How to Plank Walls – Kitchen Renovation Progress

How to Install Planked Walls - a tutorial by Pretty Handy Girl

Today’s post is all about filling in the plank! I love a good play on words…and I love the planked wall look which harkens back to a simple country farmhouse look. Previous to the water leak we had beadboard walls that I had installed shortly after moving into our house. But, I was tired of the beadboard and really wanted a look that was casual, cozy and all about the farmhouse look. I’d fallen in love with The Lettered Cottage’s guest room walls:

Those lucky ducks uncovered the planks under the drywall! I knew we wouldn’t be lucky enough to find anything but termite damage under our drywall. Then I saw the House of Smith’s installed their own gorgeous planked walls using ripped plywood planks and two nickels:

I decided I could do it for cheaper, so I used two pennies. LOL. Get it? Cheaper than two nickels. :-D

The process of installing plank walls is really very simple. And the planks are great for covering a multitude of sins on your wall. (Like previously glued beadboard walls.)

clear_walls_of_baseboards_covers

Materials:

  • 3/16″ plywood subfloor sheet ripped (cut with the grain) into 5 7/8″ planks
  • Edge molding (90 degree angle) for exterior corners
  • Sanding block
  • Finish nailer and compressor with 1 1/4″ nails (or finish nails and a hammer)
  • Construction glue
  • Level
  • 2 Pennies
  • Pencil
  • Jigsaw
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Paint roller
  • Paint brush
  • 5-in-1 Paint tool
  • Howe casing molding
  • Caulk (paintable latex)
  • Caulk gun

Prepping your plywood.

Look for the thin 3/16″ plywood subflooring. Our local Lowe’s sells it for $13.28 a sheet. You can get 8 planks out of each sheet. When you purchase the plywood, ask an employee in the lumber department if they can rip the sheets for you. Because the sheets are thin, they can usually layer 2-3 sheets on the saw at a time. If they rip the planks at 5 7/8″ there will be one row left that is 6″. Keep that row for the bottom on all your walls or your horizontal lines will be off.

After you get home with your planks, put on a movie or DIY Network and hand sand all the edges of the planks to remove any splinters.

ripping_plywood_strips

Installing the plank wall:

Measure and cut your first plank and set it at the bottom of your wall.

measure_cut_plank

Cut your second plank for any adjoining walls. Make sure to level both planks and line them up with each other.

level_first_planks

Add construction adhesive to the back of your planks and secure them to the wall with finish nails. Add nails as needed to keep the planks from waving.

glue_and_nail_first_plank

Cut your planks for the next row. Add adhesive to the back of the plank. Insert two pennies between the first and second plank for a spacer and nail your 2nd row to the wall.

penny_spacers_plank_boards

At some p0int you’ll need to cut holes in the planks to work around outlets and light switches. You can measure the location of the switches and then cut out the hole with a jigsaw, or use this technique for marking where the outlet is with lipstick.

Note: If you are working with walls that exceed 8 feet in width, you should cut your boards to random lengths and stagger your seams.

Continue working your way up the wall. You could go all the way to the ceiling. I chose to stop about 5′ up and capped off the planks with Howe casing.

add_howe_casing_on_top_planks

This provides a nice visual break in our 8′ tall room.

For outside corners, add corner molding below the Howe casing by nailing it in place and then caulking the seams.

planked_corner_unpainted

Fill all the nail holes with wood putty and sand when dry. Fill the inside corners, seams and cracks between the door casing and the planks with caulk.

wood_putty_and_caulk_seams

Prime the planks and molding.

prime_walls_with_kilz

After the primer has dried, gently sand any rough spots. To paint the planks, roll the paint on first. Use your paint brush to smooth the paint and maintain the wood grain. Use a 5-in-1 paint tool to scrape any paint out of the grooves.

roll_brush_scrape_painting_planks

Use at least two coats, allowing the paint to dry between coats.

(Side note: I used the Benjamin Moore Advance paint on the planks and molding. The paint is a waterborne alkyd, in other words, an oil paint with dryers added. This means you get the durability and smoothness of an oil paint with the drying and clean up of a latex paint. The finish is amazing! I used satin and the paint has great leveling, low VOCs and a strong finish.)

painted_plank_corner

The planked molding treatment looks great in our kitchen.

planked_corner

Unfortunately, I had to run the molding around the circuit breaker box in the kitchen. But, my son’s artwork disguises the ugly box.

The planks look great as they hug the kitchen command center (tutorial to come.)

command_center_corner

It’s a cozy spot for me to get organized.

close_up_desk_planks

I’m really liking our clean white cottage farmhouse walls. They were super easy!

plank_wall_behind_table

I know you could do this too because Pretty Handsome Guy easily installed a few walls ;-). Have a great weekend!

PHGFancySign

Just getting caught up on our kitchen renovation? You can read ALL about how we went from a small water leak to bare studs to a working kitchen!

Comments

  1. This is very informational and easy to follow. Thanks.

  2. Absolutely beautiful – why didn’t I think of using plywood for this???

  3. They look great. I will take your tips when I do that.

  4. Jody from Vancouver says:

    Love it! I’d like to do this in my kitchen, but my wall is about 15′ long. what do you suggest doing where you have to join 2 pieces to get the length? Put a thin strip of molding over the join? Use wood filler to fill the join? Any ideas would be appreciated.

    • Excellent questions Jody. You would stagger your seams. So, maybe cut your lengths uneven (8′, 5′, 3′, 4′, etc.) then stagger them like you would on a wood floor. That will look really cool. I had to do that a little under our window seat.

      • Jody from Vancouver says:

        I never would have thought of that, but of course! Totally makes sense. Thanks so much!

  5. Brittany, how did you finish the outside and inside corners? Did you miter and putty the edges? Btw, I love the look. Before you are finished you are going to have a brand new house!

    • Hannah, the inside corners are just caulked. The outside corners have corner molding on them that I attached with finish nails and then caulked the seams. Excellent question!

  6. Beautiful & so well explained. GREAT JOB Brittany! You rocked out your walls, or er, you planked out your walls!

  7. My hero – once again! You know your way around wood and saws! Your son’s artwork is the perfect touch to disguise those ugly boxes the builder installs in random places! Once again, you’ve outdone yourself!
    Kelly

  8. Thanks for such a great tutorial! And I just used that Advance paint on my son’s kitchen cabinents. LOVE it. Worth every penny. See them here: http://cottageinstincts.blogspot.com/2013/04/my-kids-kitchen-before-and-afters.html

    We’re having our home built over the summer, but hope to add lots of cottage character, so I”m pinning away on your blog :)

  9. hellebelle says:

    this looks great! i like your circuit breaker box cover.

  10. Crystal says:

    Absolutely beautiful!! I love the planked walls!! The desk area is great too!!

  11. Looks great! Thanks for the tutorial!

  12. I want the look of an old farmhouse wall. I’m thinking of eliminating the ‘caulk between planks and putty nail holes’ stage. But I’m a big chicken. Thoughts?
    Barbara

  13. Love this. My husband just did this in my new office. At the sanding stage. What color BM paint did you use?

  14. Hi!

    I love the clean look of your white wood wall… and that you added character and kept it simple by only going half way up the wall. We recently installed a wood wall in our baby girl’s nursery but stained it instead. It turned out great.

    Kassy

Trackbacks

  1. [...] project links: Plank Walls, Installing Herringbone Cork Flooring, Installing Pendant Light, Creating a Smooth Chalkboard Wall, [...]

  2. […] some have three. I should have taken more pictures but sometimes I’m a crappy blogger. These ladies have really good posts about planking walls and I got a lot of inspiration from them! […]

  3. […] It looks great with the plank and Howe casing that I installed in the kitchen. […]

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