Shiplap vs Drywall: Is shiplap cheaper than drywall?

Unsure of how much it costs to install shiplap in your home? I know, it can be pretty confusing with all the varying prices and factors. Luckily for you, I’ve also found myself caught up in the web of shiplap cost confusion – did you know a 200-square-foot interior room installation can range from $1,000 to $1,700? In this post, we’ll break down pricing and installation costs so no hidden expenditures catch you off guard.

Start scrolling..the journey into understanding shiplap just got more accessible!

Key Takeaways

  • Shiplap installation costs can vary depending on factors such as the type of wood used, board size, complexity of the space, indoor or outdoor installation, and whether pre-finished or plain boards are chosen.
  • The cost breakdown of a shiplap project includes materials (shiplap boards, underlayment, nails, primer, wood filler/putty), labor (professional or DIY), and optional components like spackle.
  • Shiplap offers a cost – effective alternative to other wall options like drywall and sheetrock. It provides a rustic charm and visual interest to any space at a potentially higher cost than installing drywall.
  • Compare shiplap with tongue and groove for their distinctive designs and ease of installation.

Understanding Shiplap: What is it?

Shiplap is a type of wooden board that’s often used for building the siding or interior walls of homes. Characterized by its long, grooved boards connected by rabbets (or overlaps), it provides a distinct visual interest to any space and lends a rustic charm to your home interiors.

Homeowners love shiplap for not just its visual appeal, but also its durability and ease of installation.

Originally used in the construction of ships due to its water-resistant properties, shiplap now stars in many American homes as an attractive design feature. The unique overlapping method known as ‘rabbeting’ helps keep moisture at bay when installed as exterior siding- though it’s equally popular on interior accent walls too! With boards generally ranging from $2.50 to $7 per square foot, the cost varies primarily according to the type of wood and quality chosen for your project.

Factors Influencing the Cost of Shiplap

The cost of shiplap can vary based on several factors, including the type of wood used, the size of the boards, the complexity of the space being installed, whether it’s an indoor or outdoor installation, and whether you choose pre-finished or plain boards.

Type of Wood

Choosing the right type of wood for your shiplap is a vital step in determining not only the appearance but also the overall cost of your project. The most common woods used include pine, cedar, and hardwood due to their durability and relative ease of installation.

Pine shiplap will generally set you back between $2.75 and $3.75 per square foot while cedar ranges from $2.50 to $7 per square foot.

Hardwood, despite being slightly more challenging to work with than its counterparts, offers a unique, rustic charm unmatched by other materials however this comes at an increased price point between $2.50 and $3.50 per square foot.

Each wood type presents its own aesthetic appeal so it’s crucial that you pick one which suits your interior design scheme perfectly.

Board Size

Board size plays a crucial role in determining the cost of your shiplap project. Shiplap boards, often sized at 5 1/4 inch x 8 ft., can dictate how much material you’ll need for the job.

As you plan out your home renovation, consider that about nine of these standard-sized shiplap boards are necessary to cover a wall space equivalent to a 32 sq.ft drywall sheet. This knowledge is pivotal for accurate budgeting and decision-making during your DIY or professional installation phase as it helps anticipate costs per square foot.

The complexity of the Space

Installing shiplap in a room with complex features, such as vaulted ceilings or intricate wall patterns, can increase the overall cost and labor involved. These unique spaces require careful measurements and precise cuts to ensure that the shiplap fits seamlessly.

Additionally, areas with multiple corners or angles may require more time and effort to properly install the boards. It is important to consider these factors when budgeting for your shiplap project as they can significantly impact the overall installation cost.

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Indoor vs. Outdoor Installation

Indoor shiplap installation generally requires less preparation and labor compared to outdoor installation. This is because indoor installations are usually in controlled environments, which means fewer weatherproofing measures need to be taken.

On the other hand, outdoor shiplap installations may require additional measures to protect against moisture and weather damage. The tools required for each type of installation may also differ based on their specific requirements.

It’s important to consider these factors when planning your shiplap project, as they can impact the overall cost and time needed for installation.

Pre-finished vs. Plain Boards

Prefinished and plain boards are two options to consider when choosing shiplap for your home. Prefinished boards come with a factory-applied finish, eliminating the need for additional sanding, priming, and painting.

This can save you time and money on finishing work. While they may cost more upfront, prefinished boards can be cost-effective in the long run due to the time saved during installation.

On the other hand, plain boards require extra steps to prepare and finish them before installation. This includes sanding down imperfections, applying primer, and painting or staining them according to your desired look.

These additional steps increase the overall cost of using plain shiplap boards compared to prefinished ones.

Shiplap Cost Breakdown

The cost of shiplap can be broken down into several components, including materials, labor, underlayment, nails, spackle, primer, wood filler or wood putty, and finish.


To complete a shiplap project, you will need several materials. The main component is the shiplap boards themselves, which can cost between $2.50 and $7 per square foot depending on the type of wood and your location.

Additionally, you will require underlayment to protect the wall surface and provide insulation. Nails are necessary for securing the boards in place, while spackle is used to fill any gaps or nail holes.

Primer should be applied for better paint adherence, and wood filler or putty can be used to fix imperfections in the boards. Finally, you’ll need a finish such as paint or stain to achieve your desired look.


Hiring a professional for shiplap installation can cost between $1,000 and $1,700. Alternatively, if you’re up for the challenge, DIY installation of shiplap could cost between $500 and $1,400 depending on labor and materials.

It’s worth noting that contractors may offer more cost-effective options due to discounted supplies and existing tools. Shiplap installation requires basic tools like a saw, hammer or nail gun.


Underlayment is not typically necessary for installing shiplap, but it can be added for additional benefits if desired. The cost of underlayment will depend on the size of the project and the type of material chosen.

For example, plywood is generally more expensive than other options like foam. Underlayment materials are usually sold in sheets or rolls, with prices ranging from just a few dollars to over $50 per sheet or roll.

Including underlayment may increase the overall cost of your shiplap installation, so it’s important to consider whether it’s necessary for your specific project. While it can provide extra stability and insulation, many homeowners opt to skip this step and save some money.


Nails are an essential part of installing shiplap and can impact both the cost and durability of the project. It is important to choose nails that are appropriate for the type of wood being used and the location of installation.

For interior installations, common finishing nails or brad nails can be used, while exterior installations may require galvanized or stainless steel siding nails to prevent rusting.

The cost of nails typically ranges from $5 to $10 per pound, depending on the quantity needed. Using the right size and type of nail will ensure a secure attachment between shiplap boards, resulting in a smooth and long-lasting finish.


Before applying shiplap, it’s crucial to use a primer. Primer creates a smooth and even surface for the paint or stain to adhere to, ensuring a long-lasting finish. It also helps with color uniformity and prevents any bleed-through from the wood.

Additionally, using primer can save you money in the long run by reducing the number of coats needed for the final finish. So don’t forget to include primer in your shiplap installation project for professional-looking results that will stand the test of time.

Wood Filler or Wood Putty

Wood filler or putty is a crucial element in the installation of shiplap. It helps to fill in any cracks, holes, or imperfections in the shiplap boards, creating a smooth and flawless surface.

The cost of wood filler or putty for shiplap installation typically ranges from $15 to $20. It is important to choose a wood filler or putty that matches the color of the shiplap boards for a seamless finish.

This step is usually done after installing the shiplap boards and before painting or staining them. By using wood filler or putty, you can ensure that your shiplap wall looks polished and professional.


To complete the shiplap installation, you’ll need to apply a finish. This step is crucial for not only enhancing the appearance of your shiplap but also protecting it from wear and tear.

Depending on your preference, you can choose to paint or stain the shiplap boards. Painting allows you to customize the color and style of your walls, while staining brings out the natural beauty of the wood grain.

Keep in mind that additional materials like primer, spackle, wood filler or putty may be needed depending on whether you opt for a smooth or rustic look. The cost of finishing materials will vary based on factors such as square footage and type of finish chosen.

Cost Comparison: Shiplap vs. Other Wall Costs

Shiplap offers a cost-effective alternative to other wall options such as drywall and sheetrock, tongue and groove, and clapboard. Shiplap’s versatility and aesthetic appeal make it a popular choice for homeowners looking to add character to their spaces without breaking the bank.

Shiplap vs Drywall and Sheetrock

Shiplap and drywall/Sheetrock are two popular options for interior wall finishes. Shiplap offers a rustic, cottage-style look with overlapping edges, while drywall provides a smooth finish.

The cost of shiplap installation is generally higher than installing drywall due to the additional labor and materials required for shiplap. However, many homeowners prefer the unique aesthetic that shiplap brings to their space.

It’s important to consider your budget, style preferences, and desired maintenance levels when deciding between shiplap and drywall/Sheetrock for your interior walls.

Shiplap vs. Tongue and Groove

Shiplap and tongue and groove are two popular choices for interior wall paneling. Shiplap is known for its distinctive overlapping design, while tongue and groove consists of interlocking edges.

Both options add a touch of elegance and charm to any space. When it comes to installation, shiplap is typically easier to install due to its simple design, making it an ideal choice for DIY projects.

On the other hand, tongue and groove requires more precision during installation but provides a seamless look with no visible gaps between the boards. In terms of cost, shiplap tends to be more affordable compared to tongue and groove because it uses less material.

Shiplap vs. Clapboard

When comparing shiplap to clapboard, there are a few key differences to consider. Shiplap boards have overlapping edges that create a smooth finish, while clapboard has horizontal boards with rougher edges.

In terms of cost, shiplap material costs can range from $2.50 to $7 per square foot, depending on the type of wood and region. On the other hand, clapboard is typically made from cedar or pine and can range from $4 to $8 per square foot.

While both options have their own aesthetic appeal, it ultimately comes down to personal preference and the desired look for your space.

DIY vs. Hiring a Professional: An Analysis

Installing shiplap can be done as a DIY project or by hiring a professional. Here are some factors to consider when deciding between the two options:

  • Time: DIY installation of shiplap can be time-consuming, especially if you’re not experienced in carpentry. Hiring a professional can save you time and ensure a faster completion of the project.
  • Skill level: If you have carpentry skills and feel confident in your abilities, DIY installation may be a viable option. However, if you’re unsure about your skills or lack experience, hiring a professional is recommended to ensure proper installation.
  • Cost: DIY installation is generally cheaper than hiring a professional. You can save money on labor costs but keep in mind that you’ll still need to purchase materials and tools for the job.
  • Quality of workmanship: Hiring a professional ensures that the installation will be done correctly and with high-quality workmanship. They have the expertise, tools, and knowledge to create seamless joints and achieve a polished finish.
  • Tools and equipment: DIY installation requires having the necessary tools and equipment for cutting, measuring, and installing shiplap boards. If you don’t already own these tools, it could add to the overall cost of your DIY project.
  • Warranty and guarantees: Hiring a professional often comes with warranties or guarantees on their workmanship. This ensures that any issues or repairs needed down the line will be covered by the contractor.


In conclusion, understanding the cost of shiplap is essential for anyone considering this popular interior and exterior wall option. Factors such as wood type, board size, complexity of the space, and whether it’s a DIY or professional installation all play a role in determining the final price.

By comparing costs with other wall options and weighing the pros and cons of DIY versus hiring a professional, homeowners can make informed decisions about their shiplap projects.


1. How much does shiplap typically cost?

The cost of shiplap can vary depending on factors such as the type of wood, quality, and location. On average, you can expect to pay between $2 and $7 per square foot for shiplap materials.

2. Does the installation of shiplap require professional help?

While it is possible to install shiplap yourself if you have experience with carpentry and the necessary tools, hiring a professional is recommended for a flawless result. They have the expertise to ensure proper measurements, alignment, and secure installation.

3. Are there additional costs involved in installing shiplap?

In addition to the cost of materials, there may be other expenses associated with installing shiplap. These can include labor charges if you hire professionals, paint or stain for finishing, as well as any necessary wall preparation or repairs.

4. Can I use shiplap in high-moisture areas like bathrooms or kitchens?

Yes, you can use shiplap in high-moisture areas like bathrooms or kitchens; however, it is crucial to properly seal and protect the wood to prevent water damage. Applying a waterproofing finish or using moisture-resistant materials are recommended measures to ensure longevity in these spaces.

5. Is shiplap expensive?

The cost of shiplap can vary depending on various factors. On average, the installation of shiplap on interior walls can cost around $1,000. When it comes to the actual shiplap boards, they typically range from $2.50 to $7 per square foot, with the specific price being influenced by the type of wood and your geographical location.

Hiring a contractor for installation may actually be more cost-effective due to their access to discounted supplies and existing tools. However, if you choose to go the DIY route, installing shiplap in a 200-square-foot room could cost anywhere between $500 and $1,400 based on the tools and materials you already own.

If you are working with a budget or looking for a smaller project, it is possible to install 200 square feet of shiplap as an accent wall for as little as $500 up to around $1,000.

6. Is shiplap installed over drywall?

Shiplap can indeed be installed over drywall, but it’s important to properly prepare the wall before installation. Shiplap is commonly used on the interior of homes as an alternative to drywall, covering entire walls with its overlapping edges that hide installation nails, creating a smooth finish without any visible nail holes.

One advantage of shiplap is that it can be installed in a quarter of the time compared to drywall, making it a quicker and easier option, especially when working with corners. So if you’re looking for a stylish and efficient way to update your walls, installing shiplap over drywall could be a great choice.

7. Who do I hire to install shiplap?

For shiplap installation, you have a few options. If you’re skilled with DIY projects and have the necessary tools, you can tackle the installation yourself. Basic tools like a saw and hammer or a nail gun are required for the job.

However, if you don’t feel confident in your abilities or prefer to leave it to the professionals, hiring a local carpenter or siding contractor would be a good choice. They will have the expertise and experience needed to ensure a quality installation.

Keep in mind that there is no specific mention of who to hire for shiplap installation, so it’s important to do your own research and find someone reputable in your area.

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