If I were a betting woman (I am not, I prefer to play roulette), then I’d predict that this will be my most popular post in 2017… especially once Pinterest gets it’s little DIY hands on it.
First, a word on shiplap. This is a term that Joanna Gaines, from Fixer Upper on HGTV, has made popular. I believe that Joanna had a specific type of wood in mind. One that was already covered up by sheetrock in the Texas homes they remodel. America has expanded the definition to be any type of wood that you attach to a wall to make it decorative. Since then, Joanna’s trend has led to thousands of trees being cut down and installed in people’s homes. I digress…
But, if you want to get all technical, here is what Wikipedia has to say. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiplap
Somehow, I managed to talk my husband into putting his tools (of the construction variety, to be clear) to use updating some walls in our 1957 ranch home. I had complained about hauling these tools during three moves in three years and I finally figured out why we have them. Because he knows how to use them. Total shocker over here. He has been holding this information from me for almost 10 years of marriage. I’m betting he wished he had made it 25 years before I figured it out.
As you know, we had a very tight budget for our home. Anything that we were able to do, we wanted to do and save the money to pay the pros to do what we could not. I priced out buying the wood for the first project and it was under $60. Ok, sold. Let’s do it.
Here is our before pic:
DIY Shiplap Recommended Tools:
- Chop saw
- Nail gun
- Air Compressor
- Small level
- Large level
- Finished nails to fit nail gun
- Stud finder
1. Measure the area where you are going to install the wood/ship lap. You will need the height and the width.
2. Determine which type of wood you’d like to use. I chose a tongue and groove “knotty pine pattern” board. The top of the board has a groove and the bottom has a lip. When installed, the bottom lip slides into the groove of the previous board to make a solid joint and appears as a continuous board.
3. Do math. Many of you know this isn’t my strong suit. It’s also important to know that even though the board is advertised as 8 inches wide, it’s actually 7′. There is probably a “that’s what she said” joke in this but it was lost on me because it messed up my math. So, I guess the second part of this step is measure the width of the board you are using so your math will be accurate.
4. Purchase the wood. Make sure you check for imperfections before checking out. One of my selected boards had a long crack in the tongue portion that was causing it to break off. The nice gentlemen at Home Depot helped me track down more inventory. The wood for my two projects cost about $60. Safely load the wood in your SUV/truck.
5. Decide what the “center” is of your project. For ours, the center of the ceiling, mantle and fireplace were all a bit different. We marked the center of each then went with a median line for our project.
6. Locate the studs behind the Sheetrock so you know where to install the nails. An electric stud finder makes this very easy. You can draw a line over each stud or mark with painters tape. This will save you time later. The blue tape on the front of the mantle is where our studs lined up on the wall above the mantle.
7. Measure twice and cut once. We started at the bottom of the wall and worked up. Since I originally thought I needed 4 boards, I had Home Depot cut two of the 12ft boards in half for me, so we installed those first. We needed one final board to finish. The width had to be cut down to fit. Also, our ceiling is a bit uneven- so we had to specialize the cut to be accurate. ***Home Depot will cut wood for you. The first two cuts were free and after that they are 25 cents each. This seems really reasonable if you are sure of your math and don’t have a chop saw.
8. Be sure to use a level for each board. Being off just a little at the start can cause you to be way off by the end of installation.
9. Finish the edges. It’s important to know that getting boards the exact same length is hard. That’s why we did a trim piece on the sides to hide the imperfections. The wider the trim piece is the more it will cover.
10. Finish the top. The top is tricky and it’s up to you on your preference of how it should look. You can tie it in to your current molding, trim it like the sides, or frame it out with it’s own crown molding over your current molding. We opted to “tie it in” to our current crown molding buy bringing the shiplap right to the bottom of it. I’m not 100% thrilled with this look- and we may do it’s own crown molding one day.
11. Paint the wood. I’d recommend priming first (kilz is your best friend) then doing a coat of paint. Next, do some caulking to fill in the gaps. This will make the look more cohesive. Don’t forget to caulk between the mantle and wood, along the trim piece and ceiling. Once the caulk dries, do one more coat of paint. I recommend a satin or semi-gloss to give the finished product a bit of a sheen.
We are very happy with the final product!