Plywood Planks for the Win

Where did I last leave you? Oh yes, with plans to put up plywood planks on the walls. I remember being excited, thinking it wouldn’t be that much work… Pretty sure I had some exclamation points about horizontal boards! It’s a good thing I consistently underestimate the time or effort things take because it turns out I actually don’t love doing work and would probably never attempt things if I were more of a project realist.

We started out this leg of the project with the serious fun of emptying out all the crap: Gorilla racks, storage bins, miscellaneous baby gear that I can’t quite part with. I am constantly fluctuating between being 70 percent sure I am done having babies and holding a baby on my chest and needing another baby right this second. You know normal mom sap and memories tied to all the things that I desperately put my babies in so they might sleep just a little. Or the things that contained them so I could consider eating something other than microwave popcorn for breakfast, lunch and dinner. (Anyone else? Why popcorn? Such a complete meal, so nutrient dense, so convenient)

Back on track. Short version: We cleared out the stuff.

Let me show you just how wackjob our “walls” were before starting the project. But this time in black and white because I. can. not. handle. having. orange. in. one. more. post.

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This first wall had a massive pipe sticking out of it, some random wires and a soffit to contend with. We started with this wall since it was the trickiest to deal with and we wanted to be fresh. Brett did a little blocking with 2x4s to give us something to attach boards to.

Next up was this beaut.


A scrappy wall to be sure. The site of the former fish tank and you’ll never believe this: random scraps of drywall we found around, just will-nilly put up. Did we put up drywall we had cut holes out of for another project? Of course we did. We always strive to make another area of our house dingy while fixing up another. And do we succeed? Nine times out of ten? You bet.

Not to be left out was this pocket door which really had no wall at all. The guy who lived here before us ran thousands of each type of cord in the world, through every wall and ceiling. Kinda like how people hide money under mattresses- same thing just with cords- and no money- or real point…

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So a couple things that made the shiplap slightly more complicated…

  1. We had guys at Home Depot rip the plywood into 4 inch planks. Apparently they only get paid enough to cut them in a range of 3.75 inches to 4.25 inches. I mean clearly I am not one that doesn’t love a close enough, but it made them a real doozy to line up in places
  2. The 1/4 inch thick plywood was also a bit loosey goosey, as some boards were much thicker
  3. The lack of things to secure the planks to, you know because of holes in the wall or missing walls
  4. Lack of skills, never stopped us before, but we did buy an air compressor and nail gun, so that should count for something

But we powered through and actually managed to mostly make it work.

Here is a close up of a penny that we used for spacing. In the tutorial that we used as inspiration, she secured all the boards with liquid nails on the back. We ended up just shooting them with 1 1/4 inch nails which holds the board in place just fine. The perk was we were able to pry a board off if necessary and we could just nail in a space where there was actually a wall behind the plank.


Here are the walls completely clad in the plywood boards. It looks a little trippy with all the wood- not yet painted, but still a serious improvement from the orange.


You can see we still have cords to secure. We also left space on the bottom since we plan to redo the flooring and wanted to have some wiggle room for a subfloor.

Look how many fun nook and crannies! The shear number of cuts might have stolen a small portion of our sanity… The picture on the left is our non functional laundry chute. It’s boarded up upstairs in the hallway and from the bottom.  Now imagine yourself turning clockwise and the picture on the top left was the old fish tank wall with the halfhearted sheet rock. Then the picture on the bottom right is the pocket door wall with the door closed.

I made up a little floor plan so you can see what the layout is like. I actually made it in an online tool to get the walls to the correct scale before I put in Paint to make it what I wanted.

laundry room labeled

For reference the back stairs are on the left and actually angle up over the washer and dryer. The walls with black on them are the walls we clad in the plywood. We are focusing on this part of the laundry room first.

Lots yet to do, but everyday it is turning into a little less of an eyesore.


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