Ship happened this weekend…

I’m so excited about our new shiplap wall! I should say, our new “faux” shiplap wall.

I have a love for everything vintage and nothing would be grander than to have reclaimed shiplap on my walls, but 3 VERY big factors made me keep it simple.

  1. First, I wanted it NOW [Insert: tantrum, kicking, screaming, impatience…], I didn’t want to scavenge around and wait for the perfect salvaged wood (Not all wood planks are shiplap people!).
  2. Second, money, money, money, m-o-n-e-y, mine cost only $58, not counting paint supplies, but these days with the popularity of home improvement shows (My fave is Fixer Upper by far; love me some Chip and JoJo!) and the everything old is new again trend everyone wants reclaimed wood. I guess, I was on trend for the last 2 decades and didn’t even know it. I mean, I’ve always reused salvaged wood and long before people made a business out of tearing down their grandma’s barn for a profit. Let’s face it, I’d be looking at $300-500 for this project, unless I would have gotten lucky enough to find plenty of reclaimed wood for my wall in a burn pile, and that’s just a little too pricey.
  3. Lastly, and probably the most determining factor… I have lovely oak crown and base molding in my house, it’s pretty elaborate, we’re talking 4 to 5 layers, it graduates up and down my wall not leaving me much depth. I didn’t want my new wall exceeding the original molding and definitely wouldn’t want to risk damage by removing any of it, as it was all installed in place and matches the rest of my home. Also, as things go and fads run, if I decide to change it up in a few years this will be easy peasy to remove and return to the original wall.

So, for the how-to… I used… [drum roll please] 1/4 inch plywood underlayment. Can’t tell, can you? Well, to the discerning eye, you probably can, but let me just tell you, I’m pretty picky and it looks just fine to me!

The underlayment comes in 4×8′ sheets at Lowe’s and costs less than $20 a sheet. I used 1/4″ because it was the perfect inset depth to my preexisting trim. Now, the best part of the entire project… Lowe’s will rip the wood for you for FREE and while you wait! Even if you have to pay a few bucks for this at your local home improvement store, pay it, it will be well worth your money vs your time. (Note: Some folks use 1/2″ inch, some use MDF, but for the most cost effective and easiest way go 1/4″ plywood underlayment!)

Cut Underlayment

For the cut, I chose to do more traditional 8″ cuts, but 6″ is also a favorite. Your final piece on each board will be a little shorter as the blade width will come into play, but that’s okay, because most walls aren’t perfectly rounded to feet, and you’ll probably end up needing a shorter piece at the end.

The sucky part? We sanded every single piece. You pretty much have to, unless you want your wall looking like a porcupine and being splinter-ful to the the touch! It’s just one or two quick runs down each cut-side with a palm sander. (Note: I would NOT sand the factory cut ends, with this thin of wood it doesn’t take much to clip-off or round-off a corner and that would throw your whole look off.)


First, make sure to prep your wall by removing all nails, outlet covers, etc. Then, to hang the wood, we started at the top; the bottom would have been easier, but I knew we’d have at least one shorter row and I wanted that to be on the bottom to not throw off the look of the pattern. I found the center of my wall and hung my first 8′ piece and worked outwards using a square to mark and a skill saw to cut shorter pieces of the underlayment; for the next row I made sure to stagger my cuts, if you don’t it will look like you have lines running down your wall. I used a pneumatic gun, air compressor and brad nails to attach the wood; I counter-sunk my brads just a bit, so I could fill them with puddy later. (Note: A few pencil marks on the wall to show where your studs are can be helpful, but with this light-weight wood not necessary. I just made sure to hit a stud every so many shots.)

A good rule-of-thumb is to use a penny to gap each row of boards. We placed a penny every couple of feet down the board as we nailed it to the wall. After the board was secured we removed the pennies and started on the next row. (Note: The last row may need to be ripped.)Penny Gap

When all the boards were in place we used a plaster compound to fill the nail holes and fill the joints (Filling the joints is optional, some like to show joints too.). When the compound dried we used sandpaper and hand sanded the areas smooth. If you’re careful when applying, there won’t be much sanding; however, no matter how much, you WILL end up with a small layer of dust around your house… UGH! More clean-up!Plaster Compound

I also used square (non-beveled) 1/4″X2″ raw trim to add a more finished look on each side-end of my shiplap wall. I would have preferred to use a 1/2″X3″ piece here, but again I’m working with existing trim and the 1/4″ fit the area perfectly and didn’t exceed the depth of my existing trim.

To finish we used a paint with primer, AND even though we used a paint with primer, it still took 3 coats to cover the wood evenly. This type of wood is very porous and soaks up the paint pretty fast, so we painted, literally watched paint dry and painted again, 3 freak’n times! As we were painting, we kept a plastic knife, a putty knife and a damp cloth near by; when the paint oozed into the gaps we scraped the gap clean, and each time we finished painting we used a kitchen knife with a fine sharp tip and just ran it down the whole gap end-to-end. This really cleaned up the lines and made them more defined.

That’s it, a “faux” shiplap wall!


You can also see here that I used an extra piece of the 1/4″X2″ trim as an end cap; it covered the corner nicely, so you don’t see the raw edges of the underlayment. This step isn’t necessary unless you’re working with a wall with an outstanding corner.Shiplap

Happy shiplapping!


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