How To Install Shiplap Correctly: An Easy Method Described

How To Install ShiplapShiplap siding or stud adds a touch of beauty to any room. Adding the shiplap to the interior wall enhances the interior look. However, installing the shiplap board is crucial to achieving the perfect look and aesthetics. It needs to be smooth and even without any claustrophobic appearance.

And for that, you must know how to install shiplap correctly. You have to start with proper material selection, measuring, and marking. Then, you may start attaching the studs with a nail gun. Lastly, finish it with a quick trimming and baseboard attachment.

Does it appear difficult? Well, follow our instructions and find the easiness to install shiplap.

Shiplap Materials

One essential tip for installing shiplap appropriately is to find suitable material. Generally, strong woods like cedar, pine, and spruce are great options for a classic look. You can choose manufactured materials like vinyl. It will be ideal for a more modern touch or decorative options like painted boards.

Once you’ve chosen your material, measure twice and cut once. It’s vital to get the correct dimensions for specific spaces. Lastly, measure the gap between each plank. It should be around 1/8th of an inch wide.

How To Install Shiplap:

install shiplapInstalling shiplap isn’t rocket science. You can attach the shiplap on walls with nail guns. But the key is to measure and attach them the right way. And for it, follow our guidelines below.

Tools + Supplies You’ll Need

  • A measuring tape
  • A level
  • A saw or circular saw
  • Nails or screws (depending on the type of wall)
  • A hammer or a drill
  • Safety glasses and gloves
  • Shiplap boards
  • Paint or stain to finish the walls, if desired

Preparing the Wall and the Boards

Installing shiplap the right way begins with preparing the wall and the boards. It includes the following steps:

  • Once the wall is in place, you’ll have to measure and mark out where the planks will go on the wall.
  • You should ensure a level line at least every four feet. Thus, each row will be level.
  • If your boards are rough-cut or previously used, sand them down. It makes the board smooth and free from splinters. You can use a belt sander or a hand sander with medium-grit sandpaper.
  • Finally, seal all edges with caulk or waterproof sealant. It protects the board from water and warping.

Measuring Wall:

Measuring and marking the wall is one of the most important steps when installing a shiplap. Accurate measurement for your studs and shiplap is crucial to avoid uneven or jagged surfaces.

Here’s what you should do:

  1. Measure and mark where each cut should go on the wall, using a ruler or straight edge for accuracy.
  2. Ensure to measure from the edges of the wall. Also, consider any obstructions that impede its placement (e.g., outlets, trim pieces).
  3. Mark each cut with a pencil, making sure to draw a line across your work area so that you know where to make your saw cuts.
  4. Double-check your measurements as many times as necessary before making any cuts!

Once you have measured everything, you can begin cutting and installing your shiplap! It requires precision and accuracy, so take your time to ensure accuracy.

Mark vertical studs with a chalk line

Another critical step in installing a shiplap is to mark the vertical studs. You’ll need to do this before nailing shiplap pieces into place. You can mark studs with a chalk line. While marking, use a level and a pencil to mark them accurately.

Make a guideline:

After marking the studs vertically, mark them with a horizontal line. For the horizontal line, use pencil and level. The point where the vertical and horizontal lines meet will work per your guideline. It indicates exactly where the nails should go for each piece of shiplap.

You should take your time to ensure that everything is lined up correctly. If the marks aren’t made properly, it could mess up the installation process. Also, it will lead to a poor-looking finish for your wall.

Follow guidelines

When installing shiplap, ensure you’re following the guidelines and instructions explicitly. It will help to get a professional-looking finish, as well as extra protection for your walls.

The guidelines will tell you what type of nails are needed for the job. Some shiplap manufacturers recommend specific nails to be used for installation. Thus, it’s best to follow them strictly.

Second, double-check that your walls and flooring are level and straight. It saves you from re-measuring and tearing down a shiplap that doesn’t fit correctly.

Last, leave some room between each plank to allow for expansion. Usually, around 1/8th inch works best. Or it can lead to large gaps between planks. It causes water damage in the long run.

Attach the first row of the shiplap.

The first plank is always the hard one. So, you’ll need to ensure its level and that it bridges minor imperfections in the wall.

So, here are a few tips for getting that first plank just right:

  • The most crucial step is to measure and mark your wall’s length and width following our instructions above. It’s best to work from the bottom up. Hence, mark your starting point on the floor instead of the wall.
  • Press the Shiplap studs against the wall. Apply firm pressure so that the studs stay solidly on the wall. If they move during nailing, the attachment won’t be accurate. So, take help from someone to hold the studs in place.
  • When installing shiplap planks, you must press them firmly against each other. However, ensure that at least ¾ inch between each board and the edge of the wall. The gap allows for expansion and contraction from temperature changes throughout the year.
  • Remember to flip every other board so they overlap. It creates an interlocking pattern that keeps moisture out of your walls.
  • Are you installing the studs over the drywall? If so, use drywall anchors before attaching your shiplap boards. It improves their support for staying firm on the wall.
  • Use a nail gun or hammer to attach the planks to the studs. Choosing the best nail gun for shiplap makes the process easier and smoother.
  • First, start along the bottom row of your wall. Also, nail the studs with enough thickness. If the nails don’t go deep, the studs will fall eventually.

After nailing the first row of Shiplap studs, move up one row at a time. Continue nailing and moving one row up until your shiplap installation is complete!

Place Nickel Spacers

Remember that you left a ¼-inch gap between the stud and wall edge! You must ensure that the gap remains intact. And for that, you have to place nickel spacers in those gaps. It gives the studs a little breathing room for natural expansion during temperature changes. You can choose from the following options:

  • Use quarter spacers for tiny gaps between the Shiplap studs. Also, it works well if you don’t want to prime the wall later.
  • You may use tile spacers for the finished wall behind the studs. It will be ideal for leaving larger gaps between the wall.

You should place the nickel spacer at the top at the edge of each stud. The gap will keep the studs in an upright condition.

Choose stagger Cuts

When cutting the shiplap boards, remember to stagger them. Thus, the ends of each board should not fall on top of each other. It’s crucial since it can look unsightly. Stagger cuts refer to slightly uneven cuts for each board.

For example, your first board is cut 10 inches from either end. The next board should be cut a bit longer or shorter. Then, you can place it near the first board.

Hence, the stagger cuts create a wavy effect on your wall and studs. You can also mix up board lengths if you’re feeling adventurous.

Attach matching baseboards

Now it’s time to attach matching baseboards with small finish nails. It ensures that all pieces are secure. Also, it secures gaps between the baseboard and shiplap walls. You may use a wooden baseboard for a vintage look.

While attaching the baseboard, seal them properly without any gaps. Seal the baseboard with the appropriate sealant.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Should I nail or glue the shiplap?

First, nail the shiplap correctly with the right-sized nails. It works great on horizontal studs. And for vertical shiplap, use glues to secure them further after nailing the studs. It gives the vertical studs more support and stability.

Q: How much does labor cost to install shiplap?

The labor cost to install a shiplap varies from $1 to $5 for a 1-square-foot space. So, determine the surface area where you want to install the shiplap. Then, you can quickly determine how much you must pay for labor. Typically, a 10X10 or 100 square feet wall will cost $200 to $300.

Q: How much does it cost to install shiplap?

The installment cost for the shiplap wall can be $3 to $11 for every square foot. The cost depends on the type of wood you use. Also, labor cost varies in different regions, affecting the studs’ installation cost.

Q: How hard is it to install shiplap?

No, shiplap installation isn’t tricky. It’s the beauty of installing shiplap on walls and ceilings. Once you have marked the walls, installing the studs is easier. You can nail them with a brad nailer and seal them with glue later.


So, there you have it! Once you follow this guideline on how to install shiplap, your interiors will look fantastic. However, you must never install the shiplap siding on each wall. Or it will create a suffocating condition.

Remember that these shiplap sidings are for decorative purposes mainly. So, please don’t use them as an extra layer of protection on the wall. Also, you can try different baseboards or paint to give the studs a unique look.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *