Shiplap is a great way to add character and warmth to your home. I personally have shiplap all over my house with plans to add much more. One thing that makes people hesitant to install shiplap in their home is fussing with painting shiplap, especially between the grooves.
It comes down to choosing the right paint color and sheen to work best in your home. We will address different paint colors, choosing a paint sheen, and how best to paint the shiplap, faux or real. Let’s get into it!
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How to Paint Shiplap
There are many methods to painting shiplap, so let’s break it down. Here are 3 different methods which address the biggest question, how to paint in the cracks of the shiplap.
Gather Supplies for Painting Shiplap
- paint color of choice
- paint brush
- wood filler
- putty knife
- paint sprayer (if you wish to be brave)
- plastic tarp of some kind
Pre Installation Steps
Even though the drywall will be covered with the shiplap boards, it’s important to do the proper prep work in case the shiplap is ever removed.
First, fill any nail holes with spackle and sand them smooth when dry.
Next, paint the wall the color of the shiplap. This makes everything seamless and nothing is visible between the grooves.
Then for the boards, sand them until smooth. Start with a more abrasive sandpaper like an 80 grit, to take care of any imperfections. Move to 120 grit and finally 200 grit or higher to make the wood smooth to the touch.
Once the shiplap boards are dust free, you are ready to install!
Method 1-Paint “In Between the Lines”
The first method for painting shiplap walls is to paint in between the cracks after the shiplap is already installed on the wall.
Maybe you have a wall that’s already installed in your home, or you want to change the paint color on a wall you have previously installed, this method is tedious, but works but requires some patience.
Use a small brush with a good amount of paint on it, but not too much. Next, take the brush and slowly paint in between the cracks in the shiplap. Take your time, you don’t want runs or drips.
Pro-Tip: Use this method on nickel gap and faux shiplap because the gaps are wide enough. Eased shiplap is a little harder to paint once installed.
Now, roll the front of the boards with a roller. Use a 9 in roller with a 3/4 inch nap to get into any knots or holes in the wood. Don’t put too much on the roller to try to prevent paint from seeping into the cracks.
Here’s the most important step, check the cracks for paint. If there is any excess paint, take a small putty knife to gather any excess paint.
Once the first coat is dry, repeat the process for a second coat.
Method 2-Install a Board, Paint Shiplap, Repeat
The next method is to paint the shiplap as it is being installed. Stay with me, here’s the process:
Cut Shiplap Boards: I use my miter saw to cut the boards to size, and my jigsaw to cut around outlets and make obscure cuts.
Install the Shiplap: Attach to the wall using a brad nailer and 1 1/2 in brad nails.
Paint the Crack: Take a paint brush and paint the top of the board being sure to get in the crack that will attach to the next board.
Repeat: Repeat the process as you move up the wall for horizontal shiplap and across for vertical shiplap.
Roll the Wall: Use the same roller mentioned above to paint shiplap wall
Check for Drips: If there is any excess paint pooling in the cracks, use the putty knife as said in the previous method.
Method 3-Painting Shiplap Before Installation
The last method requires the most work before installation by painting the shiplap boards first. Use my sawhorses to prop the shiplap boards off of the ground. This way I can roll all of the sides very easily.
If you don’t have sawhorses, some tarps in the driveway would do the trick also. Use a brush to make sure their is no excess paint in the cracks.
Pro Tip: Eased shiplap has beveled edges which makes it really hard to paint on the wall. This is a good method to use for this type of shiplap.
After the paint dries, roll a second coat on before installing.
This method could also be done with a paint sprayer. It will give the smoothest finish.
After Installation Steps
After the shiplap is installed on the walls, as you can imagine, there will be a million nail holes. If it’s the rustic look your are going for, that may be fine. Leave them, if not follow the steps below.
Fill all of the nail holes with wood filler.
Let dry and sand smooth.
Run a bead of caulk along the sides and edges.
Use a baby wipe to smooth.
Wipe the shiplap down to prep for paint.
Let’s Find a Paint Color for the Shiplap
Paint is an important factor when adding a shiplap wall to your home. Different color paints and sheens determine the style and vibe the shiplap will give your space. For example: a dark color in a matte finish can give a modern look while a bright shiny white adds farmhouse charm.
I want to talk about a different some bold colors and some white colors that I think look beautiful on shiplap. Each color can make a statement, it just depends on what you want it to say.
One of the BEST WAYS to make an informed decision about paint colors is to have the real thing on your wall. Get a sample and try it out. Have you heard of Samplize?
These peel and stick samples come straight to your door. The best part is, there is no mess and no damage to your walls. Test the paint sample in different lights in any part of your house.
The Best White Shiplap Paint Colors
White Dove OC-17 by Benjamin Moore is a really bright white with an LRV of 85. It feels very light and fresh in a room, but still has a warmth to it.
I would classify this white as a warm white color with the neutrality to pair well with a lot of different paint colors. This paint color is also a favorite among designers.
Pure White SW 7005 by Sherwin Williams is a true white, but not a PURE or stark white. It is white with a drop of black in it. I wouldn’t say it is either warm or cool, just neutral.
You can’t go wrong with a crisp, bright white paint color on a beautiful shiplap wall.
Alabaster SW 7008 by Sherwin Williams has a big claim to shiplap painting fame. It is the color that Joanna Gaines uses on the shiplap in her home which is enough for me to give it a try.
Alabaster is also a popular choice for creamy white colors. Its not too white, not too yellow, kind of the goldilocks of the white color world.
Chantilly Lace OC-65 by Benjamin Moore is one of the most popular Benjamin Moore colors. It is commonly used for whole house paint jobs as well as trim and doors.
I really like it because it is cool, but not too stark white. It’s also warm, but not too yellow. The perfect soft white.
Polar Bear 75 by Behr is a stunning white color. It really does mimic the shade of a Polar Bear’s fur. This color blends in nicely with other white colors.
Neither completely cool or warm, it has balance to it. It’s bright and beautiful with a LRV of 90, but warm and neutral that will look gorgeous anywhere.
The Best Non-White Shiplap Paint Colors
Hale Navy HC-154 by Benjamin Moore is a gorgeous, scrumptious moody Navy color. I love the bold statement this color makes and how it can add a nautical, maritime feel to a space.
A lot of navy colors are not a true navy and favor a more blue hue, but Hale Navy really grabs onto those dark gray undertones to keep it from leaning too bright. Great choice for a shiplap wall.
Tricorn Black SW 6258 by Sherwin Williams is one of the most popular black colors on the market. I’m including this one because depending on the finish of paint and of the wood, black paint on shiplap can be really versatile.
I love the way a black color on rough wood can give a rustic feel while a cleaner wood look will provide a modern atmosphere.
For those of you who want a dark, bold color that is close to black, but not quite, try Urban Bronze SW 7048 by Sherwin Williams. It was the 2021 color of the year for Sherwin Williams.
The dark gray color has deep brown and bronze undertones, but the light will determine the color if gives off in a space.
Shade Grown SW 6188 by Sherwin William is a earthy green color. I love green for shiplap, or really any wall in a home. This color is a beautiful forest green with brown undertones.
It’s another really good option of a moody color that would look great in a small space.
TAKE THESE SUGGESTIONS AS THEY ARE, SUGGESTIONS. DO WHATEVER COLOR YOU WANT!
Paint Type for Shiplap? Primer Needed?
A question to consider before installing shiplap boards in your home is whether it should be primed first. Primer helps the paint have something to stick to instead of getting soaked into the wood and requiring several coats.
Short answer, Yes. Shiplap should be primed before painting.
When I order paint for a regular wall, I choose a paint and primer in one. It not only saves money, hello thrifty, but it saves time. This product gives great coverage from this product as well.
What about Painting a Shiplap Ceiling?
What type of paint should be used on a shiplap ceiling? Is it the same type used for the shiplap on a wall?
Typically, ceiling paint is a bit different than wall paint. I’ve done an article on the differences, but basically ceiling paint is thicker than wall paint so it doesn’t create drips. It usually comes in flat or matte finishes.
The problem is there are not as many colors available in ceiling paints. Off white and white paint colors are the most commonly chosen for shiplap ceilings. If you are going with a color, try a wall paint in a matte or flat sheen.
What Sheen is Best for Painting Shiplap?
The best sheen for shiplap is a flat or matte sheen. Downside to this is flat paint is ridiculously hard to clean. I hate flat paint with every fiber of my being.
My walls in my house had flat paint when we moved in, and there are still stains on them from my kids. No thank you.
The other popular choice for paint sheen on shiplap is a semi-gloss. This is much easier to clean, but I don’t really like this either because it is really shiny.
Eggshell is my chosen sheen for most wall paint, so it really comes down to preference. Satin is another great option as well. These are both still very easily wipeable.
Before and After Shiplap Pictures
For my last act to convince anyone on the fence about installing and painting shiplap, let me show you some before and after pictures of my house. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you can’t deny it makes a splash!
Let’s summarize the important points about painting shiplap. First, prepare the boards by sanding smooth with 80, 120, and 200 grit sandpaper. Paint the wall for before installation.
I left you with 5 popular white colors (White Dove BM, Pure White SW, Chantilly Lace BM, Polar Bear Behr, and Alabaster SW) and 4 more bold colors (Tricorn Black SW, Urban Bronze SW, Grown SW, and Hale Navy BM).
When choosing a sheen, consider the look, durability, and how easily it cleans. Matte/flat has least amount of shine and best for hiding imperfections, horrible for cleaning. Semi gloss will add shine, show imperfections more easily, but is super easy to clean. A great middle finish is Eggshell or Satin.
Check out the before and After and tell me if you would ever try this in your home. The key to getting the best results is to take your time, choose whatever color you want, and remember it’s just paint! Have fun!