Friday, November 24, 2017

Cheaper than T&G and Easier than Drywall - Part One

When I started out designing My Tiny Perch, I knew it wanted it to be very different from My Empty Nest.  So, any material that was expensive, time consuming to collect or procure, complex to install, or heavy; was taken OUT of the build plan. This plan, however, also meant that a whole new learning curve would need to be conquered for any installation that I hadn’t done before.

And, in summary, that means pretty much all of them.

When it came to the interior “cladding” materials (a fancy word for “walls”) I knew that although drywall was doable, and wouldn’t necessarily be eliminated for consideration due to any of the above mentioned reasons; I didn’t want to do it. It was a major pain in my backside to install, took FOREVER to mud and sand, and although the end results look OK, it’s not great.  Let me tell you, getting drywall to look perfect requires a LOT of practice.

Loaded and ready to go!

I considered using plywood, but I thought the surface texture would look pretty sloppy and the trim molding at every seam wouldn’t really give me the cohesive look I was going for.  I considered cedar T&G (tongue and groove) panel boards but they’re pretty thick, very heavy, and REALLY expensive. (And I had already set the electrical boxes for ½” cladding so I would have to move all of the boxes or find a ½” material that would work) So, I set out to do just that.

Craig is my bud, and his list is my GO TO for all things random and affordable.  Someday I’ll make a list of all of the killer deals I have scored on Craigslist. And, here goes another try… I entered “1/2 T&G” into the search box and found some flooring that I thought might work.

Wait. What? “FLOORING”?
Come one now….you know I’m a rebel….you know I think outside the box….you know I’m vested in finding the newest and coolest materials to show off in my builds….so keep reading…

This is the section of this article where I admit that taking a picture of a wall, and posting it here really won’t really elicit much excitement. Thusly, this is Part One of this story, and the final photos will be featured in Part Two. But, this part is important too.  It’s the story of how I found a very cool material to use on my walls that was much cheaper than T&G, and after a coat of primer and two coats of paint looks AMAZING!!

And on with the story…..

I contacted Alex with Lifestyle Flooring regarding my “plan”, and after we chatting a bit, I finally convinced him that using the material he was selling as flooring could be used on my walls too!  Then, I set about researching other people who’d used plywood planks. I found lots of images on Pinterest, but most of them stained the wood and I would be painting it so I have to admit I was a bit nervous about how it would look.

Pinterest Inspiration!! (not my wall)

In a nutshell, the planks are made using the best sections of ½” plywood that has been culled for other uses due to imperfections or damage. (they sort out the bad pieces and keep only the good ones.)  The edges of each plank have a bullnose edge and that makes them look like T&G once they are installed. 

Primed and Installed; Awaiting Paint Coat #1.

They can be made to any width (I chose 6” wide) and any length, up to 8 feet long. Alec recommended four foot lengths and although it was a LOT more work to install, it does add character to the walls for sure.

Step 1 - Priming them.

Step 2 - Installing them using 18 GA trim nails.

Step 3  - First coat of paint

Step 4 - Caulking any open joints (there weren’t many) and sanding drip marks from vertical seams. (again, not many)

Step 5 - Final coat of paint and……..wowee, zoweee…..I LOVE MY WALLS!!

These planks look so great, I can’t wait for you to see the final pictures in Part Two of this article.  

I’m really thrilled and I know you would be too if you were standing where I am standing…



  1. This is going to look great! I love shiplap too. Wondering if it's possible to use in a small, lightweight vintage camper reno? I have to keep her light because, well, she's a lil' ol camper! K

    1. I think this would work perfect in a camper reno. I did one and used some barnwood. Looks great!