Shiplap or alternatives?

3 days ago

Hi we are getting closer to the finishing stages of our home.

I’ve read lots of shiplap posts threads on here. Sounds like a lot of the “pros” are not in favour of it for a host of reasons.

We’ve been looking at it because we want
-durable walls
-rustic look to compliment the house / area it is in
-genuinely like the look
-I’m concerned about wood walls that are not painted as they might make things feel darker?
-we wouldn’t do the whole house just living room / kitchen area & mud room
-I was looking to insulate, poly, then ship lap vs drywall but..,

I picked up a shiplap product from Woodtone it’s pine, primed with the lap as well so when it shrinks etc you don’t see behind. Sounded / looked like a great idea...... I took a few samples put it by the window and as I figured it is thicker than the window return. I’ve attached a pic. Unfortunately this will not work as it requires a filler strip on every window / door.

So any other product suggestions, work arounds or alternatives to ship lap to get similar look?

Attached are a few pics:
-shiplap & window return issue
-general images of the area we’d use shiplap in

Comments (25)

  • live_wire_oak

    Skip the ship. You need drywall first, regardless. Do that first. Then reevaluate. Because it’s way over and done with. Thsts a lot of expense for something so on the down trend.

  • teamjv

    I don’t disagree with you on the trend part. I’m not keen on drywalling then adding this it’s extra. The real draw for us was
    -wood bc of its durability
    -wood bc of the rustic feel
    -the thought of skipping the drywall & getting the 3 points above

    Any alternative suggestions to this?

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  • A S

    Not a pro at all but won’t the window have additional interior framing or finishing? Once you insulate and add drywall it will all change too?

  • teamjv

    No it wouldn’t change. The stud is against the window return if you do shiplap you are finishing the casing over top of it.
    Under the ship lap drywall would rest evenly with the window return and you could add shiplap to that, but we didn’t want to do that if possible.
    In some places in the USA drywall & taping is considered part of the vapour barrier. Here in our zone we poly and tape over the insulation that becomes the vapour barrier. I’ve even caulked and sealed every OSB joint & stud bay.

  • PRO

    Unfortunately this will not work as it requires a filler strip on every window / door.

    What's the problem with a bit of extra trim? If this small detail is stopping you, you must not really want the shiplap.

  • teamjv

    Small detail hahaha...

    Ultimately it’s still about efficiency and it looking good. Not sure the filler strip would look great. The trim is all VG fir. If I muck that up it will look horrible.

  • A S

    I agree PPF I’m not getting this. Trim and done.

  • live_wire_oak

    Drywall is REQUIRED first. Not optional. Fire preventative.

    Either you’re not understanding how standard window trim is done, or you’re planning something non standard that shouldn’t be done.

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    First what you show is not shiplap is is just white painted panelling ,whatever yo decide you will still need drywall I think wait until everything is finished then if you want to add it do it. BTW what is that thing in the middle that is all angles.

  • PRO
    RES, architect

    Its just a simple carpentry detail whether you install GWB or not. A simple notch in the edge of a board is called a "rabbet". You might be able to reverse the paneling and rip the rabbeted trim from it. I would make all of the trim flush with the paneling. It might help if the trim is slightly thicker than the paneling.

    It would also help if you told us the thickness of the paneling and its tongue.

    Do you intend to install the paneling yourself? It can be difficult to nail into the corner of the shiplap rabbet. I recommend an experienced finish carpenter.

    GWB will help with sound transfer but make it more difficult to install the paneling.

    I paneled an entire vacation house but added GWB at the bedrooms and baths.

  • littlebug zone 5 Missouri

    If durability is your main concern why don't you do wainscoting? It's probably acceptable to more people. Or even beadboard. (Well, I wouldn't do beadboard in a living room, but your style may be a lot more rustic than mine.)

    I have to agree on the shiplap fad. It's over.

  • PRO

    When shiplap is properly installed there is a gap between boards the thickness of a nickel. That's why it is applied OVER THE DRYWALL. So if you like you can do this as a decorative element after you take possession of the home.

    Plus there are other wall trims you can apply that are less expensive than ship lap that also can provide a great effect.

    Another option for you to view.

  • bry911

    Nickel Gap paneling and shiplap are different products that end up with the same look. I personally don't see any need to drywall if you can find a good locking shiplap. The problem being, that locking interior shiplap is a rare creature and most of the shiplap you see is actually made to go over another surface. Locking shiplap will have some sort of tongue and groove, usually a v-notch. You could probably use mechanical fasteners through the face and possibly caulk to remove the need for the tongue and groove but then you have defeated one of the advantages of shiplap.

    The window is really not a big deal, any decent finish carpenter should be able to rabbet out the window trim.

  • teamjv

    All makes sense. I was hoping for something that was more plug and play. Obviously though that’s not the case.
    I like different options you have all suggested. After more thinking we will probably need to keep thinking on how we approach this.

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art

    The gypboard helps to control critters as well as providing some sound reduction. Applying ship lap directly to the interior face of the wall studs will allow critters to come and go.

  • PRO
    RES, architect

    The "shiplap" paneling the OP is considering is neither shiplap nor nickel gap paneling.

    Nickel gap paneling is square edged so it doesn't overlap and therefore requires a backing panel.

    Shiplap paneling does overlap so it doesn't need a backing panel.

    But what the OP is considering is actually tongue & groove with a 1/4" x 1/4" +/- square edged gap or reveal.

    A major advantage of T&G paneling is it can be blind nailed.

    The manufacturer describes this unusual paneling profile as follows, "The classic shiplap appearance has been reimagined with superior product features."

    This is traditional shiplap paneling:

  • live_wire_oak

    Air sealing, bug sealing, and slowing fire spread all mean drywall first for the smart homeowner.

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art

    There is no rule that says interior shiplap must be installed over gypboard.

    But since wood expands and contracts, and workmanship may vary, it's a very good idea to first install taped gypboard as an underpayment to control crawly critters.

    On the other hand, if the critters don't bother you, omit the gypboard and keep the bug spray handy.

  • teamjv

    That’s why I originally looked at that product. The ability to use in place of drywall was intriguing.

    However some good points from folks here:

    -bugs? Might be some merit to that not sure I’m interested in running that experiment!

    -it’s a fad, sure I can see that at some point it goes from fad to wall panelling. The “fad” isn’t really a reason for me. I think anyone building something on fad is building to sell soon and that’s not me.

    -clearly more work than I understood for putting it up and I do appreciate that info

    As mentioned loads to think about.

  • Seabornman

    Shiplap is a classic material that's been used for many years. The whole worry about trends and fads has me baffled.
    I didn't see what climate zone you're in, but if you aren't going with drywall first, I'd pay a lot of attention to the poly installation, including air-sealed electrical boxes, caulking, taping, etc.

  • richfield95

    If you like ship-lap, do you have an interior wall you can put it on? My mother has natural wood paneling sort of like ship-lap on her exterior bedroom walls (This is solid wood boards, not panel sheets) She’s so tired of it, but it’s an ordeal to get rid of it because of the window trim, baseboard and electrical outlets.

    She can’t really change wall hangings/pictures because natural wood changes color over time, so there’s a “shadow” under the picture. Plus you can’t exactly fill in old nail holes and repaint like you can with drywall.

    Also, it’s in no way more durable for normal life. Dents and nicks can’t get filled in easily.

    And you would want drywall on the exterior walls for an insulation factor. It looks like you have snow in the background but only 2x4 walls?

  • bry911

    If the OP is considering painted shiplap then the picture hanging and filling in old holes goes away. Wood is much more durable than gypsum board and dents and nicks are just as easy to fill in.

    Gypsum board has higher thermal conductivity than wood and therefore insulates less well.


    There are plenty of UV resistant finishes available if the OP wants to keep the wood natural. People have wood floors that they put furniture on...

  • bry911

    The bug/critter thing seems a bit overblown to me. If you need to keep bugs and critters out of your house may I suggest a nice piece if land on Mars. Or you can just deal with the fact that it is a war of attrition that the bugs are winning.


    Our cabin has tongue and groove V notch boards on every interior wall. I don't think we have gypsum under a single one of those walls and it sets in the middle of a forest, and I mean 100 acres of forest all around it.

    Meanwhile, the home I live in, is a 12 year old custom home and air sealed pretty well with drywall on every wall, that sits on a large urban lot.

    Which one do you think gives me more bug and critter problems? Oddly enough (sarcasm) it is the one I spend more time in. There is nothing you can reasonably do to prevent pest intrusion into a home you are occupying and it is naive to think that drywall is going to be the game changer. Stop tilting at windmills and learn to accept the same happy balance the rest of us enjoy.

  • richfield95

    The difference in thermal conductivity itself is statistically insignificant unless OP is using 1” Thick pine vs 1/2” drywall. The difference between the two materials is in the spacing in the tongue and groove. The wood at the joints is thinner and have an air gap, in these areas you will have increased heat transfer from both conduction and convection.

    even in the homes Joanna Gaines unearths shiplap, the original builder used plaster in addition to the wood planks.

    If OP wants the shiplap look, they would be best off to install it over drywall on the exterior walls to prevent drafts.

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