Adding Plywood to the Basement Walls

Worked with Bob today, geting more plywood up on the basement walls. Here’s the before photo.

Using some of the plywood we had painted for just this purpose.

The board, cut to fit along the studs, with a 30 degree taper at the base, as well as notches for the electrical outlet and floor joists.

I really wasn’t much help here, and mostly watched as Bob did all the work. But we reviewed the approach and mechanics as this was happening.

One thing I am just terrible at: measuring things. I’m good with 1/4 measurements, but anything more specific than that an my brain fritzes a little. It’s hard for me to jump between x/8ths or x/16ths quickly, and I think I just need to do more of it. I need more practice.

I’m planning on tackling the next board, and doing all the measurements and markings. Not sure if I’ll get so far as to actually do the cutting (though we are eye-ing a multitool right now), but I feel like we have the steps and process down.

I’ll be working with Liz, which should help – as she’s an old hat at measuring things, given all her custom sewing projects.

The plywood in place, affixed with screws, liquid nails, and a bit of great stuff foam thrown in at the bottom to help against any drafts. As we were doing dry fits of the board, we ended up needing Liz to come down to help.

Having a third person definitely made it easier to hold the piece in place, while looking to see where things were getting stuck. We did maybe four or five dry runs, putting the plywood up, then taking it down and fine tuning it… and then trying to fit it again.

I have to say… it looks really nice.

Because of how uneven things are, Bob used a laser level to mark several points on the wood – and we snapped a line (see the blue chalk on the left). To make a space for the next line we’d snap, we spray-painted some of the wood.

It’s so old and so dry, it just soaked up the pain. Even after 4+ applications, the wood on the left looks like we barely painted it.

We finished the day talking about the next length of plywood, and what we would need to be working with (joists, mostly). In talking, I realized I had a complete misunderstanding of why we were applying plywood in the first place.

I was just thinking that we were adding in plywood as a base to the walls, which we would then affix drywall to. But the real reason for the plywood is to further strengthen the studs along the wall.

Normally, plywood would move and shift with the wall. But since we’re affixing it with screws and liquid nails, it’s staying in place. What this ends up meaning is that if one of the studs gets weak or starts to fail, the plywood helps to carry that weight, and will distribute it to the studs on either side.

Plywood Painting

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