How To Install Reclaimed Wood Wall Planks Over Drywall

How To Create A Barnwood Accent Wall By Yourself 

A cool way to make your house unique and different that will have your neighbors talking is to create barn wood walls inside your house. It will leave quiet the impression, and makes an excellent accent wall.

reclaimed-barn-wood-wall-bedroom-application-grey-brownStep 1 - Pre-Planning...

First things first a little pre-planning to decide exactly what you want your accent wall to look like. 

Step 2 - Calculate How Much You Need

See our recent article, How To Calculate The Square Feet NEEDED For A Reclaimed Wood Wall. This will help you figure out how much you need.  But you are also welcome to contact us anytime to help you determine how much. 

Step 3 - Choose Your Colors

There are a wide range of options when it comes to choosing the color you want for this barn wood accent wall. The most typical are...

Step 4 - Choose Your Widths

We typically fill orders with 2 widths, typically 2" apart such as 2" & 4", 5" and 7". The widths range from 2" wide and sometimes can include wider widths.  Wider widths in reclaimed wood are more rare, so they are therefore more expensive.  Most of our accent walls sold are in the 2" - 6" range. 

Step 5 - Place your order for material

Typically it takes about 4 weeks to get your order once it is placed. Sometimes it is sooner and sometimes longer if you have very specific specifications.  To order from us, you can either go directly to our store by clicking here, or fill out a form to talk to us directly by clicking here by emailing us at or calling 1(866)686-BARN during business hours. We are in the Eastern time zone.

In the meantime, you can get ready so when your reclaimed wood wall material arrives, you will be ready to are the remaining steps....

Step 6 - Gather Your Tools!

Saw For Cutting

Your going to need a saw. This can be a power saw such as a miter saw or even a circular saw with a straight edge or even a inexpensive hand trim saw from Home Depot.  

deluxe-hand-miter-box-used-for-cutting-jimmy-barnwood-reclaimed-wood-accent-wall-planks.jpgWe have already done 95% of the preparation (See our article Why Is Processed Barn Siding Better For Interior Accent Walls?) to the material in our shop, so there should be very little cutting needed. The pieces may still need to be end trimmed. 

Hammer, Or Air Finish Nailer

A finish nail gun would work the best for fastening, but it doesn't matter if you have air or cordless. This rigid one from Home Depot is the one that we own and it works well. nail-gun-used-by-jimmy-barnwood-for-securing-reclaimed-wood-wall-planks-to-drywall.jpg

Obviously if you have a air nailer, you will also need a compressor.  An old school hammer will work fine too.  With that you would also want a nail punch so you can set the nails below the surface of the siding. 


For nails you have to consider the depth of the wood, depth of drywall and at least a 1/2 inch into the wood. You can use construction adhesive if your worried the nails won't

1/2 for the siding

1/2 typical drywall

1/2 set into the wood

1 1/2" - 1 3/4" nails would be the right size. We use a finish nailer from Home Depot that uses 18 gauge straight nails. 

Caulk Gun


Simple caulking gun with construction adhesive. 

Rent Them If You Don't Have Them

If you don't have all the tools, no worries, call your local rental company and let them know what you are doing. They are usually very helpful and knowledgeable about what you need. 

Step 6 - Create A Level, Straight Edge

Measure down from the ceiling at both sides of your wall to make sure they are the same dimension. Even if your house is new, chances are that measurement may be off. You just never know.  

Measure down from the ceiling to about 6" above the floor and mark a measurement.

Go to the other end of the wall and do the same.  Now connect the lines with a level, use a string or even a chalk line.  Use this line to align your first pieces.  

This will give you the option to cover any variances with the trim at the bottom rather than having a crooked line across the top. 

Step 8 - Find The Studs Behind The Drywall

Before installing you reclaimed barnwood wall you have to do a little coloring on the walls. You need to find the wall studs so you know where to screw in your wood. The easiest way to do that is with a stud finder.  

Mark each one in 3 places, at the bottom, middle and top.  Use a 4' level to connect the lines.  You can use a sharpie marker or similar so you can clearly see the lines.  

Studs are most commonly 16" on center, so once you find the first one, the others are typically even easier to find. 

Step 9 - Nail it? or Glue It and Nail it? 

Most people prefer nails to fasten their reclaimed wood siding to the walls. But its not a bad idea to combine construction adhesive with nailing on the studs. That way you have nothing to worry about.  

There's usually plenty of rough surface to mask the nails, hiding them and leaving the walls looking seamless. 

Step 10 - Installation...Top To Bottom or Bottom To Top?

You can install your wood wall from either way, top to bottom or bottom to top. It just depends on the shape of the wall your doing and what will be easiest. The key is to make sure that it is straight.  Remember establishing your straight line in Step 6.

The advantage of starting at the bottom is that the next row sits atop the previous row so it will require less holding.  There are cases such as a stairway wall where you may need to start in the middle and go up and from the middle down.  If you are not sure which way to do yours, just ask, we are very experienced in installation of these walls. 

Step 11 - Assuming A Straight Wall, Starting At the Bottom

Establishing the first row is one of the more tedious parts of installing your wall, but also the most important. Take your time with this step because it determines how your wall will look once you get to the top of your wall.  

Using your straight line established in Step 6, work from left to right and set each piece to the line making sure it is level all the way across. Place a small amount of glue adhesive to the back of the piece of wood and stick it to the wall, making sure with your level that it is straight. 

Step 12 - Nail each piece for this first row so that you know it is straight.  

Nail only on the stud  lines you established in Step 7 where you found the studs.  

Step 13 -Keep putting wood up til you make it to the other end of the wall

Assuming you are working left to right, keep putting pieces up until you reach the end of the wall.  This is where you will need to cut a board to fit for the last piece.  Try to choose a board that is close to the measurement so that you don't have too much waste or create an unusable piece.  We typically recommend adding 10% for waste so you should have plenty.  But not carefully looking at the cut can lead to a much higher amount of waste factor.

Step 14 - Measure and cut end of board to finish first row

This is where you will need to cut a board to fit for the last piece.  Try to choose a boar that is close to the same size so you don't have too much waste or create a piece that is unusable. 

We recommend adding 10% to your order so as long as you do that you should have plenty. But, early on in the first few rows you want to make sure you maximize each board.

Once you have the measurement, cut the board. Place the board and now you are done with your first row.

Step 15 - Start the 2nd row

Here you want to offset the joints in the planks so choose either a shorter or longer board to get beyond the gap by 4-6".  Anything closer to that won't look good.  If you have multiple widths, I like to use a smaller or larger width so that you have contrasts.

Lay the same direction as the first row and complete the row.   Make sure to incorporate the different colors if you have more than one so there isn't an uneven distribution when you are all finished.

Step 16 - Repeat until you get to the last row

Depending on how your wall laid out, you will likely need to cut the last row to width.  Ideally you would have a table saw, but it it possible to do with a utility knife and straight edge if you don't happen to have one of those. 

Just mark your width, lay down your straight edge and cut along the edge a few times.  You won't need to go all the way through, but far enough so you can just snap it off. 

Once you have your widths for the last row you can install those and there you go... 

Step 17 - Pat yourself on the back...Doesn't it look amazing?

You did it!! Not the easiest project but also not the hardest either.  Be sure to take some pictures and share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter, tag us as we love to show off our customers work!


Extra Tips

Layout the rows on the floor

Worried you won't get the right mix?  Don't sweat it really.  Just do a rough layout on your floor and then adjust as you are installing the wall.   It will look awesome no matter how you do it.  Just remember to mix up the pieces so you get a good consistent contrast across the wall.  You don't want any patches of all light colors or all dark colors. Blend, blend blend.

Got outlet boxes or switches? How to cut outlet boxes or switches

For exact outlet or switch placement a plank will need to be measured, marked, and then cut out before being installed. Use a measuring tape to measure the exact placement of the outlet or switch, then mark the planks with colored chalk or a carpenter's pencil.

Before you use a jigsaw to cut out the notch a pilot hole must be drilled into the plank. To do this a paddle bit is added to a drill allowing a space for the jigsaw to be inserted to cut a rectangular box. 

Free Sample Of Barn Siding Accent Wall? Click Here...

Some other articles related to accent wall material....

What Is A Barnwood Accent Wall?

12 Different Types and Colors Of Barnwood Accent Walls

Why Is Processed Barn Siding Better For Interior Accent Walls?

The Story Behind "Naily" Board Reclaimed Wood Accent Wall


Jimmy Hovey, MBA
Written by Jimmy Hovey, MBA

I started my first business when I was 14 years old and have been working in my own businesses or family businesses ever since then. My parents placed a high value on education and instilled a strong work ethic. We fixed and built our own stuff including homes while I was growing up. I love to write and author both this blog and a blog on energy efficient lighting. I have 4 kids and live in Michigan. You can contact me below.



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