If you’re looking for a way to spruce up your garage without spending a lot of money, you may want to consider using something other than drywall to cover your walls. GarageSmart® pioneered garage remodelling and can turn your old, cluttered garage into a beautiful and functional space. Visit our website today for more information!

There are a number of materials you can use, and each has its own benefits and drawbacks. So, which one is right for you? Read on to find out.

Different Options for Drywall for Garage Walls and Their Advantages and Disadvantages

Learning how drywall alternatives can provide intriguing styles & outstanding performance beyond what drywall can offer is vital in a market where drywall alternatives are easily accessible and there is so much to discover. Some of them are as follows.

Cladding Made Of Wood

The quickest and cheapest ways to build garage walls are plywood, MDF, or OSB. They are easily installed over studs with frame screws and, in contrast to drywall, don’t need to be taped, mudded, or sanded.

Sheathing your building in wood isn’t the best idea if you want a professional appearance, and wood panels will expand and change colour if they get wet. And if the panels stay damp, they’ll be a constant breeding ground for mildew and mould.

Roofing Sheets

Metal panels can come in a wide variety of colours and textures, making them a modern and fashionable option. Steel and copper, to take two examples, each provides distinctive outcomes. 

Metal roofing materials like AG panels and corrugated sheets can be used to create a variety of textures. Screwing panels into studs is a simple and quick method of installation. On the other hand, metal panels don’t necessarily have the best future. It’s not cheap to build with metal, and uncoated steel rusts easily when exposed to moisture. 

In addition, the presence of exposed fasteners on the product’s outside face increases the likelihood that moisture may seep into the product’s substructure beneath the panels, leading to the growth of mould and mildew and even structural damage.

Concrete Tile

Despite its more common usage as a subfloor for tile, cement board also has its place on walls. Cement boards are not only tough and long-lasting but also provide an interesting and modern industrial aesthetic. If you intend to tile your walls in the future, they also prepare the way for that.

Cement board is a hefty product. Thus it may be challenging for a single person to instal it. Although cement board has a high material cost, it may be the best choice in a high-moisture environment since it does not absorb water and does not promote mould or mildew growth.


Pegboard is a terrific choice if you need a way to organise your garage and hang tools and equipment. It is easily mounted with screws onto studs.

However, there are major drawbacks to using pegboard as a wall or ceiling covering. Pegboard, especially MDF pegboard, is not a particularly durable product, and because of the utilitarian aesthetic it provides, you probably shouldn’t instal it throughout the garage but rather just in the places where tools are kept. Plus, the holes inside the pegboard will expose the insulation cavities in the walls and ceiling, which is not ideal.

It will swell if it gets wet, just like any other product made from wood, and it may be susceptible to the formation of mould and mildew.

The Various Coverings Available for Garage Walls

It’s been explained why. Let’s get down to the “how” right now. Now, let’s pretend you’re the type of person who enjoys taking on home improvement projects independently. Then you could be willing to try something totally new and different instead of sticking to the tried-and-true.

However, here is a look at the most frequent wall coverings in finished garages for those who prefer more conventional options. GarageSmart® Storage Experts are experienced professionals who will work with you to create the perfect garage for your needs.


Refreshing the garage’s paint is a common DIY project that can have a big impact on the space’s aesthetics. Just about every surface may be painted, from cinder blocks and concrete to the back of exterior panels. Avoid the hassle of waterproofing by sealing the concrete block walls before painting them.


  • Inexpensive
  • The property owner is capable of performing this task.
  • Huge variety of hues


  • Not as sturdy as other types of wallpaper (unless applied to drywall)
  • It provides no new room for shelves or other storage options.

Covering The Walls In Wood

Garage Renovations And Organisational Tips 2

The walls of your garage can be covered in wood panelling in a variety of styles. Horizontal lats and big 4×8-foot wood panels are readily available for purchase. This is paintable and can expand your design options.


  • Drywall is more difficult and takes more time to instal, but this is much easier.
  • It’s not necessary to use tape or joint compound anymore.
  • Allows you to hang shelves, hooks, and other items for storage.


  • It may be more pricey than comparable options, depending on the chosen materials.
  • Typically requires additional bracing between the existing studs.

Substitutes for Drywall in a Garage

Even while drywall is the most popular option for inside walls in today’s houses, it’s not necessarily the ideal option for the garage. Drywall isn’t the most functional wall finish for optimising garage operation and organisation, and it’s also notoriously difficult to finish properly. There are plenty of alternatives to drywall that can be used to finish out garages and workshops to your liking.

Robust Wooden Cladding

Garage walls can be simply and affordably finished with wood sheathings, such as plywood or oriented strand board (OSB).

Unlike drywall, it doesn’t need to be taped and finished before being attached to the wall frame with screws. However, if you’re using wood panels to cover insulation, be sure to caulk or otherwise seal the seams between panels to avoid air leakage through the wall.

Shelving and other wall-mounted improvements to a garage can also benefit from the structural integrity and fastening surface provided by plywood and OSB. You can get the look you want for your garage whether you leave the walls natural or paint them.

Stylish Metal Panels

Polished metal siding has long been a popular choice for edging on upscale garages and workshops. Roofing panels made of steel, copper or one of several other metals can be easily corrugated to create this effect. Metal garage wall panels are available for a more polished look.

Many of these panels can be installed directly on the wall’s wood structure with the use of screws. For vertical panel installation, it is recommended to incorporate purlins, which are horizontal wood framing members perpendicular to the wall framing.

Simple Plastic That Requires Little Upkeep

Garages benefit greatly from having walls finished with fibreglass reinforced panels (FRP) or plastic wall panels, which require almost little upkeep. These panels can withstand exposure to oil and other impurities while still looking like new for a long time. Many FRP and plastic panels are not meant to be attached directly to the studs of a wall and must be put over the existing drywall or wood sheathing instead. Check the installation instructions to see if your panels may be installed directly over the studs.

Panels For Storage That Are Both Useful And Beautiful

Many garage organising solutions, such as pegboards and Slatwall panels, are made to be mounted directly over wall studs. Hang tools, sporting goods, and other equipment from the walls using pegs, shelves, hooks, and other storage mechanisms to keep the garage floor clear. These systems can be readily adjusted to allow you to find the ideal organising scheme to match your needs. 

GarageSmart® products are designed to make your garage more functional and stylish. We have everything from garage shelving to flooring to GarageSmart® SmartWalls that can completely transform your space.

Concrete Siding

Cement board panels can be used as an alternative to drywall for lining a garage. These panels facilitate the installation of tile or stone veneer. To imitate the look of brick or natural stone on a garage wall, simply instal a veneer made of that material over a cement board wall. All of these materials are strong and long-lasting while also adding a touch of rustic elegance to your decor.

Make Sure You Follow All Fire Safety Regulations

Depending on the layout of your house and the laws in your area, you might be forced to instal drywall in your garage regardless of how you feel about the idea. Drywall can be used to improve a building’s fire resistance, which in turn reduces the speed at which fires can spread and so protects a family inside.

If there is living space above the garage, building codes often require the drywall to be built on all adjoining walls of the garage to the house.

All interior walls, including those of detached garages, positioned less than 3 feet from the house, are required to be finished with drywall. Verify with local building codes to see if drywall is required for fire resistance before omitting it in favour of another product.


There are cheaper alternatives to drywall that might help you improve the aesthetic of your garage. You can choose from a variety of materials, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. That being said, which of these options do you think best suits you?

Check out the rest to learn more. Since it does not soak up moisture and does not support the formation of mould or mildew, cement board may be the finest option in a humid setting.

You shouldn’t put up pegboard all around the garage because it’s not very sturdy, especially if you get MDF pegboard. Because of the gaps in the pegboard, the insulation cavities in the walls and ceiling will be exposed, which is not ideal.

Wood sheathings, such as plywood or oriented strand board, are simple and inexpensive ways to complete the walls of a garage (OSB). Fiberglass reinforced panels (FRP) or plastic wall panels are a wonderful low-maintenance option for garages’ interior walls. Garage wall panels made of metal are an option for a sleeker finish.

Pegboards and Slatwall panels, two common garage storage solutions, are designed to be put directly over wall studs. Adding drywall to a building increases its fire resistance, which slows the rate at which fires can spread. It is common practise to drywall the garage’s walls that touch the home.

Content Summary

  • To give your garage a more finished look without breaking the bank, you could try installing a different wall covering than drywall.
  • You can choose from a variety of materials, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
  • In a market where drywall alternatives are readily available and where there is so much to learn, it is crucial to understand how these options can bring intriguing aesthetics and great functionality beyond what drywall can offer.
  • Plywood, MDF, or OSB is the best material for building garage walls because it is both inexpensive and easy to work with.
  • They may be attached to the studs with frame screws and, unlike drywall, don’t necessitate any finishing touches.
  • Since wood panels expand and change colour when wet, sheathing your building in wood isn’t the ideal option if you’re going for a polished look.
  • And if the panels never dry off, mould and mildew will thrive there.
  • Modern and stylish, metal panels are available in a wide range of colours and finishes.
  • Metal roofing components such as AG panels and corrugated sheets can be utilised to make a wide range of textures.
  • Attaching panels to studs by screwing them in is a quick and easy installation method.
  • Metal panels, on the other hand, may not be the best option going forwards.
  • Metal is expensive to use in construction, and bare steel rusts quickly when exposed to humidity.
  • Cement board is typically used as a flooring before tiling, although it can also be used as a wall covering.
  • Cement boards are not only sturdy and long-lasting, but they also add a cool, contemporary, and industrial look and feel.
  • When compared to other building materials, cement board is quite heavy.
  • Consequently, it might be difficult for a single person to set it up.
  • Cement board does not absorb water and does not promote mould or mildew growth, but its high material cost may make it the best option in a high-moisture climate.
  • A pegboard is an excellent alternative for storing and displaying garage tools and equipment.
  • Pegboard as a wall or ceiling covering is often used because of its low cost, although it has significant downsides.
  • Since pegboard, and especially MDF pegboard, isn’t very long-lasting and offers only a functional aesthetic, you shouldn’t instal it everywhere in the garage; instead, limit it to the areas where tools are kept.
  • The insulating voids in the walls and ceiling will also be exposed by the gaps in the pegboard, which is not ideal.
  • Like any other wood product, it will expand when exposed to water and may promote the growth of mould and mildew.
  • Let’s cut to the chase and discuss “how” now.
  • Let’s say you fancy yourself the DIY kind and are eager to tackle some home repairs.
  • Then, instead of always going with what’s been done before, you might be open to trying something completely new and different.
  • The most common wall coverings in finished garages are listed below for people who want more traditional decor.
  • Repainting the garage is a frequent Do It Yourself job that may completely transform the room’s look.
  • The backs of outside panels, cinder blocks, and even whole walls can all be painted.
  • Sealing the concrete block walls before painting them will save you the trouble of waterproofing later.
  • Compared to other wallpapers, it lacks durability (unless applied to drywall)
  • Nothing may be stored on shelves or in any other new space that it creates.
  • Garage wood panelling comes in a wide selection of styles perfect for enhancing the look of your space.
  • Depending on the materials used, it could wind up costing more than alternative solutions.
  • The space between the studs must be braced in addition to the existing studs.
  • While drywall is the material of choice for most interior walls in modern homes, it is not always the best choice for outdoor spaces like garages.
  • Drywall is not the best wall finish for maximising garage operation and organisation because of its famously tough finishing process.
  • Garages and workshops don’t have to be finished with drywall, and there are many other options available.
  • Wood sheathings, such as plywood or oriented strand board, are simple and inexpensive ways to complete the walls of a garage (OSB).
  • It may be screwed directly to the wall frame without the requirement for taping and finishing, unlike drywall.
  • To prevent air leakage through the wall, caulk or otherwise seal the gaps between wood panels if you’re using them to cover insulation.
  • Plywood and OSB can be used to add shelving and other wall-mounted modifications to a garage because of their durability and attaching surface.
  • Whether you decide to paint your garage walls or leave them natural, you’ll be able to achieve the style you want.
  • Polished metal siding is a classic option for finishing the edges of high-end garages and workshops.
  • Garage wall panels made of metal are an option for a sleeker finish.
  • Quite a few of these panels can be mounted on the studs or stud-like framework of an existing wall with screws.
  • Plain plastic that doesn’t need much care and feeding
  • Fiberglass reinforced panels (FRP) or plastic wall panels are a wonderful low-maintenance option for garages’ interior walls.
  • Many FRP and plastic panels are not designed to be fastened to wall studs and must be installed over the top of the existing wall covering, such as drywall or wood sheathing.
  • Pegboards and Slatwall panels, two common garage storage solutions, are designed to be put directly over wall studs.
  • In order to keep the garage floor clear, it is recommended to use pegs, shelves, hooks, and other storage mechanisms to safely and securely hang tools, sporting goods, and other equipment from the walls.
  • You can easily customise these methods to create a customised arrangement that works best for you.
  • A garage could be lined with cement board panels instead of drywall.
  • Applying a veneer of tile or stone is simplified with the help of these panels.
  • Installing a veneer made of brick or natural stone over a cement board wall creates the appearance of a brick or stone wall in a garage.
  • These materials are not only sturdy and durable, but they also lend an air of natural beauty to your home.
  • Garage drywall installation could be obligatory regardless of your personal preference, depending on your home’s design and local building codes.
  • A home’s occupants are safer inside a building with increased fire resistance, such as that provided by drywall.
  • Most local ordinances stipulate that drywall must be used on all garage walls that touch the house if a dwelling is to be constructed above the garage.
  • Drywall is required on any interior walls, including those of attached and detached garages, that are closer than three feet to the main structure.
  • Before skipping drywall in favour of another product, check with local construction codes to see if it is required for fire resistance.

FAQs About Garage Walls

What Do I Finish My Garage Walls With?

The best material for finishing garage walls is usually considered to be drywall. It increases the fire resistance of walls and is easy to install. However, you do have another garage wall-covering option. Oriented strand board (OSB) can be screwed to the wall framing but does not require taping and finishing.

What Is The Cheapest Wall Covering?

Plywood. If you’re looking for cheap panels for walls, plywood is inexpensive, easy to install, and durable. The wood grain will warm up a space and can be stained or painted to coordinate with any decor.

Is It Better To Use Drywall Or Plywood In the Garage?

Drywall has a thick compound that offers superior fire resistance in comparison to plywood. Drywall consists of gypsum and crystallised water. Due to the addition of crystallised water, it’s highly resistant to fire and hence is the go-to option in garage walls in terms of safety.

What Is The Cheapest Way To Cover Walls In Garage?

Shiplap is actually the perfect choice for garage walls. It’s durable, inexpensive, and easy to install. What is this? Unlike drywall, the solid wood makes it perfect for securing anything, anywhere, with hooks or nails.

Do You Have To Drywall A Garage?

Drywall is a great building matter that is highly resistant to fire, so it is a great addition to garages. Garages often have power tools in them, flammable materials, and also people who work on cars with products that could catch fire. Installing drywall would be a good idea to keep it in a safe area.


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