I’ve had a ton of you asking for a tutorial on our DIY shiplap over mantel fireplace, and I’m happy to say the wait is finally over! We were able to give our builder-grade fireplace a budget-friendly makeover that completely transformed the space.
Before & After
Today I will be walking you through our entire DIY shiplap over mantel installation process, and although this tutorial is based off custom specs of our home it can be easily tweaked to fit your own space and style.
We also built & installed our own wood beam mantel, so stay tuned as the full tutorial for our DIY wood beam mantel will be coming soon!
If you’d like to be notified as soon as my wood beam mantel tutorial is live click here!
Let me level with you guys real quick. Going into this project I had NO CLUE about the different part names of a fireplace…oops. So before we dive into this little DIY adventure I wanted to provide an “anatomy” diagram that labels each part of the fireplace for your reference:
In this paragraph, I am going to list out all the required materials and tools you need in order to build your own DIY shiplap over mantel easily and affordably!
- 9/16 in. x 5-1/4 in. x 8 ft. Pine Nickel Gap Ship Lap Board
- 2” x 4” x 96” Whitewood Stud (for building frame)
- 3” Construction Screws (for installing frame)
- 16 gauge, 1 1/4″ finishing nails (for installing shiplap)
- DAP Alex Plus 16 oz. Spackling Paste (for nail holes)
- 220 Grit Sandpaper
- 1 Gallon Paint Sherwin Williams Antique White in Gloss
- DAP Alex Painter’s Grade Caulk
- Paint roller, brushes and tray
- Nickel Gap Shiplap Board, cut 63” long (17 pieces for front)
- Nickel Gap Shiplap Board, cut 5 1/2” long (34 pieces for side)
- 2×4 Wood Stud, cut 89” long (4 pieces for vertical braces)
- 2×4 Wood Stud, cut –” long (3 pieces for horizontal braces)
- 2×4 Wood Stud, cut –” long (2 pieces for middle braces)
As far as the cost of materials, here are the details :
STEP 1: Design Measurements
The first step of building your own DIY shiplap over mantel is to measure out the space and plan out your design. If you are building a DIY shiplap over mantel from scratch I would first suggest finding your walls center before beginning install. In our case, we didn’t have to worry about finding the center of the wall since our old fireplace was already installed and centered.
- Firstly, the width of the shiplap over mantel we went with 63” since that’s how long our fireplace surround was and we wanted the shiplap boards to line up with it.
- Secondly, the height of the shiplap over mantel we measured from the top of the mantel all the way to the ceiling for a measurement of 89”.
- Thirdly, the depth of the shiplap over mantel was measured from the wall to the front edge of the shiplap to cover the sides for a measurement of 5.5″.
STEP 2: Choose Shiplap
Next, you will want to purchase your shiplap boards. We opted for these boards that are 5 ¼ – inches wide as they are already primed and have a nickel gap lip built into each board. Both of these things are huge time savers! You can adjust the desired width according to your wall size and preference if you’re looking for a wider board.
- Use the desired shiplap over mantel width measurement from step 1 and divide that measurement by the width of your shiplap boards to determine how many boards to purchase.
- For example: our space was 89” wide and we used 5 ¼” wide boards: 89″/5.25″ = 17 Shiplap Boards Required
Deciding on a board width will help you determine how many boards you will need to purchase prior to your hardware store visit.
Keep in mind that when you are determining how many shiplap boards you will need to purchase, you will also need to account for the length of your cuts from each board to ensure all three sides of your overmantel are covered. In our case, 1 shiplap board (sold at a length of 96”) was long enough for us to use one board for all three cuts (63” + 2 5.5”).
I always get extras on supplies when starting a new DIY project because I’m lazy and hate taking multiple trips. It’s also inevitable that something gets cut wrong or measured incorrectly, so don’t be afraid to grab a few extra boards!
STEP 3: Build Framework(red)
At this point, it’s time to build the frame for your shiplap over mantel. Building a frame is optional as you could simply install the shiplap directly onto your wall without a frame, however this is a great option if:
You can use 2×4’s to build the frame and then attach your shiplap boards once the frame is complete.
- Firstly, measure from where the top of the mantel would be all the way to the ceiling and cut (4) 2×4’s according to this measurement.
- Secondly, find the studs with a stud finder and mark the studs in your wall with a pencil. If no studs are available – you can use drywall anchors to secure your frame to the wall as previously mentioned
- Next, secure (2) of those pieces vertical and flat against the wall with 3” construction screws:
- If using drywall anchors, I suggest putting the boards up against the wall and drilling pilot holes through your studs and into the wall. This will allow you to know where your drywall anchors will need to be installed into the wall, and also ensure that your screw holes align.
STEP 4: Framework
- You will then attach the other (2) studs vertically (on their sides) to the exterior sides of the studs secured to your wall by using 3” construction screws to make a 90 degree angle.
- Keep in mind that if you attach these pieces next to the studs that you secured to the wall, you will be adding to the width of your shiplap over mantel.
- However, if you attach them on top of the studs secured to the wall, on the exterior side of each stud, you will keep the same width you originally accounted for.
- Doing it this way will give your shiplap over mantel a depth of approximately 5.5” + the width of your shiplap.
STEP 5: Framework
- Next, measure in between the two vertical braces and cut (3) 2×4’s boards accordingly.
- You will want to attach the (3) studs horizontally by screwing from the outside of the vertical boards with 3” construction screw and into the sides of your horizontal pieces.
- We installed them at the top, middle and bottom of the braces to ensure maximum strength of the frame:
STEP 6: Framework
- Now, measure in between the horizontal braces and cut (2) 2×4’s boards accordingly.
- You can use a Kreg-Jig to pre-drill the angled holes for your screws as this ensures the screws are flush with the frame and aren’t interfering with the shiplap install.
- Next, attach each piece vertically in between each of the horizontal braces using 3” construction screws:
STEP 7: Cut Shiplap To Size
- As mentioned above, we wanted the shiplap over mantel to match up length-wise to the width of our fireplace surround so each front board was cut to 63”.
- To get the measurement for how long our side pieces needed to be, we cut our first board and installed it to our frame; allowing us to see the length of our the side pieces. We did this by measuring the distance from the wall to the front of the board for the side pieces. Each side was measured at 5.5” so two pieces were cut to length accordingly.
- Once you have your board measurement for the front and side pieces you are ready to make your cuts accordingly.
- We cut each board using a miter saw which allowed us to cut precise 45 degree angles, this made for a seamless connection of the front shiplap to the side pieces on each row.
Cutting 45 degree angles and matching them up on each corner can be challenging! Another option would be to simply install corner trim over the corners once you are finished installing all of the shiplap boards to hide any imperfections while still giving you a great looking overmantel!
STEP 8: Install Shiplap To Frame
Now the real fun begins as you get to start installing your shiplap! We chose to start installing the shiplap boards from the top of the frame and work our way down. Starting installation at the top helped ensure that any gaps or irregular sizes that may happen at the end would be covered up once the faux wooden mantel was installed.
If you start from the bottom and work your way up you could run into an issue of having a top board that’s too small or too big and have no way of covering it up.
- Starting at the top, flush with the ceiling if possible place the first plank on the wall frame and install using a nail gun on to each stud of the
- Use a level on the first plank to align it, since it will serve as a guide for the rest.
- Next, you will install the side pieces to each side of the frame so that they connect seamlessly to the edge of the front board.
- You don’t have to worry about using spacers in between each board as this brand already has the lip gap as seen in authentic shiplap panels.
- Quick tip: There is a top and a bottom to these shiplap boards so make sure they are installed correctly to ensure you have the appropriate gaps between each board! I suggest taking a pair of your side pieces and fitting them together so that you are able to distinguish the top from the bottom. You should see that the bottom lip faces outward; toward you. You’ll see what I mean!
STEP 9: Fill Nail Holes, Sand and Paint
- Firstly, fill in the areas where you used nails with spackling paste and lightly sand the areas once dry.
- Secondly, clean off your shiplap and remove any access nail filler residue before painting
- Lastly, paint two coats of white paint onto your shiplap over mantel using a paint roller (we used Antique White by Sherwin Williams in gloss).
STEP 10: Decorate It!
Now it’s time to clean up, decorate, and show off that finished project!
Shop The Look
I hope this tutorial inspires you to take on your own DIY shiplap over mantel fireplace project and provides you with the necessary tools for updating your builder-grade fireplace. If you used this tutorial, please feel free to tag @pamelacarlisledesign in your reveal as I’d love to personally see your transformation!