Cost to install alternative wall panels to drywall?

Adrian Baerlocher
Updated: Nov. 12, 2021

We were hoping to use non-toxic, plywood wall panels for interior walls instead of drywall. I read your article about using 'UV Wood' from Columbia Forest Products (hyperlinked). These panels are available locally for around $30 for 2x4' panels (maybe cheaper if purchased in bulk?).

Just wondering how expensive these are to install? Our designers are strongly discouraging us from going down this path due to much higher install costs. Do these require special hangers/hardware to install? I assume cutting these panels (for windows, outlets, etc.) would be much more time consuming compared to drywall. Apparently drywall/painting costs with materials/labour would likely not be much more than $3-5/sq ft.


Responses (4)

Adrian Baerlocher 2 years ago

Thanks for the info, Mike! I think the big worry was labour costs but it sounds like this might be a bit overblown. Do you know if there are any fire code issues when using plywood panels on interior walls?

Mike Reynolds 2 years ago

We avoid weighing in on any building code issues as they can change by region, but I don’t imagine it would be a problem. Your designer should be able to confirm that. As for cost, I think the idea of wood panel walls being much more labor-intensive is very much overblown. Having done both myself I honestly think choosing wood panels would take less time from start to finish than drywall, not more.

But to get a more informed opinion than mine or your designer, you could get the opinion of a local general contractor. If you don’t have one already, this really is the time to get an GC onto the design team for exactly this reason. A designer may know what looks nice, but a builder knows how easy or difficult something is to build, which equates directly to cost. And to help the vetting process, here is a page about what to look for when choosing a home building contractor.

The ‘downside’ of wood panels is that you are limited in design ideas, where drywall you can paint an entirely different color anytime. Good luck Adrian, happy to help! 

Adrian Baerlocher 2 years ago

Thanks again! We'll definitely pursue this and find out actual costs from a GC (once we have one!).