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How to Use Shiplap Wall Panels

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As soon as I learned that home improvement stores now carried a shiplap paneling I knew it wouldn’t be long before I was eagerly considering it for a project in our home! 

I knew I wanted to add a paneling to our small main floor powder room – I thought about a board and batten style as well as using shiplap vertically.  Since we did board and batten in our mudroom I quickly settled on shiplap.  Having never seen the shiplap paneling in person, I decided to run up to our location Home Depot and take a look at it.  I also took a look at the shiplap board options.  For me it was an easy choice to go with the paneling!  I knew this would be easier to work with and was a much more cost efficient option.

shiplap wall panels

The shiplap paneling was the perfect option to combine my rustic farmhouse style with my husband’s more modern style.  We are always looking for ways where we can mesh our style preferences!  So while shiplap walls are most often painted white or light pastel color, we had agreed that we would paint it a more bold, modern color

Through this post I will walk you through exactly how I installed the paneling and finished it!  There are so many options for using this panels and I can’t wait to come up with more projects to use the scraps I saved. 

Step 1: Measure & Buy Shiplap Wall Panels

The first measurement you will need to determine is how high you want your paneling boards to go.  For me, I knew I wanted the paneling to be a bit taller than a “standard” measurement.  The paneling boards come 48 inches by 96 inches; because of this I decide that I wanted my paneling to be 48 inches high.  I would be able to cut the 96 inch panels in half and that would give me two boards out of one.  

From there I measured my wall space and determined, with cutting the board in half, that I would need to buy 3 of the shiplap panels

I also decided on 6 inch baseboard boards and a 4 inch board that would be placed at the top of the shiplap paneling to create our finished look.  

Step 2: Cut your Shiplap Wall Panels to desired height

wood panels

As I referenced above, we had planned to cut these panels in half to give us the height of 48 inches.  This can be done a few different ways depending on what tools you have available to you.  My personal preference and recommendation (TIP), have your panels cut in the store! 

Most Home Depot stores have a saw in store and will make large cuts for you.  This was a must for me as I do not have a car that I can fit 96 inch long panels.  You will need to load the panels on a cart and take them over to the saw.  You may also have to wait a few and find the person working the saw but well worth the hassel to make getting these panels home easier! 

TIP: Have your panels cut in half in the store!

If you are unable to have the panels cut in the store – you could use a table saw, circular saw, or even a jig saw to cut the panels.  You will need at least one of these tools for install as well. 

Step 3: Measure and make cutouts in the Panels

You will likely need to make a few cutout for plugs or light switches, or a Recessed Toilet Paper Holder.  You will use your drill with a drill bit and your jig saw for this step.  The drill and drill bit will be necessary to start your cut out.  

Once you have made your measurement for your cutout, you should draw your outline on the panel.  Then you will use your drill with drill bit to drill a small hole near one of the corners of the space you are cutting out.  This will allow you to set your jig saw into the space to cut out the rest of the section.  Using your jig saw cut at a speed you are comfortable with (for me this is slow and steady) along the marks you drew onto the panel. 

TIP: Be conservative with your cut, you can always cut more off!  


Step 4: Install your Panels

I worked between step 3 and step 4.  I found it easier for me to install one panel at a time and then I was able to more easily measure for my different cuts. 

The shiplap panels come together in the grove part, each panel begins and ends with about one-half of a grove.  This makes the seams basically invisible!  Therefore, it is import to make your cut edge be the one that goes against the wall corner.  For any panel I needed to cut down, I marked the far edge and used my circular saw to cut the panel down.  

To install your panels you will need some liquid nails along with your nail gun and some brad nails.  You will also want to have on hand your level – this will help to ensure your groves are straight, whether you put them vertically like I did or horizontally. 

First start by dry fitting your panel.  Use your level and possibly a splint to prop up the panel to keep it level.  Once you confirm your fit, then lay the panel down and apply the liquid nails on the backside of the panel.  Then press the panel into place on the wall.  Lastly, use your nail gun and nail the panel into place. 

shiplap wall panels

Step 5: Add your trim boards to the top and at the base

Since I used square boards for my trim I choose not to use 45 degree cuts in the corners and instead used a straight cut.  I used my miter saw to make all my length cuts.  Then I used my jig saw to cut for an air vent on the low part of the wall in my bathroom.

For the baseboards, I placed these on the floor and used my nail gun to nail to the walls.  Then, I used my level for the top trim piece just to make sure I kept my lines straight.  Again, I used my nail gun to attached the top trim piece to the wall. 

Step 6: Add the Corner Trim

Now that you have installed the baseboard trim and the top trim piece, take a measurement from the top of your baseboard to the bottom of the top trim.  Cut down the corner trim pieces and then use your nail gun to attached the trim into the corners.  

Yes, I know MORE NAIL HOLES! I am sure you are starting to see why the next step is important! 

Step 7: Fill all the Nail Holes

At this point there are so many little nail holes on the paneling and all the trim.  Take your time and go over each wall a few time to make sure you get every nail hole!  I did not do this and found about 4 nail holes that were not filled as I was painting.  When this happens, you will have to wait for the paint to dry to fill and sand the holes.  Anyway, to fill the nail holes I just used my fingers.  Grabbed a small amount of filler between my fingers and just went around the wall pressing it into the holes.  Once I thought I filled all the holes, I allowed the filler to dry for about 2o minutes.  Then I went over each spot with a fine sanding block to ensure it was a flat surface. 

shiplap wall panels

Step 8: Caulk around the Edges

I used a paintable white caulk and caulked at the top of the baseboard, both the top and bottom of the top trim piece and in each of the corners where the trim met.  I also caulked at the top and bottom of the corner trim pieces.  Doing this step helps to cover up any imperfect cuts and creates a seamless transition between the different pieces of the trim and paneling. 

shiplap wall panels

Step 9: Paint your Paneling

Whether you decide to paint your paneling a different bold color or a classic white, you will need to plan to paint the paneling.  After nailing, filling the nail holes, and then caulking a fresh coat of paint will be needed.  I decided to tape off at the top of that paneling trim as well as the floor.  Then, I  found the easiest way to paint the paneling was to use a good paint brush and paint in the groves first. I also used the paint brush to trim along the floor an at the top of the trim board.  Then I used a mini roller to paint the trim boards and a standard roller to cover the panels themselves. 

shiplap wall panels
shiplap wall panels

Shiplap Wall Panels Links

Home Depot: 7/32 in. x 48 in. x 96 in. White Nickel Gap Shiplap Panel
Home Depot: Craftsman 1/2 in. x 5-1/2 in. x 96 in. Primed MDF Baseboard Moulding
Home Depot: 1/2 in. x 3-1/2 in. Wood Primed Pine S4S Moulding
Home Depot: 3/4 in. x 3/4 in. x 96 in. PVC Composite Inside Corner Molding
shiplap wall panels

How to Install Shiplap Wall Panels

Prep Time 1 hour
Build Time 2 days
Dry Time 1 day


  • Nail Gun
  • Jig Saw
  • Circular Saw
  • Miter Saw
  • Level
  • Sanding Block


  • Shiplap Panels
  • Top Trim
  • Baseboard Trim
  • Corner Trim
  • Paint Brush
  • Mini Roller
  • Standard Roller
  • Hole Filler
  • Paintable White Caulk
  • Liquid Nails


  • Measure & Buy Shiplap Wall Panels
  • Cut Shiplap Wall Panels to desired height
  • Measure and make cutouts in the Panels
  • Install Panels
  • Add trim boards to the top and at the base
  • Add the Corner Trim
  • Fill all the Nail Holes
  • Caulk around the Edges
  • Paint Paneling
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