Having a shed is great for storage, however if you plan on using it for something more then insulating and finishing the interior can make it a very comfortable and cozy place to spend time in.
There are many ways to finish the inside of a shed. If you are going to use your shed as more of a workspace rather than just for storage, you can make the inside very inviting. You can even turn your shed into a backyard studio or office and relegate the storage items to the attic.
It can even be made into a living space if you plan ahead. Either way, it would be much more pleasant to work in a shed that is finished inside rather than looking at studs and outer walls.
If you are considering installing interior walls, you should check with your building authority first. Some fire codes are picky about what material you can put over what. They may approve of drywall over the insulation but not bead board or paneling, for instance.
Should I Insulate My Shed?
Part of this decision depends on the type of shed you have. If it is a metal or plastic shed, these types don’t usually have the construction that easily allows for insulation. Wooden or vinyl-clad sheds are more suitable for insulation. Basically, you need to have a stud framework to work with for insulation.
Insulation will provide many benefits to your shed. It provides protection from temperature extremes. Many items you may store can be affected by temperature. Insulation also provides additional moisture resistance. This benefit means that you won’t have to worry about cardboard storage boxes eventually becoming limp and sagging, and your paint containers will be less likely to rust.
It also prevents mold and mildew from making a home inside your shed. Another benefit is that additional moisture protection makes it safer to run electrical power to the shed if that’s in your plans. In short, insulation not only protects the contents but insulated sheds tend to last longer than those without.
Before beginning to insulate a shed read my article What’s the Best Insulation for a Shed? [Batt, rigid or loose fill?] for tips on choosing the best insulation for your shed.
Before putting insulation between the studs, you should treat the inside of exterior wooden walls with wood protection or an anti-fungal product. If your studs are not protruding deeply enough into the interior to provide space for the insulation you can add wooden strips to create a deeper cavity. This also makes running wiring much easier.
As far as the insulation itself, arguably the best product and the one easiest to install is foil-backed insulation sheets. They are usually installed flush with the inside edge of the studs. Leaving airspace behind them only adds to the insulation. If your foam board has foil on only one side, the foil side should face the outside wall.
Some recommend fiberglass wool for insulation, but it is hard to handle and can be a real mess. If you have to cut the spun fiberglass the fibers can get all over, including over your clothing. You’ll need a face mask, eye protection and gloves to use it, and be prepared to shed your clothing as soon as possible afterward.
Some people even advocate using bubble wrap, while others state that this is too flammable, and should definitely not be used in sheds with wiring. While this may seem like an inexpensive way to insulate your shed, since there is little agreement on its use, it’s probably best to avoid this solution.
Can You Put Drywall in a Shed?
Drywall can be used in a shed if you have the know-how. It can be installed after the insulation has been put in and provides some protection from fire. It is a time-consuming job and usually takes two people because of the weight, especially if you plan to put it on the ceiling.
One caution is that if you have a concrete floor, you may want to consider putting plastic strips down so that the drywall doesn’t sit directly on the concrete. Even with a vapor barrier installed, some moisture is bound to get into your concrete slab, and it can seep into the base of your drywall before it dissipates.
This will encourage mold and mildew growth on the drywall and eventually cause the drywall itself to deteriorate in places. Many people choose to use bead board or paneling. Both are easier to handle than drywall and can be nailed or screwed right to the studs.
What are Some Shed Storage and Shelving Options?
An attic is a great place for storage. You can go the typical route with a floor and a hatch or opening to get through. If you aren’t sure about a finished ceiling, another method is to use plywood sheets for flooring. If you leave them loose and just lay them on the joists, you can add, subtract or move them as needed. It makes for a very flexible space and the option of more than one entrance to the attic. Just remember to get heavier plywood so you can walk on it if your space is high enough.
For shelves, you can use leftovers from your shed build or buy a few boards to cut. Probably the easiest way to install shelves is to use metal brackets which are screwed onto the studs and the bottom of the shelves. You can always add more shelves, so you don’t have to plan it all at once. Shelving should be fastened to the studs, as shelves can pull out of the wall once heavy items such as leftover paint or gas cans are placed on them.
Another method is to use your shed corners by building a platform assembly using 2x4s as support for the outer corners and fastening plywood platforms to them and the wall studs. A stack of two or three platforms in a corner can greatly increase storage capabilities. For more information on shed shelving read my article Is it Cheaper to Build or Buy Storage Shed Shelving?
Can I Use Cheap Plywood Inside My Shed?
Plywood is a popular option for interior shed walls. It adds some structural support to the shed and is less prone to damage from heavy tools bumping it. If it is thick enough, you can hang hand tools from it without having to locate studs for the nails.
Another similar choice is shiplap, which is a type of wooden board mainly used in outdoor buildings such as sheds and barns. It can be painted, stained or left alone. A downside is that it can be prone to warping and rotting, especially if it is made of cheaper wood.
Can I Paint the Inside of My Shed?
Whatever material you use for the shed walls, you can usually paint them. Drywall, beadboard and plywood all can be painted. Even paneling can be painted if you tire of the look. Plywood usually needs to be sealed before painting to protect it from the moisture outside.
With proper insulation, your shed will last longer and be more comfortable and inviting. Interior walls will give it a professional, friendly look. Neither is absolutely necessary, however. If open studs don’t bother you or interior finishing is just not in your budget, it’s fine. After all, it’s your shed, and it should fit your needs and preferences.