Thanks to the popularity of HGTV and shows like Fixer Upper, shiplap is back and in popular demand. Shiplap isn't a recent invention, however. Used for years under plaster walls and as siding for outdoor buildings, shiplap has been decorating our living spaces for quite some time.
And it's no wonder, because this gorgeous wood lends character and charm to any living space. Whether it's a kitchen, living room, or bedroom; shiplap is the versatile accent piece for any room. With low material cost and easy installation, it won't stretch the budget either.
Is Shiplap Right For Me
After deciding on shiplap, it's important to consider how it will align with your overall design vision. Because you're using wood planks, there will be seams to deal with, so a strategy is key, especially in a tight space. If working in the kitchen or bathroom, keep in mind that seams have the potential to collect water and bacteria, so alignment directly behind a sink is not ideal. You can keep boards the same size and shape for a more uniformed look, or mix it up with several lengths.
Horizontal shiplap is perfect for tying a space together. Using long, horizontal lines, shiplap planks can make your space feel larger while also unifying any open or otherwise disjointed spaces. Wood as a natural element is perfect for creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere. By adding these elements to your kitchen or bathroom, even as a small backsplash, you will end up with a room that people very welcome in.
Where Can I Find Shiplap
For any shiplap backsplash, it's important to start with good quality, smooth wood. Whether you plan to paint or cover the wood, a smooth finish will ensure you get a polished look with no splinters along the way. Many older houses have shiplap hiding under the plaster and, if you're in the middle of a home renovation, you may be lucky enough to come across original shiplap during your work. If not, your local lumber yard or hardware store should be able to help.
Salvage yards may also have shiplap from home renovation or demolition projects. Depending on whether you're looking for a more polished and modern or more weathered and rustic look, you'll want to focus on either factory manufactured shiplap, or the salvaged variety. Shiplap is fairly easy to find these days, due to its popularity in the home decor realm.
How To Install Your Shiplap Backsplash
Basic steps for installation are:
- 1Sand your wood.
- 2Measure and fit wood planks to the installation area. Use a miter saw for straight cuts, and jigsaw or table saw for curved edges (fitting around the sink or electrical outlets, for example). Consider where you want your wood seams to line up during this process.
- 3Mount the shiplap pieces with construction adhesive and a nail gun.
- 4Prime and paint your wood. For best results, apply at least two coats of primer, as wood absorbs paint unevenly. For small spaces, brush application will
ensure paint doesn't reach other room elements. If you are working with a larger space, a paint gun will quickly apply a smooth and even coat.
- 5Use waterproof paintable caulking to fill the gaps between planks and patch holes from nails. You will need to do some paint touch-ups after this step (note: you can also caulk before painting).
- 6Hang any shelves or other decorations once the paint is dry and caulk is set. Now, let's get down to design.
For a classic, more rustic look, you can use shiplap in its natural form. If this is your design aesthetic, often the more weathered the wood is, the better. You can apply primer to protect the wood from water and moisture, but other than that this is as easy as it gets. Just choose your wood, measure to fit your space, sand for a smooth finish, and mount the wood.
If the wood you have to work with isn't quite the shade you're after, it's also possible to stain the wood. This gives you more variety in design aesthetic, especially if your shiplap comes from a hardware store and hasn't naturally achieved that weathered look that re-purposed wood already has.
If a polished, farmhouse look is what you're after, then a white shiplap backsplash will be the perfect accent. Whether as part of an overall white scheme or just to add a classic element to your room, shiplap is that perfect design element that can be visually loud or more behind-the-scenes, depending on your preference.
Choosing the perfect shade of white is often the most difficult part of the process. Warm or cool? Classic or modern? It's amazing how many shades of white there are when you visit the paint section. Eggshells, plasters, opals, off-whites, alabasters; so many to choose. It's always helpful to apply a few test spots of your top selections to see how the color works in your space. Best to avoid that painter's remorse once all the hard work is done.
Whichever shade you end up with, make sure it's a semi-gloss water-based paint, so it goes on smooth and has a nice finish.
Somewhere between a natural wood look and a more polished finish is the multi-toned wood shiplap backsplash. Multi-toned means you will have multiple shades, and possibly even colors, of shiplap in your design. Depending on your color scheme, this can be different shades of brown, white, or gray. This will add more interest and variety to your design, and ensure you get lots of compliments on your beautiful backsplash.
If you're feeling even more adventurous, you can add different colors to the overall backsplash scheme. Perhaps some shades of white, light blue, and green for a play on the old farmhouse look. Or you may even be interested in something more bold with reds and oranges alongside browns or grays. Since this method is more aggressive in design, it's important to ensure the paint colors fit in with your overall theme. You wouldn't want a dark brown, red, and orange backsplash in an otherwise classic white kitchen.
Then there's the backsplash for those preferring more bold and colorful patterns. If you need more variety in your look, then covering your shiplap backsplash with wallpaper is a good option. Choose any pattern you like, preferably waterproof vinyl if using in a kitchen or bathroom, and apply the wallpaper to your shiplap after installation.
You don't have to stick with traditional wallpapers either. If your perfect design is on a piece of fabric, then you can soak the fabric decoupage glue and water to apply like wallpaper. To keep it really low budget, you can always use contact paper, scrapbook paper, or decals for a fun and funky look.
For a more modern look, there are a variety of laminate materials you can use. If you've always loved subway tile backsplashes but can't afford the materials or expensive installation costs, then laminate tiles are for you. In a similar vein, you can also use peel and stick tiles for a mosaic backsplash look. There are even laminates that look like marble, so go wild and pursue that high dollar designer kitchen of your dreams while paying shoe-string prices.
This works the same as laminate flooring so it's best applied to a smooth, even surface like your sanded shiplap backsplash. Clean freaks will love this option, as the smooth vinyl with few to no seams allows for easy cleanup and disinfecting after cooking.
Long used as a versatile construction material and design element, shiplap is now in popular demand for its ability to add character to any room. There are many methods and styles to suit any design preference so your shiplap backsplash is the design feature you've always wanted. From the classic white or natural wood, to the more modern laminate or wallpaper; it's easy to incorporate a shiplap backsplash into your overall kitchen or bathroom design. All you need is wood supplies from your home renovation or local hardware store and you can be one your way.
With its low price and ease of installation, this home makeover is perfect for professionals and amateurs alike. Whether you're looking to add value to your home or just spruce up an old and tired-looking room, a strategically designed and sourced shiplap backsplash can be the solution you're looking for. Using our easy five-step installation guide, it's possible to complete this upgrade without the long-term hassle or inconvenience of a total room overhaul.
Adding a backsplash of any kind makes your space look more polished. A shiplap backsplash will check all the design boxes without breaking the bank, making this the perfect addition to any home. Don't discount this material based on its current popularity. Shiplap has been around for ages, and will be an important design element long after HGTV has moved on to the next best trend.