DIY Wood Lath Wall

DIY Wood Lath Wall

So, I have this very angle-y hallway.  It’s actually one of the things that sold me on this house.  I like things that are different and unique.

Even though I like it, it’s proven to be a bit difficult to decorate.  I have one wall that has stumped me the whole time I have lived here.  I’ve tried painting everything the same color, I added pictures, I painted it a different color from the rest of the hall, I added wall art.  Nothing ever felt just right.  The builders also installed a door bell box on that wall which added a big ugly mark on anything I tried.  I finally got so tired of looking at the sad space that I started planning out something new.  I try to avoid anything too “on trend” or that doesn’t fit the style of my home.  That meant no white shiplap.  Not that I wanted that anyone.  Inspiration finally struck while I was looking at a magazine.  A cooking magazine, to be exact.

Food Network usually does a feature on a star chef’s kitchen.  In the particular issue I was looking at, they featured Damaris Phillips.  I.  Fell.  In love.

I get googoo eyed for the industrial look.  The brick and wood walls in this space made me want it in my home.  Damaris’ wood wall was created from reclaimed wood lath from old homes in her area.  I instantly knew I had to recreate the look in mine.

Here’s how the hallway looked before I changed anything.  Well, other than going ahead and moving the door bell box.  I forgot to take pictures of that.

  

By the way, this hallway is impossible to photograph anything in.  Painting this wall brown was not my brightest idea.  And that beautiful mosaic a friend made is finding a new home elsewhere in the house.  Isn’t funny how one upgrade spurs on another.

I started by patching the big hole left by the door bell box and painting over the repair.  Since my wall was already brown, I didn’t have to do any other prep.  You will see, though, that I painted the edges of the wall with the adjacent wall color.  This was to make sure none of the brown showed along the edges.  I highly recommend painting the wall to match your desired look before putting up any wall treatment such as this or shiplap.  If there is even the slightest possibility of the wall showing through a crack, the last thing you want to see is white when your wood is brown.

Anyway, moving on.  To achieve the wood lath look, I turned to a material I like to keep on hand – lattice boards.  They are also sometimes simply called wood lath.  They are typically ¼” thick and 1 ½” wide.  I have used them for so many different projects.  You can buy nicely milled pieces but they come at a price.  I prefer to buy bundles of 4’ long boards.  The quality isn’t always great on all of them but it’s inexpensive.  And for the look I’m going for on this project, they were perfect.  The cheapest I’ve found them is at Menard’s.   You can get a bundle of 50 for about $16.

As you can see, some of these boards are pretty sad.  Just make sure to account for that in figuring your materials.  If you don’t have a Menard’s near you, you can order them (I did).  You should also be able to find something comparable at your local big box hardware store.

We’ll say my wall was 8’ tall by 8’ wide to make the figuring easy.  With the wood lath being 1 ½” wide, I divided the height of my wall (96”) by 1 ½”.  That’s 64.  The bundles come in 4’ lengths so I doubled it to account for the 8’ width of the wall.  I needed 128 boards which equal three bundles.  I ordered four to make sure I had enough after I culled the bad boards.  That puts me at $64 spent on this project so far.

Due to the design of my hallway, I could not butt the wood lath against an adjoining wall.  I wanted to keep a clean edge so I picked up two 8’ lattice boards that matched the width of the wood lath for both sides of the wall.  They are about $5 each so my running total is now at $74.

I measured the height of my wall from the ceiling to the trim to find the length I needed to cut the lattice pieces to.

Make sure you measure both sides because they could be different.  Trust me.  Mine were about an 1/8 to a ¼” different.

I cut them to size on the miter saw, gave them a quick sand, and stained them.  I used Minwax Honey for this project.

I stained all of the boards before putting them on the wall.  You only need to sand the fronts and all the edges.

To install the boards, I lined them up on my wall and secured them with my nail gun using 1” nails.

I did not glue them in case I (or whoever owns the house next) wants them to come down later.  There will be a thousand holes to fill but the sheetrock won’t have to be replaced.  I did not worry about nailing into a stud because these are so lightweight that they’ll be just fine.  Also, if your boards are a little bowed, you can bend them into place and hold it with nails along the way.

The next step is more of the same.  Choose your boards from the wood lath bundle, sand them, and stain them.  You don’t have to sand the boards perfectly smooth but you do need to knock the burrs off.  I worked in batches the size of my work space.  Thankfully, I had my mom helping for part of the project which meant the process could go a little faster.

These boards soak up the stain and actually dry (at least enough to handle them with minimal mess) fairly quickly.  I had originally intended to stain most of the boards in Honey and work in some darker stains here and there but there were so many shades between the different boards and how they took the stain with the one color that I didn’t have to worry about it.

You’ll install these boards in the same manner as the trim pieces, just in a different direction.  Start at the bottom and go up.

Be cognizant of your joints.  The best look is to have them staggered and somewhat random appearing.  My mind doesn’t work this way and needs a pattern.  Fingers crossed I can tell you how I did this without being too confusing.  I started with one full board and cut a second down to fit the remaining space.  The next row I divided the space by three and cut three equal pieces.  I repeated the first row but flipped the full board to the other side.  My next row was filled with the off cuts from the previous three so that I did not have a lot of waste leftover at the end.  I repeated this pattern all the way up the wall.

Man, that’s pretty.  I love how there are so many different colors from one can of stain and how they all meld together.  As you cut each piece to fit, don’t forget to rub some stain on the cut ends.

If you’ve been following my posts for a while, you know I’ve said several times that eventaully I’ll be adding crown moulding to the space.  Same story here.  Because of this, I did not worry about making the wood lath flush with the ceiling.  The moulding will cover the small gap.  If you aren’t adding moulding, you’ll likely need to rip some of the lath down.  This wood is very fragile and, due to it’s narrow width, would be difficult to cut with a circular saw or table saw.  You may have better luck with a jigsaw or even just a utility knife.  I got very lucky and did not have to rip anything.

I split the work between two days but it easily could have been done in one with this size wall.  Once the boards are sanded and stained, they go up super fast.  When everything was up, I went back with some stain and a rag to color in all of the nail holes.  You can see in this picture that I started filling in the holes on the bottom but the top are still untouched.  They stand out like a sore thumb.

Before you call it quits, there’s one final step – sealing the wood.  I used wipe on poly in satin.  This stuff goes on quickly and doesn’t leave a thick, shiny coat like brush on poly can do.  It dries quickly, too!

Are you ready for the reveal???  I’d ask if you wanted a full reveal but you’ll only get parts of the wall at a time because, like I said, it’s impossible to take good pictures in this space.

  

This looks soooo much better than that ugly brown wall!  And it feels much bigger than it used to.

It’s not often that a plan comes out just like I had pictured it.  It’s even more rare when it comes out better.  This wall has exceeded my expectations.  By the time you add in the other materials I used (nails, stain, poly, etc), this wall was done for under $100.  This is a huge statement piece for not a lot of money.

I can’t let you miss out on the texture this thing has!

And although I don’t have a brick wall adjoining this one like in Damaris’ home, I do get to enjoy it near my brick laundry room floor.

My view coming in from the garage just got a major upgrade.  Maybe I’ll start spending more time in the house now…

What do you think about wood lath walls?  Are they the new shiplap?  I think they should be!

2018-09-12T11:28:49+00:00

4 Comments

  1. Eva September 12, 2018 at 12:53 pm - Reply

    That looks amazing!! 😍 You are very talented.

  2. Rustic Towel Hook - 7 Mile Designs October 2, 2018 at 11:44 pm - Reply

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