Can You Install Shiplap Directly to Studs?


Shiplap is a special kind of wooden board that is used for construction of rustic buildings such as sheds and barns.

This material has grooves on the bottom and top of each piece that fit together and form a tight seal.

It is often used on the interior of a home to create a rustic decor, which is purely decorative.

People often wonder if they can install the shiplap directly to the studs, and the answer is that they can; in fact, the studs provide the support for the shiplap on the walls.

Continue reading to learn more about installing shiplap.

What Is Shiplap?

Shiplap is a wooden board that is used as siding on the exterior of a rustic building or as a decorative wall on the interior of a home.

This wood has a rabbet, which is a groove, that is cut into the top and bottom of each piece of wood so that the pieces can fit together and hold a tight seal.

In addition to being the method of holding the pieces together, this is what makes it so that shiplap has that distinct rustic appearance.

Shiplap originated on boats and in homes near the water or those with harsh climates because it could protect the home from wind and water with this added protection of the overlapping joint between the boards.

Today it is used on the exterior of buildings for a rustic feel, and it is used on the interior to create charm and personality inside the home.

Shiplap has become very popular as a home decor choice.

Installing Shiplap Directly to Studs

You can install shiplap directly to the wall studs; in fact, it was originally always installed this way, which is why it is sometimes found under drywall in buildings.

If you want to install it directly onto the studs, you should consider placing insulation between the studs because this wood interlocks, but it has ridges that do not go all the way through.

People who are building a new room from scratch often choose this method because it can save you time and money on supplies.

The only downside is that you will have a more extensive job if you decide to renovate or redecorate the room because you will need to remove it and install drywall.

If you want to install shiplap directly to the studs, you will use adhesive to set the shiplap and help it stay in place.

It is very important to make sure that your starting board is level because the whole wall will be off if the first board is not perfectly level.

You need to continue using the level to make sure that all of the boards are placed correctly; you will not want any spacing since there isn’t any drywall behind it.

Once you have the shiplap in place, you can use your nail gun to nail the wood in place; you can leave the nails exposed or you can cover them to blend them in.

Installing Shiplap Over Drywall

Often, people install shiplap directly over drywall, which leads to a slightly different process.

The main difference is that you can use a spacer to separate the shiplap boards; this creates a rustic look and is possible because interior shiplap is decorative.

If you plan to paint the drywall, you should do so before you install the shiplap because it might show through the spaces and you cannot paint it once the shiplap is installed.

You will also want to be sure to locate and mark the studs before you start this process because you will need to nail the shiplap to the studs when you finish.

Otherwise, the process is the same as installing the shiplap directly to the studs.

Should You Install Shiplap Vertically or Horizontally?

Shiplap can be installed vertically or horizontally depending on which best suits the decor and style you want to achieve in your home.

When you install shiplap vertically, it can make the room feel a lot bigger because it elongates the walls and makes them seem taller than they are.

Horizontal installation of shiplap helps to make the room feel larger because it opens up the space.

Another option is to install the shiplap on your ceiling, which draws your eyes up and makes the room feel larger as well.

You should create the design that works best for your decor and your preferences.

Should Shiplap Be Installed From the Top Down or the Bottom Up?

Most experts will tell you that you can install the shiplap either way as long as the first board is level because this will determine the layout of the entire wall once the project is complete.

It is sometimes recommended to start at the top if you want a board that has full width at the top because it may not work out that way if you start at the bottom.

Once you make this decision, you can follow the process to install the shiplap directly to the studs or over drywall.

You will nail the shiplap to the studs either way, so you need to know where the studs are before you get started.

Final Words

Shiplap is an attractive decorative wood that you can use as an interior decor or as a siding on your home.

You can install shiplap directly to studs, or you can install it over drywall if you already have drywall installed.

No matter what you decide to do, you need to locate the studs because you will need to nail the ends of the shiplap to them once you have installed it.

You can install it horizontally or vertically depending on your preference, and both styles can be installed directly to the studs.

Shiplap is a great way to add rustic decor to your home, and it is easy to install directly to the studs or over the drywall as long as you know where the studs are.

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