Last January (as in over a year ago) I posted my plans for remodeling the boys incredibly boring nursery and turning it into a cowboy themed room for them. Adam and I got started right away by ripping out the carpet, paper bagging the floor, and planking about a quarter of the wall…then we got distracted with some shiny new project and forgot all about it.
After a year of avoidance the boy’s room has now become the shiny new project and the walls are complete! Even though this room is far from finished it already looks so much more polished. Of course, anything would have been an improvement over half planked walls, but still.
Two summers ago Adam and I decided to plank the walls in our kitchen and dining room, and it took me all of twelve seconds after starting install to decide that I LOVED the look. I could basically plank every single wall in my house and then wonder why I didn’t also plank the ceilings. So last year when I decided to redo the boy’s room, adding planks was on the top of my list. Fortunately I had learned a few lessons from the first planking experience and this time the results are better and the process was smoother. So if you are interested in adding planks to your home, go read this post first, then come back for this one.
So, step one was for us to replace the baseboards after papering the floor. These are simple pre-primed 1×6’s and I think they make great trim, we have used them throughout the house.
As for the actual planks they are 5mm underlayment – a.k.a really thin plywood. It comes in 4×8 sheets and we had Home Depot cut them into 6 inch strips for us.
When we planked the kitchen we took those freshly cut strips and put them right up on the wall, but it turns out that wasn’t the best way. This time the boys and I took the time to sand all the edges, it went quickly and kept the edges from having that rough “furry” look.
Last time I also intentionally left the walls brown before planking, I thought brown seams would give the walls more depth and interest. Truth be told it just looked terrible, so I had to paint the seams white after the fact. I’m not going to lie…it sucked. I used a little craft brush and it never fully covered the brown, plus I went through about eight of them thanks to the non-sanded edges ripping the bristles off. So this time we painted first and it made a world of difference.
I would also recommend priming the edges of the planks before installing them, I did that on about half of them and painting that section was easier than painting the rest.
Next came the actual plank installation.
The planks are attached with a brad nails and we used a button to space them out….I think last time we used a comb. It doesn’t matter what you use as long as they are about 1/8 inch gap between the planks.
I do have to take a rabbit trail and tell you about our brad nailer though, since it got a workout for this project. Up until a few months ago we used a standard brad nailer that attached to an air compressor.
It worked great, no problems there…but lugging that air compressor around while you work is a pain, it’s heavy and it takes up a lot of work space. That’s not the biggest issue though, the biggest issue is that it is insanely loud. Not only was the actual nailing loud, but every few minutes that air compressor would kick on and you might as well have been using a chainsaw. We usually try to work while the kids are sleeping (either napping or after bed) so the noise was an issue.
Then I went to a conference for DIYers and got to use the new Ryobi cordless brad nailer. Let just tell you…I instantly loved it. It’s light, it’s practically silent, and it runs off rechargeable batteries that also work with all of Ryobi’s other tools. I chatted with a Ryobi rep for a bit and they offered to send me a bunch of free tools – including the nailer – the use on projects. Anyway, it’s awesome…if you don’t believe me you can read reviews HERE. (And if you want a chance to win free tools every month check out Ryobi Nation.)
Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled tutorial.
Adam added 1×2’s to the top of the planks to cap them off, it’s just deep enough that I can put frames up there but not deep enough to be in the way.
Everything we used to do all the planks and trim work was really cheap. I didn’t keep track but I’d say we spent around $60 to do the whole room.
After all the planks and trim were installed it was up to me to finish everything up. Easy enough, right? Throw up some caulk, slap on some paint, done. It’s all in a days work….except that it’s not. I feel like I always writing about a project that took me forever. The truth is, some stuff just takes a ton of man hours to finish, even if it is simple. Stenciling a wall for example, takes forever. Gluing paper bags to your floor? Forever. Caulking and painting planks and trim? Basically, forever. My boys go to preschool two mornings a week, and this has become my project time (and about midnight is my writing time). So for four days of preschool I dropped them off and came back home to caulk and paint. It wasn’t all bad though, when I’m working (or cleaning) alone in the house I crank up Pandora and blare all the completely inappropriate club music I can stand until it’s time to get the kids. It’s like a painting party, dance party, and a day at the gym all in one.
I also ended up painting the top portion. I had intended to leave it the original color, but the leftover paint I was planning to use had dried up. I went ahead and chose a similar color that’s slightly lighter and warmer.
So there it is, the blank canvas that I’m going to completely ruin with cheesy cowboy decor. Just kidding (sort of) …I’m trying really hard to make it fun and kid friendly while also staying far FAR away from being cheesy. It’s proving to be harder than it sounds. Not that my boys care either way, they’re just really excited that we’re building them bunk beds (short safe ones, don’t worry.)