We finished the pallet wall, whoop whop! Can I get a “heck yes”?
Last time we checked in we’d left you with this. And last time we did a walkthrough in the living room it was looking pretty sad, like this:
Solution. Pallet wall!
Before we get into the details I’ll show off the good stuff, the after pics! I can hardly contain my excitement for this project. It’s possibly my favorite to date. Which says a lot over our recent kitchen makeover and Zoey’s original nursery, both tied for first in my imaginary ranking system.
Here she is!
So, if you’re a pretty close follower, then you’re probably wondering where everything else in the room came from. I wasn’t kidding when I said I had at least a handful of projects going on. Stay tuned, as we’ll be covering those throughout the rest of this week!
Now, back to the pallet wall. Oh. My. Gosh. I am drooling over it. I could NEVER have imagined it would turn out so well. Props to my hubs. He’s the man.
As for how we did it. First up, finding pallets. Several retailers have hundreds of leftover pallets on a daily basis. Think home improvements stores, Lowes, Home Depot, even Ikea had them available. And for free! Do not, I repeat, do not pay for pallets. I would advise to be careful, as far as where you get them from though. You never know what they’ve carried in the past, and they could be crawling with nasty pesticides etc. A deep, deep clean is advised. We were lucky enough to get them from the hubs workplace. They get shipments in daily, and we were able to fish through them and find the best pieces.
Once you have the pallets on hand it’s time to start disassembling. I’ve had several requests for tips and tricks on the easiest, most efficient way to go about this. Spoiler alert. There is no easy route. This part is a pain, and at most times, a two person job. But don’t get discouraged, once you make it through, you’re in the clear. Everything else is smooth sailing.
We first tried using a pry bar to pull apart the boards. Seven seconds in we realized that was an epic fail and went straight for the sawzall. We wedged the blade in between the boards and cut through the nails individually. Throughout most of the cuts, I held the pallets in place while Rick worked his way through with the sawzall. It was not a short process, but not entirely difficult either. Just time consuming. And in case anyone is curious, we used around 70 pieces of pallet wood and eight actual pallets total.
Once the pallets were separated, we used an orbital sander with 80 grit sand paper. Rick was careful just to smooth the exposed edges and clean them up a bit, and not to sand away the distressed look that we loved so much. And although we were pretty confident in where the pallets had come from, we used a cleaning solution on them just in case.
On to staining. We shared a few of our inspiration pics last week, and after reading a few tutorials from others, we learned that most others chose to install the wood as is. Which is great. If you’re pallets are “pretty”. Ours however, came in array of wood types and a lot of them, although still distressed, were fairly new. Meaning that they were still a light wood that hadn’t yet been exposed to the weathering conditions. Point of the story, we chose to stain ours. We loved the look of varying woods, but we also wanted the uniform of one stain color that would bring all of the wood into the same color tone. This was the BEST decision made.
We used Minwax’s “Special Walnut”, applied lightly (very important, as pallet will soak up stain like nobody’s business) with a rag. Don’t worry if the stain isn’t going on evenly, this only adds to the distressed look once installed on the wall. These pieces actually wound up being a few of our favorites. Also, make sure that you stain the edges of the wood if they’re drastically different in color, as they may show a bit if the pieces sit unevenly… and they will.
We left the stained wood outside to dry and air out for a few days before moving on to installation. Surprisingly, the actual install took us the least amount of time. We knocked it out in two evenings with two kids in tow and an 8 o’clock bedtime. Not bad.
(sorry for the poor picture quality, we had to take this one at night)
Start by finding and marking all of your wall studs, for nailing the wood pieces in place. We’ve seen others used plywood behind the pallet wood, but we chose to go straight into the wall. Yes, this will be less than pleasing to remove and may result in completely replacing the drywall if the time ever comes that we grow tired of the wall. We’re willing to take the chance, and unfortunately becoming far to familiar with the ins and outs of hanging drywall. We’re much happier with a little extra work down the road, and for one main reason that we might as well get into.
Unlike most other DIY pallet walls, our wall is not surrounded by two adjacent walls. The left side is an open corner. We decided to “frame” the vertical sides of the wall to cover any exposed edges on the horizontal pieces. We weren’t originally thrilled with idea, but turns out, we LOVE it. Love. It gives the wall an extra finished look. But, with the open corner comes a side view, and extra plywood would only add to the thickness of the wall. Not so good on the eyes. Anyway, completely your decision.
Once the studs were marked, we began electric work. We used “add a depth liners” to extend the outlets from the wall and accommodate the plank wood. As you may know, Rick is an electrician. And that may or may not have a play in the advice I’m about to give. Regardless, unless you are highly experienced in electric and know exactly what you’re doing, I would not under any circumstances mess with it. After remodeling two homes of our own, and seeing several others (friends, family, and customers) it is amazing what people come up with. And incredibly scary. Please, please, please. Ask for help or hire someone. The consequences outweigh any money you may save by doing it yourself. Enough on that, lets build this wall!
Side note: All of those holes are a result of my husband being “too lazy” (his quote) to get into the attic to run the television wires to a new location. And “A hammer was easier, especially on a wall that is going to be filled with nail holes anyway.” Love his honesty.
Here are a few tips that we compiled as we went:
- Start at the top of the wall, not the bottom. If you have to trim the last few pieces to fit, it’s better that they sit at floor level where they’ll be less noticeable and possibly covered up completely.
- Think of the wood placement and sizes as you would a hardwood floor install. Random is key. That goes for color too!
- Organize your wood pieces by width and don’t begin a row until you’re sure that you have enough of the same width pieces to complete it.
- Check for gaps and level placement as you go, but don’t obsess over it. The wood pieces aren’t brand new straight cuts and perfection is not the goal. Ours actually ended up at a half inch difference from one end to the other. Which bothers Rick more than he likes to admit
We used pallet wood for the trim pieces as well, but like I said, if you don’t have an open corner there’s no reason for trim. The piece on the right is solely for aesthetics to compliment the right side. We also chose to keep the white baseboards and white cove ceiling exposed. Although, there really was no way of working around the cove if we’d wanted to.
It’s hard to capture in pictures, but we love the detail in the varying depth of the wood.
And as for a cost breakdown, we’re looking at just under $20! (an $11 pack of 2 inch nails and $8 worth of stain)
Now, brace yourself for a week of DIY projects that can’t possibly produce posts as lengthy as this one.
Your turn! Anyone else gearing up to tackle a plank wall of their own? Could this be the new wood paneling that is doomed to go out of style within the next 10 years? Lets hope not!