Shiplap walls; you either love them or hate them. I happen to love the crap out of them. I love the texture and interest they add to a room. Shiplap walls are super versatile. They work well in farmhouse style homes but can look really cool in modern styles, as well. We added DIY shiplap walls to our dining room super inexpensively and finished them in just a weekend. Let me show you how.
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DIY Shiplap Walls
- plywood underlayment
- 1/2″ plywood (for baseboards)
- quarter round moulding
- outside corner moulding
- lattice moulding
- popsicle sticks (or spacers of your choice)
- finish nails
- wood filler
- paint (we used Sherwin-Williams in Alabaster, satin finish)
- paint roller
Tools You’ll Need:
Step 1: Prep Your Walls
First, use a stud finder and mark your studs with a pencil or chalk. You will want to paint your walls a lighter color if they aren’t already because you will be able to see the paint color between the planks. We were lucky that our walls were already light.
Step 2: Prep Your Planks
Next, rip your plywood underlayment down to six-inch-wide planks using a table saw. After the planks are ripped to size, sand the edges to make them smooth.
Step 3: Install the Planks
First, start with a full-length plank on the edge of the ceiling. Use a level to make sure that your plank is level and then start nailing the plank into the wall where you marked the studs. Once that plank is nailed up, measure the distance from the first plank to the end of the wall, minus the width of the spacer. Cut your next plank to that measurement.
Next, use a spacer between your planks to create a slight gap. Some people use nickels or other objects. We used popsicle sticks because we liked the gap they created and they stay in place better while working than anything else we tried. It’s a real headache when you’re trying to hold up a long plank while keeping your spacer in place and juggling a nail gun in the other hand.
After the top row is complete, take the remaining plank from the last one cut and nail it in under the very first board, on the same end of the wall where you started the first plank. By using the remaining piece of plank, you get that staggered effect with your shiplap and avoid having all of your cuts in one solid vertical line. Periodically check to make sure everything is still level as you apply each row.
When you get to an outlet, just measure out where the outlet will land on your plank and cut that part out with a jigsaw. Keep nailing your boards up until you’ve covered the whole wall.
Your last plank may be too thick for the space left. Just measure the space left and rip the plank down with a saw. We didn’t bother covering the remaining space at the bottom because our new, chunkier baseboards were tall enough to cover the space.
Step 4: Install the Baseboards & Trim
Now, nail the baseboards into the wall. For the chunky baseboard, we used 1/2″ plywood. We nailed it into the wall and then smoothed the top edge and the corners with wood filler.
For the inside corners, nail in a piece of quarter round to cover the seams.
Use a piece of outside corner moulding to cover the seams on the outside corners.
We used a flat piece of lattice moulding to finish off the outside edges that butt up against the brick wall.
Finish the bottom edge of the baseboards with quarter round.
Step 5: Prime & Paint
Next, fill the seams with caulk, prime, and paint. We used Sherwin-Williams Alabaster in a satin finish for our paint color. We painted the edges of the planks, the trim pieces, and the seams with a paintbrush. For the flat part of the plank, a roller worked best.
Here she is all finished!
Look at that gorgeous texture!