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Dry wall or sheet steel for garage walls?

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  • Dry wall or sheet steel for garage walls?


    My wife and I will be moving into our new house shortly, and I want to finish the garage before winter. I plan to partition off an 8 by 20 foot section for my machine shop/electrical interests, and use the balance for car repair, entertaining, etc. Naturally the building will be insulated, and there will be a 75k BTU Modine in the large area, and a 35k Modine in the small area. What does everyone have on their ceilings and walls? Initially I was thinking sheetrock, but others have told me to steel sheet the walls and ceiling. I'm not concerned with cost, I just want it right the first time. Ideas appreciated.


  • #2
    My walls were done in a mix, with OSB to 4 feet up, with drywall the rest of the way up, and on the ceiling. I used plywood in 'abused' areas, and anywhere I wanted to hang things, and metal or plastic in areas that would definitely get dirty or splashed.

    Also, using the osb meant that it was reasonably easy to flip it around if it got 'ugly'



    • #3
      Not concerned with cost? Do both - steel over sheetrock, maybe in just select areas.

      A combination would give you a better fire rating. The sheetrock would reduce heat conduction from the surface to the studs. Steel alone would obviously not burn, but would conduct heat.

      Sheetrock would give a more stable (stiffer, maybe not stronger) surface for attaching shelving, though I would attach to studs also.
      Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
      ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~


      • #4
        Drywall is cheap and easy plus it has insulation value. It is easy to hang, easy to finish, easy to build shelves, easy to paint, eash to hang stuff on the walls.

        Sheet metal walls are a heat sink they will transfer heat and cold. We put sheet metal on the walls at work then after 2 years we put plywood over the sheet metal. Now we can hand things on the wall.


        • #5
          I used surplus 1/2" MDF that I bought from a ping pong table company that outsourced the table top manufacturing. Heavy to work with and I had to use screws not nails, but it sure added strength to shop. I made sure the bottom edge is 1/2" off the floor.


          • #6
            Sheetrock. If you use steel, the place will never feel warm in the wintertime.

            Or, if you want a nice look, use shiplap pine boards.
            Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
            Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
            Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
            There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
            Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
            Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie


            • #7
              The best thing I ever did for my garage was to cover all walls and ceiling with 3/4" ply, painted white. Don't even have to think about finding studs to hang pretty much anything anywhere, and I can remodel walls anytime I want as my shop develops and changes.

              Frank Ford


              • #8

                Try or consider "Hardies" "Villaboard" sheeting.

                I think its made in the USA as well.

                It is high-impact and impervious to just about everything. It is erected/installed just like wall-board - straight onto timber stud walls. It is used in "wet areas" (bath-rooms, shower walls and bases) as well as as a sub-strate for wall ceramic tiles etc.

                Use 6mm (1/4") or 8mm (5/16") minimum.

                Pack the cavity - space between studs - with the insulation media of your choice.



                • #9
                  If the garage is attached code says you must have two layers of drywall on the shared walls and any overhead shared partition. A solid core door is also required.

                  If it is free standing then you can use pretty much what you want. If you are looking for good fire resistance against grinding and welding sparks use cement board. If that isn't an issue then do as Frank suggested and as I have done nearly everywhere and use plywood. Especially in a shop area it is really a luxury to be able to hang anything any where. I use galvanised sheet in selected areas to create a fire barrier.

                  Example being behind the welding bench on the left.

                  Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


                  • #10
                    Something else to consider is the weight of the sheathing.

                    My attached garage was hand framed but they didn't use too many rafters over the open ceiling. As such, I didn't feel comfortable with a ton of gypsum suspended from it, so I went with corrugated steel paneling like that used on pole buildings (just for the ceiling, the walls are 5/8 fire rated sheet rock). It's cheap, goes up quick, and doesn't require anything after it's installed. The whole ceiling cost a whopping $240. To top it off, the bright white reflective surface made the lighting more effective. I can also clean it with a dust mop if need be.


                    • #11
                      My shop is 20 x24 and free standing so I used 1/2 osb for the walls and put the outlets 4 ft off the floor. the walls are 2x6 and insulated. The osb is nice as I can put shelves or brackets anywhere I want. and the outlets are handy as they are just above the bench.
                      As far as an attached garage you would have to check with the building code department as to what has to be between the living quarters and garage I know here we had to use 5/8th sheet rock and self closing hinges on the doors leading into the house.


                      • #12
                        I like 1/2" OSB personally. I have hung drywall near my welding and grinding areas just to keep sparks from making trouble.


                        • #13
                          Ok well, I gotta say: I HATE DRYWALL.
                          Ever seen drywall after it gets wet enough? like a minor flood? (Like a leaky tap making a puddle on the floor) or leak in the ceiling driping down? or burst pipe?

                          Turns so weak you can put your pinky finger through it... And then run to the sink in horror to wash your hands as you notice the entire inside of the wall is filled with black mold... that you then have to remove... Oh, and you can't exactly dispose of drywall in the trash either, you gotta take it to the dump.. where they charge you extra and its gotta be dumped in a special area for the ****. and its in thousands of little moldy peices by then.

                          Nasty nasty stuff.

                          Iv seen MFD do similar when exposed to water over longer peiods of time. Maybe something with a water resistant/proof glue would be ok but....

                          PLYWOOD! Come on, you know you love it. Yea its a little more expensive but damnit its worth it. 1/2", maybe a little thicker, can hang stuff anywhere on it, its strong, sound dampening (wife will like that), Insulative, and pertty resistant to water damage, especialy if you are crazy like me and paint both sides of it before installing.
                          Or you can buy prefinished stuff (usally not much more then blank wood) and have a nice wood texture vineer or blank white or whatever finished shop without painting! Also usally rather water resistant (prefinished plywood)

                          If you must cheap out, consider only doing the exterior of the wall and leaving the inside of the shop as exposed framing. Prevents the inside of the walls from being a living space for mold/bugs/mice.

                          Evan in his normal genius mode mentioned cement board.
                          Iv no experiance with this material other then having seen it a few times, but if its basicly cement cast into a board, sounds like a great material for the welding/torch area, and if code requires fire resistance, great for the walls in general. Assuming its highly water resistant like normal cement and biologicaly inactive like cement. Mold and rot are best avoided years before they begin!
                          Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.


                          • #14
                            Plywood covered with metal peg board.This outfit sells it in 20 gauge steel and stainless.

                            I just need one more tool,just one!


                            • #15
                              walls etc.

                              Hi all:
                              I have a 30 by 40 ft. shop. The walls are 3/4 up to the 4 ft. then 1/2 to the ceiling (20 1/2 ft clearance). What is different is that I inset 2 by 4's on the horizontal every 2 ft to the ceiling. That way I can hang stuff any where I wish. I am in the process of painting out the walls with a white or pastel paint that I have got from the free store. Very calming. Wayne.