What is Car Coating? The hottest trend since Shiplap, explained

If reality TV shows are a harbinger of hot new trends that may soon invade American homes, then one upgrade that’s about to get terrific is car upholstery.

Despite the name, this wooden wall upgrade has nothing to do with automobiles, and it’s not much different from burlap, which has become hugely popular after being used extensively on the show. hit “Fixer Upper”.

The car coating recently appeared on an episode of “Fixer to Fabulous,” where Dave Marr explains, “The car upholstery is actually just three-quarter-inch pine panels that look really historic. You lay it vertically, just something unique for this small room.

Given that strapping is old news these days, could its cousin, car upholstery, assume its place as the reigning wallcovering of the day?

“This look has become more popular recently because of its rustic appearance, but also because of its durability and the fact that it’s easy to install and clean,” explains Marco Bizzleyinterior designer and consultant at HouseGrail.

In case you’re curious for more, or ready and eager to try out this trendy new style, here’s everything you need to know about car upholstery.

What is Car Coating?

Photo by Michael Smith Architects

Car liner is a wood panel marked with a V-shaped groove. Its original use dates back to the heyday of railroading in the mid-19th century, when this treatment was used to line the interior of covered wagons. , especially those that transported products.

“It’s known by a few different names, including boxcar liner, wagon liner, and v-groove, and is very similar to tongue and groove,” Bizzley explains.

“The car liner is made from tongue and groove panels which have an extra groove down the center of each piece, so the wood is actually twice as wide as it looks,” adds Cristina Miguelezan expert in renovation and design at To fix.

“It offers a different style of profile than its sibling, the shiplap,” adds Michelle Harrison-McAllister by Michelle Harrison Design. “The extra center grooves make your rooms feel more cozy and rustic, while the hardwood gives a more nautical look.”

Where is car coating used?

Photo by Yvonne McFadden LLC

The car coating can be used in interior and exterior applications. Many home decor styles can work with car upholstery, from bohemian and Scandinavian to cottage and farmhouse style.

You can try car upholstery just about anywhere, Bizzley says, though it’s usually seen in the living room, hallways, entryway or dining room.

“If you’re going to use it in the kitchen, consider making it an accent wall,” he adds.

“Cottagecore” followers flocked to the car wrap, says Miguelez, adding that it’s equally smart “on the ceiling of a sunroom to add texture or in mudrooms with a row of hooks hung just below. molding”.

Harrison-McAllister would place it on a bathroom ceiling for a warmer experience or as a kitchen backsplash to add “an organic wood feel to all-white kitchen cabinets.”

Pamela O’Brien of Pamela Hope Designs suggests using the tongue-and-groove design of car siding on the exterior of a home, especially in the entryway or a covered patio.

“It helps break up the black and white we see on many modern exteriors, and it also softens a stone or brick home,” she says.

car siding installation

Photo by Alix Bragg Interior Design

“The professional method of installing car siding is to remove the drywall and place a plywood substrate behind it, then use a nail gun to attach the new panels,” explains Angela Reynolds from the eponymous design firm.

You can also get away with placing the car upholstery directly over the drywall, she adds.

It’s almost an instant process as one end has the v-channel and the other has a protruding piece, allowing the two to fit together perfectly.

A shiplap board, on the other hand, is laid just above the edge (also called an overlap joint) of the next board.

Car coating costs

Photo by Tim Barber Architects

According to Reynolds, car upholstery is sold by the linear square foot, so your costs will depend on the size of your part plus the cost of labor.

“Due to COVID, material and labor have increased by 20% to 30%,” she adds.

Per Fixr, prices for exterior tongue-and-groove panels are around $5 to $15 per square foot.

Want to do it yourself? Home Depot sells reasonably priced car upholstery.

“It’s more expensive than wallpaper,” adds Reynolds, “but also more durable, and the wood looks more detailed.”

Should you paint or stain your car’s upholstery?

Photo by Merzbau Design Collective

Personal preference will influence the decision here, but you can try both finishes. Painting and staining will hide a host of imperfections in the wood.

“A slight stain will showcase the beauty of the natural wood,” says Harrison-McAllister, “as the paint on the car’s upholstery embraces that groove detail.”

You can also leave your car upholstery plain, as pictured above on this natural pine accent wall.

If you’re hoping for a more traditional look, you can take your car’s upholstery all the way to the ceiling, Bizzley says.

“If you want to create a country contrast, you can install it halfway up and then pair it with paint or wallpaper,” he says.

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