Last Updated on May 13, 2023 by lindseymahoney
If you’re looking to add a touch of charm to your walls, vertical shiplap is a great option. I added this DIY wall treatment to our mudroom because it worked well with the traditional/cottage architectural style of our home.
Whether you’re a seasoned DIYer or just starting out, this guide will help you get started on your vertical shiplap project.
How to Install Vertical Planks on a Wall for Instant Charm
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If you are new to the blog, welcome! Here are a few posts you may have missed about the mudroom makeover:
Here is what our mudroom looked like before the makeover:
The mudroom is a great size but I really wanted to add some personality to this room and this easy vertical shiplap DIY was the perfect solution!
The shape of our mudroom made this project a little more complicated, but if you want to install a vertical shiplap on a straight wall, it will be a breeze!
1 | Measure For Materials and Purchase
Take the total width of the walls and divide that number by the width of a single plank.
This will give you an idea of how many planks you will need to use for this project.
Example: You are applying the planks on two walls. The width of one wall is 20 inches and the width of the second wall is 30 inches making the total width 50 inches. If a single plank has a width of 5 inches, you will need 10 planks (50/5=10) for the project.
We added about 10% extra planks to account for boards with defects or cutting errors. The vertical shiplap we went with came in a 6 pack at Lowes and was reversible with a beadboard option on the other side.
Determine Vertical Shiplap Height
Determine how high you want the shiplap to go.
I measured the height of the wall, divided it into thirds, and planned to create the plank wall 2/3 of the way up the wall.
With a level and a pencil, I marked the height.
Remove the Baseboards
Remove the baseboards to prepare for the vertical shiplap installation.
2 | Attach the Top Trim Board
We chose a 1×4 primed wood board for the trim piece on top of the vertical shiplap wall.
First, we measured one wall from the door trim to the outside corner.
One side of the board ran into the door trim and required a simple straight cut. The other side of the board was an outside corner of the wall and required a 90-degree angle.
Cut the 90-degree angle first, then cut the other side with the straight cut. I like to cut the board a little bit longer than the measurement and make adjustments from there. If the board needs to be shortened, make the adjustments on the side with the straight edge.
Remember that you want the length of the board to go from the straight cut on one side to the bottom part of the 90-degree angle. For an outside corner, the top of the angle will go past the wall to connect with the board on the other wall.
Once you get the trim board cut to length, apply liquid nails to the back of the board and secure it with a pneumatic nailer using 18 gauge nails.
3 | Cut Vertical Shiplap to Size
When all of the top trim boards have been attached, measure the distance from the floor to the bottom of the trim board. Cut the vertical shiplap to size.
4 | Attach the First Piece of Shiplap
There is a very good chance that the walls in your home are not perfectly plumb (especially if you own an older home), so it is really important to get your first vertical plank straight.
Determine where you want to start attaching the shiplap and then align the plank so it is vertically level. If it helps, use a pencil to mark the straight line.
If the edge gap is too large to conceal with caulk when the first plank is perfectly level, you will want to use a table saw to make an angled cut.
The table saw is not my favorite tool to use so I rely heavily on my husband whenever a DIY requires me to use it! Fortunately for this first board, the gap was small enough to fill with caulk.
5 | Glue & Nail the Vertical Shiplap in Place
Apply liquid nails to the back of each shiplap piece and place it on the wall. Before nailing the board, check one more time that it is level.
Use the pin nailer to secure the board at the top, middle, and bottom of the board. Once the first board is attached and level, the next boards that are installed should also be level since they are connected with the tongue and groove system.
I prefer to start a vertical shiplap wall at an inside corner and work my way over to an outside corner. This is because the outside angle will have a corner trim piece attached to the top of the two planks that meet at that corner.
We worked our way across the room attaching the wood boards. At the end of each wall, we had to use the table saw (straight cuts) or the circular saw (angled cuts) to get the final board to fit.
Our mudroom has lots of corners which made the plank installation a little more tedious.
6 | Measure & Cut the Last Corner Wall Plank
For the final plank, Chris measured the distance from the previous shiplap board to the corner of the wall. He took the measurement at the top and bottom because our walls are not perfectly straight.
When the final board needed to be cut at an angle, we used the circular saw to achieve this cut.
Honestly, there is probably a better tool or easier way to make this cut, but this was our DIY process! We marked the plank with a pencil, secured the plank with clamps, and cut the board with the circular saw.
Making these more challenging cuts in the inside corner of the room helped to hide any mistakes.
Another option is to add an inside corner trim piece to conceal any uneven cuts in the corner.
When one of the boards needed a straight cut vertically, we were able to use the table saw which was a bit easier than our janky circular saw contraption.
7 | Cutting Around Outlets & Switches
To cut holes for switches, outlets, and vents, mark the board where the cut needs to be made.
Be careful to check that the switch or outlet cover will conceal the section of vertical shiplap you are removing. For this DIY, we used a miter saw to make the cuts on the vertical shiplap boards.
Instead of placing the shiplap boards flat on under the saw, you will turn it to the side and make cuts down to the line marked for the outlet.
Make small notches from one side of the cut-out to the other. The wood slivers should break off during this process. Use a chisel to break off any remaining slivers.
8 | Reattach the Baseboards
Once the vertical shiplap boards are attached, reattach your baseboards. We decided to purchase new baseboards and attached them using liquid nails and 18 gauge nails with the pneumatic nailer.
9 | Attach the Outside Corner Trim Pieces
Measure the distance between the bottom of the trim board and the top of the baseboard and cut the corner trim piece.
Attach the corner piece with liquid nails and a pin nail & the pneumatic nailer. The same process can be followed if you use trim pieces for an inside corner.
10 | Fill the Nail Holes & Sand
Use plastic wood filler to fill all of the nail holes, and there are a lot! Once the filler dries, sand your vertical shiplap wall so it is smooth.
11 | Caulk the Seams
Next, caulk the seams. This includes above and below the top trim board, all corners, and the top of the baseboards.
12 | Prime & Paint
I applied two coats of Kilz primer to prep for paint and the wood soaked it right up!
After much debate, I chose Svelte Sage by Sherwin Williams for the vertical shiplap wall.
Vertical Shiplap Wall DIY Reveal
And here is the finished product after painting and wallpapering the rest of the mudroom!