Planking walls is not a very original idea, because it’s a really popular trend right now (in case you live under a rock). But I didn’t let that stop me from planking my bathroom walls! And here’s why: I love the look and my walls were crap. (Lol the dust on the mirror in this pic cracks me up, but that’s how things are around here.)
Crap you ask? Well, let’s take a trip down memory lane to last fall when hubby decided to stick a saw in the family room wall for no good reason whatsoever (post HERE). Do you remember now? My built-ins bookshelves started leaking. Huh? Yeah, he accidentally sawed into a pipe in the wall because, guess what, our bathroom is on the other side of the family room wall. I had a plumber come fix it, and then I made hubby patch the drywall, but I never let him mud. Didn’t matter in this case because I was going to cover it anyway, just saying.
Other issues were the hole left by the medicine cabinet, although I did contemplate keeping it and building a niche. The bottom of the drywall was unsalvageable after I tore off the tile that had been glued on there as base molding. (You can find the post about me tiling the floor with hex tiles HERE)
Because I had wall issues, I used real 3/4″ thick planks of wood to cover my walls. It was not the cheapest option, but it was the best choice for me. I needed the thickness on both the pocket door wall, so I would have a chance to screw hooks into the wall, and on the sink wall, because the further the vanity was from the plumbing coming out of the wall, the more likely the drawer was to close. I ended up modifying the drawer anyway, but it did help. I used Eastern White Pine Pattern Stock 1×6 boards from Lowe’s. I bought both 8′ and 12′ lengths to maximize my cuts and reduce the waste.
Planking the Walls
I started on the middle wall, and contemplated using a foot molding where the planks met the tiled floor. I stacked the boards to get a feel for it.
When I was ready to actually attach the boards, I used a finish nailer and air compressor, I made sure to check that the first board was level. You should check every so often, but the first board is the most important.
Instead, I scribed the bottom plank to pretty much meet up with the floor. One day I’ll caulk where the two meet, but that hasn’t happened yet. After I cut the bottom planks, I gave them two coats of primer on all sides. I figured the bottom boards were most likely to come in contact with water, so I’m hoping the primer provides a bit of a barrier. Better than raw wood anyway, right?I’m glad we had the toiled already, so I could test the fit. We took the firs toilet we bought back to Home Depot and ordered this Whitehaus model instead. It fine up against the boards even though they’re 3/4″. The toilet did not fit well with the main water supply line because the stop valve stuck out too far from the wall. Look back up to the picture with the numbers, and you’ll see how far it sticks out. You can see how much closer it is to the wall in the above picture. Hubby swapped it out for me. No really, and it works! We skipped the escutcheon (medal fitting that covers the hole in the wall) because I was able to cut the wood plank nice and snug and it didn’t seem necessary. Plus you totally can’t even see the water line once the toilet is installed. Escutcheons just get rusty and gross looking anyway.
Moving on… Attaching the boards to the pocket door wall was a little challenging, you know, because there aren’t any studs in a pocket door wall. (If you’re looking to install a pocket door, I wrote all about it HERE)So I made sure I installed, and primed and painted, enough planks so we could install the toilet and sink. Because, you know, it’s kind of important to have a toilet and sink, um especially when you’ve already torn out the sink in your kitchen and there’s no running water anywhere on your first floor. Ah, the life of a DIY blogger!
This side didn’t matter as much, so for whatever reason I didn’t go as high on this wall.Then there was like a week-long debate (in my mind) about whether I should leave the awkward hole from the medicine cabinet and build some sort of amazing niche. My Facebook fans were torn 50-50 over keeping it versus covering it… until I showed them this picture. (FYI – the boards are just sitting there, they’re not actually attached to the wall)
And then it was pretty unanimous that I should cover the hole. I agreed, because, well, that was waaaay less work than building a niche. Plus I totally agreed that the niche would be awkwardly small and too close to the corner. Done.
Then there was the whole debate about whether I should leave some of the wood natural or just paint it all. I really did like the look of part wood, but I wasn’t sold. The only thing to do was to finish planking the walls and then decide. But first… I decided to reinforce the wall because I’m crazy. No really it’s because I have a shelf in my office, which is on the other side of this wall, and it’s always bothered me that the brackets holding the shelf are not evenly spaced. The brackets had to be attached to the studs, which just weren’t where I wanted them to be. So I looked at this as the perfect opportunity to right that wrong. And to set myself back another day on the wall planking, of course.As you can see, the boards did not end perfectly where the wall meets the ceiling. That’s okay, because I wanted to add some sort of really basic crown molding anyway. Before I could attach the 1×5 I needed to add wood behind it so I would have something to nail into.
I love the new galvanized light I got from Lowe’s. It’s pretty popular right now and the price keeps going up, currently $41.
So back to my issue of whether or not to leave some natural wood. I tried to go for a natural stripe across the middle, so I taped off a section and painted the rest. I ended up giving up on the natural look because I couldn’t find a stain I liked and I thought it looked cooky with the mirror I decided to go with. The mirror hung in the entranceway of our old house, and above the fireplace in this house, until I demoed it (fireplace post HERE). It was from Ikea a million years ago and was originally silver, but I spray painted it brown.But I’m telling you, I tried a couple different things before I decided to just paint it all white.
Other than painting a few more coats on the “stripe,” I also added corner molding and edge molding, where the wall meets the shower. Of course I tried a bunch of different options, but ended up with Polystyrene Outside Corner Wall Panel Moulding (4 x $4.97). It was the perfect choice to cover the edge of exposed wood near the shower because it’s polystyrene, and therefore waterproof. It was also the perfect size. When I couldn’t find anything I liked for the inside corners, I simply used the backside of the same molding, even though it only came primed on the outside. Nothing a little primer and paint couldn’t fix.
And that’s the only shot you get for now, but I’m going to tell you about that cabinet for my Quick Tip Tuesday this week. And of course when I finish tiling the shower you’ll get to read all about that too.