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I'm trying to finish my cold storage room and at first wanted to parge the concrete walls, but it turned out quite difficult, so I'm exploring other options.

Due to the small size of the room (only 5' wide, but 20' long), I would like to avoid framing it with 2x4s which would take away a lot of space. I do not want to insulate it either (it's a cold storage room anyway).

Can I mount drywall over the concrete wall? If so, would I use furring strips (e.g. 1/2") to create a small gap between the concrete wall and the finished wall? I'm concerned about using wood furring strips directly against concrete. Although I don't have water issues, I suspect they would rot over time. Are there alternatives? What about vapor barrier?

Or should I use cement board and furring strips not made out of wood (not sure if anything like that exists)? Can I mud over cement board (to add a texture) and paint over it?

I appreciate any suggestions/concerns. :)
 

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No, no and No.
If it's just a cold storage room why fancy up the walls.
A few coats of Dri-Loc and wiping over it with a 14" drywall knife will smooth it out and help to keep it dry.
 
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