Shiplap is everywhere! In fact, all you need to do is turn on any home improvement show or check out the latest Pinterest board dedicated to decorating, and you’ll quickly find out that using shiplap siding for interior walls is all the rage.

using shiplap
Shiplap goes up in our main room of the Simple House

But beyond the cool, bright look that shiplap can give, there are a lot of additional advantages to using it in place of drywall. So many in fact, that we are using it exclusively on every single interior wall of our new “Simple House” at the farm.

As we installed the shiplap walls last week, we absolutely fell in love with the bright and clean look of the interior. We couldn’t be happier that not one single square inch of drywall will be installed in our new home.

What is Shiplap?

Before I go further, I do want to point out the difference between true shiplap and tongue and groove boards. When installed, tongue and groove and shiplap boards look nearly identical – but the actual difference is in the edge.

using shiplap
True shiplap siding has a rabbit edge.

Both boards are usually made from pine and come in widths ranging from 6″ to 12″ wide. True shiplap siding has a flat rabbited edge that is overlapped when installed. Tongue and groove boards have a milled edge and grooves that fit into one another. When installed with a similar gap, they give the identical effect.

The cost is virtually the same, but I prefer using tongue and groove boards for the shiplap look because of the additional strength of the fit. It leaves much less chance of any future warping, twisting or turning of the boards.

It’s really a matter of choice – but both look and work great. So with that said, here are 4 big reasons we chose to go with shiplap walls over drywall.

The Advantages of Using Shiplap vs. Drywall

Cost – Although an individual sheet of drywall is fairly inexpensive, it the finishing process that can be both time-consuming and expensive. Drywall can be a long, tedious and messy process if you attempt to tackle it yourself. And if you hire that task out – the budget for drywall can soar quickly!  

The window trim is simple to install around shiplap.
When using shiplap. trimming out windows is a breeze.

We were able to easily shiplap every wall in our home as well as our garage ourselves – about 3500+ board feet in all – for under $2500.00. Including the cost of paint, it worked out to about $1.40 per square foot. Considering drywall quotes were somewhere in the range of $5,000 to $8000 before painting, it was a big budget saver!

Durability – Shiplap is 3/4″ thick and made of solid wood, so it can take a beating and still look great. We have all been witness to an object, hand, arm, or even a foot accidentally going through drywall. Drywall also has the tendency to dent and scratch easily.

When using shiplap – that simply doesn’t happen. Even better, if it does get a little scrape or ding, it simply adds a little more character to that type of wall. Divots, dings and holes in drywall are rarely, if ever, looked upon as character building.

And in the case of potential water damage or flooding, once again shiplap comes through with flying colors.  Let a few inches of water touch drywall, and the water wicks up the board and ruins it completely. That is not the case with shiplap. The solid wood can easily dry out and keep on serving for years without the worry of stains or unhealthy mold.

Simple To Install

Ease and Time Savings of Installation – Installing shiplap couldn’t be easier. Whether using the traditional rabbit edge, or the tongue and groove boards like we did, it goes up quickly. Installation is as easy as setting on the groove, leveling, and nailing. And for tools, you only need a saw, nail gun, level, hammer, and a block of wood. 

Using Shiplap
Our Simple House will not have a single piece of drywall in it, sticking to our theme of using as many simple and natural materials as we can throughout the house

Drywall on the other hand can be a bit more tedious to install, especially for the do-it-yourselfer. Between installing the sheets and applying the tape and mud, it’s a process that can go on forever.  And that’s before sanding!

Painting and Care –  When it comes to finishing, shiplap once again takes the award over drywall. Although it can easily be painted once installed, we pre-painted so the walls were completely finished as soon as we nailed them up. No waiting for that messy mudding and sanding to take place before a primer and paint can be applied.

Cleaning is a breeze. It’s as simple as taking a damp rag over the painted surface, with no worries about damaging the wall like you might with a paper-backed drywall board.

So if you are thinking of building a home, or remodeling a room – think about using shiplap! For more info on our Simple House at the farm, see : The Simple House Project

Happy Building β€“ Jim and Mary

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23 thoughts on “The Beauty, Simplicity And Ease Of Using Shiplap Walls

  • October 5, 2016 at 1:46 am
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    We are building a wall and it will have shiplap (t & g)on either side of it. You mentioned that you used a nail gun, what nail size and type did you use? I’m not really looking forward to hand nailing but the only thing we have access to is a framing nailer and a finish nailer. I’m guessing it was something in between. Can you elaborate on that?

    • October 5, 2016 at 7:04 am
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      Good morning Andrea. I am actually doing a post on how to install shiplap next thursday πŸ™‚ lol. In case you will be doing it before that – we used a fraiming nailer with 2 and 3/8th inch round nail heads. And you are right – nailing by hand would be miserable! πŸ™‚

  • August 19, 2016 at 8:10 pm
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    I love the white shiplap. I see a lot of houses go “au naturale” on their shiplap and that’s a little TOO rustic for me – like they built it in a hurry to survive the zombie apocalypse. This is just the right touch of class.

  • August 19, 2016 at 6:16 am
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    Wow! Love what you are doing with the shiplap. I would like to know what paint you used, and did you prime it first?

  • August 18, 2016 at 3:54 pm
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    I tend to like the look of shiplap, but with four indoor cats (two of whom are long haired), the idea of yet another crevice for cat fur to gather makes me hesitant to use it. Any one have any thoughts on this?

  • August 18, 2016 at 12:10 pm
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    Drafty? Doesn’t you building department require Air Infiltration Barrier, will you get a Blower Door Test? Even if you just hung drywall on the ceilings, fire taped then add your ship-lap it would probably slow drafts and keep your energy bill lower. Maybe your local building codes don’t require as much as Washington State. Built a small house 4 years ago…..what I truly dislike are the windows, No Passive Solar Heat gain as I had planned, and still get a cold convection draft off uncovered glass at night. Windows still only have like R-2 insulation factor. : ) Just a building geek, who enjoys your gardening website.

    • August 18, 2016 at 12:46 pm
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      Glad you like the website – we certainly love the garden! πŸ™‚ As for the house, it’s not drafty at all, and since we used tongue and groove in place of the true shiplap – it has no draft through at all. We used 12″ thick R39 on the ceiling, and 6″ thick R21 on the walls with the 2 x 6 framing instead of 2 x 4. Along with the radiant floor heat – it should come in extremely energy efficient. Of course, it also helps its only 1054 square feet πŸ™‚

  • August 18, 2016 at 11:59 am
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    My concern is insulation factor! Drywall, once finished, creates an envelope and insulates the inside of the house. Shiplap is generally board on board. The seams will allow air infiltration and reduce the insulting envelope. Also it stinn is a rustic look that would not fit in many modern homes.

    • August 18, 2016 at 12:48 pm
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      It’s actually an extremely energy efficient house. Since we used tongue and groove in place of the true shiplap – it has no draft through at all. We used 12β€³ thick R39 on the ceiling, and 6β€³ thick R21 on the walls with the 2 x 6 framing instead of 2 x 4. Along with the radiant floor heat, it will heat for much less than most homes.

  • August 18, 2016 at 11:20 am
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    What are you putting on the ceiling??? dear hubby & I built a new addition last year … but are still deliberating on how to “do” the ceiling … just curious since your wonderful new home is so similar to ours which we built more than 20 years ago … have never tired of our choice of using shiplap on the walls πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    • August 18, 2016 at 12:49 pm
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      We are going to use a corrugated glavanized metal look for the ceiling, we really want the rustic but modern look – and hope the two together give us just that. We will post pics when all complete of the ceiling as well. πŸ™‚

  • August 18, 2016 at 9:37 am
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    Beauty, ease, natural, I love them all. Don’t forget though that shiplap is in the end wood. unless it is treated to make it fire resistant, your home is more apt to go up in flames than houses whose walls are drywall–one of the main reasons for its use in the first place.

  • August 18, 2016 at 9:20 am
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    I considered ship-lap briefly when we were building our tiny home, but I went with drywall for the fire resistance. What are your thoughts on the fire resistance between the two?

    BTW, it looks fantastic!

    Monty

  • August 18, 2016 at 9:18 am
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    I don’t get why Americans build houses out of so much wood. Interior is fine but why are you so against using bricks for walls? A brick built house, (all are brick in the UK), is stronger, cooler in summer, warmer in winter and far less exterior maintenance.

    Is it purely a cost thing or do you not have any brickies there?

  • August 18, 2016 at 8:43 am
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    Looks wonderful. And all great reasons to consider shiplap. I have a question: What about the nailheads showing? Do you not mind, or will there be a topcoat or fill-ins then a topcoat…?

    • August 18, 2016 at 10:21 am
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      We actually like the more rustic look of them showing – but yes, you could easily fill in and top coat if you would want to.

  • August 18, 2016 at 8:37 am
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    My favorite part about ship lap is the fact that you can drive a nail to hang a picture anywhere and not be looking for a stud.

    • August 18, 2016 at 10:20 am
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      One of my favorites as well!

  • August 18, 2016 at 8:17 am
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    Did you use shiplap in your bathroom? How does that work in a wet area like the shower?

    • August 18, 2016 at 10:20 am
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      We used a combination of shiplap on the walls and tile in the shower area. The shiplap if it has a good semi or gloss coat of paint will hold up very well.

      • August 18, 2016 at 8:21 pm
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        Did you use backer board under the tile? Or hardibacker or similar product?

  • August 18, 2016 at 8:12 am
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    I LOVE this idea. Thank you so much for sharing. Did you use the shiplap in the bathroom, too?

    • August 18, 2016 at 10:16 am
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      Thank you Carol, we are using a combination of shiplap and tile in the bathroom. We will have a complete update on the house with this Sunday’s update.

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