Asked on Jan 27, 2016

Planking: tongue and groove or ripped plywood?

Honeybear Lane
by Honeybear Lane
I recently planked a bathroom wall and used tongue and groove pine planks from Lowes. I really liked using them, except that they were only 3.5" wide. I know that they sell wider tongue and groove planks, but they are twice the price and thickness. I thought maybe for a wider plank look I would just rip some 1/4" plywood into 8" wide strips, but I am concerned they won't look as nice as the tongue and groove. Does anyone have experience with both?
  10 answers
  • Jean Myles Jean Myles on Jan 28, 2016
    For sure it won't look as nice there won't be any grooves if you just cut the 1/4" plywood in to strips. Why not just use a router to make groves in the 4x8sheet, every 8" Hope this helps.
  • Ttm2379129 Ttm2379129 on Jan 28, 2016
    check out the plywood plank bathroom redo they did here
  • Moxie Moxie on Jan 28, 2016
    Im looking into cedar planks to stain/ paint to have the real thing on a budget
  • Jane Jane on Jan 28, 2016
    One quick tip is make sure the wood is primed on both sides of the wood. You can check out a lumber yard they have more of a variety and might have what you are looking for. Lumber yards usually have a better grade of wood and many times are cheaper than Home Depot and Lowes.
  • Palma Minnich Palma Minnich on Jan 28, 2016
    The plywood would work fine. Just make sure you sand your edges of any rough stuff. And, if you are staining it, or the grain shows through in any way, remember to rearrange the order of the boards so the grain doesn't match up like one big sheet of plywood. Your wall will look more like ship-lap than tongue-in-groove, which is oh so popular right now. Good luck!
  • Susan Bechamp Susan Bechamp on Jan 28, 2016
    If you want the look of wide plank tongue and groove without the work of making your own tongues and grooves, try doing a spline instead. After cutting the plywood to desired width, use a router to run a rabbit on the underside of each board where it will meet another board. Instead of making matching tongues (hard to get them perfect) use a thin band of wood as a spline to connect one board to the next. That's how I repaired some damaged siding on the house without having to master real tongue and groove routing skills. Another option: if you want to run the boards vertically instead of horizontally consider board and batten. It's a traditional look using wide boards nailed next to each other vertically with the seams covered with a narrower board. It gives more dimension to the wall since the narrower boards sit on top of the wider boards. If used on an exterior wall you'll want to caulk each edge of the boards so water doesn't seep in.
  • Susan Bechamp Susan Bechamp on Jan 28, 2016
    One more thing to consider. The pine planks you used with tongue and groove were solid pine. Plywood is multiple layers of very thin wood glued into 4x8 sheets. They tend to warp easily in moist environments unless properly treated. 1/4 inch plywood will warp faster than a thicker plywood. I wouldn't use it in a bathroom or basement laundry room. A powder room maybe.
  • Johnchip Johnchip on Jan 28, 2016
    I think it looks just fine, very nice to have gone horizontal.and top trim piece. Move on!
  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Jan 28, 2016
    I like what you did and think it looks great. Thanks for sharing the picture.
  • CK CK on Jan 31, 2016
    Your wall is gorgeous with the tongue and groove paneling! There are many ways to make planking--using plywood as you mentioned, is one. But ya know what they say "There's always a reason for the price." ;-) If you aren't worried that a DIY plank will look a bit different than the ready-made, then it'll be just fine :-)