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Cheap and Easy DIY Shiplap

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Oh, shiplap! Thanks to Mrs. Joanna Gaines, it has developed a life of its own. Today I will share how to update any space in your house with a DIY cheap and easy faux shiplap project. Make sure you watch the video of installation!

Select a location.

Before we started we picked an easy place to install the shiplap. I try to avoid walls we have windows or doors because our trim is irregular. This would mean we would have to make intricate cuts to accommodate the trim or remove the trim and reinstall after. Neither of which we wanted to do. Remember the “easy” part of this project?

What I used

Prepare the shiplap.

The underlayment comes in large 4×8 sheets. SOME places and SOME employees of the aforementioned places will rip all your shiplap right there in the store with their panel saw that they have on hand. What angels, right?

Others will NOT…

Can you guess which one I got? If you guessed that I did not, in fact, have an angelic employee, then you win a prize! They *would* do 1 or 2 cuts as long as they were 12″ or larger. I did a little math in my head, on the spot, at 7 am in the middle of Home Depot, and I had them cut it down the long side at 27.5″. This allowed me to get the maximum amount of shiplap strips from either side (3 from one side and 4 from the other) with a tiny bit of waste on either side. At least at this size, they would fit in my van easier and would be much easier to maneuver on my table saw to cut at home.

Watch my IG highlight video from our shiplap install by clicking here!

When I got home I simply set up our table saw and set the rip fence at 6-1/2 inches. My husband and I ran the sheets through with me on one end feeding and my husband receiving on the other end. Having a second person is super handy here. Ensure the sheet is tight up against the rip fence the whole way down to ensure an even cut.

Add outside corner trim.

Since we were working with an outside corner we needed a piece of outside corner trim. It looks like this. I got mine in pine because it is the cheapest option.

We measured from the top of our trim (we didn’t remove our base trim) to the top of the ceiling and cut it to length. Then, we attached this piece of trim with a bit of construction adhesive and some brad nails.

Because our *new* house isn’t so new anymore, I double-checked the top of our trim for level. If it happened to be off I would have simply cut my first piece of shiplap a bit wonky to make up for the difference or fudge the difference with the gap over a few strips of shiplap. This adjustment would ensure that the top of the shiplap is level. This makes a big difference when you get close to a level ceiling.

Mark your studs.

Using a stud finder, we found the studs in our walls and marked them using a 4 foot level to draw a plumb line vertically down the wall. Studs are usually 16″ on center, but double check to be certain.

Measure your shiplap for length.

Next, we measured our wall for length. Both walls were shorter than 8 foot, so we didn’t have any butt joints where two pieces needed to meet. If you DO have this, make sure you stagger your butt-joints.

Install your shiplap.

To install we ran a zig-zaggy (that’s an official construction term, BTW) bead of construction adhesive down the length of the shiplap and placed it on the wall resting on the (thankfully level) base trim.

For spacing between strips of shiplap we used paint sticks. You can use whatever you have handy that is a similar thickness. I’ve heard of people using nickels. tile spacers, and pieces of plywood.

Cut out for outlets and switches.

Use a fine-toothed jigsaw to cut out where outlets and light switches are located. See the video below on how to measure and mark for outlets! Make sure you keep the cuts tight enough that the switch plate covers will cover the void but with enough clearance that you can loosen and pull out the outlet 1/8″, so it is flush with the new shiplap.

Check length and level as you go.

Make sure you check every couple of rows for level. Also, make sure you measure separately for each cut. Even though you would think they would be the same length on a same wall, they just might now be exact and you want a tight joint to ensure a neat job.

Rip the last piece, if needed.

Unless the measurement fairies are sprinkling you with magical construction glitter (A.K.A. sawdust…) you will probably have to rip the last piece. Make sure you measure from the top of your spacer (whatever you are using) to the ceiling and not the edge of the last row to the ceiling to ensure an even gap between boards.

Safety around kids.

Make sure that if you are working in a house full of kids (raises hand) you unplug your dangerous tools EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. you walk away from them. Even if it is only a few seconds. It only takes a few seconds to plug them back in and it is vital in keeping your little ones safe.

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