Best walls for workshop

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Forum topic by Marlys posted 07-13-2012 03:57 PM 18085 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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23 posts in 2338 days

07-13-2012 03:57 PM

Topic tags/keywords: workshop walls drywall plywood noise

Next year, I will be moving my shop from my old house (that I’m currently renting) to my present residence. I spent lots of time and labor to get my 2 car garage into the “perfect” shop before I ended up moving to a different house. The new house has a 18×20 dedicated space for my shop…no more sharing with any vehicle…yay!! The problem is that I have to start over to get this space ready. Back to stud walls, no wiring, insulation, etc. I will even have to add more ceiling joists again to support any type of ceiling. Ugh. It was no fun the first time and enjoyed tendonitis for months after as a result.

So…the insulation and wiring is fairly straightforward. My question is with the walls. My last workshop, I had drywalled and painted and very pleased with result. But I have seen some shops with plywood walls (painted and not) and was wondering if this is a better option. One wall will have lumber storage and some open wall space above machines that will be “empty”. Another wall will have mostly cabinets, window, and pegboard/wall slat tool storage. The other two walls are garage doors (front and back drivethru).

I don’t know that there will be a cost savings unless you take into account installation cost (hiring someone). Is there an appreciable difference in noise? I am worried about lots of echo or noise bouncing off the walls and also my neighbors that might not want to hear my tools or singing all the time. I don’t anticipate hanging anything on my walls that won’t be anchored into a stud.

Lots of time to decide because I’m slow. Just a thought that ran through my head and thought I would throw it out to you knowledgeable folk.

-- The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits. ~ Albert Einstein.

24 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


17721 posts in 3184 days

#1 posted 07-13-2012 04:24 PM

As far as sound goes, beef up the insulation to totally fill the wall cavity. You could use double layer drywall for some serious sound deadening. If i had a choice i think i would go with OSB painted white. It would make haning stuff super easy and durable.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View americanwoodworker's profile


185 posts in 2552 days

#2 posted 07-13-2012 04:40 PM

”I don’t anticipate hanging anything on my walls that won’t be anchored into a stud.”
You never do till you get it built. Once you have your machines in their place you will find all open spaces on walls will be between studs. It’s Murphy’s law. If money is not an issue I would go with OSB. Its a few dollars more per panel where I live but well worth it vs. headaches.

-- Your freedom to be you, includes my freedom to be free from you.

View Knothead62's profile


2598 posts in 3139 days

#3 posted 07-13-2012 05:09 PM

I used OSB for a section of my basement/garage. Should paint it for more light.

View Marlys's profile


23 posts in 2338 days

#4 posted 07-13-2012 05:15 PM

Never occurred to me to double the drywall. It is painful enough to do it once :) But it would certainly help with sound, in and out.

I’m sure the money will be there for either option when the time comes and I do understand the headaches of studs not being where you want them to be. I just don’t have a lot of free wall space to mount or hang things with the two garage doors on either end.

With OSB, is sound bouncing off an issue? How do you deal with seams? What thickness of OSB do you recommend, 1/2”?

-- The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits. ~ Albert Einstein.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3658 days

#5 posted 07-13-2012 05:16 PM

I used 3/4 pine plywood then covered it with unfinished 1/2 beaded plywood paneling. I love it. Granted, a white wall reflects more light, but I have plenty of lights so no problem with that. I can hang cabinets, bins, etc anywhere without looking for studs. I wouldnt have it any other way.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View agallant's profile


551 posts in 3064 days

#6 posted 07-13-2012 06:57 PM

I would go with peg board over drywall.

View joebloe's profile


157 posts in 2472 days

#7 posted 07-13-2012 07:16 PM

I used 7/16 OSB on my shop.The way I look at it,the sturder the wall the better.Drywall is good for inside a house,but in a work shop you need something stronger.things happen ,boards get kicked back,stuff get’s dropped,and the walls get hit.I also used OSB for the ceiling,if you do that get some help to do it,don’t try to hold up the Osb and nail it by your self like I did.My back still hates me for it.

View Marlys's profile


23 posts in 2338 days

#8 posted 07-13-2012 07:37 PM

Snowy, you must have strong studwalls to hold up all that ply. I like overkill and it might even make the workshop tornado-proof :) However, I probably won’t put 1 1/4 of wall thickness up.

John, I put up ceiling joists in the other workshop (24’ span) by myself and spent a fair amount of time and money recovering from tendonitis in elbow and opposite shoulder. I might just be dumb enough to try it, but I don’t bounce back like I used to from stupidity.

The OSB would definitely be easier to install and wouldn’t have to mud/sand like drywall. Could even prepaint and touch up as necessary with OSB.

However…no one has addressed what it will sound like inside this big wooden OSB/ply box. I know what my machines and tools sound like with drywall. Sound is absorbed for the most part with drywall or has minimal “bounceback”.

-- The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits. ~ Albert Einstein.

View jerkylips's profile


462 posts in 2748 days

#9 posted 07-13-2012 07:58 PM

as far as sound-deadening goes, I don’t think 2 layers of drywall will help all that much on their own. Usually when doing double-layer drywall, something like “green glue” is used between the layers to create a barrier for the sound waves.

I think you have a couple moving parts here – sound-deadening issues and hanging stuff on your walls issues. A while ago someone had posted their homemade slat wall solution. I plan to do that in our next house on one section of wall. It consisted of a layer of…something (OSB, plywood?), then a layer of evenly spaced vertical strips – maybe 1/2” thick – then a layer of horizontal strips. The vertical strips create to void for hangers & such. It looked like a nice system. Another option is to do a cleat wall for french cleats. Both of these systems will give flexibility to basically hang anything anywhere.

As far as the rest of the walls, I personally wouldn’t use drywall – it damages too easily if you bang into it with something. I would probably use 1/2” plywood – maybe a B/C grade that will take paint relatively well..

View Brickman's profile


51 posts in 2549 days

#10 posted 07-13-2012 08:23 PM

For sound absorption you can use fiberglass bats inside of 2×4 boxes hung on the walls and ceilings. It is cheap and can be covered with flags, designs, etc.

-- Mark - Pueblo, Colorado

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 2742 days

#11 posted 07-14-2012 12:46 AM

OSB with drywall over it? Then hang things wherever you want yet still get the finished look of drywall

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View AandCstyle's profile


3170 posts in 2435 days

#12 posted 07-14-2012 12:59 AM

You didn’t mention if the new shop is attached to the house or not, but if it is (and maybe if it isn’t) the local building inspector may require drywall. In our house we had to use 5/8” rather than 1/2” to satisfy the inspector. If we choose to use ply or OSB it would have had to have been behind the drywall.

Sound travels through solid structures, so Google “z strips” or “resilient channel”. The best approach is to create 2 walls that are one in front of the other without one touching the other. The same holds true for ceilings. Denser materials will absorb sound better, so drywall would be preferable to plywood or OSB.

A lot of this depends on how crazy you want to get, how close the neighbors are, how late in the evening you work in the shop, etc. HTH

-- Art

View Marlys's profile


23 posts in 2338 days

#13 posted 07-14-2012 03:17 AM

It is a detached garage and no restrictions as to interior walls. Insulation and “something” will be adequate. I am primarily worried about

A) having a workshop with finished walls
B) insulation for sound and comfortable temps
C) non-echo like sound in shop and noise buffer for neighbors outside
D) cannot break the bank (dent probably, but not break)

It does not have to be soundproofed as I won’t work past bedtime with power tools. if I go the drywall route, I will probably hire out the work. If I go ply/OSB, I can do walls and then get help for the ceiling. I don’t mind drywall and have it in my current shop. Haven’t dented or scuffed walls yet, but maybe I’m not doing something right :)
My biggest worry is the unknown…OSB/ply is a great wall surface but I have no experience with how it “sounds” when I’m running a jointer or router. Does that sound weird? Maybe I think too much.

-- The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits. ~ Albert Einstein.

View OnlyJustME's profile


1562 posts in 2555 days

#14 posted 07-14-2012 05:06 AM

Unless the 2 garage doors are insulated it really doesn’t matter what you do to the other walls. Talk about working in a tin can.

-- In the end, when your life flashes before your eyes, will you like what you see?

View Marlys's profile


23 posts in 2338 days

#15 posted 07-14-2012 04:43 PM

The doors will be insulated. No worries there. My current shop is a two car with three separate garage door with one entry door. Two of the garage doors and the entry door are wood and the other garage door is fiberglass. It has worked out pretty well. Doors are not insulated at current shop, but heater keeps it comfy in winter. AC has more trouble, but it has hit 105° several times and I just try to make it tolerable.

-- The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits. ~ Albert Einstein.

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