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Thread: Brighten up the shop walls

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Brighten up the shop walls

    We spend a lot of quality time in our shops, it should be a pleasant place. And it may be important to you that dust doesn't adhere. If you have particle board or OSB walls you might want to upgrade them. Three approaches seem good.

    Cover them with prefinished wood paneling. This is quick and inexpensive and is reasonably durable. Mine is wood panel up to 4 ft and white above.

    Paint with several coats of whatever till smooth. On one project I asked friends if they had leftover interior paint to give away. This produced plenty, including one 5 gallon pail of too white ceiling paint. I mixed it all into a mud colored soup and painted on a few coats, then applied a finish coat that I bought. Worked out great though still not really flat.

    Now I would apply a skim coat of drywall mud and then paint.

  2. #2
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    Mar 2003
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    Aside from visual aesthetics, brighter colored walls in a shop space really help with lighting, both directly and indirectly. It doesn't have to be white (mine is natural wood in the side with the T1-11 paneling and a similar color paint on the other side which I (regrettably--I hate the stuff) used OSB. My ceiling was original open joists but is now insulated and has white acoustic material. (re-purposed drop ceiling panels stapled up) Not only is it bright for my overabundance of LED lighting but the effect on sound levels has been incredible.
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 01-06-2020 at 5:06 PM.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
    I painted my OSB walls before putting anything on them. I did a white semi-gloss and they certainly are bright. In hindsight I probably would have done an satin, slightly tan color instead. I don't see the need to improve over the OSB surface though. My walls have so much stuff on them that you barely see any wall, and I don't mind that the surface isn't completely smooth. I actually prefer it to a smooth drywall-type finish. Plus I fear putting joint compound and smoothing them might make them more reflective and less absorbent to sound. Yesterday I had a friend over to see the shop for the first time. He noted how much quieter my shop with with the OSB walls and acoustic tile over OSB ceiling than his shop with drywall walls and ceiling.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Wall space is storage space in my shop. I do prime and paint my OSB semi-gloss white. there's not much of it that shows but, what does really increases the effectiveness of my lights.

    ST-2018 (9).jpg

    I do not find dust accumulation to be a problem. I have good dust collection, an ambient cleaner and I sweep up the spoil from handwork as I go. I just don't let it get ahead of me and things stay pretty decent.
    “Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it,”
    -Jonathan Swift

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Wayland, MA
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    I cover my walls with pretty, shiny tools. Makes me happy!

    (They are drywalled as the fire protection layer required for the spray foam insulation, but then covered with maple veneer slatwall.)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Lebanon, TN
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    My current garage/workshop was paneled in natural T111 sheets on the walls. The ceilings are an insulated foil.

    I spray painted all the walls white and replaced twelve 4', 4 bulb fluorescent light fixtures with LED's.

    It's nice and bright.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
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    I just covered my cinder block walls with white primer which turned out great.
    I have some osb on the walls and I tried high gloss white and I do not like, just to shiny and in your face.

  8. #8
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    All my walls are covered with something so I didn’t bother painting the OSB. The exception is behind my lathe. Having a uniform white background helps me see the profile as I’m turning.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
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    Most wall space was covered in my shop too but then I went on a long successful purge which left me with a lot of open wall space.
    I am trying, we all know how that will work out, to keep the walls at least somewhat open
    and that is why I painted them with two coats of primer which really brightens the shop
    without having the reflections of the gloss painted osb.
    I also updated the lighting but the white wall really makes a difference at the workbench
    where before I needed a light directly above it and now I do not need it anymore.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    Crozet, VA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Aside from visual aesthetics, brighter colored walls in a shop space really help with lighting, both directly and indirectly. It doesn't have to be white (mine is natural wood in the side with the T1-11 paneling and a similar color paint on the other side which I (regrettably--I hate the stuff) used OSB. My ceiling was original open joists but is now insulated and has white acoustic material. (re-purposed drop ceiling panels stapled up) Not only is it bright for my overabundance of LED lighting but the effect on sound levels has been incredible.
    Jim — I was thinking about doing something similar with acoustic ceiling tiles to cover up the joists. Do you happen to know if those tiles have similar fire ratings to drywall? I’ve never worked with them before.
    There is a very fine line between “hobby” and “mental illness.” - Dave Barry

  11. #11
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    Tom, I honestly didn't consider or investigate fire properties of the ceiling tiles. They are also slightly undersized for common joist spacing so minor adjustments had to be made as I was stapling them up to cover the newly installed R-30 insulation. My shop is in an outbuilding and not part of our home, too.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    They are also slightly undersized for common joist spacing so minor adjustments had to be made as I was stapling them up to cover the newly installed R-30 insulation.
    Yes! They are sized to fit a false ceiling grid. If you need to hit rafters/trusses/joists they need to be spaced sightly. Also, I tried stapling them with a medium crown stapler and it was miserable. I kept getting ceiling tile dust raining down on me, which is not good to breathe (as in it hurts to breathe it; it probably is bad for you as well). I ended up using 1 1/4 gold screws to hold it up. I covered the gap with pieces of 2x stock ripped to 3/8 thick. They also support the edges.

    IMG_7278.jpg

  13. #13
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    Nice installation, Andrew! Mine's not quite that, um...fancy looking. I agree about the stapling, but it was the most efficient thing for me at the time. The stuff is a bit crumbly and in a few places, I've had to revisit it to insure it stays secure. I bet you noticed the huge acoustic difference in your shop like I did when you got done! If I turn off the HVAC, I bet I could record an album out there without any extraneous noise.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  14. #14
    I have 10 foot walls. They're skinned over with the 3/8 plywood beadboard. The lower 4 feet are a medium grey to hide scuffs. The upper 6 feet and ceiling are white to reflect light.

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