RV Shiplap Ideas: 7 Ways to Create a Wood Plank Wall in Your Camper
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Ashley Mann spent three years living full time in a 38-foot, 5th-wheel RV with her husband Josiah and their cat, Kitty. Her favorite thing about RV life is the challenge of finding the perfect way to organize a space, and she loves seeing all the creative and clever ways people come up with to customize their RVs.
Wood plank walls are popular and versatile choice for an accent wall in an RV makeover. A wood plank or “shiplap” wall adds charm and character to nautical, cottage style, modern rustic, or Farmhouse style decor. Wood plank walls can also be painted in bold colors to blend with other decor styles ranging from Glam to Boho-Modern.
In this article, you'll learn how to create a shiplap wall in an RV no matter your budget. Whether you're doing some light personalization to your RV or doing a complete renovation, you'll find a shiplap wall idea that can work for you!
1. Real Shiplap RV Wall Covering
While many renovators choose faux shiplap to avoid adding extra weight, if the area you're covering is relatively small, you could use real shiplap. That's what was used in the RV renovated by @ThisOldRV pictured below.
Here's what these RV renovators had to say about the project:
“We just used regular pine nickel gap shiplap board. It's been almost 2 years and has held up great! We used it sparingly as accents so we weren't too concerned about the weight and wanted a more authentic look rather than those faux shiplap panels or the wallpaper.”
Be sure to consider your RV's overall weight if you're renovating and adding wood or new furniture to your camper. Check your RV's GVWR to see how much weight can be added.
2. Shiplap wall made from plywood
A cheaper alternative to using nickel gap shiplap boards is to cut a sheet of plywood into strips.
This RV used stripped down 1/4″ inch plywood to create the shiplap in the slide out. They used actual nickels to create even spacing between the boards. They then attached the planks to the wall using Liquid Nails construction adhesive and short finishing nails.
3. Shiplap wall made from underlayment
To avoid adding any more weight than necessary, the professional RV renovators who designed this next RV chose to use thin flooring underlayment panels. These come in thicknesses of 1/8″ or 3/16″ and were cut into the strips used for the shiplap wall next to their booth dinette.
(In case you're wondering, the faux brick next to the stove is this type of paneling, painted white.)
To create the plank wall in the bathroom pictured below, RV renovation team Forge and Trek used 3/16″ underlayment. They cut the edges at a 30-degree angle using a table saw to allow the boards to be hung with no gaps between them while still creating clearly defined lines.
Similarly, I used wood-plank-style panels to insulate my closet, giving a more rustic shiplap effect. I demonstrate how in this video:
4. Wood plank wall made from pine V-plank boards
A wood plank wall doesn't have to be white!
The vertical wood planks above this fireplace are pine V-plank boards attached with Liquid Nails construction adhesive and finishing nails.
The faux brick for this project is this faux brick PVC paneling, painted black.
5. Wood plank wall made from fence boards or reclaimed wood
The owner of the travel trailer featured below purchased cheap fence boards from Home Depot and cut them to size, then attached them to the wall using a nail gun. (The other side of the wall was her bathroom, so she knew the nails were not likely to hit anything that would cause a problem.)
I would recommend that anyone who tries this first sands the boards smooth. You can even give them a light coat of polyurethane to avoid splinters. A satin finish will dry clear with no visible gloss.
Something else to consider is that fence boards are treated with chemicals to make them weather resistant. Using older reclaimed wood might be a better alternative to brand-new fence boards for achieving this look if chemicals are a concern.
6. Faux shiplap wallpaper
For RV owners who are concerned about adding any weight to their camper, you can easily install shiplap wallpaper. Shiplap wallpaper is also a great way to give your RV an easy DIY makeover that can be done in an afternoon and doesn't require using permanent adhesives or making holes in the walls.
Camping World now sells a brand of wallpaper that's actually designed to go in RVs. It comes in a gray shiplap pattern.
Pro Tip: If you can find wallpaper with the wood planks running vertically (in the same direction the paper unrolls), then you can make your seams along the “cracks” between the boards and not have to worry about lining up the pattern exactly.
I'm not sure what brand of wallpaper was used in this photo, but it looks very similar to this one from Target.
To learn more about hanging wallpaper in an RV—including tips for preventing it from peeling off the walls—check out this article about RV wallpaper ideas.
7. Faux shiplap wall made with a marker
This last idea for creating the look of a shiplap wall in an RV is the cheapest as well as the most lightweight.
The slide out walls in this fifth wheel were painted white. Can you tell the shiplap was actually made with a market? Clack lines were drawn onto the wall using a black permanent marker.
The RV owner, Chandler, used a board to trace straight, evenly spaced lines with a pencil first. Then, once she was happy with the spacing, she went over the pencil lines with a Sharpie.
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out the RV Renovation Resource Page for more great ideas!