Learn how to install a faux shiplap wall that is budget-friendly and stylish.
Real shiplap adds a beautiful design element to any wall. Walk into any house that has shiplap accents or any wood treatments and you will find it's difficult to validate your plain, painted walls. But while most love the look of shiplap, the accompanying cost is hard to justify for an average budget. Learn how you can achieve a stylish DIY shiplap wall without the high price tag.
Faux Hardboard Shiplap Wall for Around $100
When redoing the downstairs bedrooms, I knew I wanted some type of wood design on the walls. Hardboard shiplap was the perfect choice with our own home being an updated farmhouse style.
But have you ever priced out the cost for true shiplap? Yikes. I was able to find an easy way that was much cheaper, while still getting the desired finished look.
Have you ever considered using an alternative that is not the traditional panels or interlocking planks? I added faux shiplap to my daughter's room for around $100 using ¼" thick hardboard or Masonite. Masonite is a type of hardboard that comes in 4'x8' sheets. You can buy it at your local hardware store. I bought mine at Home Depot for around $20 a board and I used 4 boards.
Why Pick Hardboard Shiplap?
- You have flexibility with style. Create farmhouse style shiplap or modern looking shiplap.
- Plain white walls are clean and bright, but BORING.
- Adds texture and character.
- The cost is much cheaper than real shiplap.
Supplies for DIY Shiplap Wall
Make sure you have the right tools for installing and prepping your DIY shiplap wall.
- Masonite or Hardboard sheets
- Table saw to strip down boards
- Tape Measure
- Nail gun
- Jigsaw (optional)
- Brad nails for nail gun
- Spackle and putty knife (optional)
- Sandpaper (optional)
DIY Shiplap Wall Tutorial
The first step is to make sure that your wall is ready to go before beginning this shiplap wall project. Prep your walls by removing any covers for light switches or an electrical outlet that might get in the way.
Patch any holes in your wall that are in need of repair with some Spackle and a putty knife. Make sure to sand it down and then wipe your wall so dust particles are gone.
Then you will need to purchase your boards at your local home improvement store. The next step is to rip them down into strips using your saw. I ripped my boards down to 4" strips and cut them at various lengths so the seams on the wall would be random. If you want your seams more identical, you can adjust your measurement lengths.
Install the First Row of DIY Shiplap
It's a good idea to install the first row of faux shiplap boards on top of the baseboards at the bottom of the wall. It gives a good starting point and looks better once it is finished.
When installing your first row, spacing is very important. If your spacing is messed up then your planked wall can end up being slanted all the way up the wall. I find it easiest to use the width of my hardboard as a spacer. But you can also try using tile spacers.
Put up your first board then secure it to the wall with your nail gun. Hold up a small piece of hardboard to space the second board. I use this for spacing each small gap on the top, bottom and sides throughout the entire wall so each seam is equal.
You can also leave out seams if you desire, so that the edges are placed right against each other.
Begin the Second Row
Continue this process down the wall until your first row is complete. Be very care with spacing when you begin the next row. You can even use a level as you go to make sure your horizontal lines are the same.
I also like to leave my nail holes exposed because it adds much character to the shiplap, especially if you are creating a more rustic look. If you choose to leave your nail holes exposed, be careful with how many you use and the placement. I put one nail in the top corner and one in the bottom corner on each side. If more nails are needed in the center, do the same thing.
You do not have to leave your nail holes exposed. If you are wanting a more modern design then they can be filled in at the end with putty and sanded down before painting.
Install DIY Shiplap Around Outlets
This shiplap goes up pretty fast. The biggest hurdle is when you have to cut around outlets.
The easiest way to go around outlets is by using a jig saw. Your cuts do not have to be exact or perfect around the edges of the boards because the outlet covers will go back on. But make sure to not cut the hole so big that the cover won't hide the hole.
Finish One Wall Before Moving to the Next
There are different ways you can install shiplap on multiple walls. I prefer to complete one DIY shiplap accent wall before moving to the next. If you put up your hardboard shiplap this way, just make sure to match your corners up so all of your lines are continuous across the room.
When your last board is installed, you are ready to complete your finish work. Fill in nail holes if you desire and sand any rough spots.
Before painting your DIY shiplap, make sure that you prime first because you are using a hardwood. Then proceed to paint with a roller, paint brush or sprayer.
To see how we painted this room, head over here.
Other Wood Wall Options to Consider
- Shiplap ceiling instead of a wall
- Wainscoting entry
- Picture frame DIY wall molding
- Shadow box molding
- Boho wood wall
- Farmhouse weathered wood white wall
- Fireplace accent wall
This DIY shiplap wall turned out absolutely stunning! It is a great way to providing a design element that is thrifty and stylish. Accent walls can bring so much character to a simple room.
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