Do you need a permit to drywall a basement? (Check Yours Now!)

If you are not using your basement then you are missing a lot of extra space in your house. You can use this unused basement space and turn it into a living room, playroom, or room for guests by simply adding drywall to it. I myself left the need for an extra room in my house and decided to convert the basement into a functional living room.

Adding drywall was the most simple and aesthetic way to turn a basement into a living room. But, then the question which arose in my mind was, do you need a permit to drywall a basement? So, I researched a lot and went through numerous government websites to find out whether you need a permit to drywall a basement. After analyzing a bit I concluded.

So, do you need a permit to drywall a basement? Different county in the United States has different laws for zoning and development. One State may require a permit and one may not. But, it is suggested to have a permit to avoid insurance and home equity issues.

Most people don’t take permit as they do not feel like paying an extra fee for just drywalling a basement. But, if you renovate your house without a permit you may face a lot of problems in future and you may end up with a big loss.

Why you should take a building permit to drywall your basement?

Taking a building permit is very necessary although you are just renovating your house a bit and not building a new project. The building permit is the certificate that is issued to you by the government. The certification states approval for construction work based on your state building code.

Never start your construction work until and unless a government official comes and inspects your house before construction. The official will check if your planned construction works fit in the state building code. Then, after his approval, you can start your construction work.

If your construction work meets the code and building standards then your renovation will be done hassle freely. The building permit plays a very important part when some damage happens to your building. In case of fire or storm damage if your construction is according to building standards you will get insurance cover easily.

If you try to save a few hundred dollars for a permit fee and something bad happens to your house then eventually you end up paying much. It is compulsory to have a permit for drywalling a basement. If the local government authorities catch your illegal construction then may fine you a lot more and sometimes even break your basement.

If you are planning to sell your house shortly then you need to show the construction permit to the new house owner. If you have done renovation without a permit then your property value will go much down and you will also need to breakdown the basement before selling it to the new owner.

You even need a permit for changing the wiring of the house, doing plumbing work, changing the home layout, building new structures, and also for a renovation that change the structural layout of the house.

do you need a permit to drywall a basement

What is the costing of a drywall permit?

The permit fee for drywalling is different for different locations. Also, the cost varies from project to project according to the number of changes you want to make. For making small renovations your permit cost can be somewhere between $100 to $500 but for building a house the permit fee can be as high as $2000.

The essential factor that decides the permit fee is the total cost of the construction. The higher the construction amount the higher the permit fee you need to pay. You need to pay another fee called a submission fee which you need to pay while submitting the project for approval. You only need to pay the permit fee when your project is approved.

In what cases you don’t need a permit?

A building permit is required for almost all renovations and constructions. Small outdoor renovations such as fencing or changing the fencing of your house also needs a permit. But, there are cases where you definitely don’t need a permit. Painting and flooring your house doesn’t require a permit.

To make it simple you can say that cosmetic changes in your house can be made without a permit. The government website of your particular area states what all things require permission and which things don’t require. Falls Church, Virginia website states when you require a building permit and when you don’t.

Mostly the contractors take the permission and you don’t need to worry about it. But, if you are like me who likes to do home renovations on your own then you need to ask for a permit from the contractor.

Properly check the permit and read all the rules properly. Check if you need any more permissions before construction. After fitting in the building standard and codes then you can start drywalling your basement.

Alo ReadIs crawl space a basement? Difference between crawl space and basement!

How to get a building permit?

The whole process of getting a building permit might feel too tangled and scary if you are doing it for the very first time. But, it’s not that complicated if you are well-prepared and without much hassle, you will get your permit. Before getting my first building permit I did in-depth research by asking my friends and through the internet.

Don’t worry I will guide you step-by-step on how to get a building permit for drywalling your basement. As said before the different county has different development laws and it is best to call the local authorities to make yourself clear.

  1. The first step is planning the project and deciding the structural changes you want to make. This will help you to get the estimated cost of the project.
  2. After doing this, call the local authorities and get feedback about your project. They will help your remove flaws from your project model. If you don’t want to call you can visit their website for verifying.
  3. Go to the local authority office and get an application for a building permit. You can also print the application from the government website.
  4. Fill the application and get your building plan for submission. The requirement may vary from county to county and some require even more permits. Some require you to also submit rendered architectural plan which you can get from an architecture.
  5. Submit the application form and pay the submission fee as well.

Within a few days, your project will be approved and then you can start your construction work. You need to pay the permit fee once your project gets approved. And, after that, you can drywall your basement without any concern.

What to do after you get a permit?

Once you receive the building permit after paying the fee you can start construction work. But, you are not done yet a government official will come to check your construction work and see to it that it is going as per the law.

You can book an inspection and I would suggest booking an inspection before starting the project. If the project doesn’t suit the building standard and code you may need to break and restart the construction again. So, always make sure to stick to the approval and don’t do anything extra.

If you stick to the law then you are the one who will benefit the most from it. Even if it is a small renovation like drywalling a basement do it according to the zonal laws only. After your renovation is complete the local official will come at the end to check your finished project. If he approves the construction then you can use the updated basement.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to drywall a basement? The cost of drywalling a basement varies from location to location but the average cost is around  $1.5-$2 per square feet. If you want to hire someone to it for you add up the labour cost which depends on the size of your basement.

Do you need insulation for a basement? According to building standard and code insulation is a must when you build a basement. However, this also depends on the area where you live so cross-check by verifying with local authorities.


I spend each darn end of the week taking a shot at home tasks and trimming down the “nectar do” list. This is where I share the majority of the undertakings I’ve done and things I’m learning.

Recent Posts