I can not believe my house finally has SHIPLAP! My husband must love me a lot because while he was here for the holidays (yes he doesn’t live here at the moment, long story for a different post) he decided that we could work on a little , ok big, project. I blame Joanna on Fixer Upper, who’s with me?? It was a bit time consuming but pretty easy overall. The main reason it was time consuming was because we decided to add farmhouse window frames which I will tell you how we did in a later post. I wanted to focus on the shiplap for now. It took us several days to do both the main wall in our bedroom and the main wall in the living room. Unfortunately for us, all the major walls have windows on them. Awesome light, but does complicate installing shiplap a bit. I know there are a ton of tutorials out there on how to do this but not a lot with the window project so hopefully it helps a little. We researched a lot of different blogs and how to videos to figure out what would work best for us and settled on the way I am about to show you!
I wanted to list the tools we used during this to make things easier. I would recommend investing if you don’t have them and are planning on doing projects around the house. We didn’t buy over the top anything and got everything we needed for a reasonable price.
-Sliding Miter Saw
-Nail gun and compressor
So first off we wanted to do this as cheaply as possible. The title to this is Shiplap on a Budget after all. We measured the walls to see how much square feet we would need and then headed to the hardware store. I think we honestly used both Lowes and Home Depot for this project. Both should have what you need. Lowes had real shiplap in their store and we did consider it. However it would have cost us twice or three times as much to do it that way. We instead bought thin sheets of underlayment which we got for about $10 a sheet (4 feet x 8 feet).
A lot of people have said that the store would rip (cut) them into strips for us but it must be a growing trend because both stores told us that the machine wasn’t made for that. They said that the pieces would taper to much and wouldn’t work for what we wanted to do. We didn’t want to risk paying for the wood and then it not work so we took the sheets home and cut them on our table saw. Luckily my dad and brother-in-law were still here for the holidays and helped my husband cut all the sheets because he did not want my help on that!! You can decide on how thick you want the strips. Most people I read about cut them in 6 inches. I wanted them a little thicker, and the real shiplap was 8 inches so that is what I went with.
Now I am going to tell you what you should do that I didn’t do because we didn’t have time. I will be doing this next time I promise you so just learn from me and do it first. Paint the edges! Once the boards have been ripped sand the edges and paint them whatever color you are going to paint the wood when you are done. This will save you SO much time after getting the boards on the wall. I have yet to finish painting the inside and I am pretty much pretending that I don’t see it right now! You can’t tell from a distance but if you get close enough you can tell that the edges aren’t fully painted.
Alright, its install time. We wanted to mark where all the studs were so we chalk lined all the way across the wall. If you are working around windows like we did I would suggest checking the top and bottom for the studs because they didn’t line up in a straight line for us. Just an FYI.
From there you can really start from the top or the bottom, its all about preference. We started from the top so that any difference in width would be at the bottom and not as noticeable. One of the most important things you need to do is to level the first row. No house is perfectly level and you don’t want to follow the roof line if its not level. Our bedroom was pretty close but the living room was terrible! We have a large gap at one end. We will be covering that will trim eventually so that you can’t tell. Once you have the first row nailed to the wall and level its much easier from there. (I will be showing you both the living room and bedroom progress on here since I am not sure I took good pictures of the process in just one room).
Here is the first piece up on the wall! We used a nail gun with a compressor to make it easier. One with a battery pack is probably easier to use but they are much pricer which is why we didn’t go that route. The one we got worked great so no complaints here. For nails we used brad nails. They don’t make a large hole and since the wood we used is light and thin it worked great. I wanted a rustic look as if we found the shiplap under the drywall and painted it so we weren’t patching the nails holes. The finishing nails gave a nice middle ground since they are not super obvious but enough to show.
For spacers we used two nickels taped together (four total). I wanted a pretty gap so you could really see it. Again, its totally a preference call on how thick of a gap you want. You want to place the layered nickels on each end to have the same gap all the way across.
As you can see we were already having to jigsaw by the second row (those darn windows!). My husband measured all sides, drew it out on the wood and jigsawed the cut around the window. We knew we were going to be adding frames around it when we were done so they didn’t have to be perfect, just as close as we could. After finishing we wondered if doing the windows first would have been easier and I think it might have been. Not as much touch up I would think but I don’t know for sure since we didn’t do it that way.
Anyways, from here its just working your way down the wall! The hardest parts were the bottom and top of the windows because of the jigsaw cuts. Other then that it was straight cuts on the miter saw and we just worked our way down nailing at the chalk lines and at the ends of each board using the nickels to space.
We are SO not neat and tidy when we do projects so please excuse the mess in these photos! Fun fact, yes, we did sleep in the bed pulled out from the wall since it took a couple of days per wall!
Here is the living room progression. It was a bit more complicated since we had the map hung already and the TV mount. We opted to work around both instead of taking it all down. We jigsawed around the map and made a nice box around the TV mount.
Do you see that spot on the left where the trim hits the middle of the wall? We used regular paper to make a template. We drew it on the corner of the wood and jigsawed it out. It worked out pretty well!
I didn’t take any pictures of the outlets (I know, I am a bad blogger) but we just jigsawed around them. You can take the plates off and expand them out but we didn’t want to try that so we just cut around them. The woods not that thick so it looked fine for me. Another preference call. We were going for easy! We also decided not to take the baseboards off since the wood was pretty thin. Eventually I want to upgrade to thicker baseboards but for now it looks fine.
Yay, the hard part is over IF you listened to my advice about painting the edges! Now its time to prime and paint. We did one coat of primer and one coat of paint. As for the paint color we used I didn’t want to repaint my entire house so we had the hardware store color match our builder white house paint. It matches almost perfectly so I am happy with it. I hate painting so I went with the option with the least amount of painting!!
A little trick I learned if you are cheap like me and don’t want to buy (or forgot to buy) the plastic liners for the paint tray is to layer aluminum foil in your paint tray. Once done you just wad it up and toss and you still have a clean paint tray! I also like to tape plastic down to the floor. It sits nicer and everything stays on the plastic that way since it doesn’t slide around. I am all about an easy clean up!
That is all there is to it! I was amazed at how easy this actually was (with the help of my wonderful husband of course). If you are doing a wall with no windows even easier! You would only need to do straight cuts which would eliminate a lot of time. Here is the end result, well almost the end. We still need to caulk and trim the edges around the wall. Not sure when that will happen and I didn’t want you to have to wait that long! I will be sharing the window frames very soon to finish off this project!
I have to say, even though we haven’t finished the trim, I love how it turned out. It adds so much character to our new build. We plan on adding it a few more places around the house but for now I love what we were able to do so far. Now I just happily stare at my walls! What do you all think? Have you tried it in your own home? I would love to hear about it and if you found any other tips and tricks! You can leave a comment, chat with me on Instagram