Drywall Alternatives for Garage

A lady using Duck Brand EasyMounts in her garage wall

Garages cut it as one of the most versatile spaces in your home. Therefore, your efforts to breathe life into such a space, especially by finishing the garage walls, are well worthwhile. 

However, rather than settling for the typical and traditional drywall material, you would be wise to explore other drywall alternatives for garage. Metal panels, OSB, cement board, plywood, and pegboard make up some excellent garage wall covering options.

Join us as we help you rigorously dissect these alternatives, as further explained below.

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Drywall alternatives for garage 

If there is a wall covering material that has held the favorite spot amongst installers and homeowners for forever and a day, it ought to be drywall. Also referred to as wallboard, drywall broadly denotes several huge solid sheets of finishing material applied on interior walls or ceilings of a building by drywall construction.

You have probably heard someone heap praises on drywall material. Some of the drywall’s meritorious traits include augmenting fire safety, delivering a finished look and brighter garage space, and contributing to temperature and sound control, among others. 

However, even with such a laudable array of advantages, the imminent question would be, are there other better options you can use in place of drywall? Fortunately, there exist drywall alternatives for garage that tend to be worthy competitors, each due to their uniqueness in a particular strength.

Further below is a comprehensive rundown.

Drywall alternatives for garage; with their advantages

You’ll be excited to learn that the market provides quite a number of these alternatives, which are as follows;

Wood sheathing

Wood panels count as a superiorly ideal alternative, especially for garages with a dry environment. Wood sheathing offers various finish options, including oriented strand board (OSB), plywood, and medium-density fiberboard (MDF).


  • Freedom of color selection with plywood (you can paint to the desired color)
  • All three wood sheathing options are cost-effective
  • Ease of installation (joined over studs using framing screws)
  • Easy to work with (doesn’t need sanding, mud, or taping as in drywall).
  • OSB and plywood provide excellent surfaces for integrating other add-ons like shelves to the wall.
  • When joints between wood panels are properly sealed, wood sheathing provides insulation.

A significant downside to this drywall alternative is its vulnerability to moisture/wetness. If the conditions in your garage are mostly humid or wet, a wood sheathing investment may become money down the drain. This is because water makes the wood panels wet, resulting in swelling and discoloration.

In the long run, the affected wood panels harbor and promote the growth of mildew and mold.

Cement board panels

This alternative is your perfect fit if you reside in areas with high moisture levels. Cement boards are primarily fiber cement and cement bonded particle boards that bear primed wood flakes. This makes these boards sturdy, durable, and pretty heavy.

Often, you will find cement boards installed under floor tile. They are still suitable for use as a garage wall covering option. Cement boards tend to blend well with a gleaming concrete floor. 


  • Ideal for high moisture areas since cement doesn’t absorb water.
  • They do not pose the bother of mold formation.
  • Set a good surface for future tiles or stone veneer integration.
  • Impart an overall outstanding and stylish look for your garage.
  • Exhibit remarkable durability. 
  • Minimal maintenance efforts.

It is critical to note that cement boards are pretty costly. This can be a derailing factor if you are working with a tight budget. Regarding installation, it might not be a one-person job since cement boards are significantly bulky. You might even require the services of a professional.

Storage panels

If your main interest is capitalizing on garage space organization, storage, and maintaining systemized operations, storage panels like Slatwall and pegboards are your best bet. Besides, they will also double up as a pleasant wall covering.


  • Excellent options for storing equipment by hanging hence avoiding clutter.
  • Easy to install (directly fastened over wall studs)
  • Slatwall panels accommodate add-ons like hooks and shelves, creating additional storage space and delivering a neat look.
  • Allow rearrangement to satisfy your needs.
  • Pegboards are classic options when remodeling a garage (they can improve lighting through reflection).
  • Pegboards also feature uniformly spaced hook holes to allow shelf designing.

A pitfall to these drywall alternatives is their vulnerability to moisture damage. These alternatives are a recipe for distress if you live in wet, humid, or areas that are likely to flood. They tend to swell upon considerable contact with water and promote mold and mildew growth.

Something worth pointing out is that you will not fancy the exposure of insulation cavities in your walls. This exposure arises from holes found in the pegboard. The resilience of pegboard made from MDF is also debatable. Slatwall is preferable if you intend to organize bulky tools.

Plastic wall panels

Generally referred to as Fiberglass reinforced panels (FRP), they are exceptional super thin (1/8″ thick) plastic panels used for garage wall finishing. They are fabricated with powerful polyester resin complemented by Fiberglass and are flexible.

You will be surprised that FRP does not count as a drywall alternative for garage. This is because most panels are installed directly over solid surfaces such as wood, drywall, or concrete using adhesive. 

The structural strength of FRP is remarkable. This eliminates the need for first installing plywood to lay under them. Some FRP, however, allows direct attachment to wall studs. You should scrutinize the installation instructions keenly to determine which method to use.


  • Easy to clean (you can quickly get rid of contaminants or grease from the panels)
  • Resistant to pests and moisture.
  • Resistant to mold and mildew. 
  • It counts as a decorative feature to your garage.
  • Ease of installation
  • Resilient to scratching, staining, and chemical effects.
  • Requires minimal maintenance.
  • A better option than painting drywall.

Metal wall panels

If your garage is one of those versatile spaces in your home that at times even holds small occasions, it is in order if you would want a wall covering that makes a statement. Metal panels are exactly what you are looking for, elegant and stylish.

The beauty of this alternative is its diversity in type and texture. You have the liberty to choose between copper, steel, or other metal types. In addition, you can also opt for metal roofing or corrugated sheet textures. You can prefer having the metal panels finished (with a coat) or semi-finished (painted on site).

If you settle for corrugated metal panels, it is recommendable to install the panels on a small accent wall rather than on all four walls. You will also likely find a challenge with trimming the panels to the appropriate size.


  • Ease of installation (screwed directly to studs)
  • Have an elegant and stylish appeal.
  • Fire resistance properties.
  • Help improve structural strength.

In as much as metal panels look stylish, they also have a dash of a cold, industrial look that may not be ideal in all instances. You will want to get your hands on treated steel to avoid rust problems. Also, you should take into account the costly factor of metal panels.

A drawback worth mentioning is the probability of moisture penetration. This is because fasteners tend to pop on the outer panel surface, creating a channel for the entrance of water. This would introduce the risk of mold and mildew. Technically, settling for metal panels meant for application on garage walls is advisable.

A video explaining drywall alternatives for your garage

Garage wall ideas

A garage, like any other room in your home, is worthy of significant attention. There are quite a number of things that may be contributing to your garage appearing drab. From equipment clutter and unfinished walls to poor lighting, you will likely get a bland vibe each time you visit your garage. 

This, however, does not have to be the case. If you shifted the focus to the most extensive part of your garage, the garage wall, you would undoubtedly spice things up. Thereafter, what usually comes up is the need to explore brilliant garage wall ideas.

Such a conversation helps you realize that venturing into garage wall ideas is a highly rewarding endeavor. You not only spruce up the general outlook of your garage but also maximize garage storage, which resolves a persistent clutter problem. 

You also improve the conditions and convenience in your garage to boot. Without further ado, described below are some ingenious yet cheap garage wall ideas that will have a positive impact on your garage and include;

  • Integrating garage wall insulation

If there is one smart garage wall idea that you can easily accomplish, it is insulating your garage. The plethora of advantages that come with carrying out this idea is significantly good. 

One obvious merit is maintaining a regular temperature by ensuring minimal heat transmission, especially in cold weather. This means that your heating and air conditioning systems will not have to overwork and, in return, enable you to save on energy bills.

Insulation also aids in reducing noise transmission and cutting down on moisture. All these merits make your garage habitable and in good condition all year round. Even better, you can obtain cheap wall insulation materials such as brown-in cellulose insulation, fiberglass batts, and spray foam insulation.

  • Drywalling and Painting


Installing drywall after you’ve accomplished insulation makes perfect sense. This garage wall idea makes your garage a safe space literally. This is because drywall protects from fire, making it a wise investment in ensuring you, your car, and your power tools are safe.

Also, drywalling counts as finishing your garage, which definitely bumps up the value of your home. Drywall also does a magnificent job of concealing framing studs and popping insulation which is rather unattractive if left exposed.

You are probably wondering about the most crucial element involved, expenses. Fortunately, drywall is a cheap investment with tremendous rewards. You should note that its installation can be pretty laborious and requires skill. Alternately, you can opt for other garage wall covering options like wallboard panels and Fiberglass Reinforced Panels (FRP).


This straightforward garage wall idea now makes your effort to embellish your garage become tangible. All you’re needed to do is paint the already installed drywall with the paint of your preference. Luckily, painting is a cost-effective endeavor.

The color you choose can be influenced by your surroundings, including the color of your car or the shade you plan to coat the garage floor. Whether you choose a color that contrasts the floor or neutral colors, ensure that it heightens the visual appeal. 

  • Installing an add-on feature

This garage wall idea will blow your mind. What if you could prettify your garage and declutter the space/floor with a single move? It is very much doable by installing an add-on feature that fulfills the decorative function and helps organize tools.

Often, Slatwall panels are the most popular add-on feature. This is because the panels are relatively cheap, meaning you don’t have to break the bank. Slatwall has an alluring appeal and doubles up as a hanging system that helps optimize storage space.

The panels are considerably strong even to accommodate bulky power tools. Installing Slatwall is quick and easy as they are directly fastened to studs. What’s more, you can easily rearrange stored tools and items. You will not worry when cleaning these panels since they are waterproof.

  • Installing extra-storage options

When aiming to exploit your garage wall’s storage capacity fully, you will realize that there are numerous garage wall ideas to help achieve the full storage potential of your garage walls. Some of these ideas that would be a smart install include;

  1. Wall shelving – you can never go wrong with onboard or freestanding shelves. They not only help you maximize storage space but also are simple DIY projects. You can spice up the shelves’ look by dressing them with blending paint. Be sure to settle for sturdy units. 
  2. Pegboard – you can consider opting for this affordable garage wall idea that is basically a hardwood sheet bearing uniformly spaced holes. It works well with several hangers and hooks, giving a brilliant storage system. Its durability will be in question if you intend to hang heavy items.
  3. Storage cabinet – one of the most exemplary garage wall ideas you are bound to fall in love with are the custom-made cabinet systems. You can have them designed to harmonize the rest of your décor. 

An expert can modify them based on your preference to even become wall-mounted with innovative drawers. This way, items, and other products can remain locked up and concealed. The only catch with this garage wall idea is that it is pricy but surely worth your buck.   

  1. Track rail and wall hooks –  these garage wall organizer systems are common because cheap nature and ease of installation. Wall hooks, for instance, are directly attached to drywall or wall studs using screws. 

On the other hand, the track rails are set up some feet long horizontally on the wall and feature accessories that you can use to hang objects. However, both systems involve permanent fixing in the wall, limiting your ability to change their location if your storage requirements change.

  1. Overhead storage racks – how about a garage wall idea that will help you make use of the underutilized upper part of your walls and ceiling to some extent? Overhead storage racks can help you achieve precisely that.

Installing sturdy racks (especially those made of steel) will create plenty of room to store heavy tools and items you occasionally use. This way, you will not have a lot o ‘junk’ consuming significant floor space.

  • Adding wall lighting

You read that right. A simple garage wall idea such as supplementing your overhead lighting can work wonders. Even better, garage wall lighting ideas are pretty much affordable.

Integrating wall lighting in garages has not yet been a conventional practice despite being a simple hack to breathe life into your garage. You can try setting up LED ribbon lighting along Slatwall panels and see how captivating your garage will become. 

This means that such an intervention does not only supplement light in your garage but also delivers a decorative effect. Alternatively, you can opt to settle for sconces that will also do the trick and make the room more distinguished.     

What can I use for the ceiling instead of drywall?

We cannot discredit the worthiness of drywall as it is indeed an exceptional wall or ceiling covering product. However, it may not always be the ideal option. This is because it tends to be bulky, making the installation process quite laborious.

Bearing in mind that sanding, taping, painting, and mudding are all finishing steps required for the successful installation of drywall, you will probably dismiss the idea of using drywall. You might then wonder, what can I use for the ceiling instead of drywall?   

Thankfully, there is a load of more vital alternatives that deliver a better performance than drywall. They are excellent options to help you cover up an unpleasant ceiling or upgrade to an outstanding ceiling.

On that account, explained in detail below are some alternatives to drywall ceilings as follows;

PVC ceiling panels

This is a perfect drywall alternative for ceilings because of its advantageous properties that make this product outmatch drywall. You can easily remove the PVC panels if you need to sort out wires or pipes beneath and then fix the panels back—no need for cutting and patching, as is the case with drywall.

These panels deliver a brilliant finish that increases the reflection of existing light. This, in return, brightens up dark garages and spaces and makes them appear bigger. Having been made from PVC material, they shed water to discourage the growth of mold and mildew. 

Drop ceiling

Also known as suspended ceilings, they are an organization of metal bars and panels. The bars are suspended from the ceiling joists with wire, creating a frame for the panels. On the upside, you can access the panels and frames in different colors and finishes.

Panel and beam ceiling

One of the most cost-effective ways of switching up the appearance of your ceiling is wood or faux wood paneling. Installing panel and beam ceiling is relatively easy and can be a personal project. Note that the beams are just boxes rather than a structural setup to trigger an illusion.


Tiles are commonly associated with floors, and it somewhat seems inappropriate to mention them in a list of drywall ceiling alternatives, right? You’ll be glad to learn that tiles make up superior ceiling coverup materials. In fact, you are truly spoilt for choice since there are a variety of types of ceiling tiles, including;

  1. Styrofoam ceiling tiles – these tiles are one of the simplest means of transforming an unsightly ceiling into an inviting one. It is an ideal alternative to drywall since the tiles directly attach to the subsisting ceiling through an adhesive. The tiles are cheap and come in varying patterns.
  2. Metal tiles – if you want your garage to have an executive look, metal tiles are the way to go. You can choose between tin or copper ceiling tiles and obtain a polished and classy feel. You will only need an adhesive compound to install these metal tiles. Additionally, you can opt to paint them or leave them raw.
  3. PVC ceiling tiles – PVC tiles are yet another massive alternative to drywall. The installation of the PVC tiles is similar to that of the conventional drop ceiling. On the upside, these tiles are also waterproof.
  4. Surface-mount tiles – this is another type of tile suitable for use as an alternative to drywall. These tiles deliver a decorative effect, and installation involves direct attachment of the tiles to the grid. In the event that the tiles need customizing, you can trim them using scissors.

Beadboard panels

If you want to tag along the desirable tongue-and-groove, elegant ceiling design, you can settle for the low-cost beadboard panels. These panels are available in two options, vinyl, and wood, to accommodate your budget. Even better, if you are a DIY enthusiast, you can easily set it up yourself. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I cover my concrete basement walls?

A popular method of covering concrete walls in a basement is by using drywall, also known as sheetrock. The product is available in panels fabricated from gypsum. Alternately, you can use a parging mix, a cement mixture that is pre-blended and open to use. 

How do you cover unfinished basement walls?

There exists a fast and economical way of covering your basement foundation walls. Join wood furring strips to even, dry masonry walls. Follow this up by integrating insulation and then using drywall to cover the studs or strips.

How do you finish a basement wall cheaply?

Drywalling is a relatively affordable wall finishing option compared to paneling. This is because drywall material is maintenance-free, and its installation requires minimal attention to detail. The other merits of drywall include sound insulation and ease of repair, making it an unbeatable option.

Can you paint concrete basement walls?

Yes, you can. You will, however, need to equip yourself with a set of requirements, including water-resistant paint and a concrete primer. Start the process by cleaning the walls using a damp cloth. Get rid of mildew stain with warm water and bleach. Proceed to dress a primer coat, allow the wall to dry, then apply two coats of paints. Remember to allow the paint to dry between each painting. 


When it comes to garage wall covering options, drywall has long been the conventional go-to material. You probably are aware of its excellent fire-resistant properties and its transformational capabilities. But is it always the best option?

As depicted in this article, there are excellent drywall alternatives for garage. As with drywall installation, you don’t have to partake in backbreaking work. Wood sheathing, storage panels, and plastic wall panels are some propitious and affordable solutions for your garage wall. You’re sure to find a practical option in this piece that will redefine your garage walls.

All the best!

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