paneling should be cut with a fine-tooth hand or power saw to keep it from splintering.  Be sure to measure for each piece of paneling to avoid mistakes. TIP: “Cover the line for future cut with painter tape and do the cutting over the tape.”

3 – It is recommended that you allow 1/2” clearance between the bottom of the paneling and the floor. Put adhesive on the furring strips that each panel will cover. You have about 10 minutes after applying adhesive to work with it, so work carefully, yet quickly.

4 – Start paneling from a corner and work your way around the room. Panels are typically 4 feet wide, and therefore each panel should end in the center of a furring strip.

5 – Partially nail your panel in to the top furring strip and place a wedge between the bottom of the panel and your bottom stud so that it hangs away from the furring strips. This allows time for the adhesive to get tacky.

6 – With the paneling installed, you should consider any finish work you must do in the basement. Use a nail set and wood putty to eliminate the appearance of nail heads.

7 – Installing molding around basement doors, windows, and at the top and bottom of the panels will give the basement a more refined appearance.

8 – When all of the woodwork is installed, do any paintings or necessary touch ups to make the basement paneling a uniform color and hide any wood putty.

Fitting electrical boxes:

a) First, generously chalk the wall around the edges of box.
b) Then, hold the panel in position and tap it lightly against the chalked box.
c) When the panel is taken away, the box outline will have been transferred to the back of the panel.
d) Simply drill four holes at the corners of the chalk outline, insert a keyhole saw, and make the cutout. Make it 1/4″ larger than the cut-line.

Installing around doorways and windows:

a) Measure horizontally from the last panel installed to the untrimmed opening where you want the edge of the panel to reach.
b) Measure from the floor to the top of the door.
c) Transfer these measurements onto the face of the panel and saw out the rectangle of waste material. Saw to leave a 1/4″ gap between the edge of the panel and the opening.
d) Once your paneling is installed, you can finish the project with trim.