How to Drywall Under Basement Stairs? All You Need To Know!

Many people are intimidated by installing Drywall, especially under basement stairs, but it’s not that difficult. This blog post will walk you through why and how you to drywall under basement stairs. 

Installing Drywall under basement stairs is similar to any other Drywall installation. It’s, however, important not to use at least 1/2 inch thick Drywall to comply with the International Residential Code.

The process of installing drywall under basement stairs is similar to other installations you may have done in your house. If it’s been a while since you’ve done this, then don’t worry. It will initially seem intimidating, but once everything is set up and goes according to plan – there isn’t much more than sticking on some panels and calling yourself finished.

Can You Drywall Under Basement Stairs?

Yes, it’s advised to install drywall under the basement stairs. Different materials can be used for this practice, but drywall is your most economical and practical option.

Drywalling under basement stairs offers support and protects your home from fire hazards. As drywall is made of gypsum (A non-combustible mineral), all drywall types (including the regular drywall) are somewhat fire-resistant. 

Should You Drywall Under Basement Stairs?

It depends. The Residential Code recommends you fit at least a 1/2-inch thick layer of material under the staircase for safety. This is only applicable if you have any sort of accessible space (small closets or storage areas) under your staircase.

You can use different materials, but we recommend investing your money in Drywall. While Drywall is an economical option, hanging it’s a piece of cake. You can install drywall under basement stairs on your own without paying any compensation cost. 

For basement stairs, you don’t have to buy expensive fire-resistant drywall (Type X drywall), and you can use any moisture-resistant sheets as long as they are at least 1/2 inch thick. If you don’t have an accessible area beneath your basement staircase, you don’t have to drywall under the stairs!

What Type Of Drywall Should You Use?

That being said, using regular drywall under basement stairs is not recommended but can be used when certain conditions are met. As drywall is porous and basements are known for being leaky, regular sheets will ruin immediately. Instead, it would be best to get moisture-resistant drywall (the green board drywall) for the basement stairs.

On a side note, if you have just started a basement renovation project, don’t forget to check out our article “How to Drywall Basement Window?” This article will help you drywall over a basement window to look like the part of the wall.

Here’s How to Drywall Under Basement Stairs:

Installing drywall under basement stairs might require you to add additional framing based on how the staircase is constructed. In most cases, basement stairs feature two stringers. In that scenario, you’ll need to add another stringer to install drywall.

You’ll need to add the third stringer in the middle of the staircase. Skipping this step might cause your drywall not to have enough support and could lead to sagging or bulging.

Alternatively, you can also use 2x4s perpendicular to the existing stringers. Adding 2x4s at 16-24 inches intervals will provide extra stability and strength to support the drywall weight.

Here’s a complete guide explaining how to drywall under basement stairs:


First of all, go beneath the basement staircase and look for the boards on which the stair treads sit. These boards are known as stringers. If you have only two boards, add another one or use 2x4s.


As you’ll be installing drywall under the stair, measure the dimensions of the staircase from beneath. Ensure you get the correct measurements as you’ll use them to cut and hang the drywall.


Using a measuring tape, find the distance between the middle stringer and the wall. Mark the distance on your panel and draw a straight line in the center. This will be the center of your stair and must align with the central stringer.


The next step is to hang the drywall. Align the drywall with the central stringer and secure it using several screws and nails down the center. Once the drywall is secured, release it and drive screws and nails along the outer legs. 


Apply two coats of drywall mud and run drywall tape to cover it. You can use a putty knife and medium-firm pressure for tapping the drywall. Use as much drywall mud as needed to eliminate imperfections and gaps. 


Once the joint compound dries, sand the surface and prime it. Afterward, you can paint the drywall if desired!


How Do You Board the Bottom of Stairs?

If you want to drywall the bottom of stairs, make sure your staircase has at least three stringers. Align your board to the middle stringer and use screws and nails to secure it. If you don’t want to add the third-stringer, you can always use 2x4s for extra stability and strength.

What Is A Skirt Board On A Stairway?

A skirt board is a continuous piece of molding or trim for the side of the stairs. It’s used to provide a finishing look. The only job a skirting board has is to create the junctions between the construction material to hide untidy joints. 

Why Do People Put Drywall Under Stairs?

First of all, it’s an under-stair protection measurement. All drywall types are fire-resistant. So, using this material (especially the Type X drywall) under the stairs may prevent fire from one floor to another. In addition, it also provides extra support and strength to your staircase.

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