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Do You Have to Finish Drywall in Your Garage?
Using drywall as sheathing on the interior garage walls is a great idea. It is cheap, fire resistant and easy to install. But once the installation is done, it is not going to look great. Mainly because of the screws and the mud to fill in the joints. So, should you finish the drywall in your garage?
Yes, you do need to finish the drywall in your garage. An unfinished drywall will still be functional but your garage will look like a “work in progress” project.
Not a very pleasant place to spend time in or to do any work in your garage workshop. For your garage to look decent and feel comfortable, you must finish the drywall in your garage.
In this post I will tell you about how to prepare before putting up the drywall, in the process of hanging the drywall, finishing options and how to actually finish the drywall in your garage.
What Should You Check Before Drywall?
A great way to ensure that you get a finished garage of your dreams is to take a few moments (or days) to visualize your dream garage in your head.
Do this even before you start hanging the drywall. Take notes. Better still sketch it out. Or take pictures, print them out and write on them. This helps you
A garage wall frame is a pretty straight forward rectangle with horizontal top & bottom plates and vertical 2X4 wall studs, 16” on center. But you can add blocking to the studs to
- Make the frame structurally stronger
- Provide more spots for outlets, hooks, cupboards, etc.
- Affix the drywall more securely
Think of all the places that you are going to have appliances such as garage heaters, air conditioners, workbench, etc. Provide the electrical outlets for all these existing (and likely in the future) appliances.
And then provide for several extra outlets, spaced out along all the walls. Extra outlets never hurt anyone! A lot safer than using extension cords in the future.
Add garage wall insulation before you drywall. I know you may have a budget for your garage, but it is a lot cheaper to add insulation before the drywall than later as an afterthought.
It is possible to add insulation even after the drywall in the garage has been finished. But it does cost more and is certainly a hassle. Nonetheless, you can check out my earlier blog post, How to Insulate a Finished Garage? What you Need to Know!
Take Pictures at Each Stage
Trust me, these pictures will be a life saver, months or even years later. You can save a lot of time and effort, when you want to add a new slatwall or cupboard or do any kind of garage remodeling.
How Do You Drywall Like a Professional?
The finish on the drywall in your garage, especially with painting, will only be as good as the drywalling results. Here are a few tips that will surely help you drywall like a pro!
- Reduce butt joints: You can do this by using 4X8 drywall sheets vertically in an 8’ high garage.
- Use a Drywall Screw Setter: The USG Sheetrock ‘The Dimpler’ Drywall Screw Setter Bit is ideal for controlling the depth of screw during driving applications in drywall. The dimples are easy to fill in.
- Use a Drywall Cutout Tool: The Makita 3706K Drywall Cut-Out Tool Kit lets you cut rectangles for electrical outlets, cleanly.
- Use a Jay Trim: This lets you cap the rough side of the bottom edge of the drywall to give you a smooth straight edge. It also makes the edge moisture proof. You can use corner beads too (similar to Jay Trims, but for corners).
- Fill holes correctly: Nail or screw holes should be covered with patching compound. Fill a row of holes with one swipe. Skim coat areas with a lot of dents or holes. Patch up areas with large holes or cuts using stick-on mesh patches.
- Leave a gap at the bottom: Both drywall and concrete are extremely porous. Even a small amount of water on the floor will wick up the drywall. A wet drywall is sure to lead to mold & mildew growth.
- Use good quality joint compound (drywall mud): The USG Ez Sand 90 Joint Compound is ideal for heavy fills in gypsum/drywall interiors and exterior gypsum ceiling boards The compound is lightweight for easy handling and sands easily for fast, smooth finishing.
How to Paint Drywall Garage Interiors?
Now that you have installed the near perfect drywall in your garage, you are ready to apply the finishing touches.
You could use sheathing such as Plywood, OSB or Fiber Cement Board (FCP). Alternatively you could use paneling such as PVC Panels, Shiplap Panels or Single Skin Metal Panels.
Using sheathing material over drywall, in most garage wall applications, defeats the very reason for using drywall in the first place.
Drywall is cheap, fire resistant and easy to install.If these factors are not important, then you could go straight for the sheathing material, without any drywall.
Moreover, plywood, OSB or FCB would need to be finished with paint anyway.
Using panels over drywall is an option. You can get more details on paneling from my earlier blog posts.
Finish the Drywall with Paint
However, possibly the easiest and best option for finishing a drywall is painting it. It is a simple DIY project that can be completed over the weekend. The steps in getting a good paint finish over drywall in a garage are as below:
STEP 1: MUD. SAND. REPEAT.
Yes it is time consuming & back breaking. But it has got to be done. Every time you apply drywall mud to a joint, you need to lightly sand the wall after it dries. Do it till the surface is as smooth as a baby’s bottom.
STEP 2: USE A DRYWALL PRIMER
Next apply a coat of “Drywall Primer”.
When choosing the primer to apply DO NOT
- Skip the primer coat. It is really required to ensure the top coat adheres well with the drywall.
- Use thinned top coat as a substitute for a primer. Top coat does not have the same properties as a primer.
- Use products that state “topcoat & primer in one”. They don’t really work.
- Use any latex primer, as all primers are not made the same.
I recommend using RUST-OLEUM 01500 Drywall Primer/Sealer available at Amazon. Zinsser’s Drywall Primer is designed for sealing new drywall surfaces. The fast-drying formula seals surfaces for painting in just one hour.
STEP 3: APPLY 2 COATS OF TOP COAT
You need to apply at least 2 coats of the top coat to get a uniform smooth finish. You just can not get the richness in the finished color with one coat. The one coat finish is more of a marketing ploy used by some paint companies. It does not work too well.
Choose a good quality low VOC latex paint, preferably in eggshell finish. You will get a soft glow on your garage walls. My personal favorite is PRATT & LAMBERT, Eggshell Interior Paint, Latex, Blueberry, 5 gal. Of course if you do not like blue, there are many other colors to choose from. Just browse around on Amazon.
Thank you very much for reading the post. I do hope you found it informative and useful.