24 Types of Drywall Alternatives For Your Wall, Basement, Ceiling, Shed

Last Updated on January 2, 2024 by Kimberly Crawford

Drywalls look great and classy. However, the installation process involves a lot of work that might not go well for everyone. The material doesn’t hold well to water damage and high-traffic.

Drywall is prone to mold and bacteria growth, making it a bad idea for cold areas. Drywall is not dense enough hence produce hollow sounds with a thumb.

With many flaws that these construction materials come with, many people are left with no choice but to consider alternatives. Whether you’re building a new home or remodeling, you want something that won’t have drywall defects.

Well, there are many of those alternatives that we’re going to see in this article. Read through and make an informed choice.

Related: 34 Different Types Of Ceilings and Their Pros and Cons

drywall alternatives for your walls

What Is Drywall? What Is Drywall Used For?

Drywall is simply described as a type of construction material used in interior walls and ceilings. These materials are lightweight, easy to install, and versatile.

Drywall walls came as an easier alternative to cumbersome wall plaster. It started as a Sackett Board, which Augustine Sackett introduced in 1894.

It was named ‘drywall’ because the resulting walls were completely dry with no wet materials needed for the installation. This was the biggest advantage drywall had over plaster, and it has remained so to date.

Drywall’s biggest breakthrough came during World War II. This was a time when there was a huge need for cheap and less labor-intensive construction materials.

Modern-day drywalls feature lightweight materials made from a rock called gypsum. The rock is grouped into a fine powder then pressed carefully between two pieces of paper to form a board or a sheet. The boards are then cut and nailed to the wood framing of the building.

The resulting gypsum wall is a rock-like material that is non-toxic, fire-resistant, and sound attenuation. It’s commonly known as Drywall, Sheetrock plasterboard, or wallboard.

Drywalls are specifically made for walls and ceilings. They’re also used for partitions and other architectural specialties. The construction materials can be removed and installed back easily. They’re also cut in different sizes to fit the required spaces.

For commercial buildings, drywall fits in different uses. They’re used to wrap columns for concealing steel beams. They also provide an easy method for topping off masonry walls.

Thanks to its fire-resistant nature, they’re used to add fire resistance to walls and ceilings. This helps contain fire spread giving the occupants enough time to escape.

Related: 44+ Best Tray Ceiling Ideas and Designs

Drywall Alternatives for your wall

1. Wood Planks

Wood Planks
Image credit: Sandra

If there is any wall construction material that has stood the test of time is wood planks. These materials have been used for ages and are still going strong in the construction world.

They’re most loved thanks to their elegant and rustic feel. They also need minimal maintenance as compared to traditional drywall.

Once they’re on your walls, you won’t need to modify or maintain wood planks. All you do after installation is to enjoy the beauty of your house. They’re also a great alternative to drywall because of their cost-effective nature.

2. Plastic Panels


Plastic panels for walls are also popular alternatives to drywall because of their ability to be installed on various surfaces. These materials are reinforced with fiberglass giving them versatility.

The panels are popular in areas that experience too much moisture. This is so because plastic panels are incredibly water and moisture resistant. If you install them, you say goodbye to mold.

Another fantastic feature that sets plastic panels aside from drywall is their stain resistance. If you have children and pets around the house, you don’t have to worry about these types of materials on your wall. They’re perfect for the kitchen and bathrooms.

3. Plywood


The list for drywall alternatives won’t end without plywood as they also make perfect options for your walls. One of the reasons many people prefer plywood over drywall is because they’re extremely cheap.

They’re not only cheap to buy but also very easy to walk with. They’re perfect for DIY projects since you only need to screw the wall in position, and you’re good to go.

You don’t need to go for the expensive alternatives when you can find all the features you’re looking for in plywood. As long as you add some touch of décor to these walls, you’ll never regret installing plywood.

4. Veneer Plaster


If you want an alternative to drywall but maintain the look, then veneer plaster is what you should go for. They’re made up of layers of thin drywall that brings out amazing finishing techniques. They already come with their finishing hence makes them an easy to install alternative than drywall.

To bring out a strong wall with veneer plaster, you can use drywall in the base. This process is very easy as you only need to apply a veneer over drywall. This will take a very short time, and you can move to soonest because it dries pretty fast.

5. Pegboard


Pegboard has evolved to become another amazing option to drywall that you should consider when building or remodeling. It’s common thanks to its unique look that gives every home the desired aesthetics. They’re also the easiest options to decorate once installed.

The material provides a convenient option if you’re looking for ways to add some extra space to your home. Many people use them or garages for hanging tools. As long as you fasten them with some studs, they’ll provide an excellent finish.

6. Lath and Plaster

lath and plaster

Forget the earlier lath and plaster that could take forever to install. Today, they’ve evolved to become the easiest and quickest to install. This feature has made them a great alternative to drywall.

Installing lath involves horizontally running wooden slats to create a backbone for your wall structure. This is followed by gypsum plaster, which goes over the lath.

The plaster goes through the cracks and crevices. This system might be tedious and time-consuming. It requires the work of a professional contractor to come out perfectly.

7. Wahoo Walls

Wahoo Walls
Image credit: houzz

Wahoo Walls are considered the most cost-effective when it comes to installation because they’re mostly do-it-yourself. You don’t have to screw wahoo walls into your wall as the panels easily click together. You can also choose to glue them to the wall though this is not a must.

The walls are mostly used in basement areas, which means they’re also moisture-proof and will not support mold growth. If some areas in your basement are leaking water, you can use wahoo, and they’ll bring out a perfect drywall look. They’ll also protect your home from water damage.

8. Textured Wall Panels


Textured wall panels are the fanciest on this list. Thanks to their aesthetics, they are mostly used in boutique hotels and cocktail lounges. Homeowners also wanted to harness this beauty and have started using it to add a beautiful finishing to their homes.

Textured walls are more expensive than other drywall alternatives. But many people don’t mind spending on them, thanks to aesthetics. Some designs come in 3D options, which are extremely easy to install even on existing walls.

9. Basement Wall Finishing Systems

Basement Wall Finishing Systems

Basement wall finishing systems come in pre-designed and pre-cut panels. You can use these panels to insulate and finish your basement. The walls are sold as proprietor basement solutions.

They are perfect for the basement because they’re water-resistant and can protect your basement against mold growth.

The downside of basement wall finishing systems is that they are very expensive. The walls are not suitable for a do-it-yourself project; hence you must prepare to pay for professional services.

10. Brick and Masonry


Stone and brick walls have been used since time immemorial, but they’ve never gone out of style. They still make a good alternative to drywall thanks to their warm aesthetics, beautiful styles, and color.

If you have a suburban or rural home, brick and masonry will make a great option. This is mainly because of its strength and durability.

They also work well as a mix and match with drywall. Many people put brick and masonry in one room then blend the adjacent rooms with drywall. The goal is to create something unique and beautiful.

One downside is its cost. Brick and masonry are more expensive than drywall. But their long-lasting nature makes them worth the cost. They also require very little maintenance and do well in dusty homes.

11.  Cement Board


Cement board is another great alternative to drywall. They are heavier options than drywall; hence, they require two people’s effort for lifting during installation.  If you live in high-humid areas, cement boards will make a great alternative thanks to their water and mold resistance.

12. Lath with Woodchip-Clay

Lath with Woodchip-Clay
Image source: Pinterest

These walls involve a mix of clay slurry and woodchips. The fiber provides strength, while the clay offers some insulating property. All these make lath and woodchip-clay a good wall option for cold areas and a long-lasting performance.

They also ensure noise reduction. They make a good alternative to traditional plaster and lath.

13. Fiberglass Reinforced Panels


Fiberglass reinforced panels take the same concept as that of drywall. What differentiates them from drywall is that they are more durable.

They’re made with strong scratch-resistant material. These panels can stand on their own. This means you won’t need to install this wall on an existing wall.

They will provide an extra inch to your wall and give the room a more spacious feel. Fiberglass reinforced panels are also loved for their mold and bacteria resistance. They are cheap solutions that are easy to install.

14. Fiberglass Mat Gypsum Panels

Fiberglass Mat Gypsum Panels
Image credit: usgbc

If you want an option that looks like some painted drywall, fiberglass mat gypsum is the option to go for. These panels also come with the same construction as drywall but are more durable and moisture resistant.

Their construction process and the coated mat face add extra strength to this material. They are, no doubt, a long-lasting option for your home.

15. Exposed Concrete Block


The exposed concrete block provides your home with a modern finish and perfect aesthetics. They give it a raw, untouched finish that makes your wall look incomplete but beautiful. If you want a textured look, you can still paint the cinder blocks.

But leaving the wall as it still brings out a perfect for your home. You can play around with décors like combining it with a glass and back furniture.

16. Concrete Walls


Concrete provides homes with a minimalist design and industrial look. They offer the best décor item and a style statement that defines modernity in any home.

They can go for the four walls or just an accent wall. One advantage of concrete walls is that they’re easy to clean and maintain. They require no special treatment, but some polishing can work well.

17. Brick


Brick is another popular alternative to drywall because of the design element. They work well for both small accents and large walls. They come in an uneven and warm character that is sure to add some textured base to your room.

These bricks are made with fired clay to cover up for their porous and moisture absorption nature.

You can keep them comfortable and dry by sealing them with a sealer to feel the pores and holes. Bricks are popular for their durability and strength. You can add some paint to make them beautiful and easier to clean.

18. Sheet Wood


Sheet wood is a fairly easy material to work with, making it perfect for a do-it-yourself. It is a cheap alternative to drywall.

This material allows you to add a classy fair to your finishing. If you blend sheet wood with some décor, you’ll proudly bring out a beautiful country feel.

19. Cork Wall


The cork wall is ideal for those who like playing around with different designs. The materials provide you with an opportunity to experiment with random designs in your entire house and add some of your favorite pictures.

Well, you need to be careful not to hang some heavy items on the board. Heavy materials can expose them to wear and tear.

20. Corrugated Metal


Have you walked in some homes and noticed some waxy sheets on the road and the sides of barns? Those are corrugated metals that are perfect for indoors.

They work well when used in a smaller accent wall. They may not be ideal on all four or large walls. The drywall option is another cheap option both to buy and to install.

However, if you choose to do it yourself, you might face a challenge in cutting them in the right size. You need metal shears, and a table saw with a specialized blade to cut them. It would be easier to get a professional to do it.

21. Vinyl Siding

vinyl siding

Vinyl is a very popular material in homes; hence there is no doubt it will also make a good alternative to drywall. They come in plastic panels that are extremely easy to install.

They are perfect alternatives for open-air patios with some roof over them. They are also easy to clean. They are perfect for protecting your wall against rain and wind.

22.  Everlast Wall Panels

These are plastic panels loved for their long-lasting nature. They can serve you for ages because they can stand all unfavorable conditions.

They are moisture, mold, scratch, and stain-resistant. These are all the things that damage walls, and eliminating those means the walls will serve you longer.

Because they can resist water, they are perfect for the bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchen. Everlast is easy to clean. They can work well as a covering for damaged drywall.

Alternatives to Drywall Ceilings

Drywall has been used for ages to cover up not so good looking ceilings. But now you don’t have to stick to one material all your life. Other alternatives bring out the beauty and modern look in your ceiling.

23.  Ceiling Planks


Hardwood planks form a great alternative to drywall ceilings for those who want a rustic look. They close in the space if you have rooms with a shorter ceiling. The ceiling type works best if you get planks that are easy to paint with white or light colors.

The advantage of ceiling planks is their lightweight nature and ease of installation. All you need is a nail gun and a ladder, and the work is done.

24. Drop Ceilings


A drop ceiling is also known as a suspended ceiling. It’s a unique design where one section of the ceiling is lower than the surrounding ones. It’s made up of bars and panels that hang with a wire. This kind of ceiling somehow lowers the height of the house.

The design defines a modern feeling in the house and ideal for a smaller space like the kitchen. This ceiling defines the boundaries of your house space even without walls. It’s a good design for homeowners who want to hide recessed lighting.

Alternatives to Drywall in Basement

A lath frame, bark-free chips, and clay will give you a quitter, insulated, and cooler basement. This drywall alternative performs better than traditional lath and plaster when it comes to reducing noise.

Wahoo walls also make a great alternative for drywall in your basement. They’re water-resistant and mold resistant. Since the basement is more exposed to water leaks, you need something that will solve that problem, and wahoo walls for a great job. All these drywall alternatives for the basement will save you money because they’re cheap and easy to install.

Drywall Alternatives for Garage


Your garage needs something strong, durable, and easy to maintain. Well, you can get all these features in cement board panels. This alternative is also a good way of making your garage look attractive.

They come in a variety of colors and textures to brighten the look of a rather dull garage. You’ll love that rustic appeal this material will give to your garage.

Drywall Alternatives for Shed

For a shed, you need something insulating and cool. You need something that will naturally air condition the area without needing much work. For this, pegboard can be a great alternative to drywall.

They bring out a unique room that converts the piece of your home. Beadboard is also a great option that makes a tiny space look smaller with a few seams.

Drywall Alternatives for Attic


For your attic area, you can never go wrong with brick. Their exposed nature adds some character to the attic. If you paint them with pure white color, you’ll love the feel of open space they’ll bring.

Drywall Alternatives for Bedroom

Stone and bricks have a unique raw look making them ideal for interior walls. If exposed or painted, they still come with some character that’s ideal for creating a charming bedroom.

Bricks and stones are also long-lasting options, so you won’t need to change them soon. They’re recyclable hence a sustainable option known to add value to any home.

Wall without Drywall


You can also go for nothing instead of installing drywall. This is important if you want an insulated structure. Some people choose to leave the concrete blocks exposed to give it a unique, rustic look. Going with nothing works so well in the basement.

Or you can do it for the watershed and give it that earthly look with blocks. They’ll bring out a warm texture with a wonderful look of finished walls. If you manage to pick the right material for your walls, you definitely won’t need anything else to cover it.

Related: Stained Concrete Patio Ideas


If you’re looking for choices to drywall, you’ll never lack something to try out as the choices are overwhelming. The one you choose depends on the room type, your budget, and the home atmosphere you want to create.

Don’t forget to look for unique features that the material comes with. For instance, you can consider things like waterproof for areas that experience a lot of rain. Go for warm ones for extremely cold areas to help insulate the room.

Also, consider drywall alternatives that you can blend with some décor to bring out your room’s beauty. Painting the walls can also work great if you get the paintable one. Don’t forget the installation process when buying your drywall alternatives.

The ability to carry out a do-it-yourself wall brings out a great feeling. But if you want a more professional approach, you can hire constructors to do it for you.