For the first DIY in my guest bath refresh, I had been wanting to create a vertical shiplap chair rail on the blank wall across from the vanity.
It used to just have a towel bar on the wall… that was it! It needed some character and some love!
This was the first time that I had tried a vertical shiplap chair rail — I had installed vertical shiplap and done a simple board and batten chair rail, but this time I needed to take my baseboard off!
Luckily everything went pretty smoothly (aside from one not so great leveling error), and now I’ll show you how you can build your own with ease in just a few simple steps!
BUILD YOUR OWN VERTICAL SHIPLAP CHAIR RAIL IN 5 SIMPLE STEPS
STEP 1: MEASURE & GATHER YOUR MATERIALS
First things first… measure your wall and gather the materials!
I decided I wanted the wall to go up a little more than 4 feet, and our space was just about 80″ wide.
Using those calculations, I grabbed the materials we needed and got to work!
Here is what we used…
- Nickel gap shiplap boards – (I needed 9 total boards for my wall, costing my $54 — not bad!)
- 1×4 to use as the baseboard
- 1×3 to use as the top piece of trim
- 1×2 to use as a finishing trim piece above the 1×3
- Drywall screws
- Brad nails (make sure you read what size nails your brad nail gun takes)
- Paint (we used Gatherings by Magnolia)
- Liquid nails
- Plastic wood
- Pfister Faucets Penn Robe Hooks
And here are the tools we needed…
- HART Tools miter saw
- HART Tools jigsaw
- Finishing nail gun (instead, I used my HART Tools drill and some drywall screws)
- Rubber mallet
- Pry bar
- Brad nail gun
STEP 2: REMOVE & REPLACE YOUR BASEBOARD
After you’ve gathered all you need, it’s time to remove your baseboard. This is necessary because your shiplap is thicker than your baseboards, so you need to replace it with something that works with your boards!
Use an exact-o-knife to score the caulk on the edges of the baseboard, then use a rubber mallet and pry bar to slowly get back behind it and pry it out.
I removed my quarter round here too so I could reuse it in my installation, but that’s not a necessary step!
Once your baseboard is off, cut down your 1×4 board to fit and install it as your new baseboard.
You would usually use a nail gun to do this, but I secured it into place with my drill and drywall screws. I just put the screws down low where my quarter round would cover them up!
STEP 3: INSTALL YOUR SHIPLAP
Once your baseboard is in, start working on your shiplap!
Decide how far up the wall you want it to go and cut your boards down accordingly with your miter saw.
I cut my boards down into 4′ boards.
Next, install! Choose one side of the wall to start on, and place the side that goes over the next board next to the wall so you can’t see the piece that’s meant to overlap.
Secure your boards to the wall, ideally with a nail gun. I used a drill and drywall screws for this.
Place your nails or screws into the small piece of the board that will be covered by the next board. Because this is vertical shiplap, you won’t always hit studs, so add several nails or screws into each piece.
Continue placing your shiplap until you reach your last board. Make sure you check how level your boards are as you go and remember that not all walls and floors are level!
You’ll likely have to use your jigsaw here to cut the final piece down to size.
I installed my final piece with liquid nails so I didn’t have to fill a nail or screw hole, but if that’s not strong enough for yours, use a couple of finishing nails!
Once all my boards were installed, I went back through with my brad nailer and placed brad nails into each piece where it overlapped with the next piece to ensure it didn’t bow out.
STEP 4: ADD YOUR TRIM PIECES
Next, you’ll want to cut your 1×3 and 1×2 to fit the length of your wall. Grab your 1×3 first and place it horizontally above the shiplap so it sits on top.
Check to make sure it’s level! If it is, then grab some liquid nails and apply it to the back of the board.
Place the board where it needs to go up against the wall, and secure the board into place with some additional nails or drywall screws.
I placed a couple screws in the board, then filled them with natural plastic wood. Then, I lightly sanded so it was even with my board.
Next, grab some wood glue and place it on the top of your 1×3, then lay your 1×2 board on it to create a ledge (2″ side laying down with the 1″ side standing up).
Hold it until your glue is secure, and place a couple finishing nails in if you feel it needs to be stronger!
STEP 5: CAULK & PAINT
Once all your boards are in, just a few more simple steps are left! Grab some caulk and cut the tip at an angle.
Run beads of caulk on each seam where one piece of wood meets a new piece of wood or the wall (NOT your shiplap boards — you want a gap there!).
Use your finger to smooth out each line of caulk, then follow with a baby wipe to get up the excess.
Wait 30 minutes, then you’re clear to paint! Grab the paint of your choice, and give your feature 2 good coats. I just use a brush for this so I don’t get too much paint in between the boards.
And I chose to leave my trim pieces on top natural for now! I kind of like the two tone look, and pine is just such pretty wood!
BONUS STEP: ADD SOME ROBE HOOKS
Bonus step! I found these great robe hooks from Pfister Faucets and had to add a few to my trim piece! Now, it’s not only a beautiful feature, but it’s functional too!
What do you think? Will you try to build your own vertical shiplap chair rail?
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