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Home /  Home Warranty Guides / Plywood vs Drywall: What To Choose For Your Garage Wall?
last_updated_date Last updated: August 3, 2020

Plywood vs Drywall: What To Choose For Your Garage Wall?

PUBLISHED: April 27, 2018 6 MINS READ

The garage is the one place that requires ample space and the ability to hold many heavy materials. For that reason, Plywood vs Drywall have been the most frequently used material to encapsulate sturdiness to your garage walls.  

Drywall Plywood HWR

When it comes to garage walls, Plywood and Drywall serve the same purpose. Here, you can store heavy equipment, their costs and the methods of how they work differ greatly. Furthermore, drywall and plywood also determine the visual appeal and complexion of your garage.

To quell your doubts over what type of wall to use for your garage, here are the strengths and weaknesses of both Plywood and Drywall:

Strength and Integrity Plywood vs Drywall

In terms of strength and integrity ( placing shelves or items of high weight) drywall needs to be drilled through. To fasten shelves and hang items on to your wall, you will have to drill through your drywall. This should be drilled through to the wooden studs that hold the wall together. Drilling holes also create quite a mess as well as ruins the clean appeal of the wall in the long run.

Plywood Garage Walls, on the other hand, is a much cleaner alternative. The usage of plywood to cover your walls ensures more structural strength. This allows support for more weight of drywall in comparison to drilling on drywall.

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Make Things Simple

To make things easier, one could easily screw objects onto the plywood walls and not damage the wall behind it. Plywood Garage Walls is useful for the type of garage and storage spaces where homeowners frequently hang their tools, shelves, trophies, machinery etc.

Due to the extra strength provided by plywood, there is high resistance to dents and damage, which is something that plagues drywall. Impacts caused by tools, sharp objects and reckless movement of equipment can really disfigure the look of your drywall. This does not happen with the heavy duty plywood.

Installation Difficulty 

Another issue homeowners have to deal with is the difficulty in installation of a drywall or plywood. Drywall falters in this aspect. Seeing that an average 4-by-8 sheet of drywall weighs 20 to 30 pounds heavier. This is in comparison to the same size in plywood.

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The added weight of drywall makes installation tedious, the process would turn into a two person job just because of the materials alone. Installation of drywall includes many arduous steps such as taping, application of the joint compound and also sanding of the joints smooth after the hanging is complete.

Not only is the installation of drywall quite time consuming it is difficult to complete successfully by the average person.

Plywood installation is quite the opposite, however. As they do not require any taping or joint compound, most installations just require a simple caulking of the seams between boards to achieve success. Plywood is the more sensible option for your garage wall in terms of installation.

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Fire Hazard Safety

Now in case of safety from fire, drywall is your best bet. Drywall has a thick compound which offers superior fire resistance in comparison to plywood. Drywall consists of gypsum and crystallized water. Due to the addition of crystallized water, it’s highly resistant to fire and hence is the go-to option in garage walls in terms of safety.

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In California, the residential building codes demand a one-hour fire rating for walls separating an attached garage from the living area. This also pertains to any enclosed living area above the stairs. This entails that one would have to install covering studs with an inch sheet of fire rated drywall based on suggestions to the manufacturer.

Most plywood doesn’t reach the fire rating requirement because of their combustible properties. Even if your area is not bound by the residential code, most homeowners prefer to use drywall over plywood. This provides added protection and safety in the possible incident of a fire hazard.

You will have to check with your local building authority to be informed of the rules and regulations of having plywood as your sole interior finish.

Different Types of Finish

In terms of aesthetic appeal, plywood and drywall have completely different types in the finish.

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Plywood walls give a natural wood grain pattern that offers a lot of texture and a warm ambiance to space.

On the other hand, drywall can provide a smooth, ready to paint white surface without any wood grain. The added advantage of using drywall is that it’s like a blank canvas.

You can embed any type of paint with any type of finish and get the painted look you desire. While you’re at it, check out these amazing wall art designs for your living room.

What is the Best Paint for Garage Walls?

Some of the best finishes are stain, matte, semi-gloss and eggshell. Though satin is very smooth, it is easy to clean without being too shiny like semi-gloss. You also need to pick a color that is not too bright and should not be way too out of place.

Plywood walls have a limited variety to choose with its own unique and pleasant appeal. A cabinet or furniture grade hardwood plywood with a top coat looks appealing. Even MDF-core plywood with a hardwood veneer finished with a clear top coat provides a sleek and modern yet warm decorative effect. Drywall is a more conventional finish and comes with many options for texturing, such as the familiar knock-down and orange peel textures.

Things To Keep In Mind While Soundproofing Your Wall

These are some things that you should do when you soundproof your wall. Whether its drywall, MDF, MLV, you should ensure that it’s done to perfection.

Add Additional Layers of Drywall

Drywall is normally the best material for making for building a soundproof wall based on costs and specifications. But if you have a single sheet of drywall then it’s not going to serve the purpose. You would probably require two layers at least to soundproof your garage. You can explore other design principles like staggering studs to enhance just how well the wall blocks out the sound.

Fix a Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV) Sheet

Another thing that you can opt for is adding a layer of MLV between the two layers of the drywall. This is usually a really thick material that would dampen sound vibrations drastically.

Though MLV is expensive, you can determine the costs involved and how it affects the overall costs. In case, you find that you cannot afford it then you should go ahead with drywall instead.

Use Green Glue

Opt for Green Glue which is a product that almost anyone is using today to soundproof projects. If you are doing a simple double layer drywall construction or adding different layers of material inbetween then you should use Green Glue.

One reason why its good is because it dampens sound waves which have acoustic properties. So roughly you will need one Green Glue tube for every 4 feet by 8 feet board that is needed for a single wall.

Choose Some Acoustic Putty

After insulating the wall, if you find that there are areas where sound can leak through. This includes electricity outlets that would defeat the purpose of soundproofing a wall.

A simple way to fix this is by using some acoustic putty.  Spread it around the outlet container box. This makes it sure that it seals all cracks and crevices.

Choose Other Additives

You can choose different additives like Cellulose Insulation which is quite effective when done right. This is shredded paper which is chemically treated and added to the inner layers fo the drywall.

The only issue is that it can be expensive and hard to install. This would mean that you would have to call in a contractor. You can also opt to choose mineral wool like Roxul. 

Now that that’s covered, we’ve finally answered  the most important question, ‘How to Finish a Garage?’

What is the Difference Between Sheetrock vs Drywall?

When it comes to Sheetrock vs Drywall, you should know that Sheetrock is just a brand name for drywall. This is based on thicknesses. Some are fire resistant walls or panels which prevent moisture build-up.

How About A Home Warranty?

So now that you’ve heard the pros and cons of Drywall and Plywood, it’s best you take some preventive measures as well for your home. In the case of a fire hazard, you’ll need a foolproof contingency plan to protect all your appliances stored in your garage.

Now you could go it all alone and try to keep an eye on maintaining all your home appliances on your own. For that, we have just the tool for you. We know it’s very difficult for you to calculate all your expenses on maintenance and repair on your own. Instead, why not use our home maintenance calculator.

This home maintenance calculator allows you to gauge how much you would be spending on the maintenance. Also, the amount on repair of all your appliances for a given year. Pretty neat right? What’s more, you can gauge your expenses for the next twenty-five years.

Investing in a Home Warranty

Now if you think it’s a tedious task to maintain all your home appliances, there’s always the option of investing in a home warranty. A home warranty is a service you pay for upfront at the start of the year. This protects most of your home appliances for a given year.

It works based on the home warranty service. Whenever an appliance becomes faulty, you can call the home warranty service company and they’ll send in a local contractor to fix your appliance.

The price of a home warranty is relatively cheaper than the expenses you would make for each repair. With that being said, how would you know which is the best home warranty for you?

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