How to Paint Shiplap – Everything You Need to Know

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The ultimate guide to painting shiplap! Whether it’s faux or real, new or existing – this tutorial will show you how to paint shiplap the quick and easy way and will give you all the tips and tricks you need to make it look perfect.

This post is sponsored by Wagner. As always, all opinions are my own.

Painting shiplap doesn’t have to be hard – in fact, with the painting method shown below, it can be EASY!

We have a ton of shiplap in our home, so trust me when I say we’ve tried ALL the ways of painting it.

RELATED: HOW TO INSTALL SHIPLAP IN 4 SIMPLE STEPS

If you’re one of the lucky people with true shiplap in your home, this method for how to paint shiplap wood will work just great for you.

For those of us with faux shiplap, there are commonly two types you may have installed – either the plywood planks or the tongue-and-groove style.

We have both types in our home!

Our bathrooms are done in the plywood planks as shown here:

Modern rustic bathroom as an example for how to install shiplap.

And our entryway, master bedroom, kitchen, and dining room have the tongue-and-groove style as shown here:

Farmhouse kitchen decorating idea for a coffee station with a wood sign and metal mug rack.
High Contrast Dining Room

YOU WILL ALSO LOVE: CREATIVE WAYS TO INCORPORATE SHIPLAP IN YOUR HOME

No matter which style of faux shiplap you have, this painting method will make painting your shiplap super easy and high-quality!

What Color to Paint Shiplap

The first step in your shiplap painting process is deciding what color of paint you want!

There are so many options – the most common are a shade of white or bold accent colors like black or charcoal grey.

Here are a few colors I recommend checking into:

Popular Whites

  • Alabaster by Sherwin Williams
  • Simply White by Benjamin Moore
  • Pure Ultra White by Behr
  • White Dove by Benjamin Moore
  • Decorators White by Benjamin Moore
  • Polar Bear by Behr

Accent Colors

  • Griffin by Sherwin Williams
  • Kendall Charcoal by Benjamin Moore
  • Trout Gray by Benjamin Moore
  • Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore

The Shiplap Paint Colors in My Home

  • Little Black Dress by Behr (Kitchen Hutch)
  • Pure White by Behr (Dining Room/Entryway/Master Bath)
  • Bayberry Frost by Behr (Guest Bath)
  • Thermal by Behr (Master Bedroom)
Little Black Dress
Pure Ultra White
Bayberry Frost
Thermal

CHECK OUT: HOW TO GET FIXER UPPER PAINT COLORS FROM HOME DEPOT

The Best Paint Sheen for Shiplap

Depending on which room you’re painting, the sheen is going to be a very important thing to consider as well.

If your shiplap is in a high-traffic or moisture-filled room (like an entryway or bathroom) then semi-gloss is the way to go.

For a place where it won’t get much contact and you don’t want it to have any shine, choose eggshell or flat.

We did semi-gloss everywhere except for the black behind our built-in hutch where we chose to use flat.

Open shelving next to a modern rustic farmhouse kitchen with brick backsplash.

I really didn’t want any glare coming off the back of the hutch since there’s already enough from the dishes!

Need help understanding paint sheens? Click below for our free guide.

Ok, let’s start painting, shall we? 🙂

How to Paint a Shiplap Wall or Ceiling

For a printable copy of the materials and instructions, scroll down.

Materials Needed:

  • Spackle
  • 150-grit Sandpaper
  • Paint Sprayer Cup Liners
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Caulking

Tools Needed:

How to Paint Faux Shiplap Instructions:

Step 1: Prepping

Before you start painting, it’s very important to prep the shiplap for paint.

Begin by making sure none of your nail heads are proud (meaning they stick out past the wood.)

If they are, use a nail set to hammer them in all the way past the face of the wood.

Next, use a putty knife to fill every nail hole, seam (between boards) and knot in the wood with spackle.

This step is super important – don’t skip it!

If you don’t fill all the knots, your shiplap will end up looking much less finished after you paint.

For the plywood plank shiplap, try not to get any of your spackling in your horizontal seams between the boards.

If you do, use your knife to scoop it out before it dries.

Here’s how ours looked after we filled all the holes and knots:

After the spackling is completely dry, use a sanding block and sandpaper to sand all of the shiplap smooth.

Then use a rag and vacuum to clean all of the dust off the shiplap.

You’re going to want it to be super clean when you start painting, so do a few rounds of this if needed to make sure there’s not any more dust residue left.

Now, if you have any corners or seams between your shiplap (like an internal wall corner) you’re going to want to caulk them with paintable caulk BEFORE you paint.

Our seams and edges were all along trim and walls (which we weren’t painting) so we don’t have a picture of this.

But, you can see how we did it in our bathroom in this post.

Step 2: Masking

Next, hang plastic sheeting around your shiplap to protect the surrounding 24-36″ from the paint.

We found the easiest way to do this was line up the edge of the plastic next to the shiplap edge and then tape it into place with painter’s tape right up to the shiplap.

This way, the tape gives you a clean line along the shiplap’s edge and also holds your plastic in place.

For outlets or light switches – remove the cover and tape over the entire switch and hole.

Here’s how our space looked after masking off the entire surrounding areas:

I must have done the light switch after taking this photo!

But either way, you get the idea.

Step 3: Priming

The next step in our simple process for how to paint faux shiplap is priming.

We recommend using a paint sprayer, like the FEXiO 5000 from Wagner for both the priming and painting.

Not only is it fast but it also leaves your shiplap with a nice even coat of paint.

Trust me, we’ve done it with a brush and roller MANY times and it’s just so much more work!

I’ll admit, I was a bit nervous about using a sprayer inside my house with all of my stuff sitting around, but this sprayer didn’t over-spray, it didn’t leave the house feeling cloudy with paint – it was awesome.

We highly recommend using the plastic cup liners in your sprayer too – it makes clean up a breeze.

Now, using your sprayer (or brush/roller, if you really want to) cover your entire shiplap wall with a quality primer.

We recommend setting your nozzle in the vertical position and starting at the top.

Angle your sprayer down just slightly as you work your way down the shiplap moving from left to right and back.

Then, once you reach the bottom, go back up the shiplap with your sprayer angled slightly up.

Let the primer dry completely (ours took about 2 hours) before moving on to the painting.

RELATED: HOW TO PICK THE PERFECT PAINT COLOR

Step 4: Painting

Use your paint sprayer to paint two coats on your shiplap.

Be sure to angle the sprayer just slightly up when you’re going up the wall and down when you’re going down the wall to get the shiplap grooves.

Let the paint dry completely between coats and again completely before moving on to the clean up.

Step 5: Clean up

The final step in painting shiplap is to clean up all of your masking!

Carefully remove the masking from around your shiplap – making sure not to pull paint off as you go.

If paint has dried over the seam between the shiplap and painter’s tape, simply use a box knife to cut it before pulling off the tape.

After the plastic and tape are all cleaned up, rehang any light or outlet covers and you’re done!

Ttake a step back and admire your work!

Wasn’t that SO EASY?!

Because our shiplap shown in this tutorial was a new install, we re-installed our floor trim and caulked a few seams after we completed the painting.

If you’re painting an existing wall of shiplap, you won’t have to do any of that.

Here’s how our entryway looked after we painted the shiplap and the door:

Isn’t it beautiful?!

I love our entryway… 😉

How to Paint Shiplap Cracks or Grooves

The key to getting a quality paint job on your shiplap is to get the cracks or grooves covered well.

With a new installation of the plywood plank shiplap, we recommend painting the wall behind the shiplap first and then the seams as you install the planks – see this post for more details.

If you’re painting a wall or ceiling with existing plywood plank shiplap, paint it just like you would any other flat wall, then make sure there aren’t any drips or paint caught in the cracks after you’re done.

If there are, use a putty knife to scoop them out before they dry.

For the tongue-and-groove style (as shown in the pictures above) you want to make sure and angle your sprayer up as you go up the wall and down as you go down the wall.

That way it gets both angles in the groove.

Ok – anything I missed in this lengthy tutorial for painting shiplap?

I hope you were able to learn how to paint shiplap walls the quick and easy way!

As promised, here are the printable instructions:

How to Paint Shiplap

How to Paint Shiplap

How to paint shiplap walls or ceilings the quick and easy way.

Prep Time: 1 hour 3 minutes
Active Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 1 days
Total Time: 1 days 1 hour 33 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $50

Materials

  • Spackle
  • 150-grit Sandpaper
  • Paint Sprayer Cup Liners
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Caulking

Tools

Instructions

Step 1: Prepping

  1. Make sure none of your nail heads are proud - if they are, use a nail set to hammer them in.
  2. Use a putty knife and spackle to fill every hole, seam between boards and knot in the wood.
  3. Sand all of the shiplap down with sandpaper and vacuum away all of the dust.
  4. If you have corner seams between your shiplap boards, caulk them with caulkable paint.

Step 2: Masking

  1. Hang plastic sheeting around the shiplap with painter's tape.
  2. Be sure to cover all of the surrounding 24-36" area.
  3. Remove light switch or outlet covers and cover the entire switch and hole with tape.

Step 3: Priming

  1. Line your paint sprayer cup with a plastic liner, fill it with primer and set the nozzle vertical.
  2. Start at the top and work your way right and left all the way down with your sprayer angled slightly down.
  3. Then, go back up with the sprayer angled slightly up.
  4. Do this until your entire shiplap wall has a good coat of primer.

Step 4: Painting

  1. Using the same method as described in Step 3, paint two coats of paint on your shiplap.
  2. Make sure to let the paint dry completely between coats and again before clean up.

Step 5: Clean up

  1. Remove all the masking from your surrounding area.
  2. Re-hang light switch and outlet covers.
  3. If needed, caulk any seams or edges between the shiplap and other walls/trim.





Notes

For plywood plank faux shiplap, you won't need to angle the sprayer as you spray, simple spray it as you would a flat wall and make sure to clean out any paint that might build up in the horizontal seams between your boards.

Let me know if you have any questions!

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