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Thread: Garage Shop Walls: Drywall or OSB?

  1. #1

    Garage Shop Walls: Drywall or OSB?

    What do you guys think? (24x26 unheated detached garage.)

    OSB is about 3-4 bucks cheaper a board, but pretty ugly. I think I'd still have to paint both anyway.

    Since I have 9' walls, I thought I could get a few sheets of aqua board cut to strips to run along the bottom for added moisture protection. (Previous owner who built garage never installed sill foam, so I sometimes, get a little water between the sill and the pad during heavy rain, although I plan to use a bead of caulking under the sill to help alleviate this.)

  2. #2
    I’d go with drywall and install a cleat around the perimeter for hanging stuff. Although it doesn’t matter in a detached residential garage, the drywall offers some degree of reduced fire-spread. Plue, I hate the look of OSB – even painted

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Annapolis MD

    same thoughts

    i have been having this same debate with myself for the last month. HD has OSB for $5.25 a sheet vs $9.85 for drywall plus i do not have to do any mudding and taping the one thing holding me back is i have 8'8" ceilings and would have to do some kinda base or seam at the top. one thought is to put 24" cabinets across the top for storage and not worry about the gap or seam. I know that painted osb does not look great but i can decorate it with tools, saw blades, jigs plans ect ...


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Princeton Minnesota
    Most of the lumber yards around here have 4'X9' sheets of OSB,

    So I would go with OSB

    Last edited by Kurt Strandberg; 11-21-2006 at 11:12 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Annapolis MD

    but not for $5.25 a sheet

    i looked at the 9' sheets of OSB and Plywood a whole bunch more per sq/ft than the standard 8"

  6. #6
    In my shop I used OSB, but it was the T&G flooring, about 3/4" thick and I painted it white. If you paint, use oil base primer on OSB, water base raises the grain which is ugly on OSB. I used the thicker OSB so I could hang light things without needing to find a stud. Anything heavy, I find a stud.
    Hello, My name is John and I am a toolaholic

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Grand Marais, MN. A transplant from Minneapolis
    It's a little pricie but how about both . OSB will give you strength and something to screw into while the drywall repairs and finishes up real well.
    Just a thought.
    That's what we did in one of the shops at work and it turned out real well.
    Live Like You Mean It.

  8. #8
    What I did in my shop 9' cieling was used OSB on the walls and uses 12" lap siding against the floor. That siding can handle getting wet when I wash the floor. You can't hang anything that low. If you plan to paint the OSB try painting and priming (not in that order of course) befor you put it up. Reason easier to work with, less splinters, and easier than painting around outlets, windows. etc.
    What I did in my garage was used the white melamine pegboard over most of the garage walls so i can hang stuff anywhere.
    Just another suggestion to consider.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Pickering Ontario Canada
    The going rate for Drywall in Canada is $30-40 a sheet. (installed and primed) I used drywall in my shop, but if I was to do it again, I would use T&G pine at about 1.29/sq' its not far off the price of drywall, and looks 10 times nicer. Choosing between OSB and drywall, from a cosmetic, sound, and insulating properties (air infiltration) perspective I say drywall all the way.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Byron, IL
    There is no question that OSB isn't as pretty as nicely finished drywall, but after all, it is a shop, not a family room. If you want to remove some of it to run a wire, it's simple and straightforward. You can pound stuff in it virtually anywhere and not worry about damage. The biggest downside to it is that unpainted, it is dark. Still, I chose it over drywall, and am happy for it. No right or wrong here, just personal preference.

    Also, could you trench around the outside and run a drainage tile? The best way to deal with the water problem is to get it going somewhere else.

  11. #11
    I speant 15 years in commercial construction and did my share of flogging drywall sp perhaps I can finally give soming back to the group.

    - Will give you better fire protection by decreasing the exposed combustible surface.
    - It will create a slightly better sound barrier than wood as it is denser.
    - Can also be finsihed nicer if you want to put the work into taping
    - Will be easier to paint, especially if you want a white color to increase light in the shop.
    - Not friendly when mounting cabinets, hanging brackets, shelves, etc.

    - Will not do much to protect the studs and joist from fire and will also support combustion in a fire
    - Will be more durable
    - More friendly for fastening cabinets, hanging brackets, shelves, etc
    - Slightly more resistent to moisture

    Moisture at wall plates
    If it is leaking or wicking up from the ground I suggest attacking that before closing up the walls. I think you eluded to doing this. I like your idea of using aqua board or maybe even cement board for the first foot of wall and I would still stop this just short of the "wet" areas.

    Do the ceiling first. Then, when you do the walls, start at the ceiling laying the sheets horizontally, two rows of 4ft plus the final 1ft piece at the bottom. A little more lifting this way but a lot easier to create nice corner joints at the ceiling, especially if you use drywall on the celing and wood on the walls.

    What I did
    I have a wood frame, 2x4 on one course of block, on a floating concreat slab, 16 x 32. This gives me a 9ft celing. The wall is hardboard siding, 5/8 sheeting, building paper, 2x4 studs, fiberglass insulation, 6 mil vapor barrier and 5/8 fire rated drywall. The extra drywall thickness was for additional fire separation as well as additional sound barrier as a coutesy to my neighbours. I later covered some wall sections in 1x2 straping and pegboard (not sure I would do that again). The ceiling is constructed from 10" joists, 16"OC, fiberglass insulation, vapor barrier and 5/8" FR drywall. I laid 5/8 sheeting on top of the joists for additional "attic" storage and insulated the trap door. There is no permanent heat, just portable heat, so the insulation makes a big difference in the Toronto winters. An aside - I built a small 6x8 ft room in the garage with a raised insulated floor and partition. This room is very well insulated and has a fixed baseboard 750 watt heater set at 50 degs. I call it my warm room and anything freezable gets stored there, no paint or chemicals come into the house.

    Hope this helps.

  12. In my shop I used osb on one 16 foot wall and never regretted it. I bought the cheapest white paint I could find and rolled on two coats, no primer. 6 years and it looks fine. I similarly did not want to tape drywall, etc., and it was cheaper. If asthetics are important, then drywall, but for me, its a shop.... not a family room. My 2 cents. rn

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    New Haven, CT
    I would do drywall just for the fire resistance. You should also be able to find extra strong drywall in your area to help guard against damage.
    A flute without holes, is not a flute. A donut without a hole, is a Danish.

  14. #14
    I have paused to wonder after reading a few of these posts.....Are you guys working with open flame in your shops? I fail to see how the added fire resistance is of any consequence whatsoever. I have OSB covering ever wall in my shop with the electric running inside conduit outside the walls. Painted white it looks as good as it needs to and was far easier and cheaper to install than drywall.

    GO OSB!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Near Louisville, KY
    I've got a 20 x 40 with 10 foot ceilings and plan to use T-111 for the first 8 foot vertical and then a ply product (not sure yet) for the last two feet.

    Yep it's more expensive but I saw a shop done that way in a book. Looked mighty sweet.
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