How to Create a Plank Wall and How NOT to!

plank wall 1

I’ve wanted a plank wall in our house for a while now. I did tons of research and wanted to try an economical DIY way instead of buying the wood planks that snap together. Some of the materials I researched were not in our local Home Depot or Lowes. But quite a few tutorials used tempered hardboard. It was cheap and Home Depot would cut it for free. Our wall needed 3 boards and cost us just over $30.


We bought them and the good guys at home depot cut them for us. Here is the problem – the saw doesn’t keep the wood flat and so the  boards are not perfectly straight. They kind of bow.


John and I persevered and were going to still go for it. But after the first row we didn’t feel like they were very sturdy and we were terrified that if we kept going  we would regret it later.

plank  wall5

So it was back to Home Depot. We decided to just go for the tongue and groove planks. Cost this time $160.


Not horrible but definitely not $30! But once we started working with them we decided it was  worth the extra $130!

To install you will need:

The first board is definitely the most important. It’s going to shock you how not straight your ceiling is. Don’t put your board along the ceiling. Make sure it is straight according to your level! Check out how bad our ceiling  was.

plank  wall9

Once you have it straight you can continue to put the rest of the boards up and not have to keep using your level. Another important tip is to try to nail into the studs. Studs tend  to run every 18 inches. So we put a nail in as close to the corner as we could and then we measured 18 inches to put the next nail in. Then keep continuing with the boards. Once we had the first row in we knew where to nail next and didn’t have to measure anymore.


When you are all done its time to caulk. Get ready for the long haul here. I watched a couple movies during the hours it took me to do it. First caulk the top. I did 1 big fill in and let it dry and then did a finish caulk to make it super smooth.

plank  wall13

It looks funny caulked but when you paint it it’s not noticeable. I also caulked the cracks in the seams and big knots. I put caulk in the holes with my finger and then use a razor blade to scrape it smooth. It’s very messy!

plank  wall10

Then comes the sanding. No matter how careful you are caulking you are going to have extra bumps. Use a very fine sandpaper and sand the heck out of every board.

plank  wall16

I have recently discovered tack cloth. Its my new painting staple. Use tack cloth to wipe the boards clean so you are ready to paint.


Then paint it up! I was trying to find a before picture of our office for comparison. I cannot ever remember to take one!

before after

It really lightened the room up.  Dejunking also played a big part in the room overhaul. One of my good friends  Carly gave me the best advice and I don’t even think she knew she was giving it. In talking about her house and junk she said, “I mean really how many pens do we need.”  But if you know me or my  Mom you would understand that we have a love affair with office supplies. I love them  – I love to have them, collect them, and hoard them. It was a big deal for me to get rid of a lot, but I love it.

What did I learn? Yes, sometimes cheap is a good way to go, but on a big project sometimes a little extra is worth it to do it right.


Previous author of Over the Big Moon. I shared my passion for home and family life! I love graphic design, DIY projects, cooking, and working in my garden! My favorite role is taking care of my husband and our 3 amazing and busy boys!

Comments (1)

  • comment_avatar



    Studs are supposed to “tend” to run every 16 inches on center if the walls were framed correctly but very nice job on the shiplap.


Leave a comment