As you will see, there’s a significant difference between shiplap vs drywall, the main difference being the price! The cost to install drywall is about 75% cheaper than installing shiplap. Even with drywall finishing (taping & mudding) and painting, installing drywall is a much cheaper proposition. On the flipside many homeowners find interior shiplap a much more attractive and durable proposition than drywall and worth the extra expense.
Let’s take a close look at the differences between shiplap and drywall in this RenoCompare comparison post.
WHAT IS SHIPLAP?
Shiplap is a traditional wallcovering that has gained popularity recently from being featured on home improvement shows such as HGTV. Not exactly tongue and groove, shiplap uses opposing rabbet joint notches on the edges that fit tightly together. The result is a visually appealing wall or ceiling that gives an artisanal, hand-crafted aura to any room.
Obviously, the siding style gets its name from its original use in ship building. The design was then used on home exteriors as a weatherproof option – and then brought inside to give character to home interiors.
WHAT IS DRYWALL?
Drywall is boring but versatile, easily painted, but just as easily dented and damaged. Its popularity arises from affordability and the fact it provides a blank canvas for any interior design. Once drywall came into use, plastering walls went into steep decline in the US.
Drywall is board made from gypsum mix and available in thicknesses of 1/4″ to 1” for various applications. The most common size sheets are 4’x8’, but it is produced in lengths to 16’, which means fewer seams to tape, mud and sand. Drywall is easily screwed to wall studs and finished smooth, or it can be textured in a variety of styles.
There are several types of moisture-resistant drywall, greenboard being the most common. Fire-resistant and sound-proofing drywall is also available for specific applications.
Drywall is far more common. Cutting drywall sheets and fixing them to the studs is pretty easy. But getting a professional finish is no easy task, and hiring a drywall contractor is the choice for most homeowners. There are a number of steps that are necessary to follow. The process of installing drywall consists of the following steps: hanging, taping, mudding, sanding the mud, and then priming the drywall.
Installing shiplap on an interior wall in your home is a relatively simple project that can be done by most homeowners with decent carpentry skills. You can expect to take 3 to 6 hours to complete a simple ten foot by eight foot wall. The only tools required are a saw, stud finder if you’re covering drywall, finish nail gun or a hammer with finish nails, and a level.
Most shiplap is installed horizontally, but vertical and angled applications are preferred by some. Sometimes thin spacers are used between courses/rows to create a small gap for visual interest. An easier way to achieve this look is to use boards with what’s called a nickel gap profile.
COST OF SHIPLAP VS DRYWALL
Shiplap and drywall are both a reasonable choice for a budget construction project. Shiplap boards cost starts at about $3.50 per square foot for pine boards or paintable plywood or MDF. You’ll pay $7.00 or more per square foot for hardwood such as oak or maple. The installation cost to hire a licensed contractor to install shiplap in a room generally ranges between $500 and $1500, depending on the size and difficulty of the room and job.
Drywall is much cheaper. You can expect to pay as little as $1.50 per square foot to around $3.00, which includes all installation costs.
Shiplap, especially pine and hardwood, is much stronger and much more durable than drywall. It lasts indefinitely when maintained. While drywall isn’t as durable and long-lasting, damaged material can be repaired or replaced relatively quickly, easily, and inexpensively. If a leak occurs, wood shiplap might dry out without warping or visual damage. Drywall is likely to require replacing due to staining or swelling.
Both shiplap and drywall are easily cleaned when necessary, though grooves in shiplap present a dust buildup issue not found with drywall. Drywall takes washing and scrubbing better when semi-gloss or gloss is used, but satins and eggshell finishes are preferred visually for most walls.
When damaged, drywall is the easier material to patch or replace, especially compared with stained shiplap. While painted shiplap boards can be repaired by filling, sanding and painting gouges, it is a challenge to make those repairs on stained material. And if boards are replaced, don’t expect the new boards to be visually identical with the surrounding material.
Drywall is the most popular option for its affordability and versatility in any room design. It’s easy to maintain and repair.
But if you want to enhance the visual interest in a space, consider using shiplap siding. Complete the entire room with it or create an accent wall with shiplap. It creates interesting ceilings too. Cost is higher, but many think the benefits are greater too.