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Community and Q&A

Basement wall finishing

reimhagen | Posted in General Questions on

I plan on finishing my basement according to the oft-cited “no-mold basement” method.  Is it recommended to use a paperless drywall in this case?  Is DensArmor plus a good product to use here?

Does the type of paint I use matter?  I assume the paperless drywall is preferred due to it not being a vapor barrier.  Would standard latex paint negate the benefits if applied to this drywall as it would act as a vapor barrier?

Thanks in advance

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  1. Expert Member


    Neither regular (paper-faced) or paperless drywall are vapour barriers. Latex paint is also relatively vapour-open. You can safely use DensArmor and latex paint on the interior of the basement walls, it just takes a bit more work to get a smooth finish than regular drywall.

    1. reimhagen | | #2

      Thanks for the reply. Does that mean from a vapor and drying standpoint, it doesn't matter whether I use paper-faced or non-paper faced? Is the non-paper-faced recommendation made primarily for the sake of inhibiting potential mold growth?

      1. Expert Member
        MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #3


        Paper-faced drywall is actually more vapour-open than paperless, but neither of them or the latex paint will inhibit drying to the point where it is a problem unless there is something very wrong with the concrete walls. Paperless drywall is as you say recommended for it's resistance to moisture.

  2. reimhagen | | #4

    So I am currently demoing the basement. The previous owner who did the finishing work did a poor job with insulation; there are fiberglass batts in the wall but that's it. He also adhered wall to wall carpet directly to the (uninsulated-and-probably-doesn't-have-plastic-underneath) concrete slab.

    However, despite this, the drywall (which is standard 1/2" paper-faced drywall) is in pretty good shape. A couple places had a little bit of visible mold, but most of it was unscathed.

    Given that fiberglass faced drywall is more difficult to achieve a smooth finish + paint job, how well would the mold-resistant paper-faced drywall perform in this scenario? I will be going through the full rigid foam approach against the wall and floor and sealing the seams with tape, so I imagine any mold problem will be less than what I had before as well.

    The mold resistant paper-faced drywall is also more readily available than the fiberglass faced product, and at a lower price as well. If it performs reasonably well, I may consider using it instead of the fiberglass faced product.

    1. Expert Member
      MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #5


      The advice as to what materials to use in basements usually includes the chance that the area will flood. If you are confident yours won't you have a lot more wiggle-room in what you use. Given that the vast majority of basements used regular drywall, and that the damage they see is usually to the insulation, not the boards, my own feeling is paper-faced, mold resistant drywall is adequate.

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