When it comes to choosing between shiplap and drywall siding for your house, the former wins hands down. And, there are good reasons too. Our article aims to explore some very important advantages of choosing shiplap vs drywall for your home improvement.

But first, let’s try to explain both in order to make it easy for a new homeowner. 

What are shiplap walls?

Shiplap is a kind of wooden board that’s commonly used as interior (as well as exterior) siding in residences, sheds, barns, and outbuildings. Similar to a tongue-and-groove siding, a shiplap has a special rabbet or notch cut on its edges. 

However, while tongue-and-groove boards join together and interlock, shiplap boards rest on top of each other and overlap.

The rabbets allow the boards, when installed horizontally, to self-space themselves and fit together perfectly — keeping water from getting behind them.

Once installed, shiplap can look a lot like regular wood boards because the rabbets are hidden — giving way to clean lines and look.

What is drywall?

A drywall is a lightweight interior wall technology — consisting of a GI steel frame encased in gypsum plasterboards on either side. These are attached together with self-drilling drywall screws. The joints are then taped and finished with gypsum jointing compounds.

One can use drywalls to partition any interior in homes, hotels, hospitals, schools, theaters, and industry. These are strong and robust — typically lasting the lifetime of a building.

Shiplap vs drywall

For homeowners who prefer using natural building materials whenever possible, a shiplap board is the perfect go-to option to cover interior or exterior walls, and in some cases, ceilings too. Even when you go beyond that, there are some significant advantages to choosing shiplap vs drywall for your interior walls. 

Here are some reasons why shiplap is better.

1. Appearance and versatility

One of the reasons that shiplap is gaining popularity among homeowners its appearance. There is something so classic, warming, and beautiful about natural wood siding in a house. Typically, it is cut from wood such as pine, cedar, or oak. 

More often than not, you can easily install a shiplap by hand — giving it a natural feel you can’t get with regular drywall. It provides a seamless transition from one room to another.

The best part is that a shiplap board can be used in almost any room of the home — be it kitchens, bathrooms, living room, or bedrooms. And, you can paint or stain the wood paneling any color you want. With endless design possibilities, a shiplap’s versatility is much more than drywall. It’s a great choice for a fixer-upper too. 

Take a look at these 6 Wonderful Beadboard Ideas For Your Home

2. Durability

When it comes to shiplap versus drywall, the durability of shiplap is unmatchable. Usually, a shiplap board is 3 to 4 inches in thickness and made of solid wood. It can go as high as 12 inches wide. No wonder, it can take a beating and still look great. Drywall, on the other hand, has a tendency to dent and scratch easily.

Moreover, when it comes to potential water damage or flooding, just a few inches of water touching drywall is enough to wick up the board and ruin it completely. A shiplap wall can easily dry out and serve homeowners for years without the worry of stains or unhealthy molds.

Read more: How Much Does It Cost to Build a Wall

3. Cost

Shiplap cost ranges between $2.50 and $7.00 per square foot for real boards. When it comes to interior installation, most homeowners spend between $500 and $1,500 for one room. The average cost comes to $1,000.

Installing shiplap, on the other hand, costs approximately $4,000, with most people spending between $2,800 and $7,500. 

In addition to wood cost, shiplap installation (whether interior or exterior shiplap) will also require stain, paint, or sealant to protect the lumber from weather damage.

However, you will save money on the total cost. Also, because installation is relatively easy, labor costs are often minimal.

Now, let’s take the case of drywall installation. A 4 x 8-inch sheet of drywall might cost you less than a shiplap board, but it can actually turn out to be quite expensive overall after the finishing process. 

Drywall installation requires taping, mudding, sanding, priming, and paint finishes — making the process both time-consuming and expensive. 

When it comes to drywall cost, installed drywall averages somewhere between $1.50 to $1.80 per square foot. 

And, this amount is when your house has traditional straight walls and flat ceilings. A customized installation will add considerably to the cost.

The reason is that installing drywall is a long and tedious process. If you attempt to tackle it yourself, be prepared to put in some real hard work.

Also, if you have a professional install it, your drywall budget is likely to soar!

4. Quick and easy installation

One of the biggest advantages of shiplap is how quickly it installs. In fact, installing shiplap couldn’t be easier. It can be done by a DIYer without a lot of prior experience. 

What’s more, it requires very few tools; you only need a saw, nail gun, level, hammer, and a block of wood. Installation is as easy as setting on the groove, leveling, and nailing. 

Drywall, on the other hand, can be a lot more tedious to install. For a DIYer, installing the sheets and applying the tape and mud, sanding can go on forever.

Read more: Gypsum ceilings

5. Less messy installation

Another victory point in the shiplap vs drywall debate is the absence of a mess in the shiplap installation. It just needs nailing the board up with zero taping joints. And no mudding and sanding!

Needless to say, drywall — with the taping, mudding, and sanding — can leave your house with a good amount of dust. If you want to cut down on the mess, you may use special equipment to finish your drywall. But then you should be prepared to add extra dollars to your budget.

Read more: An introduction to shiplap basement walls and ceilings

6. Painting and maintenance

When it comes to finishing, a shiplap is easy to paint once installed. And quickly too — no waiting for the mudding and sanding to take place before a primer and paint is applied.

Cleaning a shiplap is a breeze. Take a damp rag and wipe the painted surface — it’s that simple! With a paper-backed drywall board, on the other hand, you could easily damage the wall this way.

7. Ease of hanging objects

With shiplap, you don’t have to look for studs to hang pictures. Because of the solid wood, every space on the wall is strong enough to hold a nail for pictures and wall hangings.

This is not the case with drywall. More often than not, you will end up making a big hole thinking that you’ve hit the stud. 

Read more: What is a furring strip


We hope our article helps you realize that beyond the cool, bright look of shiplap siding, walls and ceilings, there are a lot of additional advantages of using it in place of drywall for your home interiors. So if you are thinking of building a home, or remodeling a room — think shiplap.

Read more: Taking Down A Wall: Costs And Considerations

Shiplap vs Drywall: Cost and Advantages of Shiplap over Drywall was last modified: November 11th, 2022 by Ramona Sinha
Your opinion matters, leave a comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Derek McDoogle
Derek McDoogle

I like how you said that one can use drywalls to partition any interior in homes, hotels, hospitals, schools, theatres, and industry. My mom told me that she would like to take my aunt to live with her so that they can both have a companion. I will tell her to think about installing drywall in her master room because it’s too big and that way they both can be in the same room.

Best Access Doors
Best Access Doors

Excellent writing! We can take away a lot of important information from this article. Keep sharing great posts.

Carlos Pedraza
Carlos Pedraza

Have anybody used shiplap in basements?


Great article. I would also add that shiplap has the advantages of being much easier for making cutouts for outlets, switches, and light fixtures. Also, there is no chance you will pinch an electrical wire between the stud and the wall covering, which is a big risk with drywall and why code requires electrical wire to be stapled to the center for the stud. But when you’re installing one board at a time, you can make absolutely sure you are not pinching any wires. There are even more advantages too, such as repairs being easier (patching drywall is a pain),… Read more »