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Exterior Shiplap Siding (House Design Guide)

Here we share the exterior shiplap siding design guide together with its types, cost, and some considerations to make sure that you’re getting shiplap that’s best for your home.
home with white exterior shiplap siding landscaped front yard with white wooden fence and grass is in foreground with green trees and deep blue sky with clouds in background Shiplap siding has been used for some time for both interior and exterior walls. It uses long planks that fit together with a tongue and groove process. This style of overlapping planks is making a comeback with the popularity of Modern Farmhouse design.

What Is Shiplap Siding

Shiplap siding refers to a type of wooden siding that is made out of board planks and it can be from any variety of wood. It gets its name from the construction technique used to bring it about. 

This technique for construction has been around for a long time. As a matter of fact, interestingly, this was even the construction technique of choice for different kinds of boats back then. The most notable one is the Vikings from Scandinavia.

Its colorful history aside, shiplap siding is done by prepping every single wooden plank or board used. Each plank or board is carved with a groove cut on the side of the board. This makes it easy for each plank to overlap with the next one during installation. This overlapping effect will seal in your shiplap sliding pieces. 

Your wall surface upon installation is something that is smooth and solid and there are no creases so air nor moisture will not be able to enter at all.

It is normally designed to be installed horizontally, however, there have been some board planks for shiplap siding that have been cut vertically instead.

Types Of Exterior Shiplap Siding

Here are the most popular types of material used for shiplap siding.

Shiplap Vinyl Siding

house with pale yellow vinyl siding This is also sometimes nicknamed as vinyl smooth lap clapboard or traditional vinyl lap siding. It mimics the aesthetics of long planks and is oftentimes used for home restorations. 

Its overall look and feel is colonial. Shiplap vinyl siding comes in several types:

Horizontal Lap

horizontal lap siding They run across the house horizontally. They are sometimes also called a traditional lap. They come in different textures and overall, they recreate the look and design of real wood. Among their popular styles are: Beaded, Dutch, Log Style, and of course, Traditional.

Vertical Vinyl Siding

sunset light hits rooftops of modern houses in a long row in a new development suburb homes They run vertically and are nicknamed as “board and batten” sidings. They’re wide boards making use of a smaller board or batten to seal the space where the 2 wide boards meet. This makes the siding particularly weather-tight and durable.

Shingle and Shake Vinyl Siding

beautiful house with shake vinyl siding Red wood siding, cedar siding in particular, can be very expensive. This type of vinyl siding is a low-cost version of it. This siding can give the same stunning aesthetics without the upfront cost and the laborious maintenance of real wood.

Cedar Shiplap Siding 

house with exterior cedar siding For as far as wood siding is considered, cedar continues to be the favorite choice compared to all of the other wood types available out there. Of course, there are also other types of wood commonly used such as redwood, composites, and so on. 

However, cedar remains as the popular choice because of these reasons:

They are shrink-resistant. When properly cured, it will not shrink and leave any gaps or cracks in your siding. It also doesn’t have mixed in ingredients such as pitched-in wood or resin so you can easily seal and stain the wood with no issues. It has fine grain aesthetics and a natural and smooth satin finish.

It’s so effortlessly beautiful. Cedar is one of the most beautiful materials you could ever use for siding. It has spicy cinnamon-like colors that are warm and lively that try as they might, vinyl and other materials and wood types just can’t come close to. It can come in a variety of textures and can come off looking very stylistic and historic, even.

Pine Shiplap Siding 

wooden house with exterior pine shiplap siding These boards are made out of extremely versatile pine and are actually bestsellers for homeowners who are a bit on a budget. The popular variant of pine used for this sidings is eastern white pine. 

The design look is clean and versatile and the homeowner or builder can finish off with a stain or keep it as is and have it remain as unstained.

Ipe Shiplap Siding

entry porch of contemporary style home with ipe shiplap siding exterior This is considered as one of the most durable materials for siding that the market has to offer. As a matter of fact, it is so durable that it is the material of choice for commercial buildings. 

It can stand up to the harsh elements while still being able to maintain its aesthetics as well as its strength. It is all natural and maintenance free. Check out ipe wood furniture design guide for more ideas.

The name sounds a little weird, but it basically refers to a type of wood that’s commonly known as “Brazilian walnut”.

Redwood Shiplap Siding 

red swedish wooden house Redwood is great for siding material because as a staple, it is also quite resistant to shrinkage which means you will not be getting gaps in between your sidings in the long run. It has an extremely rich and warm color that only a few of the other wood types can attain. 

It is naturally decay and pest proof so it doesn’t rot right away and with the proper treatments, can last for over 20 years or more.

Hardie Shiplap Siding

home exterior with bay window and gray horizontal hardie shiplap siding This material is mainly made out of fiber cement. It was a long time coming but over the years, it has been refined and strengthened. Read more about the fiber cement siding pros and cons guide here.

Aside from the fiber cement, it is also made of other materials such as sand, natural cellulose, and the like. This makes the material environmentally friendly but at the same time still offers structurally sound durability.

Fiber Cement Shiplap Siding 

large apartment complex with exterior fiber cement shiplap siding This is often interchangeably used with the Hardie shiplap siding but they are not the same. Fiber cement is mostly made out of synthetic materials and hence, may not turn out to be environmentally friendly. 

It is, however, fire-proof and can be durable enough to last you for over 50 years or so. Its downsides are that it can be difficult to install, can absorb moisture, and might require more maintenance compared to the other siding materials.

Composite Shiplap Siding 

modern home with glass paneled front door and beautiful composite shiplap siding This siding material is made out of different types of pulp or wafer wood materials pressed together and coated in sealants and resin to ultimately form a board that is then cut and fashioned as sidings. They aim to mimic the natural look and feel of wood so that is a plus for curb appeal. Read more about the different exterior wood siding types.

Also, they tend to last for quite a long time, sometimes for 30 years or more. This means that they can be very durable.

How Much Is Shiplap Siding

Shiplap siding costs vary greatly mainly because of the difference in the materials that are being used. Here, we’ll give you a rough estimate of how much it will cost you, including installation fees based on per square footage measurements.

big window balcony and shiplap siding exterior in modern apartment Board/Wood types:

  • Hardwood – $2.50 to $3.50 per square foot 
  • Cedar – $2.50 to $7 per square foot
  • Pine – $2.75 to $3.75 per square foot

On top of the main materials, you are going to need other materials for your shiplap siding installation. These materials are as follows:

  • Exterior stain/s
  • Exterior caulk
  • Finish nails

For exterior shiplap siding, you are going to need a professional. For the interiors, you can attempt to DIY it but unless you’re extremely handy or skilled, it would be best to leave this off to the pros. 

Professional labor for a typical shiplap siding job would range at around $3,000 to $5,000 depending on your actual location.

Then there’s the concern of cladding. It’s not always necessary but it is also sometimes used and is factored in on shiplap siding costs. Cladding refers to the material that is put on the shiplap boards in order to prevent any water damage as well as any other damages it might get from wind, dust, and the other elements. 

Some shiplap versions require cladding because wood can be a vulnerable material at times, especially when exposed to the outdoors. The contractor usually determines whether or not cladding is required as an additional installation.

Exterior Shiplap Siding Designs

Here’s some shiplap siding ideas for the home.

Horizontal Shiplap Siding

beautiful house with horizontal exterior siding This type of shiplap sliding design is achieved when the shiplap boards are arranged and installed horizontally. It’s a modern and more popular design for shiplaps. 

It can produce an optical illusion and can make the building or the house look wider than it actually is. It can balance out the typical vertical direction of how buildings are normally made. 

If you’re going for the farmhouse aesthetic, this is the perfect siding of choice. It resembles the look of barn walls and can naturally complement farmhouse or cabin type rustic designs.

Vertical Shiplap Siding

american yellow rambler style house with exterior vertical shiplap siding on blue sky background with well kept flowerbed green shrubs in the front yard This design for shiplap installation is less commonly used but it is also great in creating a vintage and rustic look for the house that you’re installing it on. It has a timeless quality in its aesthetics. 

Although this isn’t as on trend compared to the horizontal shiplap siding, this has all the advantages of durability and withstanding the test of time as the shiplaps enjoy a much longer lifespan with this. It’s also a great way to trick the eye into giving the exteriors of the home a much heightened look. 

If you have a home that’s one story and looks fairly low or short, it can definitely benefit much from the accents coming from vertical shiplap siding.

Rough Sawn Shiplap Siding

wooden cottage with exterior rough sawn shiplap siding This is a somewhat new addition to the shiplap siding design family but it has been making waves because in terms of cost savings, it covers 7% more than the usual shiplap siding designs available. 

They’re individually hewn with the shiplap pattern and enjoy square edge finishing. This makes the planks easier to install yet natural looking with a professional touch to its overall finish. 

It’s definitely something worth looking into if you want to go for something that isn’t commonly seen in the exterior design market. Some homeowners fancy its rugged yet polished appeal once the installation is complete.

How Much Does Exterior Shiplap Cost?

shiplap boards If you want to factor in the costs of real wood boards for exterior shiplap siding, the range is at a comfortable $2.5 to $7 per square foot. For exterior installation, on top of the raw materials for the boards, professional installation can range anywhere from $2,500 up to as much as $7,500 depending on the size of the home. 

The factors affecting the cost of getting exterior shiplap siding would depend on your wood board of choice, the actual size of your home, as well as how much the contractors in your area would typically charge for their professional fees. 

There are some homeowners who are seriously considering the possibility of going down the DIY route but this isn’t something we recommend unless this is something that you’re quite knowledgeable about. Only professional laborers or contractors would know how to efficiently minimize the possibility of the material being damaged. 

The risk of improper underlayment, among other things, is too high a stake to gamble with and you might end up redoing the whole thing and hiring a professional in the long run which will cost you more money, totally defeating the goal of saving up on the installation costs.

Is Shiplap Good For House Siding?

backyard walkout deck with concrete floor with a view of slide doors and windows The direct answer to this is a big YES. Shiplap is a feature that originated from the design of traditional homes that are built to withstand harsh climates. This is particularly useful if your home happens to be located somewhere that’s forested or coastal. 

On top of its current popularity as the accent of choice for the exteriors of the home because it looks good and provides a somewhat aesthetic optical illusion, it also banks heavily on the fact that it can exponentially extend the lifespan of your exterior walls and by extension, your home in general.

In order for you to make sure that you really are getting shiplap that will turn out to be great for your home, you will need to consider three things:

First, identify the quality and material of the boards that you will be using. Some rough and cheap boards also market themselves as shiplap but keep an eye out for the genuine boards which have overlapping and interlocking grooves that fit together, puzzle-like; making it sealed and tight enough to keep the elements out.

Second, you need to understand that maintenance and repairs can be tough work. Because of their interlocking design, replacement of rotting parts isn’t all that easy. There may be instances wherein you will need to replace full panels altogether.

And the third tip is that they don’t always have to come as is. You can stain or paint shiplap boards to add in to your home’s overall aesthetic. If you want to play around with colors, your only limits are dictated by the color wheel.

For more related ideas, visit the shiplap ceiling design guide for your home.

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