If you want to give yourself some extra space, create a man cave, a she-shed or even carve out some space for the kids, turn the garage into a livable space. You’ll need to start by drywalling the garage.
Installing drywall in the garage, and insulation, will help make the garage energy-efficient and maintain a comfortable temperature. It will also make it seem more like proper living space than a cold or sterile feeling garage.
Transforming the garage into a living space is a job that can be tedious and expensive, but it’s worth it in the end. However, if you don’t want to put a lot of your free time into this project or want to be sure that it’s done right, the best thing you can do is hire a contractor you trust drywall the garage for you.
A contractor and their crew experienced in this kind of home project can do the job a lot more quickly than you can unless you’re very handy around the house. If you have a large garage, or if you don’t have a lot of free time, hiring a professional contractor may be a better option for you to consider.
When you add up the cost of the supplies you’ll need and the cost of the time you’ll need to put into doing the work of installing drywall in the garage, you might find out that it’s cheaper and easier to hire a professional contractor. You should get a quote from a contractor before deciding if you want to do the work yourself.
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Should I drywall my garage?
There are several good reasons why you should drywall your garage.
Your garage would be more comfortable year-round. If you live in a colder climate, installing drywall over insulation can keep your garage above freezing in the winter, which helps keep your pipes from freezing. In warmer climates, like Florida where I live, insulation and drywall help keep the hot air outside where it belongs. Either way, your garage is more comfortable to work in.
It’s much easier to add additional electrical outlets. Adding electrical outlets to concrete block can be messy and difficult. Once the house is built, it’s very difficult to run the wiring through the cinder block. After you frame the wall, it’s easy to add additional outlets and hide the wires in the wall, as you would throughout the rest of your house.
Finishing your garage will add value to your home. Studies have shown that a finished garage can add several thousand dollars to the sale price of your home. Even if it doesn’t directly add money to the sale price, a well-done garage will set your home apart from any other homes up for sale in your area.
Drywall – What Is It?
At the most fundamental level, drywall is a construction material used to finish walls and ceilings.
More technically, drywall is sheets of treated gypsum. Gypsum is a sulphate mineral with special properties that make it optimal for usage in this particular sort of construction application. It is a water-soluble mineral – but not at high temperatures.
In processing the gypsum to become drywall, it’s heated up to have the naturally occurring water within it removed, it receives various additives and is then re-hydrated. Once this is accomplished, it gets placed on paper sheets and sent to the drying chamber.
Drywall is a material that allows for great ease of construction on modern buildings. Previously, walls and ceilings were made by adding layer-upon-layer of messy plaster onto wooden strips called a lathe.
It was a costly, inefficient and an extremely dirty process – we can be very thankful for both the invention and the extreme accessibility of drywall!
The Pro’s of Drywalling Your Garage
Drywall has many good things going for it – and these benefits can be brought to your detached garage.
First, let’s talk about fire protection. Since drywall is created from the mineral gypsum and includes crystallized moisture within it, it has the characteristic of being highly resistant to fire. This makes it a wonderful application for garages that will be receiving a lot of activity from power tools and other potential fire hazards.
If you plan on performing a lot of this type of work or you’ll be doing a lot of automobile work (think about all those flammable petroleum products!), you would do well to consider installing drywall within your detached garage.
Second, there’s the benefit of noise reduction. While drywall doesn’t profound complete soundproofing, it does offer much in the way of sound reduction. So again, if you will be doing a lot of active work out in the garage, then it’s going to be worthwhile to go ahead and get that drywall installed.
This is especially true if you live in a densely-populated area, or worse if you live in one of those very, very picky HOA’s. Besides, there’s always the chance your son is going to want to start-up a metal band; best to put them out in your sound-dampened garage.
Maximum Visibility and Lighting
Third, drywall offers superior visibility in maximizing your lighting. The bright white surfaces of drywall provide great reflectivity – even if you don’t move forward in the painting.
But you would also have the option of painting it a brighter shade of white and therefore upping the ante on the brightness within your garage. And there’s one thing you don’t want to be short on while running your table-saw – lack of visibility.
For this reason, we would encourage hobbyists and those anticipated to do a lot of project-work to go ahead and get drywall installed and help your eyes take it easy.
Improved Resale Value
Lastly, having drywall in your detached garage is only going to help you with your home’s resale value. Buyers love the fresh, clean look of having finished drywall installed.
So this is a great way to get the most out of your home if you anticipate that there’s a chance that you could be selling in the future.
The Pro’s of Sticking With Plywood
You get the idea now – drywall has a lot going for it. But that doesn’t mean everyone is going to need it in their detached garage. The other option for your walls and your ceiling is to have plywood installed if you don’t want to leave the rafted exposed.
Extra Strength for Your Walls
The first benefit of plywood is that it provides extra strength to your walls. At the same time, drywall is more of a finishing touch, plywood ties in and provides a structural element to your garage. This becomes especially valuable if you plan on doing a lot of mounting on your walls – for tools, work-stations, or equipment storage.
Speaking of mounting things to the wall, plywood is also easier to do this from a sheer mechanical perspective. In drywall, you must locate the stud and drill through the drywall in order to tap into the studs structural strength.
You have the option of using anchors directly in the drywall itself, but your options will be pretty limited if you are looking to hang heavy and/or bulky items. With plywood, you can drill and affix directly onto the plywood itself.
Hitch Property Constructions has the biggest range of the garage renovations Melbourne. Check it out here.
Easy and Simple Installation
Finally, there is the difficulty of installation. Drywall is large, and it’s heavy – you’re going to have to have two people in order to carry it around and install it properly. Not doing this is just begging for injuries and for your drywall to end up getting damaged.
On the other hand, plywood can be easily moved and carried by just one person and will make for an overall simpler installation.
Things to Do Before You Drywall Your Garage
Determine if your garage may need additional framing.
If the framing in your garage was done correctly, you might skip past this first tip, but it is still something to consider before you drywall your garage. Is there any additional framing that you need to have done before moving to drywall?
Sometimes in unfinished garages, you may need to do some additional framing clean-up work, especially near the ceiling or the corners of the walls. With rough framing, you might need to add some additional studs or blocks to ensure you have something to secure the drywall. You also might need to add some nail blocks, so you have a place to hang lighting from the ceiling or a place to mount a cord reel.
Also, consider an attic entrance. If you plan to drywall the garage ceiling, you will need to have a way to get up into the attic. Blocking out a portion of the ceiling to use as your access will ensure that area is designated and you can install the drywall around it.
Aside from framing small areas, a floorplan remodel might be a thought as well before you drywall. I had a neighbour that had an awesome garage that was probably around 30 feet deep. He used the space as a metal shop, but his wife wanted a laundry room separate from the rest of the garage. They compromised by framing in a portion of the garage to make a laundry room while still leaving some of the garage’s extra depth for his metalworking. Completing this project before the walls were finished saved him a ton of money and time as there was nothing to demo and no waste material.
Assess your electrical.
Better planning will make for an easier project. I will admit, there have been times that I have closed up a wall and then thought, “I wish I had run an outlet here, or I should have fixed this thing over there. . .”
Before you drywall your garage, take the time and envision what you want to space to look like. For example, if you are furnishing the garage to be a shop, note where your workbench will be, where your saw will sit, or essentially anything else that will need power. A strategic assessment of where you will need power can help you plan out the electrical ahead of time, so you will not drag an extension cord from one tool to the next.
Here is a list of other common electrical needs your garage may have:
Do you need electricity?
- A garage door opener
- Water heater
- Additional plugs for tools
- Garage Vacuum
- Air Compressor
- Light switches
- Exterior garage lights
- Security camera
Make this area your own, but also consider things that you might want/need later on that oftentimes are way easier to install while the studs in the walls are exposed.
If you think of something later or get something new added to the honey-do list that requires access to the studs again, not all is lost. You will need to patch the walls once the project is done. But if possible, plan.
I will add briefly that if you have existing electrical that has already been run through the exposed walls, now is a good time to have it checked out to ensure that it is up to code. Electrical issues are one of the leading causes of garage fires. Things like ensuring the circuit aren’t overloaded, or the wiring is properly grounded can prevent tragedy in the long-run.
Clear out the corners and small spaces.
You should perform one chore before you drywall your garage to clean out the corners and other small areas in and around the studs. Exposed walls can collect dust and dirt and create areas for unwanted pests to move in. A wall with open studs is also about as free from obstacles as the area is ever going to get, so it will make quick work of the job with the proper tools like a shop vac and a broom.
One of the reasons you will want this area clean is installing insulation (which we will discuss in our next point). Clean corners and surfaces will allow for a quicker job insulating the wall and give you an overall better-insulated barrier. Any debris left in the wall, like splintered wood, stray nails, or chunks of dirt can push on the insulation and create gaps for heat or cold to transfer more rapidly.
If you have ever installed drywall before, there is nothing more infuriating than something getting in the way when you are trying to hold up and place a piece of drywall. If you have debris, especially large pieces in and around the stud, do yourself a favour and clean them up before beginning your project. Your future self will thank you.
Also, if you accidentally set your sheet of drywall on a stray piece of debris, you are susceptible to drywall gouges or a part breaking while all the weight is on that one pinpoint. Drywall mud is very forgiving and can cover a multitude of mistakes and imperfections. But why add additional work if you don’t have to?
Add insulation to your walls.
Another important consideration before installing drywall in your garage is adding insulation to the walls. Not only does this upgrade give you a more finished workspace, but it also makes it more useable throughout the year. Insulation takes the edge off the extreme temperatures that can come in the summer or winter, making garage space more friendly for your cars and workbench projects and anything you might be storing in the off months. Extreme heat and cold can cause damage heirlooms, wood, and even supplies like extra paint if not stored correctly.
Additionally, if more temperature control is what you need in the future, the walls will also be ready to keep the cool or heat in if you want to install an HVAC unit.
When it comes to insulation, there are several types on the market. You will generally be looking at a builder-grade roll of fibreglass insulation for the walls and either batts or cellulose for the ceiling for cost-effectiveness. Mineral wool is another insulation material to consider if you are looking for a soundproofing measure or something more mould and mildew resistant. You might want to consider spray foam insulation for options with higher R-value or to transform areas like your attic into additional storage space.
Our new property has to spray foam insulation for the ceilings over the house. After living at the house for over a year, and having a couple of occasions where I needed to get up in the attic, I would highly recommend spray foam insulation.
Adding insulation to the rafters makes the attic temperature much less intense and is easier to work in. It also makes it, so you are not having the dive in and sift through insulation when you are looking for a specific junction box or needing to drop another electrical line.
Ensure you have the right tools for the job.
There are several tools that you will need before you drywall your garage. The professionals that do this for a living have some amazing machinery that helps make the job quicker, but we will not be discussing tools of that calibre. Instead, we will be diving into the more economical tool options for drywalling your garage.
You will need a drywall knife to apply the drywall mud – normally a large one that can span between the seams and help keep a flat surface. I would also suggest grabbing a smaller drywall knife to get into the harder to fit areas and help keep the drywall mud on the blade of the larger knife. While working, it can be hard to contend with mud creeping up higher on the blade. This will help lessen the waste and will keep you as efficient as possible when spreading drywall mud on the wall.
You will also need a sanding block to smooth the mud once everything has had sufficient time to dry. There are normally three grits when it comes to drywall sanding blocks. The coarse ones will remove more material when sanding, but it is not what you would want to finish. If you tried to paint over the drywall once it was sanded solely with a coarse sanding block, you would see the scratch lines made while sanding.
In most cases, a single block that has a medium and fine side will be all the job requires. As long as not too much mud was applied, and the drywall surface is flat, you should not have a ton of sanding required to complete the job. If this is your first time and you see mud caked in places, grab that coarse block and get after it, it is not the end of the world.
When it comes to cutting drywall for your garage, you have several options. For long straight cuts, a utility knife is by far my favourite. For cutting holes for outlets, plumbing, and other things that extend out from the studs in your garage, you could use a drywall saw to get the job done. Over the years of installing drywall, an oscillating saw has become my new favourite way to cut holes into drywall, but grab a drywall saw and call it a day if you do not own one.
For hanging drywall, I would say a power drill is nearly a necessity. If it is corded, that is alright. I would suggest a cordless if possible. If you are hanging the drywall by yourself, I would suggest putting a little money into a magnetized bit, so you do not have to mess with your screw falling from the drill while you are trying to hold up a sheet of drywall.
Lastly, for safety, we suggest you invest in some protective eye goggles and a dust mask. Especially during the sanding process, as dust can and, in most cases, will get everywhere.
Purchase the right materials for the job
One of the most important things you can do before you drywall your garage is to make sure you purchase the correct material. We highly suggest that you research what is considered code for your local area. In every area I am aware of, you will more than likely be required to use a fire-resistant drywall material.
You will need to keep in mind the required thickness that the fire-resistant drywall will need to be in the garage. It is safe to assume that when you go to your local big-box store, they will sell the proper drywall required for your local area.
Now that we have discussed the needed drywall, let’s talk about the other materials would require to get the job done. Would will need joint compound (mud) and drywall tape to fill in the seams. You will need screws to screw in the drywall and suspend it on the walls and ceiling.
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My grandpa taught me this trick. Once you have cleaned up space and ran your electrical lines, before you start any construction work, take pictures of the area. Take pictures of stud placement, the header, and footer of the wall space. Where is the electrical in the wall? Do the trusses line up and have the same spacing as the wall studs? This information will be invaluable later.
When our house was being constructed, once the walls were up and the electrical and plumbing was in, I came over to the construction site and took pictures and video of how the house was put together.
I have referred back to those pictures on several occasions with installing storage, shelving, and mounting tools in the garage. Having those images has been a God-send because installing an attic entrance and installing our garage shelving 10x easier.
For those that spend a lot of time in the garage or have some of their most valuable belongings in there, putting up drywall in your garage is worthwhile. It adds protection, appeal and longevity to your garage as a whole.
In some cases, adding drywall to the garage would be a minor cover-up that hides the problem – your garage is too old and needs to be upgraded.
Putting up drywall is no small task. Fire-rated drywall, in particular, is heavy and will take some muscle to maneuver and install. But whether it’s you and a buddy playing weekend warrior, or a team of workers transforming your garage, the time and effort will pay off in the end. Being well-prepared for the task will ensure that the project is completed without too many delays, and without rework on the back end.