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I’m so excited to share this project! I’ve been slowly, very slowly, working on updating my downstairs bathroom and I’m doing a little ode to my home state of Arizona with a desert theme. I have been contemplating a plank wall for quite some time now but my biggest struggle is always the same…budget. Grrr.
I think I’ve spent almost every lunch break at the store for the past two months, perusing the various wood planks, tongue and groove, ship-lap, cedar, so many choices! And I just struggled with spending $150-200 for this tiny bathroom wall. See how blah and boring this room has been for the past year? I honestly can’t believe I lived like this for a whole year! So dramatic.
I really wanted a light colored wood and a little more rustic since that seems more “southwestern” to me. In my perusing a couple of weeks ago, I accidentally ended up on the fencing aisle. I had been contemplating some tongue and groove cedar planks but they were 8-foot lengths and my wall is just shy of five feet at 59 inches and I didn’t want three feet of waste since I wanted the wood to be single horizontal planks and not staggered at all.
I suddenly had a little epiphany, cedar fence boards! They’re super cheap and super rustic. Maybe a little too rustic. But they had a five-foot length and if I cut off the top of the fence board to get a flat edge, that would make them exactly 59 inches and they only run $2.53 each! I needed seventeen to do my wall but bought two extra just in case so my total cost was right at $50.
I used a day of vacation time on a day the kids would be in daycare to do this project, otherwise, I would never have the time. I don’t know how even stay at home moms accomplish projects, a nap time is never enough and even then my 4-year-old does not nap anymore. Don’t get me started on that one.
It really was a pretty simple project and only took about four hours. That being said, I haven’t 100% finished since I still need to rip the last board to cut one inch off the width, which requires a table saw or an extremely steady hand with a circular saw, neither of which I have. I also need to put a coat of poly on the boards.
I started by measuring from the top. I made sure to measure before each cut as I quickly realized that my wall is not completely straight, lovely. It was closer to 58.5 inches at the top and 59 inches at the middle and bottom. I used my chop saw to cut the length and then my palm sander with an 80 grit paper to really remove a lot of the roughness of the boards. Then I used a finer sandpaper to smooth them out. They are still semi rough but not enough to splinter and I really like the texture. My sweet husband gave me an awesome set-up the night before. I have this cool paint tent where he set-up my saw, a sanding station and had all my boards ready for me.
Fair warning, fence boards are not perfectly straight so I definitely have some that are closer together and some with more gapping but I like the rustic look it gives it. For this reason, I made sure to use a level as I attached each board, checking each end and middle before attaching to the wall. These are really lightweight boards so you could probably make this more “temporary” by just nailing them but with kids and a lot of traffic in this bathroom, I wanted this to be really secure. I also don’t plan to take it down…famous last words. I used Liquid Nails on each board and then using my nail gun and finish nails, I put a nail on the top and bottom at the end of each board and then top and bottom in each stud (I had two studs so eight nails per board).
Here it is about halfway complete. I had to remove my toilet paper holder and don’t really want to drill holes in my beautiful planks so I’m working on an idea for that.
As I said, I did one board at a time. I measured, cut, sanded and then attached with Liquid Nails and then my nail gun and compressor. FYI even though it says instant hold on Liquid Nails, not true. Don’t forget to level as you go! The final step was to fill in all the nail holes and then sand those after they dried. I used stainable nail hole filler.
And now for the pretty much-finished product, minus the very bottom board of course.
I’m so proud of this wall and it’s the first time I’ve ever used the nail gun on my own so pretty proud of that. 🙂 The cool thing is that this is what you see when you first walk into my home from the garage and it smells beautifully of cedar. Not sure if that will go away once I add the poly coat. I’m using a satin finish poly by the way since I don’t want it to be shiny. I can check one more thing off my bathroom update project. Can’t wait to show you the rest!
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