• Karlyn

How to Accent a Wall with Shiplap

Historically, shiplap has been used in farm and country structures for years. Then one day, Joanna and Chip Gaines from HGTV's Fixer Upper showcased it as beautiful wall accent and its popularity grew.

If you're in love with the shabby chic, farmhouse, country, or rustic design styles, you will most likely agree to the beauty of shiplap. And if you want it, but can't seem to find anyone who can put it together for you, then we're here to help!

Obviously, your wood will depend on the specifics of your design. For this tutorial, we will go over the easy steps of a cosmetic shiplap, which means it's not part of the actual structure of the wall.

First and foremost, you MUST measure the area your shiplap will go on. It's important to know the width and the height of your wall space so you can be sure to purchase enough wood to fill that space.

Boards may vary in size and measurements based on how you would like your shiplap to be placed on your wall. Would you like it to be on your wall horizontally, vertically, staggered ...

The following is a great resource to help you determine the best way to measure your shiplap:

How to Measure Shiplap via making pretty spaces

As mentioned, the color and type of board you use for your shiplap will depend on your style of choice. However, if you're looking for shiplap that's simply great for home decor, you can always travel over to your favorite hardware store and ask them if they have patterned shiplap, just like this one from The Home Depot.

This particular shiplap is NOT primed , but you are free to use the wood finish of your choice to give it that beautiful wood color you're looking for.

The Home Depot also carries primed shiplap, which you can easily paint on. The primer and pattern of the board will make your shiplap installation so much easier!

Once you've figured out steps 1 and 2, you should be ready to cut your board. Many hardware stores have a circular saw. If you purchase your board from them, they will most likely cut it for you. Never hurts to ask, right?

Now that you've measure, found, and cut your board, it's time to get things started. Preparation is key to a successful shiplap wall installation.

We know you're excited about getting your shiplap up, but it's important to first gather the following materials:

  • nail gun (or nails and a hammer)

  • caulk

  • scraper

  • paint brush

  • paint (preferably with primer already in it)

Start from the bottom up. Nail the first board with the thinner end upright. Then paint the thin end.

After a little research, I found out that I wasn't the only one who's had a difficult time painting in between the nickel gap. So to avoid this grief, it would be a great idea to paint the thinner part of the board (just before you place the next board on top). Obviously, you will have to be very careful when placing each board on top of the wet paint, but you can do either way.

If your shiplap is the light-weight cosmetic stuff, your drywall should be able to support the weight. However, if it appears to be heavy and you know you will most likely place shelves right on it, you might consider nailing it to the studs behind the drywall.

Some people are great at calculating the size of the last board, but it can be quite tricky. You see, many walls aren't measured at the same exact height. So when we took the measurements for the wall from what could be the last nickel gap, we found that it was a smart idea to measure the right side AND the left side of the board.

The shiplap should be placed without gaps, but more often than not, there WILL be gaps. Thank goodness for caulks!

Caulks are sealers that help to seal the gaps that could leave weird holes around your new and improved wall.

The caulk will look clumpy, but it's not difficult to smooth it out. You can either use a paper towel, your finger, or a sponge brush to even it out.

Do your best to keep the area clean around the area where you placed the caulking material. when it dries, it can be quite the job to scrape it off.

If you’ve followed the above steps in order, you should be good and ready to start painting! The nickel gaps should have already been painted (step 5), which means you have nothing else to do but make sure your paint goes on nicely!


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