What makes a good wall in a garage?
July 26, 2012 1:55 PM   Subscribe

What would you put up for the interior walls of your man cave in the garage?

I have a fairly large garage and have framed out a second floor room, roughly 12 foot by 12 foot. The electrical service is all in as well as the insulation. I will mostly be drinking and watching the Jets in this room. It is not a workshop.

I will be doing the work.

I suppose I could just hang dry wall, but that would look pretty boring. Also, I have no dry walling skills and it seems to me that no matter how easy the pros make it look, it is probably tough to do correctly.

So, what other materials could I use that might give it a rustic look and that does not result in too much heat loss?

I'm thinking wood but I don't know what forms (board, panel, other) or types (pine, cedar, other) would make the most sense as far as ease of installation, heat loss, and over all cost.

If drywall is still the best option, I will still consider it.

Cost will be a consideration too.

I would appreciate any ideas.
posted by otto42 to Home & Garden (27 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If you need insulation, drywall with insulation is a zillion times better than wood.

That's the extent of my knowledge.

What about ghillie suit walls? That yells rustic mancave to me.
posted by small_ruminant at 2:04 PM on July 26, 2012

Taping and bedding is the hard part. If you can hang wood you can hang drywall and not finish it out.
posted by cmoj at 2:04 PM on July 26, 2012

Sheets of panelling is available at the big box stores and that's probably your best option, although many people dislike the aesthetic of it. It can be painted to give it more of a 'wall' look.

Dry walling is one of those things you can learn in a few minutes but spend a lifetime perfecting. The way it doesn't look boring is to paint it, or wall paper it or hang Fatheads on it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:06 PM on July 26, 2012

Drywall will be no better than wood as far as keeping the cold out. The insulation does 99.9% of that job.

Depending on what you want to spend you could do plain old tacky looking thin fake wood panels. If you're willing to spend a bit of time and money, I'd hit up a lumber store... not home depot or rona, but a true lumber store like Windsor plywood (if you're in Canada). I'd get a nice birch plywood to do the ceiling and or walls (cover the joints with maple 1x4's or 1x6's to create a panelled look). A nice lighter stain with a semi-gloss clearcoat will help make the room feel warmer and a little brighter. Alternatively, and a little cheaper you can do tongue and groove boards in a variety of woods, styles (anything from thin strips to half round logs) and price-points. Again with a lighter or reddish stain and a good clear-coat. If you opt for tongue and groove, rent or buy an air compressor and nail gun... SO much easier.
posted by Beacon Inbound at 2:06 PM on July 26, 2012 [6 favorites]

I will mostly be drinking and watching the Jets in this room.

So, padded walls, like an asylum, I'd think.

No really, tongue-in-groove wood paneling is the easiest and hides the most inaccuracy.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:10 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also, I have no dry walling skills and it seems to me that no matter how easy the pros make it look, it is probably tough to do correctly.

It's not that hard if you've never done it, it just takes way longer. The big thing pros get is speed and lack of material waste. Actually getting a wall to come out good is pretty easy. Just by being semi-careful you can beat the drywall quality you commonly see in stores, apartments, etc. on your first wall. Also you have 48 lineal feet of wall with four inside corners and one door? It's like the easiest drywall job in the world. You could do this yourself in one day.

Anyway, I'm not arguing that drywall is the best option, just saying don't overestimate the difficulty.

I like the plywood idea. Or beadboard. I saw a house recently that has big wide sawn boards that are thoroughly rubbed with a wire brush to remove some of the soft grain but leave the hard, so the wood looks deeper and more textured, and then lightly stained. It looked awesome. Pricey though. And a lot of work.
posted by jeb at 2:10 PM on July 26, 2012

Acoustic paneling is attractive and functional
posted by MangyCarface at 2:12 PM on July 26, 2012

Okay, I initially wrote up a "how to do drywall", and I'll leave that on the end of this, but since paneling has been suggested: My own plan for my office involves cherry panels inset in cherry frames. With a display case for a ship model on one wall, inside the built-ins for the books. Because a man cave needs three things: Copious cherry, a model sailing ship rigged to the nines, and books.

But drywall is cheap and easy. If you want to finish it out and have a compressor, I think Harbor Freight sells a texture sprayer for just a few bucks that'll work for the space you need. I borrowed one from a friend. Sprayed texture will hide all sorts of drywall ills.

You can spend a lifetime learning how to get drywall flat, or you can slap it up there, run a line of spackle down the joint, press the tape on, run another line over the tape. Let that dry, do another line over the tape. Sand just enough to remove the big trowel lines, get a can of premixed texture, mix it really well (premixed just means they got the water ratio right), I prefer a stirrer on a drill. Pour in sprayer, spray at walls, wait a few minutes, gently brush the top with a large trowel to knock the top of it down flat (it'll take a small section and a try or two to get this right, if it isn't right, scrape it off and try again).

People will admire your wallboard skills.

It's the reason most modern houses have textured wallboard: You can teach any monkey to make drywall look good in half an hour.
posted by straw at 2:13 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]

do yourself a favor...call around for bids on having drywall installed, taped, skimmed, and sanded (you can prime and paint or wallpaper or whatever yourself...thats the fun part) (just ask for an over-the-phone ballpark at this point)...it tends to be a lot cheaper than most people expect and well worth the time/effort/frustration/learning curve/etc you will be getting out of...
posted by sexyrobot at 2:15 PM on July 26, 2012 [5 favorites]

here are some more off-the-wall (ha!) suggestions:
posted by Chris4d at 2:26 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

Cover the whole thing in storeWall.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 2:37 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

We used sheets of plywood in mrgood's basement mancave, as Beacon Inbound suggested: Before and After - I talked about why we chose it in a comment here. We're still happy with the dramatic results for not much money.
posted by peagood at 2:38 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]

I covered a wall with roofing tin years ago and it looked great.
posted by Mhead at 2:42 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

I am known ironically as an "expert" at home repair. To the extent that my wife leaves the house or spends the day poised to call 911. And yet I have successfully hung drywall. You can do it.
posted by Kafkaesque at 3:02 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Whatever you use, make sure you hang one of these when it's finished.
posted by imjustsaying at 3:23 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Rock Steady, It's actually named tongue-and-groove, not 'tongue-in-groove'. But thanks for the thought for a man cave...
posted by X4ster at 3:25 PM on July 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

My first choice would be ham. My second choice would be drywall with insulation.
posted by elizardbits at 3:35 PM on July 26, 2012 [3 favorites]

How 'bout some SIPs?
posted by julthumbscrew at 3:40 PM on July 26, 2012

I think just straight-up wood paneling might get a bit overwhelming if you don't have a way to break it up.

nthing that drywall is not that hard.
posted by ckape at 3:46 PM on July 26, 2012

A climbing wall, even if you don't use it, it looks cool.
posted by Jubey at 3:53 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

You need some masonite pegboard in there.
posted by bennett being thrown at 4:58 PM on July 26, 2012

Do drywall and don’t try to make it smooth, like straw said. I just put joint compound on a trowel and go crazy all over the wall. Mix a little sand or texture in if you want. Then paint. You have to want a raw, interesting, textured look. If you want nice walls ignore this advice.
posted by bongo_x at 9:30 PM on July 26, 2012

Corrugated iron. Second-hand iron that's no longer good enough to make a raintight roof will still last forever indoors and give your man cave heaps of appropriate character. Run the corrugations vertically and it will be rigid enough to let you attach slotted shelving strips anywhere you like, not just on studs.
posted by flabdablet at 12:13 AM on July 27, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for all of the interesting answers. I am going to price out some of the ideas mentioned.
posted by otto42 at 4:24 AM on July 27, 2012

I say put up drywall. Even if it looks a bit wonky you will at least gain some experience. And if it looks bad you can always hide it later. You could put up things like FRP panels but they will still need a substrate.
Also a you can always make mistakes much less visible with textured painting.
posted by The Violet Cypher at 6:22 AM on July 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

I say do drywall. Whatever you decide, spend a few hours watching How To videos on youTube (but skip the Expert Village stuff).
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:06 PM on July 27, 2012

So today's MeFi link to a video of a first-person firefighter helmet cam video reminds me of another good reason to start every wall with wallboard: It's a good fire barrier. Even if you decide on panelling, putting a layer of rock in between panelling and studs isn't a bad idea.
posted by straw at 9:11 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

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