Workshop Ceiling Material

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Forum topic by EJWash posted 12-15-2016 07:38 AM 1260 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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26 posts in 1525 days

12-15-2016 07:38 AM

Hi All,

My new property has a 35’ X 24’ garage.

The goods news is that the interior is completely unfinished (bare studs, open rafters). So, I get to lay it out as I please as far as electrical outlets, compressed air, dust collection, and lighting is concerned. After those things are laid-out, I want to panel the walls and ceiling.

I have a plan for the wall paneling, although I need some help with the ceiling. What material options do I have? My first thought was drywall, but I’m not sure that it’s necessary. Are there safety/fire considerations in using it? I plan to have attic area insulated (blow-in or batting) so I won’t need much support. 1/2”, or 3/8” ply? Also, I plan to paint the ceiling a bright white as to enhance the lighting.

Thanks in advance!


-- EJ

24 replies so far

View BigYin's profile


421 posts in 2591 days

#1 posted 12-15-2016 08:05 AM

white canvas attached to alternate rafters with 6 inches of bow under mid rafter and rock-wool rolled out above,
its light coloured and reduces reflected noise.
had it in my old workshop made a huge difference with absorbtion rather than reflcting circular saw and jointer noise

-- ... Never Apologise For Being Right ...

View BigYin's profile


421 posts in 2591 days

#2 posted 12-15-2016 08:25 AM

ceilig noise photo Untitled_zpsw5vghrti.jpg

-- ... Never Apologise For Being Right ...

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5142 posts in 2668 days

#3 posted 12-15-2016 12:07 PM

Interesting, I’m in pretty much the same boat and was thinking about this. I’ve always had drywall, but would really like to consider options. The replies will be useful.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Bill7255's profile


427 posts in 2459 days

#4 posted 12-15-2016 12:48 PM

I got lucky as I was able to get drop ceiling tiles from a closed Borders building that was being converted. The tiles were free, I just needed to buy the rails and wire. If you can find out who does the conversions in your area it might work out. I reall like the look.

-- Bill R

View ellen35's profile


2738 posts in 3607 days

#5 posted 12-15-2016 12:50 PM

I saw something a while back that had strapping attached to the bottom of each rafter, the full length of the rafter. Then the individual put acoustic ceiling tiles resting on the strapping in between the rafters. It always looked like an intriguing design as you could remove them or change them out whenever you needed to. Just another idea…

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View BurlyBob's profile


5936 posts in 2440 days

#6 posted 12-15-2016 01:24 PM

I pretty much had to do the ceiling by myself. I opted for OSB. I’d paint a sheet or two white on saw horses than screw it to the ceiling. I used a primer first than semi gloss white to help with the lighting. I did the walls the same. I’ve got no regrets about it.

View dhazelton's profile


2789 posts in 2471 days

#7 posted 12-15-2016 02:03 PM

Mice would LOVE insulation and canvas. Plus the canvas would dry rot after several years. I’d use the cheapest material you could get which is probably drywall.

View JBrow's profile


1366 posts in 1095 days

#8 posted 12-15-2016 04:28 PM


½” drywall would be my go-to material. It is inexpensive (as sheet goods go), carries a fire rating, cuts easily and quickly, is strong (will not sag like 3/8” material could, with the proper fastening schedule), and penetrations after installation are readily made (like when cutting in new penetrations down the road). The only question in my mind is whether to tape the joints (which is drywall’s main disadvantage). I suppose if the joints are tight I would be tempted to leave the joints un-taped. If you are after a fire rating, the joints will require taping and a coat or two of joint compound. If the garage is attached to the house, I personally would ensure a fire rating and use ½” drywall for sure.

I do like the idea of drop ceiling tiles because I would think the tiles would absorb some sound. But this option would likely be more expensive and would likely require a substrate that would be sufficient to hold the insulation in place. The drop ceiling tiles could be installed in the traditional way, as shown by Bill7255. This is a much nicer look than simply screwing the drop ceiling tiles in place with no rails. I am not sure whether drop down ceiling tiles carry a fire rating, but suspect they do. The packaging should so state.

As far as insulation, I would opt for bats. The blown in settles, reducing its R rating, and makes working in the attic more difficult than bats, which can be moved out of the way. Two layers of batting laid perpendicular is better than a single thicker layer installed between the rafters. My guess is that if you are in the shop long enough, you will be in the attic doing something at some future time. If so the bats would be appreciated.

When it comes to painting, a gloss or semi-gloss is the choice I wish I had made when I painted my shop. It reflects light better and easily wipes clean (should you ever decide to clean the ceiling down the road). Lest you think I am crazy, in 14 years I have only cleaned the ceiling when I did some drywall ceiling repairs and touch-up painting; and then only those areas where I worked.

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Mainiac Matt

8506 posts in 2503 days

#9 posted 12-15-2016 04:34 PM

I would (and for my own shop did) use 1/2” drywall. Fire rating is good enough reason for me by itself, but it is also very inexpensive. And if you rent a lift and put up long panels, you can minimize the but joints.

-- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View rwe2156's profile


3134 posts in 1655 days

#10 posted 12-15-2016 07:26 PM

1/2 drywall cheapest way to go.

I would definitely sub it out to a drywall contractor ++

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15649 posts in 2793 days

#11 posted 12-15-2016 07:55 PM

Steel panels. Last shop ceiling you’ll ever need. Strong, easy to clean, lasts forever.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View woodman88's profile


144 posts in 2823 days

#12 posted 12-15-2016 09:13 PM

I also just completed my new shop 2yrs ago and used bright white steel roofing and wouldn’t have it any other way

View BigYin's profile


421 posts in 2591 days

#13 posted 12-15-2016 09:34 PM

for dhazelton

if mice are a problem you need to get rid of the mice by poison, by trap or by cat. they carry many nasty diseases. In the UK we have less diseases to worry about (like plague) but still need to ensure we getrid of mice.

Bubonic plague – Mice are not infected with plague as often as rats, but infections do occur. This disease is spread to humans by fleas. Plague is usually fatal within a few days of infection. It is present in rodents throughout the western United States, and in many other parts of the world

Salmonella – Mice and rats are both frequent carriers. Spreads to humans by contact with mouse droppings, especially through consumption of contaminated food. Causes serious, sometimes fatal gastroenteritis. Household pets are also frequently infected with Salmonella by this means and often die as a result.

Murine Typhus (typhus transmitted from mice via flea bite) – This disease is treatable with antibiotics, but can cause death in elderly or infirm individuals. Symptoms include vomiting, fever, headache, myalgia, and cough.

Leptospirosis – Rats and mice are both carriers of this potentially fatal disease. More about leptospirosis →

Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis (LCM) – A rodent-borne viral infectious disease presenting as aseptic meningitis (inflammation of the membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord) and/or encephalitis (inflammation of the brain itself). Usually, LCM is not fatal (mortality is less than 1%).

Rat-bite Fever – Fatal in 10 percent of untreated cases. Usually contracted from rats, but infection can also occur from mice. The bacterium causing this disease enters the body through bites, as its name suggests, or from urine contaminating either food or preexisting skin wounds.

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) – Infection with hantavirus can progress to HPS, another of the diseases carried by mice. HPS is often fatal. People become infected through contact with rodents infected with hantavirus or with their urine and droppings. The Sin Nombre hantavirus, first recognized in 1993, is one of several New World hantaviruses circulating in the US. Old World hantaviruses, found in Asia, can cause Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome (HFRS). The following four rodents are the primary carriers of hantavirus in the US: Deer Mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus), Cotton Rat (Sigmodon hispidus), Rice Rat (Oryzomys palustris), and White-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus).

Tapeworms – Mice host small tapeworms of the genus Hymenolepis that can spread to humans who eat foods contaminated with mouse droppings (or when hands are merely dirtied by droppings and not washed before meals). These parasites hatch out in the gut where they grow and reproduce.

dry rot in canvas … the use of a synthetic mould/mildew/rot resistant material rather than cotton canvas should solve that worry

-- ... Never Apologise For Being Right ...

View Holbs's profile


1984 posts in 2204 days

#14 posted 12-15-2016 11:10 PM

Did someone say…drywall? :) I went 5/8” only because it’s fire code due to being a 2 car attached garage to the house. If it was it’s own building, I would still go fire rated 1/2” (as mentioned above) due to the price tag, some safety goodies, and ease of making things look good in the end (mudding and painting).
I laid in 24” wide batts of R-19. I could of gone more, but this is a garage, not a living area. I have not even insulated my walls (though it’s still a consideration).

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

View canadianchips's profile


2609 posts in 3172 days

#15 posted 12-15-2016 11:34 PM

Agg tuff !
Reflects light.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

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