All You Need to Know About Shiplap

Thanks to HGTV’s Fixer Upper, the Gaines’ love for shiplap walls has spread like wild fire across the nation.  These wooden boards add dimension and interest to any space.
All You Need to Know About Shiplap

Shiplap is not a new concept.  It is a type of wooden interior wall paneling identified by long horizontal (or vertical panels) with distinctive channels in between the boards. Original shiplap was often used in construction of homes (and other buildings) and has long been popular in areas with harsh climates because of its excellent weather protection.

Today, if it is found underneath wallpaper or drywall, it is essentially the equivalent of finding hardwood underneath carpeting.  However, most of us are not so lucky to rip open a wall and discover shiplap.  Instead, many of us are replicating the look.

Studio McGee has the most beautiful mudroom with shiplap walls:

Mudroom+Storage+||+Studio+McGee Shiplap

Jenna Sue Designs has the most gorgeous shiplap walls in her bathroom.


I decided I needed to add some shiplap to my home, so I started researching DIY tutorials to achieve the shiplap look.

I discovered the three most common ways people achieve shiplap:

  • Ripping down plywood underlayment sheets into planks
  • Installing pre-cut v-groove wood planks
  • Ripping down tempered hardboard into planks

Here are a few great tutorials I found on each option:

 Table and Hearth used plywood underlayment sheets ripped down to 8″ planks:


Bless’er House used pre-cut v-groove wood planks.


And My Love 2 Create advises against using the tempered hardboard she used.  After a lot of work, she managed to DIY a pretty placed wall:

long shot of plank wall, MyLove2Create

I spent last weekend working on my shiplap wall, and I’m excited to share it with you.  Which DIY shiplap tutorial do you think I went with?  Click HERE or on the photo below to find out!



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60 thoughts on “All You Need to Know About Shiplap

  1. Question about shiplap. If I have traditional moldings, can I still do shiplap? Or do all my window/door casings need to be the farmhouse style? I noticed your first picture in the mudroom has the traditional style moldings there. Thanks!

  2. Hey Sara! My girlfriend owns a 1930’s cottage in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas. Like you, we watch Fixer Upper, and have started to wonder if there is any shiplap behind the sheetrock in her house.

    How might we go about checking for shiplap without ripping down drywall?

    1. Hi Courtney! Your girlfriend’s home sounds pretty amazing. I may need to change the title of this post to “Almost Everything You Need to Know About Shiplap,” because I can’t answer your question. I researched it, but from what I see, shiplap is discovered when people are renovating. Also, often the shiplap is in bad shape so you can’t even be guaranteed that it’s usable if you would tear down drywall. I’m so sorry I couldn’t help!

      1. I bought some land in Bowdon Georgia and it had a 1911 Home on it. The home has about 1300 sq. ft with 10 foot ceilings. Every WALL, FLOOR AND CEILING ARE 1 X 6 TONGUE AND GROOVE.

        It had lots of wallpaper on drywall and wallpaper and cheesecloth mesh under the drywall. The boards are not in my opinion salvageable because there is no insulation in exterior walls. there are gaps and some imperfections in the grade of the wood, HOWEVER, I will be purchasing new Pine 1X8 Nickle Gap Ship Lap for the walls after I insulate and new 1X6 for the ceilings and floors from a local sawmill. My project will take about years to complete as a do it your-self as I can afford the out of pocket total gut and rebuild…. My house is about the same condition as the Fixer Upper Project for Clint Harp

        1. Danny, your house sounds absolutely amazing! I know it will take a lot of work (and time), but it sounds like the result will be absolutely gorgeous. Good luck and keep us posted. Happy New Year!

    2. My husband and I bought a house in a historic neighborhood about 45 minutes from Waco. A lot of the houses out here were built with shiplap, because it didn’t require a skilled professional like you would with plaster walls. We didn’t know that our house had shiplap and were so excited to discover them under the thin 70’s paneling. Our livingroom has drywall and the walls are almost flush with the door trim in some spots because of the added depth of the drywall. Houses built with shiplap walls and ceilings were wallpapered, so if you have drywall and the widow and door trim is still a regular thickness there probably isn’t shiplap under there.

      1. My 1911 house has tongue and groove walls under sheetrock which was installed in 1960’s. The trim is also tongue around the doors and windows on top of the drywall

    3. Courtney it may be as simple as driving a nail in the wall. If the nail goes through the drywall and hits nothing behind it (make sure you are not on a stud) then more than likely you can assume there is no shipboard. We are talking sheetrock of course. If you have plaster, then its a whole different ballgame. If its plaster you more than likely have wood lath underneath, or plasterboard, if its plasterboard it may contain asbestos so be informed. If you drive a nail through the drywall and hit wood in several locations then it is possible there may be shipboard. But if that’s the case you will hit wood regardless of where you drive the nail and always at the same depth, appox. 1/2″.

  3. Their last name is Gaines. To make that possessive, you add an S, as in
    the Gaines’s love for shiplap. I figure that if you are going to write, you may as well do it correctly.
    This is a very nice blog – clean design and interesting ideas. Thank you.

    1. Actually, Gaines’ is also an acceptable form to show possession. You don’t necessarily have to add the ‘s to end of their name, the key to this is to make sure you are consistent throughout your writing to reflect that in every possession that ends in an ‘s’.

  4. We bought a house that is 110 years old. We found a lot of shiplap under the wall paper. The rooms are large and it has 4 bedrooms and one and a half baths. We added another and re wired and replumbed the whole thing. We are not finished yet, but it is looking great!! Love what you did with the walls. Our kitchen is 20ft by 20 ft. IT LOOKS OUT OVER A 2 LOT BACKYARD . Also it has a gazebo in back.
    We are having a problem with the arrangement of the kitchen . Any ideas?

    1. If I had a kitchen that measured 20×20 I would love to have an old fashioned table and chairs eat-in kitchen. Of course, an island is great too. I love when the slide-in stove or stovetop is set into the countertop and a brick or stone “fireplace” is built around it. OR where a fireplace is in the kitchen and the dining set is sitting in front of the fireplace. I guess I just love a fireplace. I think they add a cozy atmosphere whether they’re wood burning or gas!

  5. We are currently getting my parent’s (who are now deceased) house, built in 1911, ready to move into. It is 4,700 sq ft and every single wall and the entire ceilings are shiplap, in perfect condition. We know the wood is cypress and was shipped in from Florida in 1910. We also uncovered original hardwoods in entire house that are in very good shape. One room has damage to the floor due to a plumbing problem while the house sat empty for a couple of years, but that’s all. We are currently adding central heat and air, then will totally redo the kitchen and 3 bathrooms. Hope to be in by Christmas or shortly after the first of the year.

    1. Your home sounds absolutely amazing – shiplap walls and ceilings? And how special that it was your parent’s home. I wish you all the best on the remodel, and I appreciate you taking the time to comment and share your story! Share pics, please!

  6. Do you need to tear out your existing baseboards to install the shiplap? We have plain 8″ baseboards with a simple edge. If the shiplap is too thick, it will butt up against the baseboard and the baseboard will become invisible. Should we use thinner shiplap in this case?

  7. We just bought a little lake house. There is paneling on some of the walls which we want to remove and replace with ship lap. We are assuming there is no Sheetrock under the paneling. Do we need to put Sheetrock up before we put up the shiplap?

    1. Hi Cara! There are so many different ways to mimic the shiplap look. However, most methods would require a wall to actually hang the shiplap. Could you hang shiplap over the paneling rather than remove it?

  8. I was reading the comment the lady made about you making sure you were writing things correctly. .how you added an “s”…I think you do an amazing hurts me when people are so insensitive…angers me…I find what she said rude..I just want you to keep up the good job..

  9. Hello,
    I am renovating my entire master bathroom. I want to do white shiplap to the wall up about halfway on the wall. I am not putting it inside the shower. Just on the outside wall by toilet and sink. My contractor is hesitant with installing wood in the bathroom but I keep explaining to him that if he follows steps it will be fine. The bathroom will be blown out to the studs. What would I have to do the inside of the wall, how would I go about installing the shiplap. I read to point the grooves downward? I know I have to hang it against a drywall, do I have spray like a moisture barrier inside of it before hanging the shiplap? Do I have to seal it with anything after I paint it white? Do I paint it white before we install it? Ahhh!! Please help. Construction starts in five days and he is driving me nuts!! haha thanks in advance!

  10. Hi Cara! My husband and I are building a house, and we want to put ship lap on all of the kitchen walls. Do we need a range hood to keep the ship lap in good shape or will a regular under microwave range suffice?

    Thank you!!!

  11. What are you putting around ceilings for trim? Also did you take off all window and door casings and run shiplap right up to edges of openings? Did you have to add extensions to your openings? Thank you and live your blog

  12. I love the look of Joanna Gaines style. We have a new beach front condo. I want ship lap above the gray Shaker cabinets on two walls, and three sides of the white center island, painted the color of the walls, gray. The island would be white. Question is how to finish the ends at the open end of the cabinet? I am thinking of staggered layers as in picture 3, and have the ends staggered randomly. Or should the ends be at the end of the cabinets with trim ? 8″ boards? Thank you.

  13. I love your ideas on Shiplap. I will be doing this in my bedroom and maybe in my kitchen. I think I ‘ll be using the plywood method as it may be less expensive and easier to install. Thanks for your ideas.

  14. Hello,

    I am renovating a 1926 Dallas, TX home. I discovered underneath two layers of wall paper, a thin wood panel, another layer of wall paper to be the original shiplap. What is the best process to restore in many of the rooms the ship lap. Stain or paint? Do I sand it? Fill in all the nail holes? What about sealing it? There isn’t any insulation left in the house.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

    1. Hi Jake! What an amazing find! Unfortunately I don’t know anything about restoring original shiplap. I had another reader ask me about it, and I did so much research and came up with next to nothing. However, I would guess that paint would be a better than stain and I would fill the holes. Not having an insulation sounds like a problem, and I assume this would need to be addressed. I am sorry I really am not any help, but I hope you find some answers!

  15. We are building a new home and a friend mentioned doing shiplap instead of drywall. Can you just do the shiplap on the 2x4s that separate the rooms? If so, can you then just paint the walls and your done or is there any other steps that need to be done? Doing most of the work ourselves and not sure on some things. Not a carpenter. Thanks for any help and hints you can give us.

    1. It really depends on the rest of your decor. I went with a slightly off white color because all of my trim is off white. If a white with a grey tint would look good with your decor, I think it’s a great choice (and that white should go with almost any decor)! Good luck!

  16. I’m redoing a fixer upper–I wanted to incorporate a few “ship lap” walls. Is it ok to decorate with a few walls of shiplap instead of decorating all the walls. Just more as a decorative accent

  17. I am going to install this type of shiplap on one interior wall of my house:
    I have no problem about using trim around the edges that meet the other walls, baseboards, or crown molding. My problem is there are 2 arches in the wall I am going to cover. I’ve been trying to think of a way to trim the edge of the arch so that it wont detract from the look of the shiplap. The walls are about four inches thick, and the interior of the arch will remain finished drywall. I may do some looking around at really thin pieces of trim that might work to but the curved edges of the shiplap up to. Do you have any ideas on how to do this?

  18. I want to add shiplap to my kitchen! I absolutely love the look and think its a great way to change up the look. But, we have soffit ceilings Do you think I need to remove the soffit for the shiplap to look good? I’m nervous that the soffit will ruin the look and more nervous that removing the soffit will cost me an arm and a leg.


  19. Hi, I appreciate shiplap as much as everyone here and I recently discovered some in our home here in Rhode Island. It is a historical 2-story New England farmhouse built in 1720. It is all original horse hair plaster, 14″+ wide plank floors, 6 fireplaces, and so on. Upon removal of some loose plaster, I discovered what I believe to be the original shiplap underneath. I also checked another area of the home and discovered the same thing. My question to everyone is should I go all in and have exposed shiplap throughout the entire house, or only some of the rooms? My plans is to paint it in farmhouse white like the pictures shown above. Personally, I could care less about the plaster, however I do plan to sell the house down the road and am wondering if shiplap throughout might be a turnoff to people. Any advice would be appreciated! (I apologize in advance for any grammatical errors).

    1. You house sounds absolutely amazing! I don’t know anything about original shiplap – especially from a home built in 1720. Hopefully someone can chime in and help you out. I do, however, caution against having exposed shiplap everywhere. Too much of any thing can be a lot, and I do think people will eventually tire of shiplap. However, it is original to the house – maybe an accent wall (or two) would be nice (and so charming)! Good luck!

  20. I absolutely love shiplap, and the job you are doing detailing you steps are amazing. I’m sure you already know this, but I just found out that original shiplap was boards made on the walls of ships that overlapped one another. Hence we get the name, “Shiplap”

  21. I want to shiplap my garage wall on the exterior side. I’m in the south where it gets damp and humid. My exterior wall is brick. I know I need to insulate between the studs but do I need a foam board under the shiplap. Any advice will be appreciated.