Wondering How to Shiplap your house? Here is How we Did it!

Most of you have seen our shiplap in the living room from previous posts on here and Instagram/Facebook. I wanted to let you all know how we got the look we wanted for a cheaper price than the shiplap you buy in a box.

If you have done any research on putting up shiplap you may already know that there are a few options. Our original plan was to buy the true shiplap from Home Depot that comes primed and ready to put up. You can buy a kit as seen here. However, after doing some deeper research, we realized the size of the panels were not as wide as we wanted and the look of the panels appeared more like fake wood and that was not the look we were going for. We wanted the shiplap appear more original to add character to our house. If you saw my house hunting post, you know we are all about character.

After researching for weeks, we decided to go with plywood sheets for our shiplap. Alex watched a ton of YouTube videos on what to use and how to put it up; I mean a ton. Not one was much better than the other so I can’t give you a good reference.

So the how to:

You have to measure out your area, I am sure you knew that. But, I don’t want to leave anything out! Alex did this, not me. 😊 We measured out the square footage of all of our walls and didn’t subtract where the window is. You will definitely want to buy more than your actual square footage as you will end up with some waste. The waste is the small pieces you cut off so the end of the board lines up with the stud you want it to. Our walls measured 352 square feet, so we bought 11 sheets for 352 square feet total. Our bay window covers 37.5 square feet, so that was our waste amount. We honestly didn’t know how much extra we would need to buy so we just didn’t subtract the bay window from our total square footage and hoped it was enough and it was actually perfect!

At Lowes we paid a little over $17.00 per sheet of plywood and had them cut them into 8-inch pieces (the bottom piece only measured 7.25 inches due the saw blade from every other cut. This piece worked for the last piece we put on the bottom of the walls, as we had to rip it a bit more to fit. We ended up with sixty-six 8-foot panels to do the whole room. Having them cut to size cost us $0.25 each cut, but it was so worth it for the time and energy saved! FYI if you are planning to have the store cut them, go to Lowes because Menards charges $2.00/cut!! With that said, each store may vary.

We, a.k.a. Alex measured out and found where all the studs are and used a level and pencil to draw lines from the ceiling to the floor so we would always know where the studs are when putting up the panels. Starting out we knew we wanted to stagger the seams of the shiplap and keep the seams exposed after painting. I think some people caulk or fill them with wood filler so there are no end seams between boards. We planned from the beginning to cut random lengths of boards and place the seams randomly along the walls. However, carpenter dad suggested cutting the panels to fit within studs and staggering them that way. IMG_0879.jpgIf you look at this picture you can see there are some along the same seams but there is no consistent pattern.

We started at the top (near the ceiling) and worked our way down. We also started 2 inches in because we are going to hide the end by capping it with a 1×3 board over it. Once we put up the first row of panels, we used nickels to space the second row from the first row. You are going to want to make sure you have plenty of nickels because you will lose a few, especially if your vents are open and you have plywood floors. Lol.



To make sure the boards stay even, butt the end seams up on the boards the best you can and push the board up so the nickels are tight. Sometimes it took some man power and my tiny arms weren’t strong enough to do it.

We just used a nail gun to nail the panels on the wall. Nailing once toward the top and once toward the bottom of the panel on each stud.

Once all of the boards were up, (definitely took longer than we expected) the next steps were filling nail holes and painting! Alex filled and sanded all of the nail holes and then primed with one coat of wood primer from Sherwin Williams. We painted the shiplap with Sherwin Williams Alabaster.

Alex was worried about painting the spaces between the boards since the walls behind were originally brown, but we didn’t end up painting the walls before and you can’t even tell because the spaces are too thin to be able to see. A couple spots the boards touch on the top and bottom just because of the way the board curved. Alex used a piece of paper to pick the paint out of these spots when it seeped in.

Now that it’s painted, it looks awesome!!


Steps Shortened:

Measure out your square footages and figure out the amount of plywood needed to cover that area.

Cut or have the plywood cut to the width of panels you want (we did 8-inch).

Mark you studs floor to ceiling using a pencil, so when you put up the boards you nail on the studs.

Start nailing up the boards starting at the ceiling, making sure the end seams are tight against each other to help with keeping the boards level.

For the second row, use nickels to space the rows of boards making sure to line the end up to you end seam so it is level and make sure the board is pushed up tight against the nickels.

For alternating the seams of the boards: it is totally your preference how you alternate them. We chose to just alternate which studs the seams are on, on the entire wall so they aren’t all in the same spots.

Continue this over and over until done.

Fill the nail holes and sand them down. Prime. Paint. Get googly eyes at how awesome it turns out.

Let me know if you have any questions!!!!

I totally should have taken more pictures during; however, I was not thinking about what I would all want to include, so I hope those help give you an idea of what I am talking about!

Also I will take more pictures of the whole room once we don’t have nine million tools and paint cans in there!


4 Comments on “Wondering How to Shiplap your house? Here is How we Did it!

  1. Could you post the cost of your total project? This blog was great though! I can’t wait to show my boyfriend and talk him into doing this for me ☺️


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