WHAT IS SHIPLAP?
Thanks to popular TV shows, such as “Fixer Upper” on HGTV, shiplap has become an extremely popular choice for interior walls. Shiplap was designed to waterproof boats, but has proven a versatile exterior home siding and interior wallcovering.
Shiplap is a type of wood paneling board produced with a beveled cut in the top and the bottom of each board. The cutouts on the boards rest on the upper and lower boards, overlapping them to create a tight fit and seal.
The most common shiplap boards are usually made of pine, which can be painted or stained to match any color schemes in homes.
WHAT IS TONGUE & GROOVE?
Tongue & groove, or beadboard, is produced with narrow wooden planks that are aligned vertically on a wall. For this article, we will use the term “beadboard” and “tongue & groove” to mean the same thing.
Beadboard, in addition to being used vertically on walls, can also be used on ceiling projects. The reason that it is often called beadboard is due to the ridge or indentation between the boards, which is considered the “bead.”
Rather than being produced with individual narrow planks, beadboard is made in panels from 30” to 54” wide and 8 feet long. The most common types of wood used for beadboard is pine or cedar, but other popular types of wood used include Douglas fir, walnut, oak, and cherry.
Tongue and groove, or beadboard, is relatively easy for a handy homeowner to install on an interior wall, though not as easy for ceilings.
The biggest challenges for walls are trimming around obstacles such doorways, windows, and electrical outlets. It is not easy to have the beadboard flow around corners either. The recommended nails used to install beadboard are 2” 18 gauge finishing nails. The tools required are a nail gun (or hammer), wood glue, circular saw, jigsaw, and a level.
If you are planning on painting or staining the shiplap or beadboard, you should have the materials inside the home for at least 72 hours so that the boards acclimate to your home’s temperature and moisture. Prime the boards first, and then follow with your choice of paint. Paint before you install the shiplap or beadboard.
Pro installation tip: Acclimating any flooring or wall paneling to your home’s environment is a good idea. Give it 3-4 days to assume the same temperature and humidity as your home. This prevents unacceptable levels of expansion or contraction once installed – an issue that can lead to splits, cracks and warping.
Installing shiplap on an interior wall in your home is a project that can be done by most homeowners that consider themselves decent carpenters. You can expect to take 2 to 4 hours to complete a simple ten foot by eight foot wall, depending on your skill level.
The only tools required are the following: a saw, stud finding, finish nail gun or a hammer with finish nails, and a level. First, locate your studs and mark a chalk line on the wall where they are located. Next, start at the bottom of the wall and nail in your first boards on the bottom. Stagger the cuts of your boards, so that they are not all the same length and they look more uniform. Many contractors like to use nickel spacers between each board.
Shiplap and beadboard are both a reasonable choice for a budget construction project on your interior walls. Boards can cost anywhere from $3.00 per square foot for pine boards to over $7.00 per square foot for a higher grade wood, such as oak or maple. The installation cost to hire a licensed contractor to install shiplap in a room generally ranges between $3 and $4 per square foot.
Shiplap paneling, aka appearance board, for a typical 150 square foot room with 350 square feet of wall space costs $2,100 – $3,150.
Tongue and groove paneling, aka beadboard, for a typical 150 square foot room with 350 square feet of wall space costs $2,450 – $4,200.
Measuring Tip: Measure all lengths of the room and multiply the total by the height of the walls. A 15×20 rectangle has two sides of 15 and two of 20 for a total of 70. If the walls are 8 foot, your total is 70×8 or 560 square feet of wall. If there are just a few windows and a door or two, don’t reduce your material estimate – you’ll need the extra to allow for trimming.
Beadboard is a little more expensive than shiplap. Pine panels that are designed for tongue and groove usually run around $2 – $3 per square foot. Medium-density fiberboard, or MDF, is about the same price. If you decide to use a quality hardwood for your project you can pay $7 to $10 per square foot.
Shiplap and beadboard are both very durable and can be expected to hold up for many years. The only problem is that the wood should not be exposed to water or moisture. This can cause the wood to warp or rot. Make sure that the wood is properly sealed with stain or paint that is designed for moisture resistance when wetting the panel is a possibility.
Beadboard and shiplap are both made from organic materials, such as pine or cedar.
These types of wood are very sustainable since they grow fast and in abundant supply all over. There is very little pollution or excess waste when constructing both beadboard and shiplap, so there is very little environmental impact by using beadboard or shiplap for your home improvement project.
MDF beadboard is less green since it uses glues to bind the material.
For easiest maintenance, use stain resistant paint on both types of wall covering. Dust or wash with a mild cleaner as needed.
Repairs are easier with beadboard, since the panels don’t overlap as shiplap boards do. In the unlikely event you need to replace a board, there’s no harm in trying it yourself. If you’re not happy with the results, a skilled carpenter can set your wall or ceiling right.
Beadboard (tongue and groove) and shiplap are classic and visually appealing choices for refinishing the walls of any interior room in your home. The prices for shiplap and beadboard are comparable, as is the ease of the actual installation. You can install each type yourself, but it is recommended that you hire a contractor to do the job.
Because cost and maintenance are similar, your choice really comes down to selecting the wall covering that visually appeals to you and fits your design scheme.