To create a more pleasing atmosphere for daily use, I created new faux shiplap walls to hid my ugly cinder block basement walls. If you love the look of shiplap but hate the price, this may be the alternative you are looking for.
This method is great for small spaces since the laths you will use are much, much smaller than actual shiplap.
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(click here to skip directly to the faux shiplap process)
Surely there is a specific feature of your home that has caused you some unease. Our home came with a basement bar that desperately needed an update.
Seriously… what the heck was I going to do with a bar in my basement? As a single mom, I rarely find the time to entertain and have probably had 2 glasses of wine in the last 11 years.
The option to completely remove the bar was quickly nixed due to the weight of the construction and the expense of disposal. Thus, it was quickly determined to repurpose the bar and make the basement into a den similar to a studio apartment.
The bar would be a perfect mini-kitchen. Since there was existing plumbing and electrical, we could easily add a mini-fridge, hot- plate, and additional shelving.
The first spring we lived in our home we discovered water in the basement when there is heavy rain. The water is mild but comes in through the corner near the bar.
My first concern was that there may be foundation damage or cracks behind the existing paneling. Here yousince can see our dated basement bar before the repairs.
After removing the paneling, no damage was found. However, this left lovely unpainted and untreated concrete block walls. Not cozy in the least!
bundle of laths
Creating New Walls
The focal wall directly behind the bar was accomplished using 1 x 2 furring strips and a package of laths which was purchased at Menards for about $15.00 for 50 4-foot strips.
Before I began this project though, I wanted to ensure there were no serious water issues. Thus, after removing the paneling, I cleaned the existing block walls with a brush. Then, wiped them down with a solution of my homemade household cleaner, and let them dry.
I then went over any minor imperfections with Drylock hydraulic cement.
Next, I used Zinsser waterproofing paint to cover the exposed block walls. Be aware that your concrete blocks will literally suck the paint up.
I did not want to use any process which required nailing or piercing the concrete blocks in any way. I also did not want the wall to be permanent. If the waterproofing paint was not enough to make a difference, I knew that this wall would be destroyed at a later date if a waterproofing company was called in to assist.
To create my faux shiplap wall, I next needed to construct a frame of uprights to attach the decorative boards to. So, I attached five 1 x 2 furring strips spaced at 12 inches to the wall vertically using pocket screws. The advantage of the pocket screws is that I would be able to access the screws to remove the faux wall section if needed in the future.
Creating your Faux Shiplap
To create your faux boards, start by finding the length needed. For my project, my space was 60 inches wide. I wanted to create a brick like effect where the lengths were not all the same.
Thus, I cut several 48-inch laths at 12 inches. This provided several 12-inch lengths as well as 36-inch lengths. To keep from having lots of 12-inch sections together, I also painted several of the original 48-inch laths.
Next, you will combine your desired paint color with water. I used 1 part paint to 2 parts water and mixed up 3 different colors.
Using a standard paint brush, simply apply your color to your wood strips. If the color goes on too dark, you can use a rag to wipe off excess which helps keep a random look to your paint.
One of the things I really like about using the laths was that the wood was not “perfect”. Thus, some strips would have more grain than others as well as more texture. When you apply the same paint color, you will often get a slightly different appearance.
After letting the strips dry, you simply nail them on your wall. I used the smallest nail I could find at the local hardware store. The nail was no longer than ½” and the head was nearly pin sized.
Using a level simply choose your starting point and mark a horizontal line on each of the frames to help you keep your slats level. Once you have created your starting point, you can simply add each row of laths and spot check as you go that you have maintained the horizontal line.
I chose to only do my faux shiplap design above the tabletop. Thus, this was my starting point. I wanted to leave the wall as lightweight as possible and since the lower portion would not be visible in most areas it seemed unnecessary to finish this.
Remember to alternate your colors and lengths on each level. I tried to minimize stacking identical color laths on top of each other. However, this will depend on the number of colors you’ve chosen for your wall.
You can create this same faux shiplap wall on any existing wall in your home. Simply nail the laths into your studs instead of creating the background framing.
In my finished focal wall, you can see a tabletop at the base of the wall. This was the same tabletop that was in the previous design. Luckily, this table was supported on the previous paneled wall using standard L brackets. I simply attached the L brackets to my frame of uprights.
I found an unused mirror in my garage which I spray painted silver to go with the overall silver and blue décor.
Then, I attached a curtain rod to the ceiling using large cup hooks. I wiggled a rounded curtain rod into the cup hooks and attached my blue curtain. I opted for the curtain to create a window effect since this project is in the basement which tends to be dark but also to hide the window in the upper right corner that seemed a bit out of place.
I hope this helps you find inspiration in creating a faux shiplap wall!
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