What Is The Difference Between Shiplap And Wainscoting

Are you looking to add some character and style to your walls, but feeling overwhelmed by the different options available?

Shiplap, wainscoting, and beadboard are all popular choices for adding texture and interest to a room, but they each have their own unique characteristics.

In this article, we’ll break down the differences between shiplap and wainscoting, two popular wall paneling options. Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or just looking to update your home decor, understanding the differences between these two styles can help you make an informed decision about which one is right for your space.

So let’s dive in and explore the world of wall paneling!

What Is The Difference Between Shiplap And Wainscoting

While shiplap and wainscoting may look similar at first glance, they are actually quite different.

Wainscoting is a type of wall paneling that typically covers the lower third or half of a wall. It can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, MDF, or PVC, and comes in a range of styles, from traditional beadboard to more modern flat panels. Wainscoting is often used to add texture and interest to a room, as well as to protect the walls from damage.

Shiplap, on the other hand, is a standalone accent that can be installed in a variety of locations. It is made up of horizontally grooved wooden boards that interlock with each other, creating a seamless look. Shiplap can cover an entire wall or be used as decorative paneling behind a focal point, such as a headboard or mantle. Unlike wainscoting, shiplap does not strictly cover the lower portion of the wall.

Another key difference between shiplap and wainscoting is the way they are installed. Wainscoting is typically attached directly to the wall with adhesive or nails, while shiplap boards are interlocked with each other and then attached to the wall with nails or screws.

What Is Shiplap?

Shiplap is a type of interior paneling that is inspired by the exterior siding of the same name. It is made up of long, horizontal boards that overlap each other along the long edges, creating a tight and stable joint. In interior applications, shiplap is more about appearance than function, and it can give rooms a rustic and charming look. Shiplap is typically made of wood and can be painted or left natural to suit different styles and preferences.

One of the defining characteristics of shiplap is its interlocking joints that allow the planks to rest on top of each other seamlessly. This creates a distinctive groove between each board, which can be set to a wider or lesser degree apart. Shiplap can be used to cover an entire wall or as decorative paneling behind a focal point, such as a headboard or mantle.

While shiplap may look similar to other types of wood paneling, such as beadboard, it is distinct in its connection style. Beadboard uses strips of wooden boards that are joined together with a tongue-and-groove joint, whereas shiplap features interlocking joints that allow the planks to rest on top of each other seamlessly. Additionally, beadboard is more versatile but more expensive and labor-intensive when it comes to installation, while shiplap boards are fairly easy to install as the planks simply interlock with their adjacent planks.

What Is Wainscoting?

Wainscoting is a type of wall paneling that covers the lower third or half of a wall. It is often made from wood, MDF, or PVC and comes in a variety of styles, including traditional beadboard and more modern flat panels. The purpose of wainscoting is to add texture and interest to a room while also protecting the walls from damage. Wainscoting can be installed using adhesive or nails directly onto the wall. It can also be separated into panels using decorative elements or frames around each panel. One distinguishing feature of wainscoting is the presence of a chair rail, which separates the lower paneling from the upper portion of the wall. Overall, wainscoting is a versatile and stylish option for adding visual interest and protection to any room in your home.

Materials Used For Shiplap And Wainscoting

When it comes to shiplap and wainscoting, there are a variety of materials that can be used to achieve the desired look.

For shiplap, the traditional materials used were hemlock, cedar, fir, and spruce in lumber-producing areas of the Pacific Northwest. In Texas and the U.S. Southeast, shiplap was typically made from Southern yellow pine. However, today most interior shiplap is made from pine, poplar, or medium-density fiberboard (MDF), while exterior shiplap can be made from cedar, redwood, pine, composite wood, or fiber-cement.

Plywood is another common and cost-effective material that many DIYers use to achieve the shiplap look. Some designers and bloggers even install inexpensive wooden panels, such as sheets of cheap plywood cut into narrow planks, that are then nailed to the wall with a small gap between each plank to resemble real shiplap.

For wainscoting, the materials used can vary widely depending on the desired style and budget. Wood is a popular choice for traditional wainscoting, with options including oak, maple, cherry, and pine. MDF is also commonly used for its affordability and versatility. PVC wainscoting is another option that is moisture-resistant and easy to clean.

In addition to the paneling material itself, cap rails and new baseboards may also be needed for wainscoting installation. The paint or finish used will depend on personal preference and the desired aesthetic for the room.

Installation Process Of Shiplap And Wainscoting

The installation process for shiplap and wainscoting can be straightforward and relatively easy to complete as a DIY project.

Before beginning the installation process, it is important to allow the panels to acclimate to the temperature and humidity of the room for 7-10 days. This will help prevent shrinkage and warping of the wood panels. Additionally, any baseboards or crown moulding should be removed from the walls where the panels will be installed.

For wainscoting, the panels can be attached directly to the wall with adhesive or nails. It is important to use a level to ensure that the panels are installed straight and even. Once the panels are in place, cap rails and baseboards can be installed to finish off the look.

For shiplap, a line of construction adhesive should be applied to the back of the first board and placed on the wall lined up with a pencil line. A few finish nails can then be driven in with a cordless nailer to hold it in place. It is important to use a level on top of the first board before securing it to ensure that it is straight and even. The next board can then be installed with a small gap between each board for a true shiplap look. The boards should be nailed into each stud about 1 inch up from the bottom of the board, with every other stud being sufficient for secure attachment.

Once all panels are installed, any gaps or nail holes can be filled in with putty and then sanded down for a smooth finish. Finally, paint or stain can be applied depending on personal preference.

Design And Style Options For Shiplap And Wainscoting

When it comes to design and style options, both shiplap and wainscoting offer a range of choices to suit any aesthetic.

For shiplap, the most common style is the classic white-painted pine boards that have become popularized by Chip and Joanna Gaines on their show “Fixer Upper.” However, shiplap can also be made from a variety of woods, such as cedar or oak, for a more rustic or natural look. Additionally, shiplap can be left unpainted for a more raw and textured appearance.

Wainscoting also offers a range of styles to choose from. Beadboard wainscoting is a classic option that features narrow, vertical panels with a bead detail. Flat panel wainscoting offers a more modern look with clean lines and simple detailing. Raised panel wainscoting adds depth and texture with raised panels and beveled edges.

Both shiplap and wainscoting can also be customized with different paint or stain colors to match any decor style. For example, a dark stain on shiplap can create a cozy and moody atmosphere in a bedroom, while a bright white wainscoting can add a fresh and airy feel to a bathroom.

Ultimately, the design and style options for shiplap and wainscoting are endless and can be tailored to fit any space and personal taste.

Cost Comparison Of Shiplap And Wainscoting

When it comes to cost, shiplap is generally the more affordable option. Shiplap costs between $2.50 and $7 per square foot for installation, making it the lowest-cost paneling option. On average, shiplap interior installation costs around $1,000, with the cost ranging from $500 to $1,500 per room.

In comparison, wainscoting and beadboard tend to cost between $7 and $20 per square foot for installation. However, it’s important to note that beadboard covers the entire wall and wainscoting only covers half. Wainscoting can also be more labor-intensive and time-consuming to install than shiplap, as it requires attaching individual panels to the wall.

Overall, if cost is a major factor in your decision-making process, shiplap may be the more budget-friendly option. However, if you are looking for a more traditional or ornate look, wainscoting or beadboard may be worth the extra investment.