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How to Paint Shiplap Like a Professional

Updated: Jan 2


How to Paint Shiplap like a Professional

Shiplap is one of those interior design elements that comes and goes in popularity. Once a staple of American and European design, it most recently was embraced as part of the farmhouse chic aesthetic.

One thing everyone can agree on, however, is that a fresh coat of paint always makes shiplap look better.

Due to its deep gaps and uniform pattern, painting shiplap the right way can be a challenge.


Step 1: Preparation

Surface preparation is vital for any good paint job, but it’s especially important with shiplap.

- Begin by removing any existing paint or wallpaper and repair any damaged shiplap boards.

- Clean the surface by wiping it down with a damp cloth or tack cloth to remove dust and dirt.

- Cover the surrounding area with drop cloths or plastic sheeting to protect it from paint splatter.


Step 2: Sanding


- Use 120-grit sandpaper to lightly sand the shiplap boards. Sand in the direction of the wood grain to create a smooth surface.

- After sanding, switch to 220-grit sandpaper to further smooth the surface and remove any imperfections.

- Wipe away the sanding dust with a tack cloth or a damp cloth.


Step 3: Priming

- Apply a coat of primer to the shiplap boards. Use a high-quality, stain-blocking primer to ensure the paint adheres well and any knots or stains don't bleed through.

- Let the primer dry according to the manufacturer's instructions.


Step 4: Taping and Protecting


- Use painter's tape to mask off any areas that you don't want to paint, such as adjacent walls or trim.

- Double-check that all the edges are well-sealed to prevent paint from bleeding through.


Step 5: Painting


- Start with an angled brush to cut in along the edges and corners of the shiplap. Paint these areas carefully.

- Use a paint roller with a nap suitable for textured surfaces to apply paint to the shiplap boards. Roll the paint on evenly, covering one board at a time.

- Work in manageable sections to maintain a wet edge and prevent visible brush or roller marks.

- Apply a second coat of paint after the first coat has dried. This will help achieve full coverage and a more professional finish.

- Let the second coat of paint dry completely.


Step 6: Remove Painter's Tape


- Carefully remove the painter's tape while the paint is still slightly tacky. This prevents the tape from pulling off dried paint or leaving a jagged edge.


Step 7: Touch-Ups


- Inspect the painted shiplap for any missed spots or imperfections. Touch up these areas with a brush.


Step 8: Clean Up


- Clean your brushes and roller according to the paint manufacturer's recommendations.

- Dispose of used drop cloths or plastic sheeting properly.

- Remove any paint splatters from adjacent surfaces or flooring.


By following these steps, you'll be able to paint shiplap like a pro, resulting in a beautifully finished and durable surface that enhances the look of your space.

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