no comments

Drywall Alternatives for Your Walls

Drywall is a building material that many of us grew up taking for granted in suburban homes.

But drywall has some disadvantages, and there are plenty of alternatives on the market worth considering, each with their pros and cons.

In this article, I will introduce you to 10 alternate materials to think about using in your construction project.

I will go over the pros and cons of each of them as well as some recommended products.

First, let’s quickly discuss the reasons you might want to pick an alternative to drywall for your project.

Here's a list of Best Drywall Alternatives

Why Choose an Alternative to Drywall?

For some, the reason to pick a different material for walls is aesthetic. Not everybody likes the appearance of drywall.

For others, it is practical. If you live in a location where mold is common, drywall can quickly soak up moisture, leading to problems with mold and rot.

In general, the flimsy nature of drywall makes it easy to damage and difficult to repair.

On top of these other drawbacks, it is not an eco-friendly material from a recycling standpoint.

So, there are many different reasons why drywall alternatives have become more prevalent in recent years.

Now that you are familiar with them, let’s move onto exploring some alternatives.

1. Wood Planks

One of the trendiest drywall alternatives in a lot of recent homes is wood planks. These are usually installed in a horizontal orientation.

Pros

  • Wood planks are aesthetically pleasing. You can choose from a variety of woods and finishes, and you can even use a variety of materials and colors on a single wall to create a pleasing effect. Indeed, wood planks can function as artwork built right into your home.
  • You can achieve a rustic look with wood planks. Rustic decorative styles are all the rage right now.
  • Even though wood planks are ideal for rustic styles, they can complement modern or industrial styles as well.

Cons

  • Depending on the type of wood you want, the planks could be pricey.

Products to Consider:

  • Available in widths ranging from 3” to 5”.
  • Available coverages range from 10 square feet up to 40 square feet.
  • 1/8 in. thick
  • Color options include Driftwood, Black Ice, Coastal White, Breakwater, Sandy Beach, Freestone, and River Planks.
  • Pre-finished to save you extra time and effort.

Local and Reclaimed

This product consists entirely of 100% reclaimed wood, which is locally sourced from lakes in northern Maine.

Overall Assessment

With a variety of colors to choose from, finishing already taken care of, and eco-friendly origins, the Timberchic DIY Reclaimed Wooden Wall Planks are beautiful drywall alternatives worth considering.

  • 100% redwood
  • Choose between natural, silver, and “All 5 Colors”
  • Available sizes include 8-foot corner trim, 10 square feet, 20 square feet, and 40 square feet. You can also buy a sample pack
  • All planks are 5 inches wide

Eco Friendly 

These wood planks are made of 100% reclaimed materials and received a certificate from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). They also meet standards set by the Rainforest Alliance.

Cut As You Choose

You can use a jigsaw, miter saw, square and chop saw, or even a square and razor knife to cut these boards. 

Overall Assessment

This product is another great eco-friendly option. Plus, these wall planks were designed with a variety of scenarios in mind. So, regardless of your tools or skills, you should be able to cut and install them.

  • A variety of overage options are available. These include a sample pack, 2 square feet, 8 square feet, 10 square feet, 23 square feet, 46 square feet, or 104 square feet.

Eco Friendly 

These rustic wood planks are made from Oklahoma-sourced reclaimed wood and are naturally weathered. 

Cut As You Choose

To cut these wood planks, you will need a miter saw or hand saw. There are multiple options for installation. Either you can use a hammer and nails, or you can use construction adhesive.

Overall Assessment

For those who are looking for a weathered look, it is hard to beat these wood planks. Some other products are artificially modified to create a weathered appearance. But these planks are naturally aged.

2. Bricks or Masonry

Moving on from wood planks, another option for adding texture to your walls is to install bricks or masonry. There are also “flats” you can opt for in this category.

Pros

  • Brick or masonry adds architectural interest to your interior. They provide texture and dimension.
  • Brick and masonry are both durable and long-lasting. They may be a more rugged choice than some other drywall alternatives.
  • It may increase your home’s value to install brick or masonry. If you plan to sell your house later down the line, installing brick or masonry is an investment that could pay off.

Cons

  • The main drawbacks of brick or masonry are that they are expensive, and installing them can be an involved project.

Products to Consider:

  • 40 thin brick flats per package for 7.3 square feet of coverage
  • Clay brick veneer

Easy to Cut and Install

You only need an angle grinder or tile saw to cut these thin bricks.

Overall Assessment

Even though these are individual bricks (as opposed to a sheet), installing them is easier than installing full-sized bricks would be.

3. Pegboard

Pegboards have become popular organizing systems for walls. But in some cases, pegboard may be used as a drywall alternative. You might consider this in a garage or craft room or any other room in your house where you have many tools and supplies to store.

Pros

  • It is pretty easy to install pegboard. Because it has holes in it, you can actually look through them to double-check placement while you’re installing them.
  • After you finish installing pegboard, it has excellent functional value.

Cons

  • The biggest drawback of pegboard is probably aesthetic. Even though it offers utilitarian value, it does not do much to enhance the appearance of a room. It could even detract from it.

Products to Consider:

  • 16” X 20” wall panels
  • Two wall panels per pack
  • Sturdy plastic
  • A variety of colors are available

Personalize Your Walls

This pegboard product comes in a range of hues, including white, gray, black, blue, green, pink, purple, orange, yellow, and clear. So, whatever your personal style and decor, and whatever room you want to install pegboard panels in, you should be able to find a product that will complement your interior.

Overall Assessment

These pegboard wall panels are versatile, aesthetically pleasing (for pegboard), and easy to install.

4. Plaster and Lath

Another alternative to drywall to consider is a lath and plaster system. “Lath” refers to wooden slats. You begin by setting these up horizontally, and then you fill in the gaps between them using gypsum plaster. Once you have completed that process and have allowed it to dry, you add more plaster to form the outermost surface of the wall.

Pros

  • Plaster and lath is a drywall alternative that has been in use for a very long time. It is a reliable and long-lasting option.
  • One cool thing about plaster and lath is that you can shape it as needed. So, if you need to achieve an unusual shape, you can do so. You simply need to position the lath as required and fill in with plaster once you have achieved the shape you want.
  • Once you know how to make a plaster and lath wall, repairing it if there are small chips or cracks is pretty simple. You just need to apply more plaster and paint over those spots.

Cons

  • If you are a casual DIYer, installing plaster and lath will probably exceed your skill level and be too involved for you to consider. But you can always consider contracting the job out to a professional.

Products to Consider:

  • Each pack contains 50 lath pieces
  • Each lath measures 5/16 in. x 1-1/2 in. x 4 ft.

Affordable

Buying this product is a low-cost way to purchase lath pieces in bulk for your projects. Just one set of these can go a long way. 


You may want to note that there is a less expensive pack also from Home Depot, which includes the same number of pieces and the same dimensions for each for around half the price.


The reason I selected the more expensive product is that it has better reviews. It seems more common with the less expensive product to end up with cracked, warped, or otherwise unacceptable pieces. So, paying for the higher quality is probably worthwhile.

Easy to Use

Another benefit of this product is that the dimensions for the lath pieces are convenient and make it easy to tackle most projects.

Overall Assessment

For an inexpensive and conveniently-sized set of lath pieces, this product can see your needs.

Along with your lath strips, you will also need some gypsum plaster for your project. Our recommended product is the U S GYPSUM 163841 50LB BagStructo Plaster.

  • 50 lb

A Solid Product That is Easy to Work With

Assuming your layer is around half an inch to three-quarters of an inch thick, you should be able to cover around 6’ X 6’ with the amount of gypsum plaster which is in this container.

Overall Assessment

This product is gypsum plaster, plain and simple. Use it in conjunction with your lath strips as a drywall alternative.


Take note that it seems challenging to find gypsum plaster, but if you use a contractor for your projects, they may have access to more options.

5. Cement Board

Next on our list of alternative drywall options is cement board. You can consider this idea if you are okay doing some heavy lifting. You probably won’t be able to move and place cement board by yourself, so make sure you have someone who can work with you on your project.

So, what is cement board? It is a panel that contains a mixture of cement and cellulose-rich fibers.

Pros

  • Cement board resists moisture. The main reason to consider using cement board is that this material is resistant to moisture. So, if your climate is humid and you want to protect your walls from moisture damage or mold, cement board is a smart option.
  • Cement board is a more durable alternative to drywall. It can stand up to more wear and tear with less damage.
  • This is a versatile material. You should find that the selection of cement board available is pretty broad, and should be able to match the appearance of material to your interior.

Cons

  • The cost of cement board can be on the high side. It costs more to install cement board than drywall.
  • As previously mentioned, cement board is heavy. For this reason, it can be inconvenient, especially if you do not have someone to work with on your project.

Products to Consider:

  • Each board measures 1/2 in. x 3 ft. x 5 ft.
  • Materials include cement, glass mesh, and aggregate

​Protect Your Walls From Moisture and Mold

According to the seller, this product features the “lowest water absorption of any cement board.”

Reinforced Edges

The reinforced edges are tapered and feature double-wrapped EdgeTech technology. This feature makes them resistant to shattering while permitting closer fastener application.

Overall Assessment

This product is durable and attractive. Also, it is not as heavy as some other competing cement board products.

6. Concrete

Another long-lasting and robust drywall alternative to think about is concrete.

Pros

  • Concrete is an attractive material that can work well in a minimalist, modern, or industrial style.
  • It is hard to beat concrete for strength and durability. It should give you an extensive lifetime.

Cons

  • Concrete is expensive. You can help mitigate the high price by purchasing in bulk, which you will probably need to do anyway to achieve the coverage you require.

Products to Consider:

  • 60 pounds
  • When you add water, the mix provides you with .45 cubic feet of concrete
  • 4,000 psi

Inexpensive

This product contains more concrete mix for a lower price than some competing products.

Overall Assessment

Purchasing concrete mix is pretty straightforward. This product is a good deal.

8. Wood Sheets

If you want to use wood as a drywall alternative, wood planks are not your only option. You can also go with sheets of plywood.

Pros

  • Choose a material you like. There are many different types of plywood on the market. But you also can go with oriented strand board (OSB) or medium-density fiberboard.
  • It is easy to install plywood and other types of sheet wood. If you have a screwdriver, you should be able to install sheet wood.
  • It is easy to install plywood and other types of sheet wood. If you have a screwdriver, you should be able to install sheet wood.

Cons

  • Some types of sheet wood have drawbacks in terms of appearance. OSB is a handy material, but it also has a distinctive pattern, which is pretty hard to conceal by painting.

Products to Consider:

  • Common: 23/32 in. x 2 ft. x 4 ft.; Actual: 0.703 in. x 23.75 in. x 47.75 in.
  • Grade: C4
  • 16-pound panels
  • Meets Engineered Wood Association PS 1-09 standard

Sturdy BCX Plywood

These durable plywood panels can hold up to a lot of wear and tear, making them a sturdy choice for a drywall alternative.

Overall Assessment

This product is just one example of the many sheet wood materials you can use for your walls.

9. Cork Wall

Traditionally, we usually see corkboard used on bulletin boards, not for entire walls. Nevertheless, it can have some advantages as an alternative to drywall.

Pros

  • Add texture. Cork has a distinctive and exciting texture, which can help to break up otherwise dull walls.
  • Don’t worry about nicks and holes. Although it is easy to damage corkboard, you don’t really need to be all that concerned about it. If there are nicks or holes, you won’t even see them unless you’re standing close to the wall.
  • Increase the functionality of a wall. It is incredibly easy to display pictures or messages on the wall when it is corkboard.
  • Give your space a warmer look. Cork tends to have a warm tone, which may brighten an interior and give it a homey vibe.
  • Have fun. If you love regularly changing things up on your walls, you will have a blast with your corkboard walls.
  • This material is hypoallergenic.

Cons

  • Easily to damage. Thankfully, this is not a significant consideration. Corkboard is made for puncturing, after all. So long as you are okay with that, it may be a suitable choice for your walls.

Products to Consider:

  • 2 ft. x 3 ft. x 1/4 in. Cork Underlayment Sheet (30 sq. ft. / 5-Pack)

Versatile and Affordable

This product provides an ample amount of coverage at a reasonable price.

Overall Assessment

Although this particular product was engineered specifically as a flooring sound barrier, you can use it for a vast array of different projects. As such, it may be suitable for your walls.

10. Textured Wall Panels

Finally, in recent years, textured wall panels have become a popular alternative to drywall. Manufacturers make them using materials like PVC.

Many people are familiar with textured wall panels, but usually not in a residential setting. In the past, it was far more common to encounter them in upscale hotels and similar establishments.

Using these panels, you can give your walls an intriguing 3D effect. In some cases, that effect might mimic another material, like bricks. But in others, it could be a geometric effect, turning your walls into modern art.

Pros

  • Textured wall panels allow for customization of your space. With them, you can create a wide variety of looks suitable for a wide selection of styles.
  • Many of these products are fire-resistant.
  • Because textured wall panels used to show up only in luxury settings like lavish hotels, they instantly give your home that same luxury feel.

Cons

  • You do need to apply some type of base to your walls first. Only then can you install textured wall panels on top of it.

Products to Consider:

  • PVC panels
  • Fire-resistant
  • 12 panels measuring 19.7” x 19.7” (500mm*500mm) for a total of 32 square feet of coverage
  • Matte white or matte black
  • Cool geometric design

Lightweight and Easy to Install

These textured wall panels are lightweight so that they are easy to lift, move, and place. You can attach them to the base using adhesive glue. The manufacturer provides a detailed installation manual that you can download.

Overall Assessment

With these textured wall panels, you can bring a modern book to any room.

  • 20 pieces
  • 4 square feet per piece
  • 80 square feet of coverage
  • Matte white or matte black
  • Brick texture

Easy to Trim

You can literally cut these sheets of 3D bricks using a pair of scissors. It doesn’t get simpler than that. 

Easy to Customize

You can apply latex paint to these bricks to color them to your needs.

Overall Assessment

If you want to easily mimic the appearance of real bricks without going through the hassle of using them, these textured panels do a pretty convincing job serving as a substitute.

  • 19.7" x 19.7" (12 Pack)
  • 32 square feet of coverage
  • Choose between matte black and matte white
  • Waterproof
  • Fire-resistant
  • Flowy pattern

Overall Assessment

This product is similar to the Art3d Textures 3D Wall Panels White Diamond Design Pack. But instead of the geometric planes, it features a flowing pattern of abstract curves. 

Conclusion

You are now familiar with some drywall alternatives which are on the market today. While each of these materials is ideal for different scenarios and requires different tools, materials, and expertise for installation, you should find one or more options that are ideal for your project.

Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.