The perfect beginner DIY project for how to install vertical wood planked walls and add character in any space on a small budget.
Have you been following along on the powder room makeover on our Instagram Stories?! Oh my gosh! This vertical shiplap project and paint alone made the most massive difference in this little bathroom we’re creating for a very sweet friend of ours.
We’re no strangers to installing shiplap since we started this blog 6+ years ago, but it has been a hot minute since we tackled this project.
And ever since our last one when our style was more rustic farmhouse in our previous house, shiplap has come a long way and is no longer just for farmhouse lovers.
Flip that shiplap vertical and all of a sudden, it has a more modern vibe and lends itself to lots of different decorating styles… which is exactly what we were going for with the California Casual powder room.
How to Install Vertical Shiplap Wainscoting
You can really do this project as a full wall or wainscoting (half wall), depending on the look you want.
(Some affiliate links are provided below. Full disclosure here.)
- 5″ shiplap boards (These pre-primed tongue & groove boards from Home Depot were super easy to work with.)
- 1×2-1/2″ MDF Craftsman moulding
- 1×4-1/2″ MDF Craftsman moulding
- Construction adhesive (We’ve tried many types and this one is our favorite.)
- Caulk gun
- Cordless finish nailer
- 1 1/2″ finish nails
- Tape measure
- Power drill
- Table saw or circular saw
- Miter saw (optional but helpful for fast cuts)
- Wood filler
- Sander with medium grit sanding pads
- Outlet spacers
- Jumbo outlet/switch covers
- Flathead screwdriver
- Paint of your choice (I typically prefer satin finish on shiplap.)
1. Measure the entire perimeter of your room and calculate how many boards you will need for your project. (This powder room had a 22′ perimeter, so we needed 27 – 8′ boards cut in half at 4′ each leaving us with a couple of extra boards to account for waste material.)
2. Using a miter saw, we cut our 8′ boards at 4′ just because it was the simplest measurement that would save us money and reduce waste.
3. We marked the 4′ height on the wall with a pencil and used a level around the room to mark a line where the tops of the shiplap boards should line up. (Make sure to place the boards a couple of inches above any outlets or light switches to avoid any awkward cuts later.)
4. Check the placement of your first board before attaching to make sure it is level (be aware not to trust corners since they’re not always completely square 90 degree angles).
5. Apply a line of construction adhesive to the back of your first board and place on the wall lined up with your pencil line. Drive in a few finish nails with your cordless nailer to hold it in place. (If you were doing a horizontal shiplap wall, you could skip the adhesive and just nail into the studs. With vertical shiplap, it’s not possible to nail into studs, so the adhesive is necessary to keep boards in place.)
6. Keep attaching shiplap boards around the room, staying in line with the pencil line.
7. At corners, use a table saw or circular saw to trim boards to fit as needed.
8. At outlets and light switches, use a tape measure and pencil to mark where to cut out the board. (We used the smaller outlet covers as a template to make the process easier.)
9. Drill a hole at the 4 corners of the traced outlet cover on the board to make a starting point for your jigsaw blade.
10. Cut out the outlet hole with the jigsaw.
11. Attach the board on the wall as usual with adhesive and finish nails.
12. To make outlets and light switches flush with the shiplap, add outlet spacers to the outlet’s screws to push them out. (Turn off the electricity and use all safety precautions when handling outlets/switches)
13. We used jumbo outlet/switch covers after attaching the spacers to cover any holes in the boards from using the smaller covers as cut templates.
14. Attach the 1×2-1/2″ Craftsman board on top of the shiplap boards.
15. Attach the 1×4-1/2″ Craftsman board on the bottom of the shiplap boards as the baseboard, nailing into the shiplap.
16. Fill nail holes with wood filler and let dry.
17. Fill gaps with caulk and let dry.
18. Once dry, sand the wood filler until smooth (never sand caulk or it will crack).
19. Paint and you’re done!
We used Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray paint in satin on the shiplap wainscoting and Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace in eggshell on the walls.
It’s amazing how much bigger this space feels now that the gold is gone!
The final reveal for this cute powder room is coming very soon so keep an eye out. It’s absolutely perfect!
Have you ever installed shiplap before? Are you a shiplap fan? I have to admit, I got super tired of it for a little while there, but it’s making its comeback.
You can see our previous wall molding and shiplap tutorials here:
- How to Quickly Beef Up Crown Molding and Baseboards
- DIY Traditional Grid Molding and Focal Wall (Grid Molding Reveal)
- Picture Frame Molding
- Craftsman Window Trim – the Easy Way
- How to Shiplap a Wall for Free
- DIY Simple Shiplap Wall
- Wood Plank Focal Wall
- DIY Planked Board and Batten Wall
- The Cheapest and Easiest DIY Board and Batten