Let me tell you about my dilemma and how I decided to address it.
My stairwell (and living room and formerly my basement) is done in late 60s, early 70s paneling rather than drywall. To make matters worse, my stairwell is just 36-inches wide. I would love to pull the paneling down and do the whole thing in drywall, but doing so would shrink the width of my stairwell to a degree that could become an issue when I go to sell the house. So I decided to simply fill the grooves in the paneling with drywall mud, smooth it all out, and make it look like it was drywall.
20150802_112354But the basement is now all drywall. This creates a little problem with blending the two materials together and making them look cohesive. You can see in the picture to the right, just how much difference there is in the material thickness. That would be tricky to feather out with mud, and I’d still end up with a narrow stairwell at the bottom of the stairs. What is a fella to do? My solution is a bit outside the box and I would not recommend you do this, but with that said, this is what I did.
Firstly, I want to keep the drywall off the cement walls. I haven’t had any water issues, but you can never to sure what the future holds. Drywall direct on concrete is just asking for mold. So I began by putting up a 1/8th shim at the very edge of my wall. I used lots of construction adhesive to hold it in place.
20150802_11231820150802_112403This will give me something to glue my drywall to and keep my board off the wall. Then, using my table saw, I ripped a 2×4 down to 3/8-inch. I glued and nailed it to the wall, I used that 3/8 board as my last wall stud. Doing this will taper the wall in to where I want it to end up.  As you can see, right side picture, This will make for a significantly easier time when it comes to smoothing it all out. Basically, just the depth of the paneling, about 1/8-inch.
20150802_142935Of course, this is all dependent on the drywall being tight to the shims. I was able to screw into the 3/8 board, which I did not expect to work, but even so, I used plenty of construction adhesive to hold the drywall in place. And I wedged a couple boards in the hall to keep it pressed tight until the glue set up.
Because of the clearances I was dealing with, I had to get creative with my foam insulation. The pink stuff you see in that picture isn’t actually going to do shit to insulate, but I wanted to fill the gap with something and I wanted that something to resist any moisture that might occur. What you don’t see, is that in the empty space I was able to jam 1/2-inch rigid foam down behind the drywall. I had to shave the left edge a bit, but I managed. So there is no empty space there. I also added more barrier to the first spot, but I didn’t take pictures of either of those steps. Sorry.20150805_214809
Then I put up my drywall and started layering up my mud. This is just the first coat of mud that covers the tape, so don’t think this is finished product, because it ain’t. Given my record for procrastination, this wall should be done in, oh, six to eight months. Ha.
Anyway, that’s how I did it. That’s why I did it. And while it’s only be a matter of days, I think it just may hold. And if it holds, it’ll work. Here’s what it looks like today. So far, so good.

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