Today is the day for the big reveal on the modern shiplap we recently installed in the powder room!
Before I begin indulging in the process of adding in shiplap to the powder room, let me give you a little backstory on my husband and I. I have used a power tool maybe 2 or 3x in my life, and by a power tool I mean a drill to hang curtains. I am far from a DIYer, but I do watch a lot of HGTV and felt that shiplapping was a project my husband and I could take on. (I mean every woman thinks this after watching the show, right?) My husband is much more advanced in the art of using power tools, and he has a good take on projects. So he agreed that our first husband/wife DIY project could be the shiplap in the powder room. Yay!
Before we started anything, we took measurements and made a list of all of the materials and supplies that we would need to complete the project.
Step 1: Plan out the area and decide how high you want the boards. We decided that we wanted our boards to reach the height right under the light switches and outlets so that we didn’t have to account for those when making measurements and cuts. For us, this height was 42″.
We decided to rip (or cut) the boards down to 5″ boards just as a personal preference. Some people go for larger boards around 6″, but we thought 5″ was a good size for our room. My husband then took the measurements of the area we wanted to shiplap. To calculate this, we took the total shiplap area and divided that by 32 sq. ft since each piece of plywood is 4×8. This calculation gave us the total number of plywood sheets that we would need to complete our project which happened to be over 2, so we decided that 3 plywood boards is what we would need. Then we compiled the list of all other materials and supplies listed below. The items with a * beside are items that we did not purchase and use for the project, but they are items we *should have purchased to make the project easier.
- Plywood 1/2″ thick and ripped into 5″ strips
- 1 x 2 pine boards
- 1.5″ brad nails
- Wood filler
- White semi-gloss paint (We used Sherwin Williams Extra White)
- *Primer (because the plywood soaks up your paint and you will end up using a ton of paint)
- Miter saw
- Circular Saw
- Brad nailer and compressor
- Electric sander
- Laser leve
- Tape measure
- Tile spacers 3/16″
- Paint tray
- Paint roller
- Paint brush
- Drop cloths
- *Table saw (you will need this if ripping down plywood boards)
Step 2: Now, go get all of your materials and get excited! It is time for the fun to begin!
Step 3: Once we got home from purchasing all of our materials from Lowe’s, the first thing we needed to do was rip (or cut) the boards down 5″. This is the part of the project where having a table saw would have made everything 1000x easier. Since we opted to go the cheaper route and not buy a table saw, here is what we did instead. (If you have a table saw, skip this next section and pick up with Step 4).
To rip the plywood boards down to 5″, we set up two saw horses and used some clamps to clamp the plywood down to the horses. My husband measured out to about 5 1/4″ (since we had to account for it cutting some of the boards off as we cut) and we used a circular saw to cut every… single… board. I say this as I roll my eyes thinking about that dreaded evening we spent trying to ensure the boards were evenly cut and stripped down to 5″. Since each of the 4 walls were a little bit different in lengths, we found it easiest to go wall-by-wall when making cuts and determining which boards would go where. When all of the cuts were made, we took the boards inside and started nailing them up with the longest wall first.
Step 4: Before we installed the boards, we needed to remove the old baseboards. Our baseboards are slightly below the floor, so we used metal paint scrapers, ply bars, and a soft rubbery mat to remove the old baseboards without damaging our wood floors. The baseboards were pretty easy to get off using this method
Step 5: After the baseboards were out, we were ready to begin putting in the plywood boards. We decided we would start from the bottom and work our way up. Since some of our cuts were uneven (e.g. a little bit more/a little bit less than 5″ due to cutting with a table saw) we went layer-by-layer to ensure that each layer was comprised of boards with similar widths.
Step 6: After we had our first layer in, we used our 18 gauge brad nailer with 1.25 nails to put in the boards. We then moved up each layer and used 3/16″ tile spacers to create the space between each board. If you want a narrower gap, you can use nickels to create the space you are wanting. You will need to make a few extra cuts as you are moving through the boards, so be prepared to make the cuts for your plumbing and outlets if needed.
Step 7: Once all of the boards were installed, we added in the top 1×2 ledge that would complete the shiplap look we were going for. To add this in, we measured each 1×2 and made the appropriate cuts. For a more finished look, we mitered each corner cut and that made a world of difference in the final look.
Step 8: Once all of the boards were up, it was time to begin sanding. We used our electric hand sander for this part of the project. The cheaper plywood seemed like a great idea….. until this part of the project. The sanding took hours, and we were still not able to get the smooth, non-textured finish we were hoping for. If you are wanting your wood to have some texture to it, by all means plywood would be the way to go. We wanted a more smooth surface with little to no texture in the boards, but after spending approximately 3.5-4 hours sanding, we decided we were going to settle for the look we had.
Step 9: Once we were done sanding, we caulked all of the edges and around the plumbing and let the caulking dry before we started painting.
Step 10: After the caulking dried, we began painting the boards white. We used HGTV Home by Sherwin Williams Ovation in the color Extra White. We used a semi gloss finish. While painting, we quickly learned that the plywood was horrible to paint. The wood soaked in each layer of paint and we ended up having to paint a lot of layers to get the desired look we were going for. If we had purchased more expensive wood, we wouldn’t have needed near as much paint. It took 2 gallons to paint a very small half bath.
Another rookie mistake we learned while painting is that we should have painted the bottom portion of the wall where the shiplap was going on BEFORE putting the shiplap up. Because of the small gaps between each board, the paint wouldn’t go in there without a very small paintbrush. We spent hours painting in between the boards and trying to paint the tops and bottoms of each board. For our next shiplap project, we will paint the wall and the tops and bottoms of the boards BEFORE installing anything. This will alleviate having to spend hours trying to tediously paint in between the boards.
Step 11: After all of painting and caulking was complete, the last part to top off the project was to install the shoe moulding. You will want to pre-paint your shoe moulding before installing so that you don’t get paint on your floors. We used our 18 gauge brad nailer to install the shoe moulding. After you install you will want to use either spackle or wood filler (I happened to have wood filler on hand) to cover up the nail holes. I let it dry for about 30 minutes and then sanded the areas where I had put in the wood filler. I then went around and touched up with paint.
Step 12: The final step for our project was to paint the top part of the wall more of a lighter gray. We had Agreeable Gray on the walls originally, but with no windows or natural light in the small space, the color tended to pull a more beige than it did gray.
We bought a gallon of Sherwin Williams Gray Screen and it was the perfect shade of gray that we were looking for. It took 2 coats of the grey, but it really made the white pop on the shiplap. We were thrilled at how great our 1st project turned out. There are some imperfections and quite a few things we would do differently next time we install shiplap, but overall we are very pleased with our half bath upgrade!