From historical homes to FixerUpper fixes, shiplap (or something similar) clads all the best Southern homes

By Zoë Gowen
June 26, 2017
Credit: Laurey W. Glenn

Building a new home or tackling a renovation today? We bet you've got a Pinterest board filled with clean, but charming shiplap clad rooms just like the ones that Chip and Joanna Gaines create. We also love the timeless look that shiplap brings to a home. It reminds us of old barns and cheerful old homes. Here's a little more info on the South's best building material and how you can get the look even easier.

Why We Love It

It can withstand the Southern climate. According to 2017 Idea House architect, Eric Moser, walls and ceilings built from tongue and groove and shiplap, unlike drywall, can expand and contract as the weather shifts without consequence. Drywall will crack if it has to expand.

It doesn't hide the bad things. Shiplapped walls and paneled ceilings are sturdy enough to eliminate the need for multiple layers drywall. Fewer layers means that you are more easily able to spot mold and mildew that can build up between walls and ceilings.

Shiplap often gets misidentified. According to the Craftsman blog, true shiplap is horizontal boards applied horizontally. Each board overlaps slightly and is flush to one another so that they are watertight (hence the term ship lap). The boards are not just nailed to the walls. There are actually notches (called rabbets) cut along the top and bottom of each board that locks them together (picture hardwood flooring). The rabbets are what make the walls water tight.

2 Other Ways to Get the Look of Shiplap for Less

Plank Your Walls Get lengths of wood (typically 1x8s) from the hardware store and nail them directly to your wall. This costs less but does require lots of caulking and sanding.

Panel Your Walls Purchase packages of V-Groove planking (thin strips of wood that lock together with a visible groove) for an easier, shiplap look than planking. You can also mix things up by applying the paneling vertically.

WATCH: This Humble South Carolina Cottage Became A Dream Home

The homeowners were on a tight budget, but were determined to use materials with character. Instead of pricey shiplap, they subsituted hardwood flooring nailed directly to the walls.