Different Ways to Get the “Shiplap Look” and Where to Buy Real “Shiplap”

The word “shiplap” has become a common household term, made popular by Chip and Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s “Fixer Upper”. 

But what really is shiplap? A shiplap board is milled with a halved groove called a rabbet, so the edges connect snugly together, one on top of the other, leaving a distinctive reveal line between boards. Shiplap is commonly used outdoors for building barns, sheds, and other rustic structures.

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The following shiplap boards can be installed vertically or horizontally over drywall. The boards are also reversible, smooth on one side and rough sawn on the other.

These Shiplap boards can be installed to show differing “reveal” gaps.

When installed tightly together, no gap is shown.

The 1/8th inch reveal is commonly referred to as the nickel gap. The term references nickels placed between the boards to get the particular size reveal.

The 3/16th gap is slightly larger.

The 1/2 inch gap is the largest you would want to use with these boards.

Thanks to Chip and Joanna, “shiplap” has made its way indoors and is now commonly used in homes as a popular choice for interior home design.

When I was researching shiplap for my home project, I found several different methods used by homeowners to get the “shiplap” look. Let’s examine these methods.

Plywood Planks

The most economical way I found to get the “shiplap” look is to use plywood found at your local lumber store. These are not true shiplap boards, but will give you the look at a great price.

If you buy your plywood from Lowe’s (HERE) they will actually cut the strips for you in the store, saving you a ton of time and work.  I’m attaching a link to a tutorial on this method (HERE) by “Making Joy and Pretty Things”.

Tongue and Groove

Tongue and groove paneling, different than shiplap, installs in a slightly different manner, where the tongue of one board sets inside the channel of the adjacent board. Tongue and groove paneling provides a tighter seal, and less of a visible reveal between boards.

These 8 ft boards can be found at your local hardware store like Home Depot for roughly $7 each. One side is flat and the other side has a pattern, making them reversible. They can be stained or painted, typically these boards are raw wood and not primed.

For an easy tutorial on how to get a “shiplap” look using these boards, check out post (HERE) by “Stone Gable”.

If you’re looking for primed tongue and groove boards, check out WindsorONE (HERE).

trim_specialty_traditional_landing_320Having the boards already primed can make painting a lot easier or eliminate the need to paint at all.

Shiplap Boards

To get the true look, use real shiplap boards, like these found at Lowes (HERE) or these from WindsorONE (HERE).

2101-bates-creek-int-30bThe real shiplap boards will give you the look found in this photo, courtesy of Spillman Contracting.

Lastly, the boards we chose for our powder room project are primed traditional planks.

Primed Planked Boards

This method is one of the more expensive ones listed, since the boards are primed, but it gave us the look we wanted.

s4sse_main_traditional_1290iconAgain, using primed boards makes painting a lot easier, especially when painting square edges.

We purchased these boards at a local WindsorONE (HERE) distributor and used a nickel gap reveal.

fullsizeoutput_66c7We planked the walls with 8″ wide boards and installed black roofing paper behind the boards to give us the dark reveal. We used the nickel gap installation method and painted the boards, with 2 coats, after installation. You can read about the renovation and see before pictures (HERE).

The good news is that if you’re interested in getting the look in your home, there are a wide variety of choices and methods to fit any budget.

What do you think, will you install planks, tongue and groove, or real shiplap boards in your home? Drop me a line, thanks for stopping by. See you next time.

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