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Using Shiplap in Your Home

by A & K Real Estate 04/07/2019

If you’ve spent any time watching home shows over the last few seasons, you’ll have heard the term “shiplap” to describe a wall feature. But what is shiplap, and why is it a coveted wallcovering?

Historic shiplap

By definition, “shiplap” is lumber planking milled with a rabbeted joint along the length of the top and bottom horizontal-edges designed to fit together or "lap" for strength and stability. So, each board rests on the one below it, with a forward overlapping notch. Originally, shiplap’s overlapping design created a weather-tight surface along the grooves. Technically called “rabbeted,” these recesses or grooves milled along the edge of a piece of a plank of wood create the laps. When viewed as a cross-section, a rabbeted joint is two-sided so that the second plank overlapping the first joins both a parallel and a perpendicular face.

So, was it used on ships? The easy answer is “yes” with the caveat that the boards also had pitch or glue to make them completely watertight. In its true architectural form, shiplap is an exterior siding material used to make a building weather-proof. As the wood weather or ages, the original tight joint forms a slight gap, giving aged shiplap its distinctive look.

Modern shiplap

On television and modern interior design applications, however, wood treatments identified as shiplap sometimes originated as wood planking—planks of wood with slight gaps between them used to “sheet” walls for other coverings. In the days before drywall, such sheeting commonly added to the wall's stability in preparation for lath and plaster or wallpaper. These planks may or may not have rabbeted joints, but yet, colloquially designers refer to them as shiplap.

When such original planking comes from a remodel or renovation, its historical and design value includes nail holes and even slight pest damage (provided the worm, carpenter ant, or termite is long gone). The most common look is a white paint mimicking whitewash, but other colors create perfectly acceptable looks as well.

Shiplap versus tongue-and-groove: Unlike shiplap where each plank sets atop the other, tongue and groove joints interlock, making them useful for vertical as well as horizontal applications. Examples of tongue-and-groove include original beadboard and knotty-pine paneling applications as well. These choices offer a similar look and may fit your country or farmhouse-style too. Modern beadboard comes in full four-by-eight sheets making installation simpler than shiplap or tongue-and-groove.

Check out your local DIY retailer for more accessible alternatives to give you that coveted historic look.

About the Author
Author

A & K Real Estate

Hi, I am Karen Green, I want to give you a little history about A and K Real Estate. I got my real estate associate’s license 1996 and my Broker’s license in 2010. At that time I established A and K Real Estate. My husband, Albert, and I work as a team. Jointly we have over 35 years of real estate experience. We market and sell homes, lots, ranches and recreational properties.

As the broker of A and K Real Estate, I am personally involved in every transaction. I have found that providing the very best service is essentially about putting my clients first. We strive to help buyers find the home of their dreams and to market seller’s homes for the highest possible price in the shortest time frame.

A and K Real Estate is centrally located in New Braunfels, TX between the San Antonio Metro Area and the Austin Metro Area. Our service area includes Bexar, Comal, Guadalupe, Travis, Williams and Hays Counties. 

I am a member of the Austin MLS, San Antonio MLS, Four Rivers MLS, New Braunfels Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Women's Council of REALTORS, First Baptist Church, Referral Exchange and The Institute for Real Estate Education.

When you or anyone you know has decided to buy or sell property in The Texas Hill Country, Bexar, Comal, Guadalupe, Hays, Travis and Williams Counties, please feel free to contact A and K Real Estate.

Let us walk Honestly as in the day…Rom 13:13a