I have just purchased a home which I will be renovating prior to moving in. The house was built in 1950 and has cinder block ex/interior walls. I have an area going into the hallway which attaches to an addition which is 2x4 wood framed walls. The stick framing is flush with the block wall. The previous owner adhered plain wood paneling directly to the block wall and, of course, nailed the paneling to the wood section.

Is it OK to adhere x" drywall to the interior block wall? There are no signs of complications with the original install. The owner was an anal architect; he dated the install 1987.

The other side of the wall is in the kitchen which I plan to mount 1 or 2x furring strips to accommodate electrical/gas in the wall. This wall will consist of a range, hood, and cabinetry.

If it is not recommended, can anyone suggest a thin covering for the wood framed area so I can texture to match the adjoining section?

2 Answers 2


Yes you can set drywall directly to the block wall. If it intersects with an exterior wall that is exposed to the weather, I would place a layer of poly of out of the intersecting corner, if accessible, out no more than 2', 18" would probably be better, vertically to prevent any moisture coming through the block and getting into the sheetrock. Use drywall clips to hold the corner, so no nails go through the plastic. If it does not, ignore this recommendation.

To mount the drywall use a glue in the large tubes, you will go through a lot. Blob on golf ball sized portions of glue on an approx. 16"X16" grid. Set your drywall onto that and secure directly into the block with drywall nails. that is if they pass the test.

To test your nails drive a few drywall nails into the face of the block before you start your drywall install. Do not nail in the joints, the mortar is much denser. On true cinder block, not slag block, (slag block is a newer process ) I have run 1 1/4" drywall screws right into the block, that may do what you need right away. Other nails to try just to hold the sheetrock long enough for the glue to grip are roofing nails. Find one of theses that is suitable for your install.

After you sort out which fasteners to use, hold the sheetrock tight to the wall in the place you want to nail or screw. Set your fastener, some help here would be beneficial and set a few more before you move down the sheet to add more. The amount of fasteners needed will be only enough to hold the sheet flat, the glue will do the rest.

  • Thanks for the very detailed answer. I have found other areas in the home with drywall nails working just fine nailed in the block so I imagine I can achieve the same results. Feb 27, 2014 at 20:13

If you live in a cold climate I would sacrifice a couple square feet of living space and add 2x4 studded walls in front of block wall. This way you can get proper insulation and use electrical boxes. If you are getting permits you may be required to do this to insulate the walls up to R21 depending on climate zone

  • 2
    It would make the most sense to do this on the outside of the walls in order to take advantage of the block walls' thermal mass, especially if you're in a climate with moderate to high diurnal temperature changes. The code recognizes this and even permits you to use less insulation if the kind of wall you're insulating is a "mass wall" and the insulation is on the outside. Check out publicecodes.cyberregs.com/icod/irc/2012/…
    – iLikeDirt
    Feb 27, 2014 at 15:48
  • Thanks, I live in Sacramento, CA so I'm not too worried about the insulation especially considering the wall comp. It is a load bearing wall inside the house and is, for the most part - as far as I can tell, pretty much solidified with poured crete. I would rather do a furring strip as well, probably not 2x4 as you suggest but something, because it seems like the "right" thing to do, however the way the wall perpendicular to the wall creating the entry was finished it would unacceptably reduce the width of the entry. Feb 27, 2014 at 20:11

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