My basement has many ripped drywall areas like in this picture.

enter image description here

How can I cover these areas up with minimal effort and cost. It doesn't need to be permanent or look extremely good, as I see this as semi-permanent solution to make it less ugly for the time being. Covering it up with drywall is an obvious choice but it costs quite a bit and it's not the easiest to cut and install. Is there another type of material (such as thin wood board) that I can consider?

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    This is my opinion, so not quite an answer, but all I would do here is cleanly remove the ripped and damaged drywall and tidy up. Cap off the drain, make sure nothing's exposed that could be dangerous, and leave it at that. From my perspective visiting someone's house, "waiting to be finished" is a better look than "half-assedly finished". – Robert Nubel Jun 29 '17 at 15:09
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    drywall is significantly cheaper than wood. – Ecnerwal Jun 29 '17 at 15:29
  • Houseguest? Dr. Bruce Banner, perhaps? – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jun 29 '17 at 16:51
  • Are you planning on actually finishing the basement at some point? Putting up any wall covering is going to be some amount of pain later, if you decide you want to insulate, add wiring, etc. Just something to consider. – gregmac Jun 29 '17 at 16:59

For temporary, stapling up some black plastic would be the cheapest way to go. Other than that, with any wood or drywall you still have to cut holes for the outlets and plumbing.

  • Could you please give me some link or reference as to the specific model? And which would be the best store to get in Canada? Thanks. – KubiK888 Jun 29 '17 at 15:52
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    4 or 6-mil polyethylene sheeting. – isherwood Jun 29 '17 at 16:13

If you're just looking to cover up the wall, a sheet of 1/4" or 1/2" plywood (4x8') would probably work. You can get them at the big box stores for $20 or less.

I'm not sure how much drywall costs where you are, but my big blue store carries a 4x8' sheet of 1/2" drywall for $8. If you've already got a level and a utility knife, you can cut it to size (score with the knife and snap). If not, those are things you should probably own as a homeowner anyway, so now's as good a time as any to get them! If you want to get fancy, you could get a drywall square; my blue store has one for $12. Throw in tape and a tub of premixed compound for $15 or so, and you're out the door for just more than the plywood. If you've got more than one of these areas to do, you'll only need more drywall making it cheaper overall.

If this is the only place you're needing to fix, it looks like a single 4x8' sheet would cover that whole area, with little left over. In that case, the plywood might be slightly cheaper, but if you need a second sheet for another area, the drywall starts to become cheaper.

Of course, you could just put up the drywall without any compound, making it much cheaper than the plywood.


Fully remove the damaged drywall material and clean up the area.

Then if you want to get this looking more finished then install new drywall as was originally intended on these studs. Drywall will likely be your lowest cost material.

Drywall material is also relatively easy to cut and install. It is certainly easier finish after installation to a nice smooth surface if it is taped and mudded properly. As such it is much more forgiving as to where you select to have seams which can be needed to fit pieces in around awkward items that are in the way of installation. Using most other types of sheet goods to cover the wall is ending up to be more difficult that using drywall.

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