The durability and aesthetic of your flexible home addition relies on the materials utilized for your garage walls. Furthermore, these materials may affect the resale worth of your home for potential buyers.

Drywall is the most common garage finishing material. Its popularity stems from its attractive finish, affordability, soundproofing, and fire resistance capabilities. Plywood is a close competitor that’s fighting for its place at the top by offering extra sturdiness and greater impact resistance. It’s also fairly easy to install and will serve you for longer than drywall.

The cost to finish a garage in drywall or plywood is going to depend on the quality and thickness of the drywall you use. A fireproof X type will be more expensive than standard drywall.

Per Sheet (4’ x 8’)$15$10
Per sq ft. installed$2$1.5
Single car garage 14 x 22 $660 - $1,848$495 - $1,386
Single car garage 24 x 22$1,056 - 3,168$792 - $2,376

What Is Drywall?

Drywall is a construction material made from treated gypsum, a natural non-toxic sulfate mineral, sandwiched between two thick paperboards.

To process the gypsum into drywall, it’s heated to remove the naturally occurring water in the mineral. It’s then cured using crystallized water at normal temperatures. The main product consists of large panels that are cut and put up as walls.

What Is Plywood?

Plywood is an engineered wood material made from several layers of thin wood, like veneer or plies. An odd number of thin wood pieces are pressed together at right angles along the grain then bonded using adhesives or resins. The bonding requires using pressure and heat.

The quality of plywood depends on the number of veneer layers and the gluing used. It also varies depending on its different uses.

The Differences Between Drywall and Plywood

You will find either drywall or plywood used for many indoor and outdoor spaces. The most suitable for your garage depends on the intended use of the space as well as your personal preferences.

Let’s dive into the differences between the two.

CostAffordable Significantly more expensive
Aesthetics Gives you a blank canvas to work withHeavily textured works if you don’t mind a rough finish
SturdinessEasily damaged Greater strength and integrity
Ease of installationDifficult and more involving to installFast and straightforward to install
SoundproofingDampens noiseNo soundproofing capabilities
Fire hazard safetyHigh fire safety ratingLow fire safety rating

Fire Resistance

Winner: Drywall

Crystallized water in drywall gives it superior fire resistance abilities. When the drywall is subjected to extreme heat, it starts to release the crystallized water as steam, which buys time before the fire can spread.

Additionally, drywall is non-combustible and also acts as a barrier. As a result, drywall is a great option for garage walls in spaces that see lots of power tool activities or other potential fire hazards.

Drywall meets the most residential building codes of at least a one-hour fire rating.
On the other hand, plywood is combustible, meaning it doesn’t provide sufficient protection and safety in the event of a fire. Plywood is not suitable for areas with local building codes.