Insulating and Paneling Garage Walls

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Forum topic by Jim posted 11-04-2014 09:17 PM 1850 views 0 times favorited 39 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Jim's profile


119 posts in 1630 days

11-04-2014 09:17 PM

Topic tags/keywords: shop insulation drywall michigan cold winter

Hey friends, so I’m planning on doing some very basic insulation in my garage for winter. I live in west Michigan, so the winters get cold. I’d like to keep the shop in the 40’s when I’m not using it. I’m thinking of running an oil filled radiant heater in there. My dad does this up north and it seems to do the trick.

I’m going to use rolled fiberglass insulation, just the 3 inch stuff, cheap. But paneling the walls is another thing I’m not familiar with. I was thinking hardboard or 1/8” plywood, but even those are more money than just drywall. BUT, if I drywall, then tape and do a basic basic putty job, and paint, that might cost more than thin ply. If i do ply, I don’t think I’d paint it.

Any help would be appreciated. Just curious what people in similar situations have done.

Here is basically what the shop is now. (It’s a mess is progress)



-- Jim from Rivertown Woodcraft | Grand Rapids, MI |

39 replies so far

View Madwood's profile


68 posts in 3019 days

#1 posted 11-04-2014 10:18 PM

Jim, for the cost of the plywood, I would go with 7/16” OSB. Better insulation value, cheaper than 1/4” ply and makes hanging cabinets and and such alot easier. You can paint it if you wish to brighten up the place. When you insulate the walls, make sure you put a vapor barrier between the insulation and whatever you cover it with. Make sure your ceiling is insulated as well, you’ll thank me for that.

Oh yeah, I’m in central NY, right in the snow belt area, so I know about cold and snow. :)


-- In the shop making chaos out of order

View Trap's profile


1 post in 1269 days

#2 posted 11-04-2014 10:37 PM

Jim spend your money on insulation, you could use 1/2” rigid over the fiberglass batt. 1/2 rigid insulation has an r value of 2.3 to 3.25. OSB is .48. The foam board will be easy to install, and when you come into some money you can drywall, or sheath right over it.
Good Luck


View bigblockyeti's profile


5096 posts in 1688 days

#3 posted 11-04-2014 10:48 PM

Like Madwood stated, 7/16” OSB will allow you to hang anything anywhere. It was already on the walls of my shop when I bought the house and painted white. I would highly recommend this as having everything white makes whatever lighting you have seem brighter.

View Richard's profile


1916 posts in 2658 days

#4 posted 11-04-2014 10:51 PM

I would use a good quality insulation and then drywall on the bottom half and 1/2 ” plywood or OSB on the top half so you can screw stuff to it an not have to always find a stud. Drywall on the bottom half since your most likely not going to be hanging much from that area.
I am in Ca. now but spent my first 20 years in Illinois and it does get cold there too.

View Woodmaster1's profile


918 posts in 2555 days

#5 posted 11-04-2014 11:11 PM

I Used fiberglass insulation r-19 in the walls and r30 in the ceiling. When I built my garage I had 2×6 studs for the walls so I could use r-19. It gets cold in northeast indiana . I installed a bigmaxx gas garage heater this year so for it has been great. The lowest the temps have so far is 27 degrees.

View changeoffocus's profile


467 posts in 1585 days

#6 posted 11-04-2014 11:22 PM

I would suggest you use something besides the oil burning construction heater, they are not vented and can develop odors, carbon monoxide and are a fire hazard.
The system suggested by Woodmaster1 is worth waiting until you can fund it.

View hoosier0311's profile


706 posts in 1993 days

#7 posted 11-04-2014 11:23 PM

I will be doing a similar project shortly. I have some insulation up already and plan to do the one wall with pallet boards. I have quite a stack of 40” x 3 1/2 ” X 1/2 boards. The other three walls I plan to use 1/2 ply.
+1 for insulating the ceiling, in fact I would do that first, and then the wall that gets the most wind.

-- atta boy Clarence!

View Manitario's profile


2629 posts in 2851 days

#8 posted 11-05-2014 12:04 AM

Drywall is cheap, easily replaceable and it’s white colour provides for a brighter shop. It’s a shop though, so why bother taping and puttying the drywall? I live in Ontario about 45min from the Michigan/Canada border; I have R19 in the walls and ~R40 in the ceiling.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2329 days

#9 posted 11-05-2014 12:32 AM

1/2” OSB

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View firefighterontheside's profile


17961 posts in 1824 days

#10 posted 11-05-2014 12:42 AM

Definitely osb. Easy to roll some white paint .

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View mudflap4869's profile


1673 posts in 1427 days

#11 posted 11-05-2014 01:14 AM

Vapor barrier over batting then OSB. A gloss white paint and good lighting will reduce eye strain and create a safer work environment.

-- Still trying to master kindling making

View Bill7255's profile


427 posts in 2252 days

#12 posted 11-05-2014 01:58 PM

OSB is ugly IMO, but that is what I put in my shop. It is effective. Those oil filled radient heaters are not very cost effective and I wouldn’t think one would keep the temperature up without more insulation than you have stated. It looks like you have 2×4 wall studs and 2×10 rafters. Most heat loss will be in the ceiling, so put more than R13 there.

-- Bill R

View Vincent Nocito's profile

Vincent Nocito

485 posts in 3332 days

#13 posted 11-05-2014 02:06 PM

For the walls I went with R19 insulation, 0.5” drywall and 7/16” T111 plywood. T111 was glues and nailed. For the ceiling, I went with R30 fiberglass. If you can add rigid foam to the garage doors, you should be ok. I heat my shop with a pair of 1500 watt radiant quartz heaters. The T111 was left natural.

View Jim's profile


119 posts in 1630 days

#14 posted 11-05-2014 03:05 PM

Thanks so much, awesome responses!

I’m thinking OSB then, and a better R value in the roof up in the attic. Not sure I’m going to insulate the ceiling, just the roof.

As for the heater, not sure what to do. I’d like to run something light and cheap constantly in the winter. Just to keep it not freezing for my tools.

Then something bigger while I’m out there. I have 220 out there as well. Maybe electric then...

-- Jim from Rivertown Woodcraft | Grand Rapids, MI |

View Jim's profile


119 posts in 1630 days

#15 posted 11-05-2014 03:07 PM

I could do a large propane tank though, or even just keep filling a grill tank…

but these all seem expensive.

-- Jim from Rivertown Woodcraft | Grand Rapids, MI |

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