Workshop - internal cladding

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Hi

A few years ago I built a workshop in my garden. I cladded the inside with (cheap), warped soft plywood and painted. The goal was to have nice smooth walls. Over the last year the wood has shrunk dramatically, leaving cracks in the joints. I am also not happy with the finish, the knots in the wood have leached through and left parts of the walls looking stained.

I am planning on removing the ply walls and replacing with something less natural/more stable so that I dont get the shrinking issue. The shrinking is only an issue with the internal walls. I think I have 2 options, MDF or plasterboard?

People seem to warn others away from plasterboard, why is this? I dont need to hang anything on the walls so not concerned about damaging them/strength. More interested in the quality of the finish.

The other issue is cost. My workshop is 9m x 3m so the cost per sheet adds up quickly, I also have internal walls (workshop has an clean section for pc/3d printing etc) and an internal ceiling. I can get 3 sheets of plasterboard for the price of a single sheet of MDF.

Thanks for any advice.
 
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If there is any dampness whatsoever then MDF or plasterboard is the worst possible choice.....I’d go for ply again, maybe with a birch finish - and I’d treat the hidden side well before fixing.
John :)
 
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I used spruce flooring (construction) ply. Rather a rough surface but OK for a shed and strong. You can also get hardwood faced WBP ply with a smooth veneer good enough to varnish or paint. Mine is treated with fence stain which is water repellent and can be washed down. Edges and cuts need extra protection and must not get wet. Eaves, gutters and external "skirting" to keep the rain off the wood, and raised off the ground to prevent the wood touching it. I actually used 200mm stainless kickplates painted brown for the skirting, but cheaper alternatives may suit you

Do you think damp is affecting your structure?

I'm thinking of adding ornamental shiplap cladding on the end facing the garden, which will also throw off water better.

Wood doesn't shrink when it gets wet. Ply doesn't shrink when it gets dry. Gaps opening up must be your frame moving.

Down my way you sometimes see ply with a laminate finish. Used internally in boats, and maybe caravans. Clean and durable.
 
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Maybe consider moisture proof plasterboard.

Or a cheaper option is foil backed plasterboard -which would stop moisture getting into the back of the board, but the face would be vulnerable.
 
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