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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.

How To Finish Drywall In Your Garage? (The Easy Way!) (1)

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

Add Blocking

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

Electrical Outlets

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.

Wall Insulation

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!

  1. Reduce butt joints: You can do this by using 4X8 drywall sheets vertically in an 8’ high garage.
  2. 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.
  3. Use a Drywall Cutout Tool: The Makita 3706K Drywall Cut-Out Tool Kit lets you cut rectangles for electrical outlets, cleanly.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. 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 .
  7. 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.

Metal Panels For Garage Walls (Useful Stuff You Need To Know)

Garage PVC Wall Panels (Important Facts You Need To Know!)

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:


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.


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.


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.

GMS Intro

GMS Intro

GMS Intro

Thank you very much for reading the post. I do hope you found it informative and useful.


What is the easiest way to finish garage walls? ›

The best material for finishing garage walls is usually considered to be drywall. It increases the fire resistance of walls and is easy to install. However, you do have another garage wall covering option. Oriented strandboard (OSB) can be screwed to the wall framing, but does not require taping and finishing.

What's the easiest way to finish drywall? ›

Here's how to finish drywall, step by step:
  1. Inspect the walls. ...
  2. Mix the joint compound if necessary. ...
  3. Spread a thin layer of compound over the screw holes. ...
  4. Tape the seams between the drywall sheets. ...
  5. Apply the first coat of compound. ...
  6. Sand the first coat. ...
  7. Apply the second coat. ...
  8. Apply the finish coat.
Jan 24, 2022

How do you finish a garage wall cheaply? ›

Plywood, medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and oriented strand board (OSB) are expedient and low-cost solutions for garage walls. They can be attached over studs quickly with framing screws and, unlike drywall, wood doesn't require any taping, mud, or sanding.

What is the best finish for garage walls? ›

The sheen needed for garage walls is also important to note. Semi-gloss or satin finishes are the best choices as they'll provide a cleanable surface and just enough reflection to camouflage inevitable imperfections like dents, screwheads, and uneven texture.

Should I finish my garage with drywall? ›

Drywall is a great building matter that is highly resistant to fire so it is a great addition to garages. Garages often have power tools in them, flammable materials, and also people who work on cars with products that could catch fire. Installing drywall would be a good idea to keep it a safe area.

Should I finish the inside of my garage? ›

Even if you're unsure what exactly you want to do with the garage, you can finish it anyway so it can be utilized as usable space. You probably don't want to spend much time in a cold, unfinished garage. They're hard to clean, unpleasant to be in for too long, and they provide shelter for unwanted critters.

What level of drywall finish for garage? ›

Level 2 is used in areas where the appearance is not important. This is the level of drywall finish usually found in your garage.

What are the 3 steps for finishing drywall? ›

There are three phases to drywall finishing: tape coating, finish (or skim) coating, and the sanding and touch-up work you'll do at the end. Before you begin, however, you'll need to mix the fast-setting compound into a paste about the consistency of warm cake icing (without lumps or bubbles).

What are the 5 levels of drywall finish? ›

The Levels of Finish are:
  • Level 0: No taping, finishing, or accessories required. ...
  • Level 1: Joint tape exposed, bare fasteners. ...
  • Level 2: Joint tape embedded, one coat on fasteners. ...
  • Level 3: One coat atop embedded joint tape, two coats on fasteners. ...
  • Level 4: Two coats atop embedded joint tape, three coats on fasteners.
Sep 12, 2019

Can you finish drywall in one day? ›

The compounds with the shortest setting times are ideal for one-day finishing. All three coats can be applied in the same day; if the taper is skilled enough, only two coats are necessary (the compound can be applied more heavily, because there is very little shrinkage as it sets up).

How do I seal my garage walls? ›

The most effective and economical way of waterproofing a garage is with tanking slurry. Occasionally this product is referred to as cementitious tanking. Tanking slurry is a specially formulated mixture designed to stop water ingress. It either comes pre-mixed or as a powder to mixed on site with clean water.

What stuff for garage walls? ›

  • Pegboards.
  • Garage Storage Hooks.
  • Slatwall Panels.
  • Track Systems.
  • Gridwall Panels.

What can I use for garage walls instead of drywall? ›

Plywood, MDF, or OSB is the best material for building garage walls because it is both inexpensive and easy to work with.

What should I use for walls in my garage? ›

Use of fiberboard

The most suitable type of garage wall is hardboard since it has different densities and the material required for it is wooden chips that can prove to be very strong, easy to install, and clean. It is a typical ¼-inch thick sheet. It has lightweight. It is easy to staple on the studs.

How can I cover my garage walls? ›

Two other garage wall covering alternatives to drywall are fiberglass reinforced panels (FRP) and wallboard panels. Keep in mind that these products are used only for covering and finishing walls and aren't designed to accommodate hanging storage systems.

Do I need to mud drywall in garage? ›

most building codes requires garage drywall to be taped and mudded to prevent exhaust fumes getting into the house.


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