One of the biggest eyesores of the together home was what we affectionately called the “Game Room”. When the house was originally built, this double entry area was sliders to a porch. At some point we assume the previous owners needed more room for all of their “game” aka stuffed animals aka animal mounts. From a couple of bears to fox, coyote about 10 deer, and so on filled this 10x10 annex.
Don’t let my sarcasm throw you off. I’m mostly jealous of our previous hunter/owner’s proficiency. Yet, when the room was empty it showed the outlines of the wall mounts (dingy circles throughout the room) and border wall paper that simply isn’t Amy’s style. I liked it, but I defer style judgement calls to the one of us that actually has some style.
The drywall was also in need of significant repair. Many of the joints were either unfinished or showed some enormous cracking. To bring this room up to par with the rest of the house was either going to require a lot of drywall mud and wallpaper peeling or something different completely.
We had been researching different ship-lap ideas (and honestly we hadn’t even yet discovered the Magnolia team). Keeping this project on an extremely tight budget we decided to go with an 1/8th inch sheet of plywood from Home Depot, cut into strips of 5 7/8th inches. This allowed us to use the entire 4x8 sheet once we allowed for the cuts.
We put our order in and came and picked it up from Home Depot the next day. From a time and effort perspective, this was well worth it to have them pre-cut it into strips, and a much much cheaper option than actual ship-lap. The downside was that whoever cut it at the HD, didn’t do a very good job. Many of the cuts were crooked but thankfully we ended up with plenty extra. This made the actual installation more difficult than it should’ve been. If you have access to time, a table saw and a helper, I’d highly recommend cutting it yourself.
As we prepared, another concern I had was what to do about the trim. Do we put the trim on over the ship-lap? If we use a thicker board, will the ship-lap overpower the trim? Since we finished the lower level, all of the new trim is stock mdf 4x1” and 8x1” baseboard. We eventually would like this look throughout the house, and since we were re-doing this room anyway it made sense to put up the bolder trim before the ship-lap. This would also help the trim stand out from the faux shiplap.
Step 1 was remove trim, Step 2, put up the replacement trim.
Sounds simple enough, right? Maybe we could do a blog post about trim work sometime in the future. Simple to put up, looks nice and bold, accentuated by the thick baseboard and best of all: no mitered joints!
Then we started installation of the ship-lap. Starting on the longest wall, from the top to bottom, we used a nickel to space our ship-lap.
We went top to bottom so that if at the end of it we needed to rip the last piece, it would be on the bottom and less noticeable than the top piece. You may decide to go bottom to top, the determining factor for us was what we thought would be more visible, the bottom row or the top row. When we started each following row, we either used either the leftover piece as a starter or cut a new one so that our butt joints didn’t line up with at least two rows above.
This helps keep the joints random. Our eyes are naturally drawn to patterns and if the joints are too close or patterned it which would just accentuate the joints and we didn’t want that. We attached all of it with an air-compressor powered trim nail gun. One of the most used tools in my toolbox, and well worth the investment.
Once the faux-lap was up, the next thing we had to do was caulk the corners and edges. This proved to be tricky. Since we were painting things white joints, corners and edges were all going to show every imperfection. Don’t be stingy with the caulk, and definitely don’t skip that step. When we did the corners, caulk wanted to fill in the ship-lap gaps, so you’ll need to have a tool (i.e. a screwdriver) to dig out the caulk spillage. It’s also helpful to have a bucket of water and washcloth as you’re caulking to easily clean up the mess and smooth things over.
Next and last step was paint. And several coats of it later here is the final product: