How to Install a Vertical Shiplap Wall

Learn how to install a vertical shiplap wall and create a beautiful accent wall for your room!

How to Install a Vertical Shiplap Wall

Our laundry room is pretty small. But while we were making some changes, I wanted to give it a bit of a “wow” factor with a pretty feature wall.

Considering we started with pretty boring white walls…

Laundry Room Before Shiplap

…we had our work cut out for us! 🙂

I can’t believe it took us this long to do something with shiplap! But this small space seemed like the perfect place to give it a try. Rather than do the traditional white shiplap running horizontally, we decided to switch it up and do a vertical shiplap wall in my favorite shade of aqua!

Here’s how we created our vertical shiplap wall…

Aqua Vertical Shiplap Wall

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

Step 1- Gather necessary supplies.

Step 2- Paint the edges of the shiplap.

There are ways to create faux shiplap at a very low cost. But since we were doing such a small wall, we decided to purchase pre-primed shiplap to save ourselves from having to rip down larger boards.

Unpainted Shiplap in a Garage

When I was researching different shiplap-ing strategies, I read on my friend Amanda’s blog, Love and Renovations, that she regretted not painting her boards ahead of time. She said that it was difficult to get down into the crevices in between the boards to paint after they were installed.

Donnie was worried that if we painted the entire board, we would end up messing up a lot of the paint as we installed it. So we decided to take a middle ground.

We painted just the edges of the boards so we wouldn’t have to get down into the crevices afterward. This also left the middle of the boards clear so we wouldn’t have to worry about messing up the paint during installation. Win-win!

Shiplap with Edges Painted in a Garage

Just a little heads up… The shiplap boards we purchased had a different size grooved lip on either side of the board. If we installed them on the side with the larger lip (in the left photo below), we would end up with a small gap in between our boards, which is what we wanted. If we installed them on the side with the smaller lip (in the right photo below), the boards would sit right up against each other.

Comparing Edges of Shiplap Boards

I mention this because it affected which side of the board we needed to paint as we were painting the edges of the shiplap. It is also something you’ll want to pay attention to during installation so that your boards are evenly spaced.

Step 3- Measure and cut the shiplap boards.

Once the edges of our boards were painted, it was time to cut them to size for installation. Donnie used the miter saw to do this.

We had a few obstacles on our wall that we had to work around with our shiplap boards, like our washing machine water supply.

Washing Machine Hookups

To make sure our boards fit around them properly, we traced around the cover plate with a pencil to mark the area we would want to keep clear. Then we could reinstall the plate after the shiplap was in.

For these non-standard cuts around outlets and our washing machine water supply, Donnie used his Fein Oscillating Multi-Tool.

Cutting Shiplap to Size for Vertical Shiplap Wall

What’s nice about about an oscilating multi-tool is that it can make plunge cuts right in the middle of the shiplap if needed. This is something that a miter saw cannot do.

Shiplap Board with Cutout

Step 4- Install the vertical shiplap.

Once all of our boards were cut to the correct specifications, it was time to install them! There are many different ways to adhere shiplap to the wall.

We opted to use Liquid Nails on the backs of the boards to adhere them. Note that Liquid Nails will most likely ruin your drywall if you try to remove the boards. So if you are installing vertical shiplap as a somewhat temporary wall treatment, you may not want to use Liquid Nails. We don’t plan to remove our shiplap anytime soon, so we were fine with this method.

Alternate Shiplap Installation Options

If we used horizontal shiplap, each piece would have multiple contacts with wall studs, and we would’ve chosen a different method that did not involve the Liquid Nails adhesive. Because we went with a vertical installation, we did not have the option of attaching most pieces to a stud.

Another option for vertical shiplap installation would be the use of furring strips attached to the wall (anchored to the studs). Then the shiplap would attach to the furring strips. This method would work well in some situations. But because our wall had the washing machine supply lines and the 220 volt outlet for the dryer, the furring strips would’ve added too much depth. This would’ve required us to do significant work to change the depth of the plumbing and electrical outlets.

Using Liquid Nails to Adhere Vertical Shiplap Boards

Using Liquid Nails to Install a Vertical Shiplap Wall

After a section of shiplap was cut to the correct size, we applied a liberal amount of Liquid Nails to the back of the shiplap. We then pressed it up against the wall.

To make sure we achieved a snug fit, we used a block of wood and rubber mallet to tap each section of shiplap into place.

Installing Vertical Shiplap

To solidify our vertical shiplap pieces and make sure they weren’t going anywhere, we followed up with our nail gun. We used an 18 gauge Ryobi brad nailer. The primary strength of the shiplap will come from the Liquid Nails, but the brad nailer ensures that the shiplap doesn’t move around as the Liquid Nails is drying.

Nailing in Shiplap Wall with Ryobi Airstrike Nail Gun

When we got lucky, a piece of vertical shiplap would align with a stud. We made sure to anchor that particular piece to the stud.

Measure each section of wall before cutting the boards.

In most cases, the distance between the floor or baseboard and the ceiling isn’t perfectly uniform across the wall. In our case, that gap slightly widened as we worked our way down the wall. We don’t recommend cutting all of the shiplap at once without measuring each specific section of the wall. You may end up with a more difficult job of filling large gaps at the end of the project.

As we worked our way left to right down the wall, we were almost able to end the project with a full piece. Unfortunately, there was a gap that required just a sliver of material to look correct. We used the oscillating multi-tool to rip down down an extra piece of shiplap and remove the notch section. We then used this piece on its end to fill the gap on the right side of the wall. This allowed us to keep the correct spacing and end up with an even, finished look.

Cutting a Thin Strip Off of a Shiplap Board

After each of our pieces of shiplap were glued and nailed to the wall, we were ready to move on to patching and caulking!

Laundry Room with Vertical Shiplap Wall, Unpainted

Step 5- Patch and caulk the vertical shiplap.

Using our nail gun to adhere the shiplap to the wall left our boards with several holes that needed to be filled.

Vertical Shiplap Boards with Nail Holes

We used wood filler and a painter’s tool to fill the holes and scrape away any excess. Once all the holes were filled, we went over the entire surface with an orbital sander to make sure everything was nice and smooth. We wanted to make sure that it wouldn’t be obvious where the nail holes had been after we painted.

Patched Up Shiplap Boards

Sanding the boards left some dust behind, so we wiped down all of the boards as thoroughly as possible with a damp cloth to get rid of the dust layer.

Wiping Down Shiplap

After the patching was complete, we also used caulk to create a smooth transition between the edge of the board and the walls. We caulked at the top of the boards next to the ceiling and where the boards met the baseboard as well.

Caulking Vertical Shiplap Wall

To caulk these edges, we simply ran a bead of caulk down the edge where the board met the wall. Then we used a finger to smooth it into the gap.

Step 6- Paint the vertical shiplap.

Once the vertical shiplap was all patched and caulked, it was time to paint the boards! We wanted a really smooth paint line between the aqua shiplap and the white wall and ceiling. So we taped off around the edges of the shiplap.

Vertical Shiplap Taped Off for Painting

(The space between the bottom of the shiplap and the overhang of the baseboard was very small. It would have been hard to tape it off effectively. So we just cut in with a paint brush REALLY carefully at the bottom of the boards!)

We used a paint brush to do the detail work on our wall. This included the space around the edges of outlets and at the tops and bottoms of the boards. Then we used a small foam roller to paint the rest of the vertical shiplap wall.

Painting the Shiplap Wall with a Roller

After the paint dried, we used a small brush to do any little touchups that were necessary. Then our vertical shiplap feature wall was finished!

Touching Up the Vertical Shiplap Wall

I’m loving the pop of aqua in this space!

Finished Vertical Shiplap Wall

Our first time working with shiplap went really smoothly. It gave us just the look we were going for! I may or may not be looking around for other ways to incorporate it into our home! 😉

Thinking of adding a vertical shiplap wall in your home? Be sure to pin the image below so you can refer back to this post later!

How to Install a Vertical Shiplap Wall

Have you installed a shiplap wall in your house? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below!

Thank you so much for following along! Have a wonderful day!

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.


  1. Karen Kelley says:

    Hi Abby, love your work here! Wondering what color you used on the ship lap. Thanks..

    1. Abby Lawson says:

      Hi Karen! I used Sherwin Williams Rainwashed, mixed at half strength.

      Have a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  2. I’m excited to see your finished laundry room, and love the wall. I’ve been gathering ideas for our laundry room for several months now, and may use some of yours. I’ve been saving up for a while because I’ll need to hire an electrician to move light switches, which may allow me to also hang a new light. I love the one you’ve chosen!

    1. Abby Lawson says:

      Thanks so much, Leona! Have an awesome week! <3

      ~Abby =)

  3. I love this! It is such a beautiful and clean look. Definitely keeping it in mind for our home.

    1. Abby Lawson says:

      Thanks so much Keri! Have a great week!

      ~Abby =)

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