How do I Cover Pink Insulation When the Basement Ceiling is Too Low to Install a Drop Ceiling?

Use a paint roller to add paint to the ceiling.
Use a paint roller to add paint to the ceiling. (Image: paint roller image by Ana de Sousa from

Pink (or fiberglass) insulation is the most common insulating material used in construction in the US. Stapling fiberglass insulation under suspended floors protects them from drafts and also shares its insulating properties with the room below by holding heat in. While a drop ceiling is one common option for basement ceilings, it is far from the only option. Standard drywall products are too susceptible to moisture for humid applications, like in a basement. Moisture resistant drywall products designed for bath and kitchen provide an inexpensive solution when you cannot install a drop ceiling.

Things You'll Need

  • Moisture resistant drywall
  • Drywall square
  • Tape measure
  • Utility knife
  • Drywall screws
  • Drywall mud
  • Joint tape
  • Drywall knife
  • Pole sander
  • Broom
  • Vacuum
  • Latex paint
  • Long-handled paint roller

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Pull any old nails, screws or unused hardware hanging from the bottom of the ceiling joists. Tack any loose insulation up with a standard staple gun and 5/8-inch staples. Measure the distance from center to center of your ceiling joists, they will either be 16 (most common) or 24 inches (in much older homes) apart.

Position the first sheet of moisture resistant drywall—the name will differ from brand to brand (Durock is one common brand)—in one corner of the ceiling, with its long edge parallel to the ceiling joists. If the long edge that is away from the wall does not end in the center of a joist, as often happens, cut enough from the opposite long edge, along the wall, to position it in the center of a joist, using a drywall square and a utility knife. Position the square, score the drywall with the knife and break the piece off, by grabbing the edge and pressing firmly away from the scored side.

Cut enough sheets to width to fill the stretch along the wall to the opposite end of the room. Mark each piece of drywall with a chalk-line where the center of each joist will be for screw placement. Screw each piece in place using 1 5/8 inch drywall screws every 10 inches down the long edges and along the chalk lines you marked.

Add the next piece end to end with the first and screw it in place. Add drywall to the end of the run, measuring and cutting the last piece as needed to fit the length to the wall. Add another row against this row, with its edge butted up along the side. Continue measuring, cutting pieces to fit and installing until the ceiling is completely filled in.

Apply drywall mud with a 6-inch mud knife to the valleys between the long ends of the pieces and in the seams between the butt ends of the pieces. Work a strip of 2-inch drywall tape into the mud along each joint. Smooth the tape into the mud with the edge of the knife. Apply a second coat of mud over the tape and smooth it flush with the surface of the drywall. Fill screw holes with mud as well.

Allow the mud to dry overnight. Sand the surface smooth with a pole sander and fine-grit sandpaper. Sweep and vacuum up the dust. Roll on a coat of flat, interior, latex paint in your choice of colors, using a long handled roller.


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