This bathroom is certainly on the smaller side but the vanity area is pretty spacious and there is a closet and a full tub. We covered up all that tan sponge paint, added some bright teal paint, and happily lived with this room for the last 5 years. Truthfully, that old-fashioned low counter top was super helpful for littles ones. The new taller one is a little bit of a stretch for my youngest.
Our kids are both in school now and the wear on this room was becoming obvious. The old painted vanity was dingy and beat up and hours of bath time fun did a number on the grout and tile by the tub. The grout finally started to chip out and I did what I sometimes do... I waited until John was at work and took a crowbar to the tile. What husband doesn't love that kind of surprise, right?
After a pretty painless 4 week renovation we ended up here.
I plan to do a more detailed post with sources and the process of building the vanity soon but today I wanted to talk about the faux shiplap.
The old bathroom had beadboard paneling. It was in decent shape but I was ready for an update. I considered paint but I was pretty sure that there was going to be wallpaper under that paneling. Lucky us! No wallpaper. BUT we did find quite a few (SIX!) holes behind the beadboard. My husband pointed out that it might be helpful to leave the holes and mark where they are for future plumbing fixes so I measured and took some pictures before we covered them up.
I also painted the walls white because I knew I was planning to leave a little gap between each piece and I didn't want the rough drywall texture showing through. I covered up those holes with some stapled on white poster board so the dark inner wall cavity wouldn't be obvious through the seams.
I read quite a few blog posts about how to install shiplap. There are actual shiplap panels that can be purchased but they exceeded my budget for this project. I found several people who used floor underlayment for shiplap with great success. I have used underlayment for quite a few projects before and knew it would be lightweight and cheap so that was the direction we went.
I purchased the sheets at Lowes for about $11 each and had them cut down in store to the height I wanted. I have to say, that was a mistake. The very nice gentleman that cut them for me encouraged me to walk the store while he made the cuts so I don't know exactly what happened but when I got home it was very clear that I had a variety of heights among my panels.
I debated taking them back for :: like :: a second but I am not a perfectionist and figured I could work with it so I got to sanding. Each piece (there were 50+) had to be sanded down on the top and around the edges where they were cut. The pieces were 8 foot long and it took me about 3 hours with my rotary sander.
Next I measured my starting wall and got ready to attach them with a nail gun. I measured about 4 pieces at a time because I knew the wall might not measure the same width all the way up (and I was right).
Before I nailed the pieces on I used a stud finder to locate the studs and marked that on the drywall. Even though these panel pieces are lightweight I wanted to make sure they would stay on well and I also didn't want to worry about hitting any existing plumbing or electrical. I left about a 2" gap from the ground and worked from the bottom up using nickels for spacers. The nickels ended up being a huge pain and I preferred just eyeing up the gap and using a level on the top of each board. Don't forget the level!!
The gap along the floor was because I wanted to leave room for the tile which wasn't down yet but when it came time to install the baseboard I wished that I had just done a 1" gap because I ended up nailing in some strips of underlayment under the bottom shiplap panel so the baseboard would lay nice and flush and not angle in at the bottom where there wasn't any underlayment. Make sense? Learn from me!
Not gonna lie, this process took quite a bit longer than I thought it would.
For the entryway to the room I stacked all my pieces of matching height together and the corner seams match up really well. I didn't end up using any trim on this corner (below left) because it looked pretty neat and clean. On the right outside facing corner I used 1 1/2" corner trim.
By the time we got to the area behind the vanity our choices of panels with the same height were getting limited. This is where it would have been amazing to have every piece the exact same height. Come on Lowes guy! But really, I should have stayed by him and been very clear that they needed to all be the same.
There are two corners where the seams definitely do not meet up (below). We could see this happening and (again, not perfectionists) decided to go with it. We used some 1/4" by 2" strips from the moldings aisle to help disguise the gap and you know what? When I'm in this room that is about the last thing I am thinking about. So my advice there... if you know this will bother you cut your boards yourself or monitor whoever is cutting them.
After all the paneling went up we topped it with a 1x3 and then a 1x2 to create a small ledge. The outside corners got corner molding and the inside corners got the molding I mentioned above. Every nail hole got filled with wood filler (torture) and then it all got sanded (double torture).
Painting shiplap was another thing I researched quite a bit. Most sources I found painted after but I worried about some paint filling in the cracks. I wanted the cracks in between each board to be dark so the walls would be obviously panel-ey (nice, right?). So after I used caulk around the cap pieces and baseboard I did 3 coats of my favorite semi-gloss white paint with a foam roller. As I went I used a knife to get paint out of the cracks when I felt like they got too much paint. That worked really well but I do have one spot that got too much paint. Looks like this.
Having lived with the space for a couple months now I am debating going back and painting in all the cracks. I know that sounds crazy. I feel a little crazy for saying it but with the nickel sized gaps I left, if I am looking closely I can see the top of each piece of underlayment. Underlayment doesn't have quite the same look as a typical piece of wood and the tops have kind of a rough unfinished look to them even after the sanding. I'll try to add a picture of it here. Who knows if I will end up painting that. Seems like kind of a pain but lately I have been thinking the room needs a 4th coat of paint anyway...
::: So what's my conclusion on the "faux" shiplap? :::
The "wood" for this project cost me about $80. That doesn't include the top trim or baseboards. The labor was pretty intense and it definitely has a more rustic feel to it.
Also because underlayment is so thin there were a few times that the nails from our nail gun (which is pretty powerful) did not hold a piece of underlayment in to the drywall. I made sure I had a stud but the nail heads for the nails my nail gun uses are very small and because underlayment is so thin it felt like the nails just didn't have enough to grip. My guess is that light bowing and imperfection in the walls were the reason some boards need a little extra help. I did end up adding nails with a larger head in a few places to hold pieces in. Then I used a nail punch to sink the nails and covered the holes with wood filler. I will say that now I could not find one nail hole in this room. The combo of wood filler and sander did a great job.
My kids have been doing their kid thing in here for 2 months now and I have had no problems with any of the panels moving or falling. I checked them all pretty well before painting and I'm not really worried about this in the future but the "for real" shiplap panels you can buy are made from a thicker material and I am sure would be sturdier.
I didn't price out the real shiplap for this room because I saw a couple posts about it and knew it was going to be way beyond what I wanted to spend (upwards of $300 for this space). I'm always up for trying a budget friendly option and in the end I am happy I went with this underlayment but I am still curious as to how the nicer stuff would have looked especially because the pieces lock together and I think the gaps would have had a more polished look.
Well, there you go. Let me know if you have any questions! I hope to do a post about our adventures in putting the vanity together soon.