If you’ve ever watched Chip and Joanna Gaines’ popular HGTV show ‘Fixer Upper,’ you’ve heard the term ‘shiplap.’ But what does it actually mean, and how can you reproduce its look at home? First things first: shiplap is a type of wooden plank that’s milled or sawn with a rabbet on opposite sides of each edge, so the planks fit together neatly, nestling in like puzzle pieces. Shiplap siding produces a beautiful rustic effect reminiscent of sheds, barns and old farmhouses, with subtle horizontal lines stretching across the resulting wooden surface.
It’s a popular (and, some might say, vastly superior) alternative to drywall for interior wall finishings, and it can be painted or left natural depending on your intended effect. If you have some experience, you might be able to DIY a shiplap accent wall or even install it throughout an entire room, but you can always hire a knowledgable contractor to nail the look you’re going for (pun intended!)
What is shiplap NOT? Well, sometimes Joanna Gaines calls things shiplap that really aren’t. The word ‘shiplap’ doesn’t describe any old wall with wooden siding. There are lots of different ways for siding to fit together, like tongue-and-groove or simple sheathing. The way shiplap fits together is what makes it special, particularly because it helps to produce a strong, stable wall surface. But, as you can see in the tutorial below, it’s possible to fake a shiplap look with thin planks of a soft, smooth wood like Eastern White Pine.
If you love this look, you’re in luck: shiplap is usually pretty easy to source from your local lumberyard or home improvement store, and your contractor can easily order some if it’s not available locally. Shiplap walls are one of those areas where Eastern White Pine really shines, and that’s not just us tooting our own horn!
Need some shiplap inspiration? Here are some gorgeous shots of shiplap in action found under the #shiplap tag on Instagram. Top photo via Joanna Gaines’ website, ‘Magnolia Market.’