Asked on Jan 15, 2019

How do I install shiplap on a wall with an outlet?

by Christy

I want to shiplap my entry wall about 3/4 the way up with a picture ledge and coat hooks. I’ve wanted to do this for 2 years now. Looking at different products, pictures, drawing it out, running it over in my head again and again. The 2 things that keep scaring me are the baseboards and the one outlet on the wall. I’m terrified to attempted to pull out the baseboards fearing I’ll mess something up but I’m not sure about the look of starting on top of them. The wall outlet! Going around it is not my concern it’s getting the outlet back out flush with the newly installed shiplap. Any tips, confidence boosters, anything you’ve got from your own experiences are greatly appreciated.

  5 answers
  • on Jan 15, 2019

    Hi Christy! You can use a thin material and you just might be able to leave the baseboard in place and get the outlet flush. That’s what we did here:

    • Christy Christy on Jan 15, 2019

      Thank you for your response. Yes I’ve been looking for something thin. I don’t own a tablesaw and am still working on straight lines so ripping down a larger product is a challenge. I have a Kreg guide but my cuts are still a hot mess. I did run across Stikwood this am which has adhesive on the back which you referenced in your post as being important. I was scared of that too and damaging the walls but let’s be honest I’m not taking it down any time soon. Thanks again for your reply and a link to your project. Your basement wall looks nice!

  • Rymea Rymea on Jan 15, 2019

    The outlet wouldn't be a problem.

    Taking off the baseboard isn't that hard. Use something thin to begin prying it out from the wall like a wide knife. After you've pried it out a little switch to a crow bar with a small board against the wall. The baseboard on the wall by the door would have to be shortened to line up with the new depth of the shiplapped wall but that would be just a straight cut next to the door. Can't see the other end.

    • See 1 previous
    • Rymea Rymea on Jan 16, 2019

      Yes you put it on top of the shiplap and of course you could also leave it off. But are you talking about doing all of the walls or just the one? Because if you are thinking about doing all of them then Seth is right about the door mouldings, and everything else he said.

  • Seth Seth on Jan 15, 2019

    Hi Christy,

    I'm going to throw in my two cents worth. Don't shiplap. You have a beautiful house with great architectural features. Shiplap will be totally out of place. It's the current fad, but it will not be an enduring design choice. If you are really in love with it, then go for it, it's your house. A more architecturally appropriate choice would be bead board or board and batten wainscoting. They are both elegant and timeless and no more difficult to install than shiplap. Let's address your other concerns:

    1. Baseboard- I can't tell if your baseboard is flat or has a profile on top. If it is flat, then you can add a piece of 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch thick wood board or MDF to to the front of it to make it thicker so the wall material will sit on top of it nicely. If it is not flat on top, you will have to remove what is there. (I should say at this point, there is a product that is a baseboard designed to go over your old baseboard, which may work for you.) It looks you have a base shoe or quarter round molding, which will be easy to remove with some gentle prying. Cut any caulking and paint between the molding and the baseboard with a utility knife and then pry it away with a paint scrapper or putty knife. Repeat the same procedure for the baseboard, which is probably nailed to the studs, so may require more force to pry away from the wall. If your walls are plaster, don't pry against the plaster or you will crack it.
    2. Electric outlet- Many homeowners make the mistake of taking off the outlet cover, putting in spacers to move the outlet forward, and reinstalling the cover over the new wall material. This is against electric codes. You need a plastic box extender (easy to install) to get it flush. Use colored sidewalk chalk on the rim of the outlet. Press your wall material up against it and you will have the outline of the box and know exactly where to cut the opening. There are many tutorials on youtube how to do this project. You can do it!

    • Christy Christy on Jan 15, 2019

      Thank you so much for your 2 cents. I think a part of me was concerned with the “fad” aspect of doing shiplap and perhaps is part of why I haven’t been able to execute yet. I did think of doing board and batton and it would make it easier for the outlet. I really appreciate your input and will for sure consider your advise, especially since it had already crossed my mind.

  • Seth Seth on Jan 15, 2019

    No problem. There is another issue will you will have to deal with. Your door casings will not be wide enough if you either remove the baseboard, apply the wall material (whatever you decide to go with), and then re-install the baseboard, or add something over the baseboard. Right now, your baseboard dies into your door casings. They are the same thickness and maybe your door casings are little thicker than the baseboard. The shoe molding on the baseboard adds to the thickness, but it is barely noticeable. If you make the baseboard thicker then the door casing, it will look very odd. You can either cut what is called a return and glue it to the end of the baseboard to give it a finished edge, you could sand the end of the baseboard at an angle to meet the door casing, or you could add a plinth block to the casing so it will be wider than the baseboard. Adding the plinth block is the easiest of those and will look nice.

  • Liz Liz on Jan 16, 2019

    How about painting shiplap? Paint the wall, measure off vertical width, use pencil to draw lines that mimic shiplap. When you're tired of it, all you have to do is repaint.