How to Hang Drywall on a Cement Wall

Learn how to hang drywall on a cement wall by taking a few extra, but easy, steps.
Related To:

Hanging drywall in a bare room, where you're down to the studs, it's simple: You hang it on the studs. You can also hang drywall over paneling - you just have to make sure to hit the wall studs.

An exterior wall, though, presents another opportunity. When you attach drywall to a cinderblock or cement wall, you'll need something called hat channel, so named because it is shaped like a hat when viewed from the side. Here's how to attach the hat channel to the cinderblock walls and then install drywall:

Materials and Tools:

safety glasses
ear protection
hat channel
concrete nails
concrete-nail gun
automatic screw gun
faux top and sole plates
rigid board insulation
heavy-duty adhesive


1. Use concrete nails and a concrete-nail gun to attach the hat channels to the wall after drawing a plumb line to make sure you've spaced the hat channels properly for the size of drywall and insulation you're using. Drive three concrete nails, spaced at even intervals, through each side of each hat channel.
Safety alert:
 When using a concrete-nail gun, or any other tool that's propelled with a gas cartridge and a battery, make sure you wear eye and ear protection.
2. Frame out the rest of the wall by adding faux top and sole plates, dropping the top a bit for a drop ceiling - if that's an issue - and framing around any plumbing.
3. Add some rigid board insulation between the hat channels. It won't insulate a lot, but it will provide some reflective heat. Use a thick zigzag bead of heavy-duty adhesive to glue on the insulation. Cut around any electrical or plumbing you come across.
4. Attach the drywall, starting with the ceiling and then moving down the walls. Mark plumb lines on the drywall that correspond to the hat channels below. Ask someone to hold the drywall in place while you screw it into the hat channels with an electric screw gun.
5. To finish the wall, proceed from here with the taping and mudding, or hire a professional to do the finishing.

Drywall is the most common type of finish for walls and ceilings. It's made from gypsum (calcium sulfate), which is ground up, made into plaster and pressed between paper in the factory. Drywall is available in different thicknesses up to 5/8 of an inch. It usually comes in 4-, 8- or 12-foot lengths. Long sheets create fewer seams, and the 5/8-inch thickness is more soundproof than the thinner versions.

Keep Reading

Next Up

How to Make a Wall-Hanging Planter Box With House Numbers

Display your house identifier in style with this easy-to-build sign with a built-in planter box.

How to Stain Concrete

Revitalize a tired concrete patio: Give it a brand-new look with color stain.

How to Clean Walls and Wallpaper

Learn how to remove smudges, smears and fingermarks from your walls with these expert tips.

How to Remove Wall-to-Wall Carpet

Rid your room of all traces of dated wall-to-wall carpet following these simple steps.

How to Install Wall-to-Wall Carpeting

The experts show how to install wall-to-wall carpeting.

How to Remove Wallpaper

How do you remove the wallpaper without damaging the wall – or yourself? Use these tips to help you decide which option will work best.

How to Distress Furniture

What's old is chic again. Follow these step-by-instructions for achieving a distressed look on furniture.

How to Freeze Spinach

Freeze fresh spinach leaves—homegrown or store-bought—to create your own dark leafy green to flavor hot dishes and smoothies.

How to Kill Mold

Killing mold is a dirty job, but the right tools can help you wipe it out for good. Check out these tips for using the best cleaners to solve your fungus problem.


Shop This Look

Found a living space you love in HGTV's Photo Library? Get the look in your own home with products from Wayfair.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.