The shiplap whipped me into ship-shape and shipped the bedroom off to have a whole new look and feel.
Shippy! Not really in a boat-y or cruise ship sense… my bedroom was transformed to be more cabin-y than anything else. And it’s still a work-in-progress, but I’ve definitely made serious headway in the last week.
The shiplap paneling that I bought (and showed you a bit of last week while it was still loaded in the car) was awfully (or pleasantly) knotty (depending how much you like pine and lots o’ knots). Its appearance wasn’t about to deter me; the indivdual boards of paneling were unimaginably straight compared to any other lumber I’ve ever sourced and dug through at Lowe’s, and in my book, straight, non-bowed, non-warped, un-damaged boards are a win-win-win-(win?). Plus, the plan all along was to paint the finished wall to match the other three walls, only standing out as a paneled accent but still blending in to the overall cozy feel of the room, so knottiness wasn’t necessarily an issue as long as the cuts were smooth.
Because the boards were going to span the length of one wall (the “headboard” wall of my master bedroom), I wanted it to look finished, and part of that was making sure that the left and right edges of the wall looked completed. The walls themselves are lath and plaster, and it’s uneven in places just due to the original construction and whatever natural sinking of the house has taken place, so trimming a 1″x2″ furring strip to wall-height and affixing it to either side of the wall and nail gunning it into place acted a bit like the picture frame edges that we needed to give it a finished-off look.
Of course, there were some unexpected-but-sort-of-expected snafus along the way. The first of which being that the upper crown moulding needed to come down from the wall-in-progress. Not that it was especially difficult with the help of a utility knife to score the layers (and layers, and layers of paint), but it wasn’t something I thought would need to happen upfront. I was successful at preserving that original trim, and was cautious to take my time and not break the board by getting all rushy.
I left the baseboard and window trim in place as-is because all of it was considerably thicker than the shiplap was, meaning the new boards could rest on it and not make it look too funny or out of place. At least I think so. It’s as subject-to-construction-debate as anything else I’ve taken on.
The second snafu is that someday we’re going to have to replace the ceiling. The stippled ceiling had seen it’s day, and the cloth that held the material to the ceiling is beginning to bow downward, detatching from whatever is up there. Talk about a nightmare. As long as we get to it before it gets to us (meaning: falls on us during the night), it’ll be good.
Following basic instructions for installing shiplap paneling, I started from the bottom, working my way up gradually. I lucked out in a lot of ways, namely in how 2 boards fit exactly between the baseboard and the bottom of the window with only the need to trim out the 1/2″ rabbet (shown by the arrows). The end result actually makes it look more like the window was installed after the shiplap.
I was also especially happy to find that we could use one single board, cut in two, to fit around the window. My original measurements told me that that we would need 8′-1″ of lumber to make that happen, and since Lowe’s didn’t have boards longer than 8′ even, we figured we were screwed into using extra boards (hence why I bought 22 8′ pieces of lumber). I should note: there was a different kind of shiplap available in longer lengths at Lowe’s, but it assembles more like a tongue and groove product, not like clapboard.
There are two possible explanations for this surprise:
1. The boards are an inch longer than marked for expected uneveness during millwork? I’ve encountered this before on other lumber I’ve purchased; sometimes my 12′ boards really measure 12’2″ or 1 board out of 5 measures longer than the others, randomly.
2. Or maybe I mis-measured. Virtually impossible, I know. And yes, I had already taken the furring strip width into account.
The trick for installing shiplap is to nail through the bottom part of the board, but not through the lower rabbet.
This really allows for access to the nails for easier board removal if ever it’s rotting or damaged in an outside application. Not likely in the bedroom, but we still wanted to install the boards correctly. We attached each board with 1-5/8″ nails using Pete’s Bostitch nail gun and pancake compressor, with each nail going in about 1-2″ up from the bottom of the board where the gun is positioned in the next photo. The overlapping board that sits on top of the the one below it locks the loosened top part of the board into place.
The best tip I received prior to starting this project was from Robbie (owner of that fabulous beach house I exposed last week, and creator of its dreamy shiplap bathroom).
She revealed that to make the consistent gaps between her bathroom panels, they used nickels as spacers between each board. If not for the spacers, the boards would rest flush together eliminating most (if not all) of the line break in the panels.
Instead of using nickels, I decided to go just a smidgen wider and use quarters. Sets of two quarters hot glued together, to be exact, which held up well for getting the job done but came apart without trouble (since, as you can imagine, I wasn’t about to spend an extra $1.50 on this project after dropping $150.00 into lumber). I think a wider gap will allow for more shadow in the paneling detail, accentuating the wall when it’s painted a dark color.
It worked really well, helping to create the consistent spacing from top to bottom.
Once the boards were installed, I was unexpectedly pleased with the natural wood appearance. And super excited because I was able to return 8 of the original 22 boards to Lowe’s for a savings of $60. That means the whole job was under <$100, not including tools and nails that we already owned.
We’re so pleased with the wooden accents, in fact, that we’ve been considering staining the wall instead of painting it after all.
I learned a lot about staining shiplap during this project (read it here). Best advice? Stain it BEFORE you install (the nail holes will be hardly visible).