Drywall vs Paneling

The choice between wood paneling and drywall depends on personal style, time and money. When compared with the other, each material has its advantages and disadvantages. But in some cases drywall and paneling comprise a complementary pair as opposed to separate and exclusive options. Knowing the facts about drywall and paneling will you give you confidence to make the right choice for your home or project.

Drywall Advantages
It’s composition of dried gypsum mineral and crystallized water gives drywall one notable advantage in home construction: fire resistance. According to the “Ultimate Guide to Drywall,” water makes up 21 percent of drywall’s weight and 50 percent of its volume.

Also, the gypsum in drywall absorbs sound effectively, making it a good choice for quieter rooms. If damaged, drywall also resists fracturing and can be repaired easily with patching compounds. And its paper surface makes it compatible with multiple surfaces, including paint and wallpaper.

Drywall Disadvantages
The mineral-water combo that makes drywall advantageous also brings some disadvantages, such as heavier weight. The “Ultimate Guide to Drywall” notes that a 4-by-8 foot panel of half-inch thick drywall weighs about 54 pounds.

Additionally, unless you invest extra time into painting or covering the drywall, it doesn’t present a very attractive appearance.

Paneling Advantages
Wood paneling can give a room a finished, natural look and a warm feel. It’s easy to trim and cut, which will give a professional-looking finish. Two main paneling options include sheet paneling and board paneling, with the sheet option being more economical. The board paneling option, notes the “Ultimate Guide to Home Repair & Improvement,” offers authentic wood tones and makes up for the higher cost in both material and labor.

Paneling Disadvantages
Paneling may take more time and cost more than installing drywall because of the greater attention needed for trimming and cutting wood. Also, paneling doesn’t work as a sound barrier the way drywall does. Thus, in a workshop, installing wood paneling can produce a noisy, even irritating, atmosphere.

The darker colors in wood may also give a more closed-in, cave-like feeling when compared with drywall’s light-reflective character. Still, drywall and wood paneling sometimes go well together. One collaborative option involves installing drywall covered with wood paneling, thus gaining the advantages of both.