SHIPLAP! I knew I wanted shiplap as a decor element in the house somewhere after I binged watched “Fixer Upper.” (I mean who hasn’t!) I immediately fell in love with Joanna Gaines and her decor style.  And at first sight of our stairs I knew I wanted to remove the wood paneling and lighten it up in anyway possible. When we removed the first wood panel we revealed wallpaper underneath and in my mind I figured would be a piece of cake to remove like the dining room wallpaper.

My hope was that the original shiplap from 1905 would be beneath the wallpaper.  I had this thought because when my parents had gutted their turn of the century house 10 years ago it had shiplap that was the wall structure. It was the way they built homes back in the day! I ended up being right about this; however I turned out to be wrong about how easy the wallpaper was to remove and it ended taking me three times as long!

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SHIPLAP UNDER WOOD PANELING

 

 

 

Materials Used:

Below is after the wood paneling was removed. The paneling was nailed in with penny nails so it was easy to remove in big sheets by just pulling at it with pry bar.

Outdated wallpaper uncovered under wood paneling and we removed this from original shiplap

 

 

WALLPAPER REVEALED ON SHIPLAP

 

I originally thought this wallpaper would be so easy to remove but I turned out being very wrong! The wallpaper was very old and not made like wallpaper you find today. It had a shiny finish with a thick paper backing and had mesh like seams. With my sister-in-laws helping me we scraped and peeled what we could but we weren’t making much progress as you can see below.

Learn about removing tough thicker wallpaper from shiplap

 

At this point I realized we needed to do more than just scrape with putty knives. I was also concerned about using any type of chemical or solvent to remove the wallpaper and possibly risk ruining or staining  the wood.  So I ended up doing an experiment using just water and a spray bottle.

Spraying on the water and then scraping ended up working great but it became very time consuming and this project ended up turning into my own personal Mt. Everest! There were nights I didn’t even want to look at the stairs! I think in total it took over 3 weeks of off and on work to remove all the wallpaper! I am so thankful for my hubby’s sister’s who came to help. I would not have been able to get it all done without them!

We had to get the paper backer very wet in order for it to be scraped off the wood, so I would saturate the wallpaper and let it sit 10 minutes or so and then go back and scrape.

Below is the progress:

 

 

 

 

The hardest part was reaching near the ceiling. We had to use an extension ladder and a multi position ladder and my hubby had to help with reaching to those spots I couldn’t. You will see in some of the pictures that we put drywall on the ceiling as it had previously had ceiling tiles that had a very black glue residue that I didn’t even want to try to remove.

FOUND OLD STAIR MARKS UNDER WALLPAPER

One cool part about removing the wallpaper was the paint marks we found of where the old staircase use to be. At some point the stairs were a lot steaper than they are now, we sure are glad they changed that!

Finding the original steep stairs in our 1905 farmhouse

 

 

SANDING SHIPLAP

The next step was to sand all the walls to prep for paint and to remove the drywall texture from the ceiling.

 

MATERIALS:

 

Prepping original shiplap by sanding the walls before paint is applied

MY SANDING SELFIE!

SHIPLAP BEFORE SANDING

 

 

 

AFTER SANDING SHIPLAP

 

 

 

PAINTING SHIPLAP

Materials Used:

In order to prep the walls for paint after all that sanding I took our shop vac with the brush attachment and vacuumed the walls. I also wiped them down with a wet cloth in order to try to get all the dust off.

First we applied primer then I chose Behr’s Whisper White for the paint. Only one coat of paint was applied, but that was actually all that was needed. We were in a bit of a time crunch for the painting of the stairwell because the carpet was being installed the next day!  With the help of my sister-in-law’s and the hubby who so graciously helped paint even though it is the thing he dislikes doing the most we were able to finish before midnight!

Below is a picture of my hubby “dancing” doing the move he calls the “rototiller” LOL! I’ll pretend I don’t know him!

 

SHIPLAP STAIRWELL IS DONE!

 

After the beautiful carpet was installed!!!

How to remove wallpaper from original 1905 shiplap and transform your space

Step by step how to transform a dark stairwell to a bright beautiful space that you want to show off

 

 

I hope that Joanna Gaines would be proud! Doesn’t it look so much better! So bright and inviting! I love the rustic look of the shiplap with the knots in the wood that show through. I also love that the wood isn’t perfect, that’s what tells the story!

 

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6 thoughts on “Shiplap: Channeling my inner Joanna Gaines

  1. Mary

    Hey Amy, we purchased our first home last year. It is floor-to-ceiling tongue and groove, covered in many layers of old wallpaper with cheesecloth backing (and tar paper under that). The tar paper is awful to remove, but we have been able to get it off. The problem we have is removing the brads used to tack the cheesecloth in place. I have been pulling them out of the foyer and stairwell for over a year now, and I’ve barely got 20% of them out. Do you have any tips on how to remove them? We really want to keep the foyer and stairwell with the original wood exposed, sealed with polyurethane.

    Reply

      1. Mary Smith

        I’ve been using a tack puller. It works, but sometimes it slips, and I cut my palm. Or, sometimes the tack heads fall right off because they’re old and brittle.

        We recently started taking bids from contractors for renovations in several rooms, and I want to make sure we can keep them from messing with that wood. I don’t want a contractor trying to countersink the brads, or anything funny like that.

        Reply

        1. Amy Post author

          We used a hammer to remove nails in our shiplap but they weren’t that old so they were easily removed, we did some have some that I had to have the hubby try to pull out with a pliers since the heads did break off. My other suggestion would be to use a small pry bar to see if that helps any better. Let me know how it goes.

          Reply

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