What are the best materials for garage walls?

After years of looking at your unfinished garage walls, you’ve decided that it’s finally time to consider some garage wall ideas to make improvements.

Along with a grey concrete floor, dim lighting, and an unfinished ceiling, those unattractive walls are a nagging reminder that your garage doesn’t look all that different from how it looked when the builder completed work on the home.

And if your garage lacks any decent storage systems, there’s probably floor clutter to contend with, which only hurts the garage’s appearance even more.

Garage walls are a little like a blank canvas, with shelves, hooks and pegboards in place of paint. If you’ve run out of room to park your car because bikes, tools and sports equipment have taken over space, or if you want to turn your seldom-used garage into a workshop or entertainment room, transform the walls with one of these easy solutions.

Drywall is a common choice for garages’ interior walls, but it is not always the best — it has little impact resistance and lowers moisture resistance. Within a few years, your garage wall may be full of nicks and holes, and the mould or both will turn black. You’ll find a range of more durable products, some of which are comparable to refractory walls and some that are more durable.

Check out our range of garage renovations here. 

What is the best material for garage walls?

Drywall is a common choice for garages’ interior walls, but it is not always the best – it has little impact resistance and lowers moisture resistance. Within a few years, your garage interior walls may be full of nicks and holes, and the mould or both will turn black. You’ll find a range of more durable products, some of which are comparable to refractory walls and some that are more durable.


Plywood and OSB

1/2 inch plywood sheathing outside of houses and roofs can also provide good hiding power utilities for your garage walls. This is a wall covering that you can repeatedly hit with two limbs, you don’t have to choose where the hook hangs on the tool. Options range from sanding, knotless, cabinet-grade materials to practical outer jackets, multiple veneers and oriented strand boards, and a highly stable plywood replacement made from laminated shavings. If you like, all can be screwed onto the stud – just like plywood – and painted. They also help to absorb sound. Plywood has a neat appearance when painted. “Please note that it requires a few coats because it absorbs the paint.”

Do many people like to ask how thick should Plywood be for garage walls? The exact answer is 3/8-inch, and it’s the minimum plywood thickness. The International Residential Code specifies 3/8-inch plywood for sheathing walls with a standard stud spacing of 16 inches if the siding is nailed to the studs through the sheathing.

In addition, they also ask What kind of plywood they should use for covering garage walls. Plywood is an engineered composite wood material made from thin sheets of wood veneer or plies. The veneers are formed into layers and glued together. Unlike OSB, which has vertical threads, plywood is slanted at right angles. This gives the panels greater strength.


Fibreboard is a practical material made of wood chips, which has various densities, and the most suitable type for garage walls is a hardboard, which typically has a 1/4 inch thick sheet. It is lightweight, easy to staple on studs, and has a smooth surface that you can draw or retain as it is.


With metal or wood panels for garage walls, pegboard is a convenient way to keep the garage floor cluttered. You can use the pegboard as the wall itself, or place it on existing drywall with a cement strip. This will ensure that there is enough space behind the pegboard to hook.

The fiberboard and the pegboard are made of the same material and have the same thickness, but the pegboard is perforated with 1/4 inch holes at regular intervals. Use it throughout the garage or with hardboard to provide a convenient hole for the hook. If you install any of these materials on a layer of soundproof fiberboard, the noise you create in the garage will remain in the garage.

Metal Panels

Corrugated sheet metal is more expensive than other garage wall options, but it is flame-retardant and remains good. In addition, the shiny appearance illuminates the dark space. It can be fixed directly to the wall studs, or it can be fixed with drywall with strips.

Speaking of drywall, many people will want to know What is the best drywall for a garage? Drywall is the easiest and most economical covering for your garage ceiling. Use 5/8-in. -thick drywall if your trusses or rafters are spaced 24 in.

Vinyl Option

If you live in a humid climate or create humidity in the garage by spraying water, you may appreciate the water-resistance of the individual vinyl panels. Unlike thin vinyl sheets that need to be bonded to dry or cement boards, these sheets are rigid and attached directly to the studs. They come in a variety of patterns, mainly for bathrooms, but you can easily use them in garages.

To insulate a garage, you need to a vapour barrier in interior garage walls. You’re building a wall. Maybe you’re putting on an addition or finishing off your basement, or maybe you are just about to undergo a major renovation that requires taking the existing wall down to the studs. 

Besides, there are five types of insulation you can use for garage walls. Insulating a garage makes sense if you’re planning to heat the space. When it comes to choosing the best material for garage walls, you can use the same types of insulation used on the rest of the house, but some are better than others,


These panels are made of medium-density fiberboard (MDF) with overlapping layers that look a bit like vinyl siding. They can be attached to drywall, masonry or dowels, and the slats provide ample opportunity to connect hooks and shelves.

Alternatives to Drywall for Garage Walls

Sturdy Wood Sheathing

Wood sheathing, such as plywood or oriented strand board (OSB), represents a simple yet economical finish option for garage walls. It can be fastened directly to the wall framing using screws, yet requires none of the taping and finishing associated with drywall. Wood panels work well for covering insulation, but you might want to caulk or otherwise seal the joints between panels to prevent air leakage through the wall. Plywood and OSB also create an effective support and fastening surface for shelves and other additions to garage walls. Leave walls natural or paint them to achieve the desired finish for your garage.

Stylish Metal Panels

Shiny metal panels have long served as a stylish finish for high-end garages and workshops. Create this look with simple corrugated sheet metal or even metal roofing panels, which come in steel, copper and a variety of other finishes. For a more finished look, seek out specialty metal panels designed for use on garage walls. Many of these panels screw right to the wood framing on the walls, allowing for quick and easy installation. If you plan to install panels vertically, plan to add horizontal wood framing members, or purlins, perpendicular to the wall framing.

Low-Maintenance Plastic

Fibreglass reinforced panels (FRP) or plastic wall panels offer the ultimate low-maintenance wall finishes for garages. These panels resist mould, pests, mildew and moisture, and are easy to clean if exposed to grease or other contaminants. Not all FRP and plastic panels can be installed directly to wall studs; most are designed to go over drywall or wood sheathing. Check the installation instructions to confirm whether your panels can go directly over the studs.

Practical Storage Panels

Pegboards and Slatwall panels allow for easy garage organization, and many are designed to fasten directly over wall studs. Add pegs, shelves, hooks and other storage devices to these walls to hang tools, sporting goods and other equipment to help keep the garage floor clear. These systems can be easily rearranged to allow you to find the optimal organization system to meet your needs.

Hitch Property Constructions has the biggest range of the garage renovations Melbourne. Check it out here.

Solid Cement Board

Instead of drywall, consider covering garage walls with cement board panels. These panels make it easy to add tile or even stone veneer. Using stone veneer over cement board, you can create an exposed brick or natural stone wall in the garage. Each of these materials lends a stylish, rustic appeal to your space while still offering easy maintenance and a high level of durability and strength.

Consider Fire Codes First

No matter how you feel about it, you may be stuck with drywall in your garage depending on the design of your home and your local building codes. Drywall helps increase the fire resistance of walls, which slows the spread of heat and flames to keep your family safe. Generally, garages attached to the home must have drywall installed on all walls adjacent to the home, as well as on the ceiling if there is any living space above the garage. Even separate garages located less than 3 feet away from home must have drywall on all interior walls. Before skipping the drywall for an alternative product, check your local building codes to confirm whether drywall is required for fire resistance.

Try these garage wall ideas. 

The walls in most garages have a vast amount of untapped storage potential. And just as they’re underutilized for storage, homeowners don’t take advantage of this sizable amount of square footage to give their garage a more modern aesthetic.

Giving your garage walls some TLC with some wise upgrades can dramatically impact the entire room’s functionality and appearance.

When you’re contemplating how to reinvent your garage wall space as part of a remodelling project, you could look at the walls as a blank canvas. With the right design choices, those walls can transform into something beautiful and unique that also reflects your personality.

Let’s look at popular garage wall ideas that cover everything to do with storage, finishing, and decorating the walls in a garage.

Add garage wall insulation.

Garage walls with insulation, your first step with the walls in a garage should add insulation to improve your home’s energy efficiency.

Without garage insulation, your home loses a lot of heat when it’s colder outside and makes your air conditioner work harder when the weather is hot. Don’t forget about making sure your garage doors and ceiling are properly insulated, too.

The most common types of insulation for garage walls are fibreglass batts (pictured to the right), spray foam insulation, and blow-in cellulose insulation.

If your garage already has insulation installed, have a professional inspect it to determine whether an upgrade is warranted. Was it properly installed? Is it the right R-value? Does the insulation have water damage? The latter issue can lead to mould problems and make the insulation less effective.

Wall and ceiling insulation is even more important if you’re someone who enjoys spending a lot of time in the garage with a hobby. If you have a heater or some cooling system in the garage, insulation helps make the room easier to keep at a comfortable temperature.

Insulation also has soundproofing benefits. That can limit the noise that is audible in the rest of the home, say, a power tool being used in the garage.

Drywall the garage

Insulation for the garage is a great investment, but the sight of exposed insulation and framing studs isn’t exactly visually appealing.

Get the garage one step closer to having a more finished look by hanging drywall. In addition to covering up a garage’s unattractive construction features and things like electrical wiring and a central vac system’s piping, here are three more reasons to install drywall in a garage:

  • drywall is cost-effective
  • it improves a home’s energy efficiency
  • drywall gives you more flexibility when it comes to decorating your garage walls and adding storage systems

Hanging drywall isn’t rocket science, but it is physically demanding, and there is a definite skill to installing it correctly so that the wall has a seamless look without joints, tape, and screws showing.

Two other garage wall covering alternatives to drywall are fibreglass reinforced panels (FRP) and wallboard panels. Keep in mind that these products are used only for covering and finishing walls and aren’t designed to accommodate hanging storage systems.

Paint the garage walls

Once your garage drywall is hung, you’ll want to dress it up with a fresh coat of paint. This is where the decor of the garage can start to take shape.

If you’re doing a top-to-bottom remodel with a garage makeover professional, the paint colour chosen for the walls will be influenced by the colours picked for a new floor coating, Slatwall, and cabinetry. Even the colours of your vehicles can be factored into your garage colour choices to complement them better visually.

Many homeowners choose lighter garage wall paint colours because they reflect light better, make the room look bigger, and make us feel more comfortable. Neutral colours like beige, tan, and grey are also popular.

If it’s done tastefully, pops of bolder colours on a garage wall (whether it’s from paint or the colour of a cabinet system, for example) can add visual interest as well.

Have a Slatwall storage system installed

Slatwall panels provide versatile hanging storage space and give garages a cleaner, finished look.

With a garage’s walls being invaluable for storage and interior design upgrades, wouldn’t it be nice if there was a product that took care of both those needs?

There is such a product, and it’s called Slatwall. Our Slatwall panels and hanging accessories are the best wall-mounted garage storage solution available and give garages a clean, finished look.

This complete wall hanging system involves installing PVC Slatwall panels in your garage that are sturdy, easy to clean, and waterproof.

Using a wide variety of hooks, racks, baskets, bins, and shelves, this hanging wall system helps keep your garage organized and maximize its storage space. Rearranging your stored items is easier with Slatwall than with other types of wall storage systems, such as pegboard.

Eight Slatwall colours are available that allow you to customize your garage’s design. There are several more ways that Slatwall can be used as a decorative garage wall feature:

  • it can cover the entire garage wall and be used in corners and awkward spaces
  • Slatwall can be combined with open drywall space
  • another Slatwall colour can be incorporated into the wall design for decorative effect (like the blue Slatwall strip below the grey Slatwall in the first photo)
  • ribbon lighting installed on the Slatwall creates a unique, more inviting look  

Looking for Melbourne garage renovations? Look no further. Hitch Property Constructions has you covered. 

Add garage wall hooks or track rail storage kits.

Perhaps the most common type of garage wall storage system are hooks that are screwed into the wall studs or drywall. 

Wall-mounted track rail storage kits are also popular and involve installing thin rails a few feet long horizontally on the wall and hanging up items using the included accessories.

The benefits of these two types of garage wall organizer products are that they’re cheap and easy to install yourself.

They do have some drawbacks, however. Unlike Slatwall or pegboard storage, you’re unable to change their location since they’re permanently anchored in the wall.

That creates problems when your storage needs change, and you want to rearrange where your things are hung. Sure, you can remove the storage systems from the wall and reinstall them in another spot, but then you’re left with holes and repair work.

Different brands, styles, colours, and brands of these products also tend to get bought over time. That results in a patchwork of storage accessories attached to the garage walls that don’t have a cohesive look and add to the room’s visual clutter.

While drywall serves as the most common wall finish throughout most modern homes, it’s not always the best choice for the garage. In addition to being difficult to finish properly, drywall isn’t as useful as other wall finishes when it comes to maximizing the garage’s functionality and organization. Before hanging drywall, consider alternative materials that add a practical or decorative touch in garages and workshops.

Scroll to Top