Drywall is one of the most common materials for walls, ceilings, basements, and garages – but many homeowners do not know there are many drywall alternatives! Drywall is a popular choice with builders because it is cheap, quick, and easy to install but offers few design options and can damage easily.
With these cutting-edge drywall alternatives, you may free yourself from conventional drywall that will transform your environment. Discover a universe of options for a genuinely distinctive and helpful interior, from eco-friendly choices to imaginative designs.
In this article, we will answer the most asked question: “How do you finish walls other than drywall?“, and teach you everything you need to know about the most popular alternatives so you can remodel your interior, exterior walls, or ceiling tile in your house or basement with new material!
15 Drywall Alternatives
Wood plank panels are popular drywall alternatives for a western-themed room or basement. Instead of drywall, a series of wood planks can replace drywall plaster.
One unique advantage of a wood plank wall is that you can replace it independently. You can remove each wall panel and replace it with a similar-sized piece of wood, which is an easier repair than fixing drywall sheets.
Cement is also one of the popular drywall alternatives for a garage wall or basement wall. It will last almost forever – but you must ensure you place the correctly the first time because removing them is virtually impossible.
One thing to watch out for on an exterior cement basement wall is leaks that could flood your basement without the help of a sump pump or cause mold to grow inside an interior wall.
Another drywall alternatives are bamboo. It 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, ensure 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 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, a cavity, crack, or markings on the wall can easily be cleaned off with Windex or replaced! A drywall panel is rigid to clean and expensive to replace, while plastic can be switched out in about 15 minutes.
If you enjoy interior decorating and want to change the theme quickly, you can add wallpaper. There are countless themes and styles for all rooms of the house to change regular drywall into an exciting accent wall.
Concrete is a popular drywall competitor for basements. Instead of using traditional drywall over the concrete, the walls are finished and sealed to prevent leaks.
The concrete can be painted, stained, or finished in several ways – just install insulation before laying the concrete. It is not a popular choice for the inside of your home but an excellent 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 exterior wall is that it is almost 100% leakproof unless there is a crack.
The brick is unlikely to rot or have problems with mold growing behind the drywall. You only need to watch out for cracks and leaks caused by a shifting foundation.
Stone and Rocks
Stone and rock walls are not common – but they are a great way to add style to your home. One of their most significant benefits is that these walls are super sturdy but expensive and may crack if not correctly installed.
For those who want to create a rustic or contemporary farmhouse image, barnwood is a fantastic choice. The most genuine appearance is provided by reclaimed wood, but it can be pricey and hard to find. Like these Enkor engineered wood accent planks, engineered wood panels are more frequently fashioned to seem like old boards. Engineered wood barnwood is produced in a variety of shapes and finishes and is typically inexpensive, simple to install, and washable. For high-moisture environments, neither natural nor manufactured wood is suggested.
The popular and fashionable drywall substitute known as shiplap has grown significantly in favor in recent years. Shiplap is made out of long, horizontally aligned wooden boards with a small space between each one inspired by wooden boats’ design.
Any interior area gains personality and warmth from this unique installation technique, producing a pleasant and rustic appearance. Because of its adaptability, shiplap can be utilized on ceilings, walls, and even as decorative accents. Its installation is not too complicated, making it a do-it-yourself effort for homes.
Besides being attractive, shiplap is durable and can be painted or stained to accommodate different design tastes. Shiplap offers a classic and distinctive substitute for conventional drywall finishes, whether employed in a setting with a farmhouse aesthetic or a modern interior.
Plywood is the cheapest way to build an interior wall. It is affordable, simple to install, and sturdy if you need to rapidly construct wall panels. The warmth of the wood grain will add warmth to a room, and you can be stain or paint it to match any design. You can put plywood as sheets or planks, the latter of which has a look similar to shiplap or conventional wood paneling. The main disadvantage of plywood is that it won’t be as fire-resistant as drywall, even though you can use it to treat moisture.
Are you a rock and roller? Then posters of your favorite bands are the way to go! You can attach posters to almost any type of wall and are 100% customizable so that no room will look alike – plus, you get to pick your favorites.
Posters might not look right for the dining room or living room, but they are a good choice for a teenager’s room or the basement.
Fiberglass panels are a wall material that you can install quickly and easily. Each plastic panel attaches to the others to form a solid wall. The panels can mimic several materials and styles and are a good choice if you are looking for a quick design change. You can also use fiberglass panel as a replacement for a drywall ceiling!
Although cork walls don’t withstand a lot of weight, they are similar to the completed product of pegboard.
They do make it feasible to quickly hang photos or thumbtack whatever else you want to it, as long as it’s not too heavy, and they do offer a simple way to have a randomized design across an entire wall.
Given that cork board is available in a wider range of colors, thicknesses, compressed cork chip sizes, etc., your options are wider than you might have anticipated. Like a popcorn ceiling, it may assist diffuse light and truly warms up a space.
With its versatility and popularity, veneer plaster is a preferred and stylish alternative to drywall. To create a solid and durable surface, a thin layer of plaster is applied over a special gypsum basecoat panel.
It provides better fire resistance and soundproofing than ordinary drywall. During installation, plaster is troweled in a number of thin layers before being meticulously sanded. This technique permits a variety of creative treatments, from rough designs to polished and smooth appearances.
The only downside is that it could take a whole day to get it done, dur to its additional features and advantages.
Other popular alternatives to drywall are:
- Wahoo walls
- Textured Wall Panels
- Metal panels
- Vinyl siding
- Stone veneer
- Acoustic Panels
Drywall alternatives for a basement
Due to the particular circumstances sometimes present in these rooms, numerous alternatives to drywall may be preferable for basements. Fiberglass-reinforced panels (FRP) are a substitute since they are strong, resistant to moisture, and perfect for basements that could have higher humidity levels. Another choice is to use cement board panels, you directly placed them on brick walls or frameworks and provide good moisture resistance. Additionally, vinyl wall panels are simple to install, cost-effective, and offer insulation and moisture resistance benefits. Reclaimed or pallet wood can produce a lovely and environmentally safe option for a more rustic or industrial appearance. In order to choose a long-lasting and attractive alternative to drywall for a basement, it is essential to take into account elements like moisture resistance, durability, and the desired aesthetic.
For more info about waterproofing your basement walls, read this.
Why Drywall Alternatives, 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 committing to a decorative style, we listed 15 alternatives for your home or apartment!