When I did the reveal of our family room on the latest One Room Challenge, I got a lot of comments and emails about the plank wall and several requests for a tutorial. Ask and you shall receive.

Well, sort of.

There are dozens of tutorials for planks walls out there, all of them giving you fine directions on the logistics. So I'd rather focus on the issues that made this project unique and a few 'learn from my mistakes' nuggets. So with that, let's dive in, shall we.

There was one huge head scratcher in our family room, which is in the basement, and that was the 15 foot long foundation wall that runs along one whole side of the space. Since it is the foundation it always made me a little uneasy to think about drilling holes in it. But it was so vast and boring and it just looked cold. It would basically give me the middle finger every night as I watched TV. "I may be ugly, but there is nothing you can do about it sucka."

I loved the idea of a plank wall to give that beast some texture and warmth, but every. single. tutorial talked about nailing the planks into the wall. And that wasn't happening.

Enter creative thinking.

Thanks to a night of G&G&T (Google, gin and tonic) I found an alternative that was worth a shot. Scotch Outdoor Mounting Tape. (we got ours at Home Depot). The reviews were excellent and it said it would hold up to 10 lbs. I also liked the fact that it was outdoor, meaning it would hold up to any possibly dampness that can sometimes come with a basement. With a solution in hand, I went to put this plank wall into action.

On the advice of many a plank wall tutorial, we went to Lowe's to get our plywood and have it cut on site. We went with a mid-grade option that was light but sturdy. For our 15 foot wall we got eight boards which totaled around $180.

Our first attempt to get our planks cut was on a Friday night (I am Mrs. Weekend Excitement) and the old dude was obviously annoyed to be at work and tried to tell me that they didn't cut wood for customers. As he was standing in front of the big huge wood cutting machine. I asked him what that machine was for then and he just said, "Lady, we just can't do it." Uh huh.

So I went back the next day and got the young spry Lowe's dude who was more than happy to use the big machine for me. So hold strong and be firm - Lowe's does cut boards. Home Depot however does not, and they state that fact in their lumber area. Go figure.

One other important note - make sure to stand right next to the young Lowe's dude as he cuts your boards. We sadly, did not do this. And then when we got home after loading all of these boards into the car and then unloading them into the garage and then bringing them downstairs, we noticed that he was not a straight cutter. The first three planks cut from each board were straight as an arrow but as he got closer to the bottom of the board, young Lowe's dude didn't hold the board with both hands and the ends of the last two planks would start out straight and then get narrower as the weight of the board would tilt at the end of the cut. Bummer.

Of course, this discovery wasn't made until we were already several boards into the project and it caused me to exceed my cussing quota for the day. So cutter beware.

With the wall primed and the boards home we got busy installing. We cut our tape into long strips spacing them out on the plank and up it went.

Since the walls nor the floor in the basement are perfectly level we started at the top knowing we could address the unevenness at the bottom with finishing trim.

Once the plank was up, one of us would keep our hands on it while the other would run the length of the plank making sure all of the tape was adhering. And it worked like a charm. This stuff sticks like no ones business so it is hard to remove after you put it up, which was the hope. We did have to remove a few pieces as our friends cutting skills came to light but with a bit of muscle the plank came off with only a small chip to the paint on the wall. The key is to remove it right away if you decide you need to. Once that tape is on for a few minutes, it is on there for good.

From there the process went quickly. It would have gone at lightening pace if we didn't have to fit the planks like a jigsaw puzzle to account for the poorly cut boards. But without the need for a nail gun the whole thing moved right along. Just make sure to stager your seems as best you can.

Some people suggest using a nickel as your spacer in between planks but I wanted more space between my planks so the wall looked more authentic and less engineered. So we used a short castoff plank as our spacer.

Once the wall was up it was time to prime. I was worried that this wood would just drink up paint and I would need many many coats. But Kilz killed it again and one coat of primer was all that was needed.

Once the primer was up, I went over the wall and caulked some of the bigger seams as well as the space between the wall and the crown. And then finished it off with two coats of the white paint I used on all the other walls of the room. I didn't paint in the seams because I liked the depth it gave the planks but you certainly could use a paint brush to get dip into those cracks. Just a matter of preference.

I was so happy with the result that I used the leftover planks for the backs of the bookshelves.

I finished the corner where the plank wall meets the stairwell with a piece of corner trim that fit like a charm. And with that the project was done.

So with the experience behind me and the benefit of time and hindsight I would tell you that a plank wall is a very cost effective and manageable DIY. Just be sure to make sure those boards are cut straight, and know that if you thought this wasn't an option for you before Scotch Outdoor Mounting Tape is your friend.

What about you? Have you ever had to tweak an online tutorial to fit the quirks of your house? Ever hung anything on your walls with tape? (Besides your Cory Haim posters)


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