Author Topic: Alternatives to drywall for shop walls?  (Read 4100 times)

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Offline ryanjg117

  • Posts: 111
Alternatives to drywall for shop walls?
« on: May 13, 2018, 11:01 PM »
I'm looking to finish my 1,100 square foot detached workshop. Right now it is insulated just on the side walls, with otherwise open studs. I've got a quote of about $1,500 delivered for the 75 pieces of 12x4 foot drywall (1/2" for the walls and 5/8" lightweight for the ceilings, attaching to joists 24" OC) and mud/tape. That's with me (and a friend or two, I hope) doing all the heavy lifting.

Watching April Wilkerson's new shop build-out on YouTube and I noticed she used a pretty low grade plywood for the interior walls rather than drywall. I'm not a huge fan of cheap plywood as I've had to many unhappy projects built with it, but I do like the idea of being able to drive a screw and mount a tool anywhere in the shop. That said, I still think I'll be hunting for studs to mount the heavy stuff... And now that I'm thinking this through, I wonder if a studfinder would even work through plywood?

Maybe I just answered my own question here and I'll stick to drywall, with my own french cleat system I'll install later attaching to the studs.

But curious if there are any other good alternatives to drywall, which aren't terrifically more expensive?

Thanks!

Offline neilc

  • Posts: 2503
Re: Alternatives to drywall for shop walls?
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2018, 11:40 PM »
I watched Aprils shop build as well.  It may look fine even with the lower grad ply after she paints it.  That's a big shop for her!

I built a 75x50 farm shop a couple of years ago and lined the interior with 16" on-center studs followed by 3/4" sanded plywood that I painted.  Sheeting was placed up to 7' high around the perimeter.   Definitely more expensive than drywall!

Now this is on a farm shop, so I was more concerned with durability where I would not be everyday with tenants in the building for storage and maintenance tasks.  But I'm glad I went with 1) a darker color on the wainscoting and 2) plywood for durability and flexibility on where I hang things.  I did choose to do the wiring and piping for air around the shop on the SURFACE of the finished walls to make it easy to either add new drops / outlets or easily repair.

In your case where it's a woodworking shop, you could go with drywall everywhere.  Or you could choose to go with ply on one wall.  Or go to a french cleat system for hanging things around the shop.  The advantage of drywall is it's cheap.  But with 24" on center studs, you may find you want more surface area for hanging things.  In my home shop, it's all drywall with studs on 16" center and it's served me well for 20 years. 

I'd definitely insulate before siding as it will help with climate control and does not cost that much.  Should also help with sound attenuation if you are in a residential neighborhood with potential concern on noise.

As for finding studs, if you put the plywood up with a nail gun as I did, you won't have any problem finding a stud later on.  No need to fill the holes.  They give you plenty of evidence where the studs are.  But 24" OC with 1/2" drywall doesn't give you much flexibility on where you hang things.

I was in a retail store a few weeks back and they had the perimeter sided with baltic birch, but they drilled holes similar to an MFT top every 1' on a grid around the perimeter.  Very cool look and it gave them a lot of flexibility for shelving and racks.  So another idea for you that I thought was unique.  Unfortunately, I did not take photos.

Studs were actually built in sections and set in place behind the perlins before the exterior insulation and side walls were installed.



Once building was in place, interior sheeting was applied.  I painted the sections behind the posts before installation, then did the rest of the install and painted the rest.  I used an exterior grade paint / primer from HD and it's held up really well with 1 coat and a little touch up - all rolled on.














« Last Edit: May 13, 2018, 11:54 PM by neilc »

Offline Upscale

  • Posts: 754
Re: Alternatives to drywall for shop walls?
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2018, 05:55 AM »
I built a 75x50 farm shop a couple of years ago and lined the interior with 16" on-center studs followed by 3/4" sanded plywood that I painted.  Sheeting was placed up to 7' high around the perimeter.   Definitely more expensive than drywall!

I'm so jealous to have a shop like you've got. It's big enough that you could build a small office and bedroom in a corner of it. If I had a shop like that, I'd be sleeping in it much of the time.  8)

Offline RobBob

  • Posts: 1314
Re: Alternatives to drywall for shop walls?
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2018, 08:28 AM »
How about T1-11 siding?

Offline JBag09

  • Posts: 218
Re: Alternatives to drywall for shop walls?
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2018, 08:59 AM »
Wow! Very impressive. Looks like a great space and excellent building.


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Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 4944
Re: Alternatives to drywall for shop walls?
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2018, 09:07 AM »

I built a 75x50 farm shop a couple of years ago and lined the interior with 16" on-center studs followed by 3/4" sanded plywood that I painted.  Sheeting was placed up to 7' high around the perimeter.   


Hey @neilc , the extra stud wall with a plywood surface is a real nice solution to the metal building problem.  [thumbs up]   [thumbs up]

I used to rent motorcycle fabrication space in a building like that and the walls were pretty much off limits for anything. It was even tough to run some simple air lines on the walls. [eek]  Electrical cords were just laid on the floor and were always a trip hazard.

Offline sprior

  • Posts: 397
Re: Alternatives to drywall for shop walls?
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2018, 11:37 AM »
It's only a basement shop, but I went with T1-11 on the walls and I'm very happy with it.  Not an issue for me, but since it's outdoor grade moisture won't be an issue.  And I LOVE the fact that I can mount things anywhere.  I also like the slightly rough surface because I think it hides defects - I have some things hung from angles dowels and if I want to move a tool it's no big deal to cut the old dowel flush and install a new one somewhere else.

Offline Sparktrician

  • Posts: 3634
Re: Alternatives to drywall for shop walls?
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2018, 12:32 PM »
I think I'd still go with a wood-based product over drywall, just because it resists impact better.  Half-inch plywood comes to mind.  A French cleat system over the plywood, then painted (plywood and cleats) will give tremendous flexibility in relocating cabinets in the future.  Just be sure to use consistent spacing between the cleats.  My cleat system design has cleats at 12" AFF, then every 18" thereafter (30", 48", 66" and 84" AFF).  So long as any cabinet has a minimum of two cleats, it can be hung at any height, so long as two movable cleats are in contact with two stationary cleats.  Taller cabinets get more cleats to better handle the load anticipated.  Base cabinets get Ikea Capita legs at the front for strength as well as to make cleaning under them much easier. 
- Willy -

 "Remember, a chip on the shoulder is a sure sign of wood higher up." - Brigham Young

Offline Mario Turcot

  • Posts: 540
Re: Alternatives to drywall for shop walls?
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2018, 01:22 PM »
I put 3/4 ply G2S all around my shop. Why G2S because it was cheaper then any 3/4 ply [eek]

As suggested by Sparktrician I have one strip of French cleat and will probably put more as the shop evolve.

I finally fix my clamps problem last weekend. No more moving left and right  [big grin]


Mario

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 3533
Re: Alternatives to drywall for shop walls?
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2018, 03:34 PM »
Unfinished wood is great for a small shop as it helps mitigate swings in humidity. The more wood the better, but it wouldn’t make much difference in a huge shop like Ryan’s new building.

Offline tjbnwi

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Re: Alternatives to drywall for shop walls?
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2018, 04:58 PM »
This is LP Smart panel, 3/8" thick.

Tom

Offline RustE

  • Posts: 331
Re: Alternatives to drywall for shop walls?
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2018, 06:21 PM »
I put 3/4 ply G2S all around my shop. Why G2S because it was cheaper then any 3/4 ply [eek]
...

I have to ask, why did you use 3/4-inch (19mm) plywood?

My thought is 1/2-inch (12mm) plywood, the same as typical drywall.

Offline mwolczko

  • Posts: 5
Re: Alternatives to drywall for shop walls?
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2018, 06:42 PM »
I recently redid a corner of the 2-car garage I use for my shop, and I used MDF slatwall, with aluminum inserts, covered in a maple finish. I got it from Home Depot.  It’s probably too expensive for a big space, but it looks great and is very practical. There are all kinds of doodads you can get to hang things from it. Check the load ratings before you commit.

Offline Mario Turcot

  • Posts: 540
Re: Alternatives to drywall for shop walls?
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2018, 07:27 PM »
I put 3/4 ply G2S all around my shop. Why G2S because it was cheaper then any 3/4 ply [eek]
...

I have to ask, why did you use 3/4-inch (19mm) plywood?

My thought is 1/2-inch (12mm) plywood, the same as typical drywall.

The G1S 1/2 was 67$ and 3/4 was 79$. I found that 3/4 G2S for 45$ a piece, that was a no brainer. Chinese ply by the way with some voids but not more then any home depot ply. The walls are 9' so I push the sheets tight to the ceiling leaving a 12" down (look at the picture). If ever I have some water problem I can simply remove that part and not the whole thing.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 07:31 PM by Mario Turcot »
Mario

Offline Sparktrician

  • Posts: 3634
Re: Alternatives to drywall for shop walls?
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2018, 07:37 AM »
The walls are 9' so I push the sheets tight to the ceiling leaving a 12" down (look at the picture). If ever I have some water problem I can simply remove that part and not the whole thing.


Very smart, Mario!   [smile]
- Willy -

 "Remember, a chip on the shoulder is a sure sign of wood higher up." - Brigham Young

Offline Mario Turcot

  • Posts: 540
Re: Alternatives to drywall for shop walls?
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2018, 07:50 AM »
@rusty Sorry I haven't address your question. Why 3/4?

I feel I can hang anything anywhere with 3/4 ply. So far so good, I have some clamp racks (shown on the picture above) that weight around 150lbs and there is no visible flex.

I used poplar for the French cleats, also because it's the cheaper semi-hardwood I could find. I did cut a 6" board at 45 degree making it a two identical parts. I broke the sharp edge with the hand block plane and voila! I plan to add a French cleat at 24" from the ceiling with L brackets to hold long boards.

@Sparktrician Thank you, I have some good friends that ARE smart :D
Mario

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 4944
Re: Alternatives to drywall for shop walls?
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2018, 11:02 AM »
Very smart, Mario!   [smile]

I'll second that thought.

Offline Getmaverick

  • Posts: 124
Re: Alternatives to drywall for shop walls?
« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2018, 03:57 PM »
I just used OSB.

Offline Master Carpenter

  • Posts: 90
Re: Alternatives to drywall for shop walls?
« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2018, 09:07 AM »
I'm not a fan of plywood shop walls, they just dont have a clean, finished look. If you have a rough idea of what height you'd be hanging random things, you could put in a few rows of 2x blocking between the studs before drywall.

There are many types of wall anchors for drywall that will hold for light items. I wouldn't trust 1/2" plywood to hold heavy cabinets or shelves and would be screwing into studs for those items, so unless going up to 3/4" ply, I haven't seen much advantage to using 1/2" ply on shop walls.

And a tip if you do go drywall, get yourself a drywall lift. I put 4x12 drywall on my shop ceiling solo, and while slower than muscling it in, it's so much easier to position the sheets.

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Offline jobsworth

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Re: Alternatives to drywall for shop walls?
« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2018, 11:58 AM »
T1-11 is what Im going to use. I like it cuz its structural. You can nail things dirrctly to it (with in reason) wo  having to locate studs.
If you need it brighter just paint it white

Offline mobetta

  • Posts: 14
Re: Alternatives to drywall for shop walls?
« Reply #20 on: May 19, 2018, 08:52 AM »
If you do go with Drywall, I'd consider 5/8 everywhere.

the 1/2 lightwieght board is pretty soft. 5/8 will be more impact resistant.

 And on the chance you do need to use a wall anchor it will hold up better.
The 5/8b is rated for longer exposure to fire.

I dont mind a plywood wall. Painted OSB would almost be acceptable, though I am not a fan of the product.
the current price of ply in my area would steer me to drywall.
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Offline Alanbach

  • Posts: 165
Re: Alternatives to drywall for shop walls?
« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2018, 10:29 AM »
My alternative to drywall is patches of Baltic Birch plywood over Sheetrock as needed. My oversized two car garage (no longer a garage) shop was already sheetrocked, taped floated and painted white when we bought the house. Whenever I have something substantial to mount, I cut a piece of good plywood large enough to span more studs than I need. I rout the edges, sand, prime and paint to match the walls before mounting. It works great, looks fine and is inexpensive. Used in this manner one or two sheets will go a long way. I can do it spot by spot for specific items or I can cut long strips and mount them at a designated height to create a flexible mounting surface.

Offline SouthRider

  • Posts: 145
Re: Alternatives to drywall for shop walls?
« Reply #22 on: May 19, 2018, 07:11 PM »
We used 1/2 B/C plywood which is sanded on one side, screwed to 16" on center studs with 1 5/8 torx screws.

As mentioned above the screw lines show you where every stud is.

Can mount lighter items wherever you want, and bridge 2 studs with a cleat for heavier items. A French cleat system would work just fine if desired.

We didn't finish ours, but easily could have.
"We, the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible, for the ungrateful. We have done so much, for so long, with so little, that we are now qualified to do almost anything, with nothing at all."

Offline JimD

  • Posts: 344
Re: Alternatives to drywall for shop walls?
« Reply #23 on: May 19, 2018, 09:21 PM »
I used 7/16 OSB, the stuff sold for roofs, skim coated with joint compound and painted white.  A quick glance and you think it's wallboard.  But I can hang tools anywhere I want.  Moved my battery chargers just today.  Plenty of strength and cost pretty close to drywall.

The skim coating helps the appearance and saves paint.

Offline Kevin D.

  • Posts: 900
Re: Alternatives to drywall for shop walls?
« Reply #24 on: May 20, 2018, 10:48 AM »
I went with T1-11 as well for my shop.  I did sand the surface to get rid of the burr face before installing.  That way when I need to fill a hole I just use wood filler and it pretty well disappears. 
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Offline ERG

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Re: Alternatives to drywall for shop walls?
« Reply #25 on: July 18, 2018, 06:14 AM »
@JimD What did you use for the skim coat?

Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: Alternatives to drywall for shop walls?
« Reply #26 on: July 18, 2018, 09:28 AM »
For art galleries they imstall plywood first to ho;d anchors and then cover that with drywall for appearance.