Hello there! Well this post is a perfect example of thinking you know what you want…and then realizing you don't like it. And when I say don't like it I mean hate it. Loathe it. Want to cry, it's awful, don't like it.
Inspriration pics are GREAT. But sometimes those pictures just don't translate to your own home.
I shared the start to our new backsplash wall last week and my inspiration pics with bright white planked walls. I LOVE the material I used for the wall and before I get to the other stuff I'll cover some tips for installing it.
Most importantly, this stuff is a fiber cement concoction and it creates a TON of dust when you cut it with a traditional saw. There are ways to cut it that reduce the dust quite a bit. One is a saw blade created just for cutting these planks and another is a siding cutter you attach to your drill like this one. Both are supposed to make it easy to cut without kicking up all the dust. I saw both used on a video and the cutter did an even better job -- practically no dust. Also, this stuff cuts really easy by using a straight edge and scoring it with a blade -- if you score it a few times it will snap fairly clean at that part. This takes longer but there will be no dust at all. I didn't have the patience for that but if you have a smaller space I would recommend doing it that way.
Because both of neither of the tools are cheap I went with my regular saw blade, which is fine but it will wear it down. Mine needs to be replaced anyway so I didn't mind.
If you use a regular blade you will get a lot of dust so you need to do a few things -- do NOT cut this stuff inside. I dragged my saw out to the driveway to work. Also, a mask and eye protection are both recommended:
After reading up on it more after the fact I wish I would have used a more heavy duty mask, but since I was outside this was decent.
If you are placing these on a wall, at some point you'll probably have receptacles to work around. I used up a bunch of jigsaw blades because they were dulling so quick. If you have a sharp one the cutting goes fast and easy. If they are dull it won't budge. I found these that are made for this type of product so if you try this I would recommend them.
To cut around outlets you have to do some measuring. I hold the board up and mark where it hits on the outlet, then measure and transfer that to the board:
To make it easier to cut tight corners, make some holes with your drill bit first:
I nailed them to the wall using an 18-gauge nail gun because I could use a slightly longer nail. I marked where the studs were on the wall and made sure to get those. For the most part the boards stay nice and flat on the wall. This stuff is heavier than the underlayment or pine boards I usually use for planking -- those can be put up using glue or a 16-gauge nailer no problem.
I don't use glue on my trim projects anymore unless I absolutely have to. If you ever want to remove it you'll have a ton of drywall patching to do and it's a pain in the butt (and glue is not needed most of the time).
Two things I realized soon after starting to prime the boards. I didn't love the spaces showing between them. I didn't space them out much like I did over the fireplace, because being a kitchen, I didn't want large gaps. My plan was to caulk them in clear or white after the painting, but I didn't love the look. (You have to use something like a toothpick to clean out the gaps as you paint if you want to keep them.)
I can't put my finger on why I didn't like the gaps showing -- it looked unfinished I guess? Not as clean looking as I had hoped? I have planked many a wall and don't mind it with thinner materials, but the thickness of these didn't help. I thought I would love seeing the lines in between the boards -- but I don't care for a dark grout and white tile (lighter gray and white tile I love) and the exposed seams between the planks gave it that more industrial look.
So this is worse than it actually looked with two coats, but it was too much white for me. I need contrast in our home and that's why I've never done all white walls. I love big beefy trim and seeing it up against color that shows it off -- and that beefy trim disappeared. I love the way I extend our crown at the top of the room and that was totally lost in the white wall as well. It had no dimension, no contrast. I did. not. like.
I was so discouraged. I don't misstep often when working on our house, because I do so much research and take my time. I was so heartbroken that I disliked it so much. I took some time away from the project and thought about what we loved about it before I painted it. We LOVED the wall after I installed the boards, even though it was way too rough to keep as it was.
So I decided to go back to the reason we liked it in the first place -- the texture was great, but what I loved was the contrast between the planks and the white trim on the window.
I had a quart of a light gray paint called Gray Clouds that I had picked up for another project and tried it on the wall. I immediately breathed a sigh of relief. I loved it. Thank the Lord.
The gray tones in our home aren't for everyone I know. Some feel gray is cold, I think it's a lovely, classic color when done right. What's funny is the kitchen feels SO much warmer with the gray compared to the white. The white felt stark and cold.
Blue and gray are my favorite colors and a gray and white combo is my absolute favorite -- it's what I used throughout our family room:
Throw in some wood tones and I'm a happy girl. That room is open to this one so I wanted to carry this through anyway.
So I went for it and I'm so glad I went with what I know and love. Every single day since I've walked into the kitchen and breathed a sigh of relief because I like it so much.
I had a lot more to do other than painting -- I got a light gray caulk and had to fill the small gaps around the window and other areas around the room. This is the BEST way to do this without getting it smeared everywhere:
Run your line of caulk down and then wipe away -- the excess will go on the tape, not the wall. I did the same method where it met the counters too:
Because my jigsaw cuts were not perfect (they never are), I added another piece of trim along the bottom of the window to hide that one:my favorite brush:
This is fantastic for cutting in and getting grooves in trim. The best brush I've used. I keep stocking up because I wear them out fast.
Here's a look at the space now:
SO much better than a bright white wall with no definition, for me anyway. I love the look in photos but it just wasn't right in our house.
A vent hood with a custom wood cover will go on this wall soon:
(There's light bouncing around above the oven, hence the brighter spot.)
I've decided to pay a little extra and go vented for our hood. We've always just had the microwave over the range but I've read up and it sounds like if you can go vented it works so much better. I'm looking for one that doesn't have to be installed under a cabinet and it's harder to find than I thought. If you have done that please let me know! The vent hood will be white or stained wood, I haven't decided yet.
Keep in mind these are in between pics! The uppers will be white and I seriously cannot wait to see how that turns out:
The lowers will still go darker, at least that's the plan right now.
I know…the white outlet covers drive some of you absolutely crazy. It never bothers me, but I did go and check out the hardware store to see what they had. They have darker cover and outlets (I didn't install the outlet yet) but I don't think I like it:
Also, it's going to be at least $100 for me to change out these and the GFCI outlets. So for now we have the white covers but I think I'll at least change those out to paintable ones soon.
You may have noticed the slight change in the lights as well -- I knew the first day that they were up that I'd want to change the color. They were an oil rubbed bronze and I wanted them black. They work much better with the island lights and really pop on the wall too:
I love the look of the black lights, gray and stainless together. There are many elements coming in that will warm up this space -- wood shelves and the vent hood will be biggies. Accessories will bring more color in as well.
We love it! It's not at all what I planned or expected but I think I love it even more because of that. Sometimes what works in one house doesn't work in yours and you have to roll with it. I'm even happier now that I didn't go with white subway tile because it would have been more of the same -- white on white. And that would have surely made me cry if I didn't love it -- not much you can do to fix it! Again, a light gray grout would have helped but not enough for my love of contrast.
I'm so excited to see the hood and shelves on the wall! Those should be up by next week and the cabinet painting will start then too. I'm so close I can taste it!
I'll be taking the rest of the week off to spend time with the kiddo while he's on break. Have a wonderful one and let me know if you have any questions about these fiber cement boards or the installation!
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