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Old 04-13-2011, 03:08 PM   #1
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Plywood in place of drywall?


I'm in the middle of a kitchen renovation and have several new cabinets that due to their location on the wall will not be anchored to an existing stud. (I have several 9" wide cabinets). I read in another area of DIY Chatroom where some folks have nailed sections of 1/2" plywood in place of the 1/2" drywall as a way to anchor smaller cabinets to the wall.

My question: will this be acceptable for an outside wall? Do I need to worry about the plywood acting as a type of vapor barrier? I'm not doing the entire kitchen wall in plywood, but will have two 30" x 40" sections I was planning to put up on a 12' outside wall. Wall construction is 2x4 with R11 paper-faced fiberglass insulation.

This is my first post on this great site, which has helped me out considerably over the past year! Thanks in advance.

BTW, I did look at the Building Sciences web site, but I'm afraid the whole vapor barrier thing is still confusing to me.

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Old 04-13-2011, 07:06 PM   #2
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Plywood in place of drywall?


Nailing strips or sections of plywood wont cause any problems from a vapor barrier/building science perspective, but I'd question mounting cabinets to it. If it were my house, I'd add studs, but admittedly, that is not my area of expertise.

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Old 04-13-2011, 07:32 PM   #3
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Plywood in place of drywall?


If the narrow cabinets are in a run with other cabinets then it is not a big of a deal, all of the face frames are screwed together so the entire section of cabinets becomes a "unit" put screws in the vertical studs where possible, sometimes the narrow ones don't land on a stud so they don't get any screws, in many cases even a 30 inch wide cabinet may only land on one stud.

If it is just a single, narrow cabinet on the end of a run that does not land on a stud you can attach the face frames and use a spacer between the cabinet sides then screw the cabinet boxes together also.

If none of those solutions work, then I would cut the drywall open and install 2X blocking between the studs where needed, replace the sheetrock piece, then tape the joints.
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Old 04-13-2011, 07:45 PM   #4
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Plywood in place of drywall?


Thanks guys. I'll make sure I go into studs versus 1/2" plywood
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Old 04-13-2011, 07:46 PM   #5
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Plywood in place of drywall?


I think the question here is "can plywood be used as an interior wall covering or is drywall the only acceptable covering?"
Also, the OP is asking about vapor barrier concerns regarding plywood vs drywall on an outside wall.
So... guys? What does code say about using wood instead of drywall?

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Old 04-14-2011, 12:37 PM   #6
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Plywood in place of drywall?


The only place I can think of where it may be an issue is if the wall serves as a fire barrier to the next space.
Such as a wall between the dwelling and an attached garage. Since the plywood will be on the warm side of the wall, then there would be no vapor barrier issue. Glue layers in plywood can sometimes act as a vapor barrier, but being on the warm side negates the issue since the plywood will not reach dew point.
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Old 04-14-2011, 06:14 PM   #7
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Plywood in place of drywall?


Quote:
Originally Posted by DangerMouse View Post
I think the question here is "can plywood be used as an interior wall covering or is drywall the only acceptable covering?"
Also, the OP is asking about vapor barrier concerns regarding plywood vs drywall on an outside wall.
So... guys? What does code say about using wood instead of drywall?

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Quote 2x4 : " I'm not doing the entire kitchen wall in plywood, but will have two 30" x 40" sections I was planning to put up on a 12' outside wall."

As I stated earlier, I wouldn't see any issue here for code or otherwise, other than the possible mounting considerations. Mrfixit seemed to address that well though.
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Old 04-15-2011, 09:30 AM   #8
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Plywood in place of drywall?


Guys, thanks again for the additional information on my plywood/vapor barrier question. I greatly appreciate the follow up! Per your recommendations, I'll first put the cabinets together using 2 1/2" screws on the face frames and then mount to the wall and will add 2x4 blocks where I can. But I still have one area on the outer wall where I'll put at least one section of 1/2" plywood because there's so much wiring and two PVC waste pipes (coming from upstairs bathrooms) right there making it difficult to add 2x4 blocks. Most of the cabinets for that area will be anchored into the existing stud, but I was thinking of adding one or two 1" screws into the plywood - just for piece of mind. The builder used molly bolts to hang the original cabinets and I was constantly dealing with the cabinets pulling away from the wall. so the plywood is probably more for my piece of mind.

Again, many thanks.
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Old 04-15-2011, 09:40 AM   #9
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Plywood in place of drywall?


When I hung our cabinets, I just found the studs using HDD magnets and drilled mounting holes accordingly.

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Old 04-15-2011, 12:18 PM   #10
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Plywood in place of drywall?


No problem with using plywood instead of drywall for small areas to be covered.

Doing the entire room in plywood instead of drywall just increases the cost and requires extra work smoothing/skimcoating the surface before painting.

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