10 Drywall Alternatives for Walls, Ceilings, Basements and Garages

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    Drywall is one of the most common materials for walls, ceilings, basements and garages – but many homeowners do not know that there are many drywall alternatives! Drywall is a popular choice with builders because it is cheap, and quick, and easy to install but it offers few design options and can easily be damaged.

    In this article we will teach you everything you need to know about the most popular drywall alternatives so you can remodel your interior, exterior walls or ceiling tile in your house or basement with a new material!

    Wood Panels

    Wood plank panels are a popular choice for a western themed room or basement. Instead of drywall a series of wood planks can be used to replace drywall plaster.

    One unique advantage of a wood plank wall are they can be indepentendly replaced. Each wall panel can be take out and replaced with a similiar sized piece of wood which is an easier repair than fixing drywall sheet.


    Cement is a popular drywall alternative for a garage wall or basement wall. Cement walls will last almost forevever – but you need to make sure the walls are placed correctly the first time because removing them is almost impossible.

    One thing to watch out for on an exterior cement basement walls are leaks that could flood your basement without the help of a sump pump or cause mold to grow insider an interior wall.


    Bamboo is a unique choice for walls that can bring a tropical feel to a basement or garage. We like bamboo for man caves and man garages – plus for all those island lovers out there that need a taste of sunshine!

    Unlike other wall panels that run horizontally – each bamboo piece stands vertically to form a wall. If you have bamboo walls make sure there are no gaps between each piece and that a vapor barrier is installed behind each wall paneling to prevent leaks and mold since it is hard to fit each piece perfectly together.

    Plastic Panels

    Plastic panels are a good choice for kids walls. Drywall is easy for kids to damage or put a hole in – but plastic is almost impossible. Plus, if there is a hole, crack or markings on the wall it can easily be cleaned off with Windex or replaced! A drywall panel is hard to clean and expensive to replace while plastic can be switched out in about 15 minutes.

    Wall Paper

    If you enjoy interior decorating and want to quickly change the theme you can put up wall paper. There are countless themes and styles for all rooms of the house to change regular drywall into an interesting accent wall.

    Basements and Wall Paper

    If you plan on installing wall paper in your basement becareful and watch for leaks. Even a small leak can ruin wall paper with water spots.


    Concrete is a popular drywall competitor for basements. Instead of putting up traditional drywall over the concrete the walls are finished and sealed to prevent leaks.

    The concrete can be painted, stained or finished in a number of ways – just make sure to install insulation before laying the concrete. It is not a popular choice for the inside of your home but a good way to save a few dollars on basement design.


    Bricks are a good choice for basements, garages and sheds – but not the inside of your home. Brick tends to be very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter. One advantage of a brick interior or exerior wall is that is almost 100% leak proof unless there is a crack.

    Brick is unlikely to rot or have problems with mold growing behind the drywall the only thing you need to watch out for is cracks and leaks caused by a shifting foundation.

    Stone and Rocks

    Stone and rock walls are not common – but a great way to add style to your home. One of their biggest benefits is that these walls are super sturdy but can be expensive to install and may crack if not propery installed.


    Are you a rock and roller? Then posters of your favorite bands are the way to go! Posters can be attached to almost any type of wall and are 100% customizable so no room will look alike – plus you get to pick your favorites.

    Posters might not be the right look for the dining room or living room but they are a good choice for a teenagers room or the basement.

    Fiberglass Panels

    Fiberglass panels are a wall material that can be installed quickly and easily. Each plastic panel attaches to the others to form a solid wall. The panels can mimic a number of materials and styles and are a good choice if you are looking for quick design change. A fiergalass panel can also be used as a replacement for a drywall ceiling!

    Other popular alternatives to drywall material are:

    • Sheetrock
    • Gypsum Board Panels
    • Plaster
    • Wahoo walls
    • Textured Wall Panels
    • Plywood
    • Cork board
    • Metal panels
    • Vinyl siding

    Why Not Drywall?

    Drywall is the most popular wall surface for interior walls. Builders like it because it is quick to install and owners like it because it is easy to paint or add wallpaper but it has many downsides.

    Drywall is prone to molding when exposed to water and had difficulty hanging heavy weights without wall studs. If you feel like getting creative and commiting to a decorative style we listed 15 alternatives for your home or apartment!

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