How to finish the bottom of drywall in the garage

How to Finish the Bottom of the Drywall in Your Garage

Perfecting the Drywall Base in Your Garage

Your garage may serve as a sanctuary, where you perform various tasks or even unwind. Alternatively, you may use it solely for storing items. Regardless of its purpose, it’s essential to safeguard it against damaging factors such as humidity and pests. These elements can wreak havoc on your tools, vehicle, and even the garage’s structure! In this guide, we’ll uncover how to finish the drywall in your garage to ensure its preservation and superior condition.

Why is Finishing the Base of My Drywall Crucial?

You might be wondering why the base of your drywall requires protection or finishing. After all, isn’t drywall installed to shield the garage? While drywall does enhance the garage’s fire resistance and offers an economical, user-friendly option for wall cladding, it also has its vulnerabilities. Drywall lacks robust impact resistance and is highly hygroscopic, leading to easy moisture absorption.

Water damage, rot, or mould on your drywall are the last things you want. Hence, it’s vital to finish and waterproof your drywall correctly. There are several ways to accomplish this, and we’ll explore them in this guide.

Effective Ways to Finish Your Garage’s Drywall Base

Understanding the importance of drywall protection may lead you to question the optimal methods for achieving it. There are various do-it-yourself techniques available to finish your garage’s drywall base effectively. Here’s an overview of some of the easiest and most efficient strategies.

Installation of Metal or Rubber Strip

It’s a common practice to maintain a gap between the garage’s finished floor and the drywall, typically ½ to 2” high. An L-shaped strip fitted into this space can shield your drywall from rot, mould, or other potential threats. These strips are available in water-resistant materials like metal, rubber, or vinyl at your nearest hardware store. Use a joint compound or drywall mud during installation to ensure the strip blends into the drywall seamlessly.

Utilization of Waterproof Primer

Another practical method to finish and safeguard your drywall base is the application of a waterproof primer. Numerous brands and options are readily available at your local home improvement or hardware store. Ensure the primer application extends high enough that any water accumulation on your garage floor doesn’t surpass the waterproofing layer.

Typically, a single or double coat of the primer should suffice to treat your drywall, but this largely depends on the size of your garage, so take this into account.

Adding Baseboards or Garage Floor Trim

Many professionals believe that a blend of trim – like baseboards or wainscoting – and waterproofing is the best approach when finishing your drywall base. Garage floor trim is available in a variety of materials, such as vinyl and two kinds of rubber. However, due to baseboards’ limited height– the tallest ones measure about 6” high– they might not provide sufficient protection against high flood levels or impacts. Hence, it’s advisable to combine these with waterproofing measures. While they offer a visual appeal, they may not be the most efficient or practical solution.

Finishing the Bottom of Drywall in the Garage FAQs

Should I install a baseboard in my garage?

The decision to install a baseboard in your garage depends on your desired level of protection. Baseboards are primarily designed to defend the drywall against water damage or pest invasion, offering an additional layer of protection. This could be highly beneficial in areas like your garage, which is often more exposed to environmental factors.

How can I finish the interior of a garage wall?

Multiple methods are available to finish the interior of your garage wall. The most common and effective among these is the use of drywall, which is easy to install and enhances the fire resistance of your walls. If drywall isn’t your preferred choice, you could opt for oriental strand board (OSB). OSB can be easily screwed to your wall framing and doesn’t require any finishing or taping.

Do I need to finish the garage’s drywall?

Drywall inside your home is generally more refined and finished than the drywall in your garage. This difference is primarily because your living spaces need to be more inviting and well-protected than your garage. While it’s not obligatory to finish your garage drywall, doing so will improve its aesthetics, making the decision largely a matter of personal preference.

How can I waterproof my garage base?

If you live in a flood-prone area or experience heavy rainfall, you may want to waterproof your garage. One of the simplest methods involves using waterproof paint or epoxy. Apply the paint or epoxy directly to the area you want to waterproof, then leave it to dry and cure for a few days. Alternatively, you can use a waterproof membrane. This needs to be applied to the concrete slab during your garage construction and blocks moisture from the get-go.

Waterproofing the bottom of drywall in your garage can be achieved in several ways. Here are a few commonly used methods:

  1. Application of Waterproof Primer or Paint: Apply a layer or two of a waterproof primer or paint. These products create a water-resistant barrier that protects the drywall from moisture absorption. Ensure that the application extends high enough that it won’t be surpassed by any water pooling on your garage floor. Waterproof primers and paints are readily available at home improvement or hardware stores.
  2. Installation of a Water-Resistant Strip: It’s common practice to maintain a gap between the garage’s finished floor and the drywall, usually ranging from ½ to 2” high. Fitting a water-resistant strip (made from materials like metal, rubber, or vinyl) into this gap can help protect your drywall from moisture. Use a joint compound or drywall mud during installation to blend the strip seamlessly into the drywall.
  3. Addition of Baseboards or Garage Floor Trim: Though not the most practical solution for high flood levels, the installation of baseboards or garage floor trims can help protect the drywall from minor splashes and humidity. These are generally available in materials like vinyl and rubber. Remember to use waterproof variants for enhanced protection.
  4. Use of a Waterproof Membrane: This approach is a bit more involved as it requires the membrane to be applied to the concrete slab during your garage’s construction. It effectively blocks moisture right from the source.

It’s important to note that regardless of the method you choose, good ventilation and moisture management in your garage are crucial to preventing water damage to your drywall. Regularly check for any leaks or signs of moisture and address them promptly to maintain the integrity of your garage’s structure.