Is It Really Possible To Put Up Shiplap By Yourself??

So, is it really possible to put up shiplap all by yourself?

I have done it and the answer is yes!  I applied shiplap and finished my basement all by myself!  And I’m a Grandma!

How I applied my shiplap

  • Lightly sand the edges and the good side of the planks.  I had already cut the planks from 1/4 inch plywood on the table saw.  You can sand by hand or with a power sander.  I, of course, used power.


  • Now you should apply primer to the planks before hanging them.  I didn’t do this and immediately regretted it.  It’s really difficult to get paint in between the boards once they are hung.


  • Install the first plank.  I know some people start at the top, but I started at the bottom.  This is why; I knew that I would be installing planks to above the ceiling line. (drop ceiling) No one would see any unevenness up there.  So I wouldn’t have to worry about cutting and fitting.  I did not want to bother cutting and fitting the last planks down at the floor where everyone could see them.  Also, I really think it’s easier to do the leveling if you start at the bottom.


  • Keep the planks level.  The first plank is the most important as it needs to be absolutely level.  My basement floor was by no means level so I had to adjust with lots of shims before I started to nail.  Here, I did need a helper.  My neighbor, Susanne, came over and helped me hold and level the planks while I nailed them in with my handy Ryobi brad nailer.  This is a fantastic tool!  It is so light that I can use it with one hand!A picture of a Ryobi cordless brad nailer


  • Use spacers to keep the look consistent.  I used nickels for spacers between the planks and continued nailing the planks, being careful to keep them level and to keep the seams staggered.  A couple of times I forgot to stagger the seams.  I hope no one will notice.


  • Nail into the studs.  Nails elsewhere will be useless and the planks will pop out.  The studs in my Insofast Panels were easy to see as they were black.




See those black lines?  They are the studs.



Now it just needs paint

Having great, easy-to-use tools sure helped make this project easy.

Here are the tools I used:

  • Ryobi Chop Saw to cut the planks when needed. This is the only corded Ryobi tool I have.
  • Ryobi Jig Saw to cut around outlets, etc.
  • Ryobi Brad Nailer.  My favorite tool of all!  It made nailing up the planks a snap!
  • Ryobi Cordless Sander

They can be seen here:

So this is how I installed shiplap in my basement by myself.  You can too!  It was easy!


As always, take care.  You can do it!

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