The kitchen renovation all started with this project. I wanted to get rid of the red lead painted, warped wallpaper walls that were occupying most of the kitchen. Since there was 100 years of old wallpaper that had been painted over and over again, it created this interesting effect that made it look like the walls were melting in the corners. Needless to say, that was not going to cut it.
After finding out that the walls were also painted with lead paint, tearing down the paper to re-paint wasn't an option. The safest solution was to cover them up. Since I was going for a modern industrial farmhouse look in the kitchen anyway I decided to start with planking the breakfast nook.
Once I got one wall up and started to see the transformation taking place the excitement of it all threw me into high gear and I just busted the rest out in one day. All in all I am very happy with it. It was a really fun and very transformative project without a ton of effort. If you are thinking about doing this but have been putting it off I say, 'plank away'!
What You Will Need:
- Safety Gear: Gloves and Eye Wear
- Wood for Planking: I used 1.5" x 3/4" pine (use any size to get the look you want)
- Wood for Spacing (optional): I used furring strips to nail to and help even out the wall and baseboard which wasn't straight
- Chop Saw: You could use a hand saw as well but will be much more time consuming.
- Nail Gun: This will also speed up the process considerably (you can rent or borrow one)
- Nails: for your nail gun
- A Level
- Tape Measure
- Wood Conditioner, polyurethane, stain or paint.
- Figure out the height you are planking to. Are you covering an entire wall or just three-quarters. If you are going to use furring strips to nail your planks to then attach them to the wall twelve inches apart.
- Once all of your strips are adhered to the wall you can begin cutting your planks. I cut them at random lengths to fit the space. I made very long, long, medium and short pieces that I would alternate on the wall in a kind of brick pattern. I also paid attention to the grain and color of the individual pieces when deciding where they went.
- Begin your first line at the bottom of your wall. Draw a level line all the way across and attach your wood there. That will give you a level place to stack the rest of your pieces. Make sure you always level each piece of wood as you go along. Some pieces could be a little warped and be off 1/16th of an inch (that doesn't seem like much until that space keeps compounding and when you get to the top it's all crooked).
- Measure out your nail line so that it's 12 inches apart (put your nail in every twelve inches). If your using furring strips then you will nail to the strips (which are also every 12 inches). This way your nail lines will be evenly spaced.
- That's pretty much it. Just keep going until your done.
- Once it's all up you just have to put the finishing touches on the wood. You could keep the natural color and just coat it with polyurethane. Or if you don't want those fumes in the house you can rub walnut oil on it (this is what I did. It conditions the wood and hardens bringing out the grain) . If you want to change the color or make stripes of color you can stain it (I stained lots of extra pieces in blue, white, brown, yellow and gray before I decided to keep it natural). Lastly, you could paint it. Remember, even if you stain or paint it you could always sand it down the surface in the future to change the look.
- Cut through your wood very slowly, but with force to ensure a smooth edge.
- If you are going around three walls like I did start in the middle of the middle wall first (but still at the bottom of the wall) so that your corners line up when you get to your other two walls (this was a live and learn moment for me, oops).
Cost and Time:
- Wood: $100
- Nails: $30
- Time: 3 days
It's not very difficult and is kind of meditative once you get into it. It completely transforms a space inexpensively and without a ton of effort. Just throw on some tunes and you'll blow right through it. You can not only do this with walls but try using it as a furniture facade as well.
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