Project Garage Part I: Introduction



Time to cover that beautiful insulating job you just finished. Wallboard is readily available is 4×8, 4×10, or 4×12 foot panels in thicknesses ranging from 1/4 to 3/4 inch. 4×8 sheets are easier to handle but a few extra hands make 4 x 12 x ½” thick the best choice for this garage with a few 4 x 8 x ½” for the smaller pieces next to and above the garage doors. Anything thinner than a half inch thick and I’d worry about a rollaway tire having a fender bender with the wall. You must stagger the wallboard joints so they don’t create too much pressure in one place and begin to crack. Since the walls are 8′ tall, the wallboard was installed in 12′ long, 4′ high panels across.

Always install the top panel first so you don’t create a space near the ceiling. In the garage, a small space near the floor by the concrete foundation won’t be very noticeable. Have two people lift the panel into place while another person screws drywall screws on each stud to secure the panel. The screws should not stick out past the wallboard but also shouldn’t be too far into the board. Use 1 ¼” drywall nails or Type W gypsum board screws for the cleanest job. Nails should be spaced no more than 8″ apart, screws no more than 16″ apart. Drywall bits are highly recommended. They will push the screws in precisely far enough. To discourage cracking, try not to screw the panels within an inch or two of the edge of the wallboard unless you have a stray piece that needs to sit flush. As an added security, you can use panel adhesive before screwing in the wallboard, though I not find this necessary. A wallboard T-square made measuring and cutting smaller pieces much easier. Use a utility knife to slice where you want to cut the drywall and just snap the area to finish the cut. For the outlets, measure and cut out the squares before securing the panels. Otherwise, secure the panels in place noting approximately where the outlet lies. Then use a screwdriver to poke a few holes into the general area. A jigsaw knife can cut out to the edges of the box to remove the drywall covering the outlet. 

Covering up each screw hole, tape seam, and crack with wallboard joint compound was definitely the most tedious job of finishing the garage!

Wallboard joint compound will finish the job. Using a 4 to 6 inch taping knife, apply a thin layer of the compound over all seams, nail and screw holes. On inside corners and seams, apply a thin coat of joint compound first and then press strips of self adhesive wallboard tape into the damp compound. Apply another finishing coat to each side. The joint compound shrinks as it dries so 3 coats are necessary to completely cover it. Let each coat dry about 24 hours. Unless you want bumpy walls, always remove the excess and use a wallboard wet sander to gently sand the finished coat of joint compound before it dries completely.

Your garage is now “finished.” Except for the (optional) coat or two of paint, Project Garage is starting to resemble a dream garage. In the next few articles, we’ll explore floor paint and epoxy coatings, lighting, organization and storage, air compressors, power and air tools, and many other interesting ways to fix up your garage. And you thought modding was only for the cars!

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