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Thread: Drywall or OSB for shop walls????

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Sacramento, CA

    Drywall or OSB for shop walls????

    Howdy everyone

    I've been a busy little bee in my new (3x larger) shop to be. I've pulled all the old drywall down (1/2") so that I can rewire for my needs and insulate the heck out of it. Once I get that done, I have a decision to make ... what should I cover my walls with? The two competing materials at this point are OSB and Drywall. The biggest reason is cost - 1/2" drywall sheets are about the same price as 7/16 OSB (with 15/32" OSB not far either). Now for some reason, I got it in my head that a garage is required to use 5/8" drywall, but after pulling off all that 1/2" stuff, I'm not so sure anymore.

    SO ... it comes down to this ... Drywall or OSB???

    Better screw/nail holding capability than drywall.
    A little trickier to cut for outlets, but nothing major.
    A bit more flamable, which is my worst issue with it.
    Will paint well enough for my needs.

    Crappy at holding screws, must find studs.
    Easy to cut out around outlets and such.
    A little nicer finish when painted, but i'm not too picky.
    Better fire resistence than OSB.

    Right now, I'm kinda leaning toward drywall because of the fire resistence. But that's really the only factor that pulls me toward it. Is my impression of OSB's screw/nail holding ability overrated? I've got lots of studs in this shop, they're actually spaced uniformly (as opposed to the last shop which was wherever the framer set down the 2x4).

    Is there an insulation benefit to either that I should also consider?

    Anybody done OSB and wished they'd just stuck with drywall?

    Really, the cost is about the same (and I really like that), and I'm hard pressed to increase the budget on something else unless there is a significant benefit I'm missing.

    So, what say ye?

    EDIT: I should add, that my shop is a 24x21 detatched 2-car garage on a slab. The more I read it seems that the code requirements tend to be more on attached structures. I'll ping my local authorities to be sure, though.
    Last edited by Jason Beam; 02-25-2008 at 08:45 PM.
    Jason Beam
    Sacramento, CA

  2. #2

    I have a detached 24x30 shop. I used 1/2 plywood on the walls and sheetrock on the ceiling. I wish I had used plywood on the ceiling. Already I have "dings" in the sheetrock on the ceiling. I used sheetrock because it was cheaper. I wish I had used plywood.

    Check with your local building code inspector. Code may not allow you to use OSB or plywood....without putting up a firewall. My neighbor had a attached garage added to his house. He was able to use plywood for the walls and ceiling BUT..had to add double layer IIRC of 5/8" sheetrock between the house and the garage. This provided the fire barrier.

    I always do things to meet current local code. I know of several friends and acquantices who did things that didn't meet code and later had problems selling their houses without bringing them up to code.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Inside the Beltway

    I'm certain Ken's right, but I would still vote for drywall. Dings don't bother me. Studs, I can find. Fire, though, can really ruin your day. My grinder's on my lathe bench... you should see the sparks, and the shavings that have flown everywhere. Oh, and the finishing rags. And this, and that... I take precautions, but still. And I still want a welder...

    My shop is actually a detached (attached?) garage. It shares one (block) wall with the house, and the door into the laundry room is actually a fire door. Even still, I'm glad for the drywall, even though it gets dinged up everytime something goes flying!



  4. #4
    From a different prospective.... And a "The Garage is on FIRE" point of view.... Just reciently my S-I-Ls garage caught fire from a wood stove, the wall were covered with OSB, all the precautions and the "correct" metal thinbles and correct air space and clearance , yet, a New Years Eve was made very exciting when the walls caught fire. Dry wall would have prevented this.

    Also when he put up the OSB he painted it, Sucked the sides off of 2 5gal buckets to cover ceiling and 3 walls of a 24X24 garage (the door covered the other wall) It still needed more paint, and looked like painted OSB but it was a garage so .....

    Some fire codes require Drywall on the ceiling and walls of an attached garage. Dings aside, (they can be patched) I would hand over fist vote for the Drywall, from Cheaper materials point of view, Less Paint to cover, fireproof (retardant) better appearance, future sales of the house.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    The Heart of Dixie
    Ken nailed it. Check out your local codes. Drywall could save your house in case of a minor fire. Plus if it is required and some day your want to sell, it could cause you problem at that time too.

    Me, I would at want the drywall for safety reasons. OSB, Plywood or pegboard can be added in places you want to hang things.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.

    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    I woudl go with OSB for convenience in hanging stuff.
    Boy, oh boy. Just seeing that word "code" rankles this freedom loving rebel. Actually, if I were building a shop, the interior would probably be paneled with red cedar. Cheap.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    You cannot mount heavy stuff without hitting a stud even with OSB. Small nails you could put about anywhere but I don't think you're gonna do that after going through the effort to fix things up. I used OSB and drywall both in my recent electrical / wallboard effort.

    OSB is about 35% less expensive around here but I don't know that I am sold on an advantage on either one. I am not sure what I will use when I tear into the next wall to be done. Once primed and painted they look 'about' the same if you use semi-gloss.

    While your walls are down, mark your studs. I used small brads at the ceiling joint that got painted over but I can find them if I'm up close. At the floor line (cement footer) I put a small drop of epoxy. Now I can find my studs whenever I need to.

    Not to say that the fine framers who built my house had never been introduced to a plumb bob but, I marked the top and bottom locations by stretching a chalkline between the two points that best tracked the center of the stud . . . regardless of vertical orientation to gravity .

    I ran French cleats along the wall to hang fixtures on and I am really liking the flexibility as things change.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
    I useed plywood on both the walls and ceiling of my shop. OSB would have been my second choice and I never would have used drywall. I bump bothu the wall and ceiling quite often and there would be lots of holes had I used drywall.
    Cheers, Frank

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Los Angeles

    Drywall and OSB

    Or maybe you could drywall for safety and run a band of OSB around the room between 3 and 7 feet off the floor over the drywall. Thats where most of your tool hanging needs are.
    Erik Monson
    It's all about the journey....

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Odessa, Tx

    Note on Fireproof/Retardant Paint

    Like Glenn, I am using a combination of both drywall and OSB, (because I already had several sheets of OSB left from another project), AND, I'm using an outdoor sheeting with a vertical pattern of simulated boards that I had from another project, (can't remember the name of it, but it's not the cheap fibrous stuff) on the bottom 4' of two of the walls (& probably the third as well when I get around to finishing that wall). I used drywall on the bottom of the fourth wall because I plan to permanently install cabinets along that wall and don't need the "Tough Protection" that the other three walls need. I did sand the OSB a little and when it was up, put a VERY light skim coat with drywall mud on it and that made it much smoother and the primer covered in one coat, but just how durable that will be remains to be seen. I will say that on the next batch I put up, I plan to try to seal it with either shellac or an oil base primer first and maybe eliminate the skimcoat to try to eliminate the curling up and or "Flaking" of the strands that all OSB seems want to do from the moisture in the drywall mud and "waterbased" primer or paint, especially if it is rolled on.

    Note: FYI to all, there IS a paint product that can be used over wood products to more than meet fire code, BUT it is a "Wee Bit" Pricey. Just Google Fireproof Paint, (at least I think that is how I found it, and it shows all the Retardant Testing results on their site).
    Last edited by Norman Hitt; 04-04-2008 at 09:09 PM.

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