finished garage
The garage started out as a blank canvas of stud walls.

When it came to creating a finished garage space, we knew for us, versatility would be the key! Our garage has always been part storage space, part workshop and the some. At our old house, we used the space to build pergolas, raise baby chicks, and even host family events. And oh yes, occasionally, when projects didn’t get in the way, park a car.

So for the new garage at the farm, we had to take all of those factors into consideration. We wanted a clean, finished area that could neatly organize and store tools, and still have open space to work on projects.

We also wanted it to look nice enough to host an event or two if extra space was needed. More than anything, we wanted to do it without breaking the bank! So with a blank canvas of stud walls and a concrete floor, we went to work.

Creating A Finished Garage

finished garage
The 3′ high metal wall creates a durable, easy to clean surface in the finished garage.

We knew if we went the “traditional” route of drywall, the cost would quickly skyrocket. Not to mention the time and effort to install, tape, mud and then paint. The other options of paneling or plywood were not only expensive, but just simply didn’t fit the look we wanted. We decided to finish ours to match the house – with metal and shiplap!

Metal Knee Walls – Low Cost Durability With A Cool Look

Whether its garden and hand tools banging against walls, or a mower, grill or other equipment being shoved in and out – it seems like the lower wall space in any garage always ends up withe most dings, dirt and abuse.

With that in mind, we turned to galvanized metal panels to create a durable, 36″ high low-wall around the entire garage.

Metal panels are not only strong and inexpensive, but a breeze to install. And with the galvanized finish, even tough stains like grease and oil will clean off easily. In addition, if an errant project happens to crash into a portion of the wall – fixing is as easy as unscrewing the damaged panel and replacing. 

finished garage
The shiplap and metal are a durable combination for a finished garage

To install our metal wall, we nailed 3 bands of 3″ wide x 1/2″ thick furring strips to the studs. We then attached the panels with metal screws to complete.  The process was quick, taking about 4 hours to complete.

Shiplap Walls – We Love This Stuff!

For the upper two-thirds of the garage walls and ceilings, we once again turned to shiplap siding. There is no doubt that the more we use it, the more we fall in love with it.

Shiplap is actually the perfect choice for garage walls. It’s durable, inexpensive, and easy to install.

Unlike drywall, the solid wood makes it perfect for securing anything, anywhere with hooks or nails. One of the best features of shiplap is the speed of the install. We had the walls up and complete in a single day.

finished garage
The garage space at the farm

To finish of the look, we cut down a few of the shiplap boards into 3″ wide pieces of trim. We then installed the strips as a transition piece between the wood and metal.  See: How To Easily Install Shiplap

Keeping The Budget In Check

The best part of this project was it was extremely budget friendly! We were able to use Between the metal and shiplap walls and ceilings, we were able to complete the entire project for about $600.

Happy Building! – Jim and Mary.  To receive our Recipes, DIY and Gardening articles each week, sign up to follow the blog via email in the right hand column above, “Like” us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter. You can also check out our new book, Growing Simple, now available on Amazon.com.



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11 thoughts on “Creating A Finished Garage On A Shoestring Budget. A Clean, Low-Cost Look

  • October 24, 2016 at 9:11 pm
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    Hi there!

    I am fascinated at your house and would LOVE to do this someday! I have a couple of questions about the work you did, and I am sorry if I missed the information somewhere on your site. I believe I read that you had teenagers. From your floor plan, I don’t see any rooms on the main level. Do they have rooms in the loft? Will you be snapping photos of your entire house room by room for a good visual? Also, on a more personal level, was wondering if you disclose costs to do all of this somewhere on here? I see you are doing a lot of the work yourselves, but was wondering if you have info. as to what this all will cost/did cost? Many thanks, and what a great recap of this monumental process!

    • October 25, 2016 at 3:40 pm
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      Hi Mara, and thanks for the comment. We have had a lot of fun designing and building it. We do have our bedroom on the main level, and the upstairs loft is a bedroom, but could easily be two. We also have created a “mini-apartment in our garage as well. We have one left as a senior teenager at home – and we have plenty of extra space when the others come back in both spaces. We will be snapping photos of the entire house when complete – as well as have an entire budget recap when it is all done. We have tried to do as much as possible to cut down on the budget, and will share all of that in a final post probably in mid-November when we have all of the final costs figured out. Hope that helps!

      • October 26, 2016 at 11:47 am
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        Thank you so much for your reply to my questions, and I so look forward to seeing the pictures and budget recap! Thank you so much!

  • October 24, 2016 at 1:06 pm
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    Was wondering if the wall treatments meet fire code in your area. In our area, (WA) we were told that only sheetrock is allowed and all openings (like where the garage door brackets go through the ceiling) must be sealed with red fire retardant foam.

    • October 25, 2016 at 3:43 pm
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      Shiplap is allowed and meets code here – we did seal all gaps with foam, for that and for better insulation.

  • October 24, 2016 at 9:47 am
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    I would love to know more about the shiplap! I have looked into it and it seems quite expensive from Home Depot/Lowes. Is it called something different in store?

    • October 25, 2016 at 3:44 pm
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      Amy – it can be expensive in the retail stores, but you can usually find it much cheaper at a local sawmill or supplier. We found ours outside of Sugarcreek, Ohio at a place called Gregory Lumber, at a fraction of the cost of the big box stores, and much better quality!

  • October 24, 2016 at 7:44 am
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    What width and how thick are the shiplap boards? Thanks!

    • October 25, 2016 at 3:45 pm
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      Chuck – in the garage – I used 10″ wide boards, and purchased in lengths ranging from 10′ to 16′

    • October 25, 2016 at 3:47 pm
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      10″ wide and 3/4 inch thick

  • October 23, 2016 at 9:09 am
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    Perfect! Did you install wlectrical outlets about the metal wainscoting coating?

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