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What You Should Know Before Installing Shiplap

If you have spent any amount of time looking at home improvement shows, blogs or other media, you have definitely seen the popularity of shiplap. It has become a staple for many home improvement projects and media, like Fixer Upper. If you’re considering adding shiplap to your home you’ve come to the right place. Here I’ll be sharing you what you need to know before installing shiplap.

Shiplap has a clean look to it, and it is easy to make work with any home’s style. It also proves to be a bit easier to install, and if you do your research, it can be cheaper too! I don’t blame you if you are thinking about installing shiplap, it can be the best of all worlds! I don’t mean to erase its challenges though. When looking into shiplap, you can get a few more questions than answers, and there some key things to think about before installing shiplap. I’ll try to answer some of these questions so that you can be prepared for installation!

What is Shiplap?

Shiplap is a wall covering that is made out of long horizontal boards. The boards are stacked on top of each other and there are gaps between each board’s connection. This adds dimension and texture to the wall. Shiplap can be made from many different materials and can be painted in any way that fits the home. The board’s width can range from 4 inches to 8 inches. 

Why Do They Call it Shiplap?

Shiplap actually gets its name from exactly where you would expect: Ships! It is the same style and method used back in the day for ships. The material and overlapping technique made the ships very durable and weatherproof. The benefits of shiplap haven’t been lost either, it is still a very durable choice for a home’s wall or siding. 

What’s So Great About Shiplap?

You might be wondering why shiplap became such a popular wall choice? It may seem confusing but as you look into it, it becomes clearer. People are starting to see a plain solid colored wall as boring. They want something different, something that makes the home more eye-catching. Shiplap does that! It adds texture to the walls while being simple enough to build any style on top of! 

Not only is it a fun new way to redecorate a house, but it is also somewhat easier than other options. The shiplap boards themselves have varying prices depending on the material and where you buy them, but the installation is fairly easier. It is easier to hire out installation, but you can also make it a DIY project and install it yourself. It is more easily accessible than other home improvement trends, that people can make their own! 

Is Shiplap Going Out Of Style?

Shiplap may seem like a trend that would fade, but it is here to stay! I think it will be difficult for shiplap to go out of style because of how versatile it is. It gives clean lines and texture that can work with a contemporary style, or it can be painted warmer colors for a cozy style. The

shiplap boards could be left as raw wood material for a cabin or farmhouse feel, and to save more installation work. Shiplap is very forgiving with whatever style you choose, so I don’t think it is going out of style soon! 

Where To Put Shiplap

You can really put shiplap anywhere! The beauty of shiplap easy installation is that it can really be put anywhere. It can be used for every wall in your home or it can be used as just an accent wall! It really is easy to shape and work into any surface of the home, besides maybe the floor. 

Can Shiplap Be Installed On The Ceiling?

Yes! Shiplap is most popularly used on walls, but it can be used on the ceiling just as easily! It can add a different texture than the classic popcorn ceiling. 

Can Shiplap Be Installed On a Fireplace?

Shiplap is a safe and stylish way to upgrade your fireplace! You can put shiplap on your fireplace surround for a clean look and to revamp your living space, as long as you follow safety codes. Shiplap is safe to put on your fireplace but your region may have its own code requirements you have to follow. You should also consider the National Fire Code and the National Standard Building Code before remodelling your fireplace. 

Is Making a Shiplap Wall Hard?

There are many ways to achieve a shiplap wall or accent. You can buy shiplap already made, or you can make your own! You will have to pick out what materials you want to use and have them cut correctly. 

Many choose sanded plywood, as it seems easiest to work with and have them cut. Stores like Lowes or Home Depot rip cut wood, but they may have restrictions on how much they cut, or add a price for the cuts you would need for shiplap. There is also the chance that Lowes or Home Depot will not cut the boards correctly. Their woodcut is jagged, where the desired look for shiplap is a clean cut. This may leave you with cutting the boards yourself to ensure the correct measurements and cuts, and to save the extra costs. 

Once you have your shiplap boards one way or another, it is time to get the boards onto the wall. This process takes some patience. You have to make sure your measurements are correct and keep the distance between each board precise. The shiplap look at the end is pretty forgiving and tends to end up clean enough to hide the mishaps, but the process takes time and some knowledge of wood and power tools. 

What Wood Is Used For Shiplap?

The type of wood used for shiplap can depend on the look you want, the width you want, and your budget. Some have used pine for the price and width, but it can be more difficult to work with. Others use ply wood or Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF). MDF has a smooth look and is lighter. They are composed of resin and wood, making them easier to work with.

Is Shiplap Raw or Refinished?

It is really up to you what kind of wood you want to use and how you want the end result to look. Shiplap can be made from raw wood like pine, and sanded just enough for a clean look on the home. The shiplap wood can also be renfished and stained or painted. You can also buy precut shiplap of any stain or color to make the process easier for you. 

Can Shiplap Be Installed Directly To The Studs or to Drywall First?

To add to how versatile shiplap is, it can be installed either to the studs or to sheet rock! Shiplap was originally used as siding installed directly onto the studs because if its durability. You might want to add some insulation between the studs, but it will work just fine nonetheless.

The instillation on studs also takes away the freedom of the gap distance. The shiplap has to be as close together as possible because there is no drywall behind it. Shiplap can also be installed on drywall, if you are looking for more freedom and insulation. 

How Much Does Shiplap Cost?

Shiplap wood prices vary on the type of wood you prefer, and if you buy wood boards or shiplap precut. On average, shiplap wood ranges between $2.50 and $7.00 per square foot. The interior installation also costs around $1,000. If you are looking for an exterior shiplap, it could cost up to $7,500 because of the type of wood and durability. 

Is Shiplap Cheaper Than Drywall?

The raw materials of drywall are cheaper than that of shiplap. Drywall made out of cheaper materials and costs between $0.40 to $0.65 per square foot. The installation of the dry walls is also cheaper and requires less maintenance than drywall. Though you can save costs on shiplap and be able to achieve the perfect look for your home. 

What Is The Cheapest Way To Do Shiplap?

The cheapest way to do shiplap is by making it a DIY project. The cost for shiplap rises when you buy premade shiplap and pay for installation. You can save costs by buying the raw materials and asking Lowes or Home Depot to cut the boards, or you can cut the boards yourself if you are handy with a saw. You can also install the shiplap yourself. It takes some measuring, patience, and skills with power tools, but it is possible! 

Where To Buy Shiplap

You can get shiplap almost anywhere that sells wood. As you have probably noticed in this article, you can get either shiplap ready for installation, or wood boards to cut at places like Lowes and Home Depot. They are the most popular for shiplap, but any store with a lumberyard should sell shiplap. 

What Tools Do I Need to Install Shiplap?

If you have chosen to install your own shiplap, you are going to need a few tools to get the job done! First, you’ll need a mitre saw and jigsaw if you are making the boards yourself. You can cut them yourselves or have Home Depot do it, but it is always good to have your own saw in case you need to adjust the cuts. 

A nail setter or nail gun and compressor are a must to get the boards onto the studs or drywall. You will also need a caulk gun after the installation in order to keep everything in place. Many recommend using a nickel to space the boards out evenly, but it might prove difficult to use, so another option is a tile spacer or a popsicle stick!  You are also going to need a level, measuring tape, and sandpaper to get the job done! 

Do You Start Shiplap From The Bottom or The Top?

It’ll be nice to know that shiplap can be very forgiving in the installation process. It doesn’t really make difference whether you start with the top of the wall and work your way down or vice versa. The most important thing to remember is to make sure the first board you start with is level. The rest of the boards will follow the first, so you have to make sure you are making a firm foundation for the wall. 

Should You Paint Shiplap Before Installing It?

Yes, you should paint the shiplap before installation. Because shiplap has ridges and edges, it is easier to paint and ensure full coverage before putting it onto the wall. You can also paint the wall where it will show through between the boards to make it easier to fully cover the wall. 

Should You Fill in the Nail Holes In The Shiplap?

Yes, if you want the clean look of shiplap, fill in the nail holes! It may be time-consuming, but filling them in with wood filler and sanding them down will really boost its clean appearance! 

Does Shiplap Require Any Maintenance?  

Once you install your shiplap, it doesn’t require much maintenance. The biggest tip is to clean the shiplap after installation with a damp rag and it is complete! Shiplap is very durable and only requires basic maintenance for wood. 

What Is The Best Way To Clean Shiplap?

The ridges on the shiplap give an amazingly clean look to any home, but the downside is that it is prone to collect dust. Because the dust can settle within the shiplap, you have to be diligent in cleaning it. A regular dust rag might not get it all, but you can grab a vacuum brush and make sure it is thoroughly cleaned!  

What’s The Best Color To Paint Shiplap?

Watching Fixer Upper, or really any home improvement show, you may get the impression that white is the best color for shiplap. Some may believe that to be true, but it is not the only option! People like to use gray or black paint for a more modern look with shiplap. There is no wrong answer for what to paint shiplap, it just depends on your own style! Mine is Alabaster by Sherwin Williams.

Be sure to pin for later!

Thats it for now! Thanks so much for reading along.

Much Love,

Kori ~ From the Farmhouse Life


  1. Love your blog!
    We are Currently installing shiplap at our cottage. What color white did you use on yours? It’s a lovely white!

    1. Hi! Just seeing this now, sorry for the delay! I used simply white my Sherwin Williams.

  2. what is the fire rating for shiplap. I have this around my gas fire place. new home. make me nervous.

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