The Wall: How to Install Shiplap

Timeless in style and harkening to seaside vacation houses, shiplap wood walls are currently enjoying the style spotlight. This project reinvents the look for a unique addition to your home. Find out how to make it yourself.

One Day
  1. 1

    Make a Sketch

  2. Steps:

  3. 1.1
    Remove mouldings and take your wall measurements.
  4. 1.2

    Divide the wall into your desired sections to draw a sketch. This project uses 1/3 divisions for the height and 2/3 divisions for the width. Note: The sketch below is for illustrative purposes only; your plan should be made according to the size of the wall as well as the layout chosen.

  5. 1.3
    Take measurements of the different sections.
  6. 1.4
    Measure the width of two planks, including the gap between the grooves. Use this measurement to calculate how many planks are needed for the horizontal section.
  7. 1.5
    Round your measurements up to avoid unnecessary cuts and take note of the new height.
  8. 1.6
    Repeat these two steps for the vertical section.
Example of a shiplap wall layout
  1. 2

    Write the Measurements on the Wall

  2. Steps:

  3. 2.1
    Transfer your project measurements onto the wall to use as reference.
  4. 2.2
    Draw your project guide lines using chalk line.
  5. 2.3
    Identify and mark the location of the studs.
Man using a chalk line

Pro Tip

If working alone, use a small nail to hold one end of the chalk line.

  1. 3

    Cut the Shiplap Planks

  2. Steps:

  3. 3.1

    Measure the planks, then use a mitre saw to cut all of the planks.

Man cutting MDF planks with a mitre saw
  1. 4

    Install the First Horizontal Section

  2. Steps:

  3. 4.1
    Set the first plank, tongue pointed upwards, at the bottom of the wall using a level.
  4. 4.2
    Secure the plank to the wall by nailing the tongue. The nails will be hidden by the next plank.
  5. 4.3
    When you reach the last joint, cut the groove off to make a straight joint.
Man holding a bubble level
  1. 5

    Install the Second Vertical Section

  2. Steps:

  3. 5.1
    Confirm that all of your planks are the correct height.
  4. 5.2
    Start your installation of the vertical section flush against the horizontal section.
  5. 5.3
    Since all the nails can’t sink into studs for this section, use glue to ensure that the installation is solid.
Man gluing MDF planks to a wall

Pro Tip

For a straight joint, ensure that the tongue is pointing to the right. If any planks need a lengthwise cut, make it on the side that will be against the wall. Latex caulk will hide the cut for a clean finish.

  1. 6

    Install the Final Planks

  2. Steps:

  3. 6.1
    Measure the height of the third and fourth sections.
  4. 6.2
    Cut the planks to size and install them according to the steps above.
MDF planks being cut by a mitre saw
  1. 7

    Hide the Nail Holes

  2. Steps:

  3. 7.1
    Push the nail heads into the planks with a nail punch.
  4. 7.2
    Apply latex to the holes and around plank edges with a caulking gun.
  5. 7.3
    Give the edges a perfect finish with an applicator tool or a wet finger.
Man applying latex caulking to plug nail holes
  1. 8

    Paint the Wall

  2. Steps:

  3. 8.1
    Use masking tape and tarps to protect other surfaces in the room.
  4. 8.2
    Use new paint to fill the paint gun, as old paint might cause a clog. Test the gun before you begin.
  5. 8.3
    Paint the entire wall and cover all gaps by shooting at different angles.
  6. 8.4
    Use a roller to catch any drips.
  7. 8.5
    When finished, clear the gun to prevent a clog.
Man using a paint gun to paint a wall grey

Pro Tip

If you can’t pick a colour for your new wall, just use the Colour Selector by SICO.

We used a paint gun to finish up this project, but you can also opt for a brush and a roller. Note that covering all of the gaps between the planks will be a bit more time-consuming by hand.

  1. 9

    Admire the Finished Project

  2. Steps:

  3. 9.1
    Your work is finished! Give yourself a pat on the back and step back to take it all in.
Dark grey shiplap wall with furniture

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