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I recently bought a house and it has an unfinished suspended garage (big concrete room with 12’ ceilings in the basement under the garage).

The walls, floor, and ceiling are all concrete and there are steel I beams in place for extra support.

I’d like to finish it and turn it into a theater room, but it isn’t framed. Given that the framing would not need to be load bearing, can I get away with something cheaper than 2x4’s? Or am I going to regret cutting this corner.

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    What is "an unfinished suspended garage room in the basement"? Can you attach a pic of the room/space? – Jimmy Fix-it May 25 at 22:13
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    A suspended garage is a big concrete room under the garage. There aren’t any lights to a pic is tricky. Just imagine a big cement room with 12’ ceilings. – Westley May 25 at 22:52
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    If you are framing a 12 foot high wall, that's asking a lot of a 2x3 unless you can tie them into the structural walls mid-way. Then again, perhaps you should at least consider some other finish that does not need studs at all - plaster, stucco, or tiles direct to concrete rather than the stock hollow drywall rodent-haven. – Ecnerwal May 26 at 1:22
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    Is lumber expensive in your area? We use wood because it's cheap, not because we like the slivers. :) – isherwood May 26 at 13:03
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    Are you asking simply to fur the outside walls so that you have space for wiring/... behind the finish drywall, or to put partitions up to divide the space? – ThreePhaseEel May 27 at 0:27
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There aren't many options for framing cheaper than basic 2x4 lumber. You could go down to 2x3 which is sometimes cheaper but you'll find that interior doors and insulation are generally sized for 2x4 walls with 1/2" drywall.

You could also consider metal studs. These are available down to 1.5 inches in thickness (fine if all you want to do is hide the concrete.) The cost is often slightly higher than wood, but you won't get mold if the space is still a little damp. They are also usually available in longer lengths (owing to their primary use in commercial spaces) and they are always dimensionally straight. Installing metal studs goes really fast once you get a hang of it, but again doors can be difficult.

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