When we built our home last year we made some cost saving cuts, assuming we could just as easily hire a contractor or DIY the work ourselves later and save some money.
I consider myself an experienced DIYer, but there are some projects that I find intimidating. Laying tile, running new plumbing, concrete work and anything that involves being off the ground higher than four feet or working overhead are just a few. So when I told my husband that I wanted to install shiplap planking under our patio and front porch, it made sense to hire the work out.
Well, if there is one thing the pandemic has taught me, it’s that good help is hard to hire; and if you can find good help, it’s expensive. But I was relentless and committed to finding a way to add this high end feature to our home by sourcing and installing it myself.
If you’ve been with me for awhile, you might remember my “Surf Shack Inspired Kids Room” project where I used a charcoal rustic shiplap product from my partner brand UFP-Edge. Their shiplap was so easy to work with that it made me wish they had an outdoor product line as well.
Well, it turns out they do and they were kind enough to send me samples of their Native Woods Shiplap which you can see me reviewing on my Instagram page over on my Patio Highlights. This product is beautiful and makes overhead installations a breeze.
Adding character to your home is now as simple as connecting two boards of wood. And yes, it’s really that easy.
You can check out the full details of their product over on their website, but here are a few things that made me really enjoy working with it.
- The interlocking pattern requires fewer exposed fasteners. Which is tech talk for; you don’t have to fill nail holes or paint/stain anything.
- It is end-matched and requires fewer cuts. Which means you can lock the pieces together length and width-wise for professionally tight seams.
- It can be used on select covered exterior applications. AKA, covered patios and front porches.
There’s not a lot that goes into a project like this, despite my hesitations of working overhead on a ladder. Here is the list of tools I used and a few tips that might give you the courage to tackle this in your own home too
- 2″ 18 gauge brad nails
- Compound mitre saw
- Jig saw
- Nail gun
- Scrap paper
- Trim puller
- ORDER MORE: Always order 10-15% more product that you measure the project for. There will always be margins for error, both on your part and on the second point below, quality control.
- QUALITY CONTROL: Before you get starting cutting and hanging your boards, the very first thing you will want to do is open 3-4 packs and lay them out. During this step you want to do two things: 1) look for damaged or warped boards and 2) ensure consistency in the pattern. No two boards are alike. Some have a lot of character. Some have very little. Be sure to mix them up so you have a well blended application throughout the installation.
- START AND END CUTS: Before you start nailing boards up, measure the length and width of the space you are installing onto. Determine how many boards it will take to cover the entire space and if you will need to rip the end boards down in width. You don’t want to get to the end, only to realize you need a fraction of a sliver to complete the final row. It will look bad and it is better to rip down the first board slightly to ensure your end piece looks uniform.
- WORK WITH A PARTNER: This is a two person job, minimal if you’re working with any length of board that is over 4 feet. Sure, there are tricks of the trade to shim boards up, but there were often times where one side needed to be tapped in, which caused the other to pop out. Having an extra set of hands made everything about this project easier.
- REMEASURE OFTEN: While you are installing, measure often as you go. It is unlikely that your space is perfectly square. It is more likely that there are deviations along the way, usually in the ballpark of 1/4 – 3/4 of an inch. But it will make a difference if you want to ensure a nice tight line all the way down. NOTE: If you’re planning to install trim pieces along the inside frame, this is less important.
- TEMPLATES: If you have things like recessed lights, fans, or outlets to work around, using a template to cut your boards will help reduce errors. I used simple craft paper to trace the outlines of the objects I needed to work around. When it was time to figure out placement on the board, I had my husband dry fit the board while I marked the spot on the board to trim out.
While this project initially intimidated me, it ended up being one of the easiest home projects I have done. The visual impact of the soffit addition is amazing too. See below for the before and after of the soffit installation for proof! It not only adds dimension and a high end finish to the ceiling, but the Alpine white color I used brightens up and otherwise dark space beautifully!