Should I Drywall My Garage – Expert Garage Builder Explains

You may have wondered if you should try to soundproof your garage. For instance, using power tools or just playing loud music while in the garage may disturb others.

It would help if you drywalled your garage to protect your property and life from damage in case of fire. The material used in drywall is the highly fire-resistant mineral gypsum. Garages benefit from it, especially if you also use your power tools. You should also install drywall if you plan to do automobile work involving flammable petroleum products.

Danley’s Garages president Uday Khedkar in Chicago adds that drywall helps reduce noise, although not ultimately. You should get soundproofing if you want total noise reduction. However, if you’re doing noisy activities in your garage, consider installing drywall. Moreover, if you live in a fussy neighborhood or densely populated area, you should have it to dampen the sound in your garage.

insulating and then drywalling your garage

Another benefit of installing drywall is that it maximizes your lighting by providing superior visibility. Its bright white surfaces are excellent reflectors, even if you don’t paint them. However, if you have the funds for painting, it’s preferable to have a brighter white shade to make the garage even brighter. Therefore, if your garage will double as your woodworking room, you should have drywall installed.

If you have an old garage but don’t want to spend much money renovating it, why not install drywall instead? Your garage will look new, and it even hides the unsightly issues. In addition, drywall offers a more refined and finished look to your garage. I recommend that you smooth out the surface of your drywall by using a drywall sander. I recommend the Yattich Drywall Sander that is available on Amazon. Click here to have yours delivered to your front door.

Clean empty swept interior suburban garage.

If you’re working in your garage, having drywall with insulation helps trap the heat inside. Moreover, it prevents condensation that may damage your garage’s structure. Adding insulation can also control the freezing of the pipes during winter. On the other hand, drywall can prevent frigid air from the air conditioner from getting out if you live in a hot climate.

Finally, drywall improves the resale value of your home. If you’ll be selling your residence in the future, having drywall finishing is a must-have for homebuyers who prefer its fresh, clean look—plan to install drywall if you want to maximize your home’s use and increase its value.

Should You Drywall an Unheated Garage

You should drywall an unheated garage, especially if you live in a county with a hot, dry climate. Moreover, most local building codes require it, especially if you have an adjoining garage wall to your house. Drywall can hide communication cables, electrical wiring, and plumbing. If you paint it, it will make your garage livable and presentable.

Freezing temperatures don’t affect the drywall; however, humidity and temperature are essential during installation. According to Engineer Ted of Garage Made Simple, you should be careful about installing drywall in low temperatures because it may crack because of expansion and contraction. Drywall is brittle; therefore, sudden temperature changes can produce cracks. In addition, it may have invisible hairline cracks, primarily if you paint it.

Workshop scene. Tools on the table and board.

If you prefer to prevent larger drywall cracks, you should do the following:

  • It would be best if you used wall studs from treated lumber because they’re low in moisture.
  • Ensure you choose reputable brand drywall from a legitimate store to guarantee they’re not moist.
  • Know how to apply drywall mud correctly.
  • Maintain a well-ventilated and dry garage.
  • Gypsum from drywall absorbs moisture; therefore, you should watch out for mold growth. 

Improper application of drywall mud can cause drywall cracks; therefore, ensure you know how to use joint compounds to prevent cracking. Drywall mud covers the screws and seams during installation. You can also utilize it to cover tiny indentations and nail holes.

should I bother insulating my garage

Water-based joint compounds require time to dry completely. Therefore, if you’re installing drywall, do it when the humidity level is between 20% and 40% and the temperature is from 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It would help if you also were careful about applying several layers of drywall mud because thick applications can crack when the temperature drops.

You shouldn’t encounter issues with installing drywall in an unheated garage. However, it would be best to keep it well-ventilated and dry. 

What Can I Use Instead of Drywall in a Garage?

You can use wood sheathings, such as oriented strand board (OSB) or plywood, instead of drywall in a garage. It’s an economical yet straightforward option for your garage wall. Moreover, you can use screws to fasten it directly to the wall framing. It doesn’t require finishing and taping associated with drywall.

OSB sheets stacked in a hardware store. Construction material

San Francisco Gate writer Emily Beach says that work panels cover insulation well. However, it would be best to seal the joints or use caulk to stop air leakage. OSB and plywood can offer an effecting fastening and support surface for additions and shelves to garage walls. You can also paint or leave them natural to achieve your garage’s desired finish.

DIY renovating – what you use instead of drywall – shiplap planking

You may also use stylish metal panels for high-end workshops and garages. For example, you may utilize metal roofing panels or corrugated sheet metal made of copper or steel with several types of finishes. In addition, some specialty metal panels can screw to the wood frames for a quick and effortless installation. 

Plastic wall panels or fiberglass reinforced panels offer low-maintenance finishes for garage walls. They resist pests, moisture, mold, and mildew and are easy to clean. However, many plastic or fiberglass panels require wood sheathing or drywall as backing.

Slat wall and pegboard panels provide straightforward garage organization and can attach directly to wall studs. You can add hooks, pegs, shelves, and other storage units to hang your equipment, sporting goods, and tools. Then, it’s effortless to rearrange them to uncover the optimal organization you require. If you wish to have a metal pegboard, I recommend the Torack Pegboard that is available on Amazon. Click here to glance at the current pricing.

Another alternative to drywall is using cement board panels that you can use stone veneer or tile. Using stone veneer, you can make an exposed natural stone or brick wall in the garage for a rustic yet stylish appeal. Moreover, it offers effortless maintenance and high strength and durability.

However, before deciding on a drywall replacement, you should check your local building codes first. In addition, the alternative should fit your home design. For example, drywall increases fire resistance by slowing the spread of flames and heat. Therefore, most attached garages to the hole should have drywall on the walls and ceiling. On the other hand, separate garages less than three feet away from home should also have drywall.

Can You Drywall A Garage Without Insulation

You can drywall a garage without insulation if you live in temperate climates with tolerable and stable temperatures. However, if you reside in a place with aggressive lows or highs, you should insulate your garage before installing drywall. Drywall without insulation will only provide cosmetic function, though.

According to Homebuilder Paul from Home Efficiency Guide, drywall can make your garage have a more refined and finished look. It reflects light but is also further customizable with primer and paint. If you don’t want to control the temperature inside, you may not insulate your garage. However, you should be ready to deal with moisture issues. Drywall can trap the heat, and you may have problems with condensation.

However, you may use a dehumidifier to deal with condensation and moisture. On the other hand, if you have cold winters in your area, it’s best to insulate the walls first. You may also protect your garage in a hot climate to prevent chilly air from the air conditioner from getting out. If you don’t use your garage often, drywall can suffice.

What Drywall to Use in a Garage

The drywall to use in a garage depends on your local building codes. Generally, it’s ½-inch thick standard drywall for most parts of the garage. However, for walls and the ceiling, you should use type X fire-rated drywall or ⅝-inch wide drywall panels. 

Garage StructureThickness Required
attached to the side of house One-half-inch drywall
has rooms that are habitable above the garage Five-eighths-inch drywall
located not more than 3 feet from a dwelling unitOne-half-inch drywall
more than 3 feet from a dwelling Not mentioned
code r302.6

Drywall installation provides noise reduction and insulation, covers messy wiring, and gives your garage a finished look. Local building codes require it on all garage walls for fire safety reasons. If the garage wall doesn’t attach to the house, it’s best to use standard drywall sheets, which offer an area for you to hang things. However, drywall isn’t enough if you live in humid areas.

If you’re a DIYer, you can opt for ½-inch drywall because you’ll discover it is easier to install. You can also use 1 ¼ drywall screws, which are available in fine and coarse threading. For wood studs, you should choose coarse threads and opt for fine threaded screws for metal frames. Moreover, drywall tape and all-purpose drywall mud are excellent choices for any drywall.

Some local building codes specify fire-resistant drywall for a garage attached to the ceiling and house. This drywall type isn’t fireproof, but it retards the spread of fire due to its unique non similarly like-flammable fiber. This Type X drywall is available in four-by-eight-foot sheets and installed like the standard ones. 

Generally, you should install a double layer. For the first layer, you should use a 1 ⅝ inch drywall screw and a 2 ½ inch drywall screw for the next. Moreover, you may need a fastener for every six inches. Finally, ensure that you have good drywall tape and all-purpose drywall mud for your fire-resistant firewall.

How To Finish the Bottom of Drywall in a Garage?

To finish the bottom of drywall in a garage, you should leave a tiny space between the end of the plasterboard and the floor because the concrete can become damp, causing the board to absorb the moisture. As a result, the drywall will warp, and mold can thrive. Moreover, the gap provides the space for the framing to contract and expand.

Restoration Master lays down the following steps in finishing the bottom of drywall in a garage:

  1. Prepare the tools – taping knife, stainless steel drywall knife, drywall mud pan, corner trowel, pole sander, mesh drywall tape, joint compound, and grout.
  2. Ensure that the gap between the drywall’s bottom and the gap is ⅝ inch or ½ inch.
  3. If the crack is more extensive than ¼ inch, you should use joint compound and mesh tape. Insert the joint compound through the mesh tape’s holes along the gaps. Leave overnight to dry before sanding.
  4. Ensure you flush the screws against the wall before covering them with two coats of drywall mud. Cover them with the joint compound with a drywall knife, then allow them to dry.
  5. Smooth the edges of the drywall mud for quicker sanding later. Allow drying after taping and mudding the joints.
  6. Cut out the bubbles appearing under the drywall tape using a utility knife. Fill the space with the joint compound but ensure you’re only adding enough mud under the tape.
  7. Sand the wall after drying and apply a skim coat before priming and painting to give the drywall a smooth finish.
  8. Ensure you have the supplies for priming and painting – latex primer and paint and ¾ inch paint roller.
  9. Prime and paint your drywall.

Should I Install A Vapor Barrier Before Adding Drywall To My Garage

You should install a vapor barrier before adding drywall to your garage if you reside in a colder climate. Its use between the interior and insulation is beneficial if there are no ceiling and wall cavities. The outdoor floor or wall cavity should be permeable to prevent any moisture from dissipating that may enter the wall cavity.

The walls of the frame house are sheathed with a vapor barrier membrane to protect the insulation. Construction of a frame house.

Engineer Juan Rodriguez of The Balance – Small Business writes that building codes no longer require a vapor barrier in every garage. Moreover, under certain conditions, authorities require methods to tailor the vapor barrier to the region, wall construction, and climate. Therefore, it would be best if you referred to your building codes for recommendations.

Types of Vapor Barrier
polyethylene film
aluminum foil
foamed-in-place insulation
kraft paper
vinyl paper

Many authorities only recommend the use of vapor barriers in these situations:

  • If there’s high humidity

Swimming pools, spas, greenhouses, and bathrooms require vapor barriers, but you should consult your building inspection officers for recommendations.

  • If you live in freezing climates

It would help if you used vapor barriers between the insulation and interior wallboard. However, you should ensure to block all air gaps in the ceiling and wall cavities. 

  • In very humid and hot climates

A vapor barrier outside will prevent humidity from getting inside through the walls.

  • In crawl spaces

A vapor barrier can prevent moisture from the exposed earth from getting inside.

  • If floor slabs and walls are below-grade

Ground moisture can get through the concrete slabs and walls; therefore, using a vapor barrier can be beneficial in preventing ground moisture from getting inside.

Garage Chat

If you have a dryer that is not vented outside, can you vent dryer into a garage that is insulated?

Aron Blake

I am the lead copywriter on Homezesty and the Webmaster. I have a lot of experience in home renovations and the creation of style. I enjoy writing and sharing my tips on how to create the best living environment. My Linkedin Profile, My Twitter Account

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