Car Siding Vs Shiplap: What’s The Difference?

If you're planning to install paneling in your home, then you might be considering using car siding or shiplap. The two look similar, but they are very different. We've researched their differences and other details to help you decide which is best for your home.

Many people confuse car siding and shiplap look since they look very similar. The main difference between the two is the profile of their planks before installation. Other differences include the way their panels connect, appearance, cost, maintenance, and resistance to weather conditions.

Both car siding and shiplap are ideal paneling materials. Continue reading as we discuss them in greater detail. We'll look at their differences, pros, and cons to help you choose what's right for you.

Hand selected heart pine flooring with cypress siding; stained with clear polyurethane. - Car Siding Vs Shiplap: What's The Difference?

Differences Between Car Siding And Shiplap

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Car siding and shiplap are types of paneling that offer a rustic vibe to the interior and exterior of a house. They are both ideal options for wall and ceiling applications.

Although they look similar, they are different. Here are some of their features:


The appearance of their panels before installation and how they connect are the main differences between the two types of paneling.

Car siding is a type of tongue-and-groove paneling. One end has a small section that juts out, and the other end features a U-shape. The panels fit perfectly together.

With shiplap, each plank's edge has an L-shaped notch. On one side, the notch is in the upper part, and on the other side, it is in the lower part. The panels also fit perfectly when installed together.


Car siding fits tightly without leaving any gaps in between. (You can use a router bit to make tongue-and-groove paneling with your own wood if you want to do it yourself.) Shiplap has gaps in between panels.

Both car siding and shiplap can add texture as well as elegance when they are used in a room. 

Click here to see this router bit on Amazon


Both paneling styles are good options because of their durability.

However, when compared, car siding has an advantage because its panels fit together without gaps. Also, the part that is sticking out on the edge of the panel secures the nails which makes for hard-wearing installation.


Construction workers installing vinyl siding facade on scaffolding system.

The cost of the paneling style you choose will ultimately depend on the type of wood you want to use, the labor cost, and the area size.

On average, car siding can be more costly than shiplap. Installing car siding can run you $6–$12 for a typical room, whereas shiplap costs $2.50–$7 per square foot.

Note that shiplap siding is a great option for people who want to save money and to the instalation themselves. The panels just need to be securely attached. They don't need to fit together perfectly.


Since car siding fits perfectly without leaving any gaps, it is easier to clean them than shiplap.

Note that car siding is more difficult to repair than shiplap, since you will probably have to take out several panels  to fix any damaged areas. If the panels are not properly installed, they can separate easily.

Shiplap requires more cleaning work because of the small gaps in between panels that accumulate dust and dirt. Shiplap is also prone to warping if the installation is incorrect. 

Resistance To Weather Conditions

When it comes to interior use, shiplap and car siding are both ideal. However, if you're planning on putting them on your home's exterior, you need to consider the type of material and the weather in your location.

If you're living in an area that sees a lot of rain, shiplap is a smart option since its overlapping panels will get rid of rainwater. 

Where To Use Car Siding Or Shiplap?

If you're planning to install these paneling styles, the location where you want them to be is very important. 

Car siding can be used almost anywhere in a house. It is ideal for interior as well as exterior siding. You can install car siding in living rooms, dining areas, and hallways. It can also be used to create a decorative accent wall.

Just like car siding, shiplap can also be used to create an accent wall. It can be used in bathrooms, entryways, and living rooms. You can use it to create a kitchen backsplash.

Can Car Siding And Shiplap Be Installed Vertically?

Shiplap is a simple way to add an accent to any wall in the house. Although shiplap is often installed horizontally, it can be installed vertically. Vertical shiplap can give a traditional, comfortable feel to a room.

One of the benefits of a vertical shiplap is that it creates an illusion that the room's ceiling is high. It is unique and can entirely change a room's look.

If you prefer car siding, and want to create a unique look in a room or on the exterior of your home, you can also opt to install the paneling vertically.

Both vertical shiplap vertical car siding can make a room look more spacious.

Suburban house

Can You Put Car Siding And Shiplap Over  Drywall?

Every homeowner's dream includes a chic interior with stylish walls. If you want to make a change, and your house already has drywall, an overall interior makeover may be inconvenient and too expensive. So is it okay to install car siding or shiplap over drywall?

The answer is yes. Installing the siding instead of doing a costly renovation can save you money. But you need to be mindful of certain factors before you install car siding or shiplap over drywall.

If you're covering damaged drywall with car siding, you need to be aware of the power outlets. They will be sunk into the wall when you install the siding, because your walls will be thicker after you install the panels.

Additionally, since the walls will become thicker, you need to take into account the placement of your windows and doors. 

Shiplap can be installed over drywall provided that you find and mark all the studs in your wall. You can use a stud finder to locate them within your walls.

Marking the studs will ensure the best locations for securely anchoring your shiplap boards. If you install and secure the boards properly, it will add to their durability and prevent future issues.

Click here to see this stud finder on Amazon.

Can You Glue Shiplap To Drywall?

A beautiful foyer entrance with a light hanging above the dark hardwood floors, a bench in front of a shiplap wall, and a dark door with windows.

If you already have drywall in your house but want to put shiplap over it, you need to install the siding carefully and correctly.

Although nailing the shiplap to the drywall is one option for installation, you can also use a construction adhesive to secure the shiplap boards to the drywall. To be on the safe side, you can use both adhesive and nails.

After identifying and marking the studs on the drywall, spread adhesive on the boards and put them on the wall. This will make the secure when it comes time to nail them in place.

To make sure the installation is secure, you should put a generous amount of adhesive on each shiplap board. This will also ensure that the boards are installed uniformly over the drywall.

Click here to see this construction adhesive on Amazon

Final Thoughts

If you're in the middle of renovating your house, there are many things you need to take into account, like the type of siding you will use inside and out. Car siding and shiplap are both great options. However, it is important to know the difference between the two.

Car siding is a tongue-and-groove type of paneling, while a shiplap has an L-shaped edge on its panel. Both paneling styles are ideal for indoor and outdoor use and can provide a rustic vibe to a house.

If you find this article helpful, be sure to check out these other posts that may interest you:

Can You Put Shiplap Over Tile

How To Remove Tongue And Groove Walls

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