Shiplap Vs Drywall: Which Is Right For You?

Shiplap and drywall are two terms that confuse homeowners. Though they look similar, they are very distinct and serve different purposes. We've researched and found some information to help you distinguish between the two construction materials suitable for your home improvement projects. 

You can use shiplap for interiors and exteriors, while drywall is for interior walls and ceilings. You can apply the two anywhere, but you should consider the circumstances, costs, and installation process. The decision to choose shiplap or drywall mainly depends on your needs.

When deciding what to use, weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both types. Read further to understand the qualities of shiplap and drywall before you choose. 

Farmhouse entryway. Wooden bench near white shiplap wall. Interior mockup. - Shiplap Vs Drywall: Which Is Right For You?


What Are The Differences Between Shiplap And Drywall?

Shiplap and drywall are home construction siding materials that confuse many homeowners. They may look similar, but they are different. 

To know the differences, you should know the definitions first. 


Shiplap is solid wood paneling that you will see in rustic structures like barns and sheds. The term derives from the process of making ships. In the past, shiplap was insulation for ships. 

The panels have rabbets or grooves that allow the pieces to interlock and tightly seal. Shiplap creates a distinctive appearance. With the tight overlapping of the panels, it can withstand cold and harsh climates. 

Shiplap Pine Wood boards Background with natural finish from top, looking down view. Horizontal that can be used vertical with blank room or space for copy, text, or your words or design

Below are some advantages and disadvantages to help you decide if you choose shiplap.


  • Installation is straightforward.
  • Less messy when working.
  • Durable and weather-resistant due to its solid wood composition.
  • It supports any weight of wall hangings.
  • It gives a timeless appearance to your home.
  • It helps insulate your home by keeping in heat.
  • Protects your home regardless of weather and temperature.
  • Simple removal and replacement.


  • Cleaning the grooves is a challenge.
  • It's a magnet for dust.
  • Improper installation can cause rotting and warping.
  • The difficulty of installation depends on the size and intricacy of the design.

Click here to see these shiplap boards on Amazon.


Drywall is a popular construction element for interior walls and ceilings. The panels consist of gypsum and paper. Drywall serves different purposes: fire, heat, moisture resistance, or soundproofing. 

Construction building industry new home construction interior drywall tape and finish details

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of drywall


  • It is easy to cut to the desired size.
  • The gypsum material makes drywall fire-resistant. 
  • Its strength is effective in supporting walls and ceilings.
  • You can dismantle and modify it based on your needs.
  • The material absorbs excess moisture and breathes it out.
  • You can install recessed lights or hang items on it. 


  • Installation is labor-intensive. 
  • You need to plaster the drywall to minimize damage.
  • It is prone to dents, holes, and other impacts. 
  • It is not water-resistant. 
  • The appearance is not as pleasing as shiplap. 

Click here to buy these drywall panels on Amazon.

Additionally, there are other considerations when deciding between shiplap and drywall.

Which Is More Durable: Shiplap Or Drywall?

In terms of durability, drywall is far behind shiplap.

The thickness of a shiplap panel is about three to four inches, while most drywall panels are less than an inch thick. Drywall is susceptible to dents and scratches, which degrades its appearance. Even after several beatings, shiplap will still look great.

If there is water damage due to flooding, drywall will not survive. Shiplap can last longer because it quickly dries out, and mold will not be a problem. 

Where To Use Shiplap Or Drywall

The location where you need to install the shiplap or drywall will significantly influence your decision. Where you put them is important because the environmental elements vary. Indoor conditions differ from outside, so you need to make the right decision.

Shiplap is common in exteriors, but installing it inside is possible. You can add shiplap panels throughout your home. It depends on your style and how you match the rustic style to the rooms of your house. 

Farmhouse entryway. Wooden bench near white shiplap wall. Interior mockup. 3d render.

Drywall is best for indoors. It can't survive harsh outdoor weather conditions. Although limited to interiors, there are tons of ideas for using drywall. 

Which Is Easier To Install: Shiplap or Drywall?

Shiplap is easier to install than drywall. The process is simple, even if you don't have previous installation experience. You do not need to do taping, mudding, or sanding when installing shiplap. There are only a few tools you need for shiplap installation. 

Installing drywall is messy and tedious. You will need a professional if you don't know how to install it properly. It can be tiresome to tape, mud, and sand if you have a large area to drywall.  

For drywall, installers use lifting equipment similar to the product below:

Click here to see this product on Amazon.

Insulation Properties Of Shiplap and Drywall

Another thing to consider is the insulation capability of shiplap and drywall. Insulation helps regulate the temperature inside a house.

Shiplap is a wooden siding material that has a low R-value. Wood has a good heat storage capacity or thermal mass and efficiently conserves energy.

The primary function of drywall is not insulation. Yet all building materials have some R-value to help in resisting heat flow. Drywall with a thickness of 1/2 inch has an R-value of 0.5. You can increase the rating if you add other insulation materials.

The materials you can use behind the drywall to increase the insulation rating are:

  • Fiberglass batts
  • Loose-fill cellulose
  • Spray foam

You can ask for recommendations for suitable drywall to install in your home.

Is Shiplap Board Or Drywall More Expensive?

Between the two, shiplap is more expensive. Each panel can cost around $0.90 to $4.00 or $5-30 per square foot. If your home project is large, you need to purchase numerous panels. The price also attributes to the sophisticated wood processing to create the boards.

The expense of installing shiplap will include labor costs. Installation is labor-intensive and complex if you want an intricate framework. You can spend as much as $1,000 or more per room.

On the other hand, drywall costs will range from $12 to $90 per 4x8-foot panel. At that rate, you will spend around $200-300 for a 12x12-foot room. The costs will vary based on drywall panel size, thickness, and additional features like sound or waterproofing.

Construction worker installation ceiling work

Although shiplap can be expensive, you can benefit longer from it because replacing drywall can occur several times. 

In your decision-making, the cost will greatly influence your choice. You should budget for what you can afford. With a bigger budget, you can buy durable and high-quality materials. 

What Adds More Value To A House: Shiplap Or Drywall?

Shiplap can add more value to your home because it is a customized feature. Its rustic charm will catch the eye of prospective buyers. The marketability of your home can increase, and you may have more offers. 

Adding drywall to an interior might not add much to the value of your home. Cheaply installed and dented drywall panels will not appeal to buyers. The drywall method can also be out-of-date, so you must upgrade it before presenting your home. 

Do You Need Drywall To Install Shiplap?

A uniformed worker applies putty to the drywall ceiling. Putty of joints of drywall sheets.

There is no need for drywall before you install shiplap. There is also nothing wrong if you have drywall behind the shiplap. However, there are things to consider, such as moisture and ventilation. 

Drywall is an extra layer for fire retention, insulation, and soundproofing. Unfortunately, the drywall can detract from the aesthetics of adding shiplap. Instead of drywall, use a breathable membrane to prevent mold and mildew growth.

If the drywall is already installed, you can leave it there and proceed to install the shiplap. However, if the wall is load-bearing, you should remove the drywall.   

In Summary

Shiplap is gaining in popularity because it gives a home a distinct vibe. Select shiplap if you want a durable and pleasing siding material. It is easy to install with relatively little mess, but it can be expensive.  

In comparison, drywall is prevalent and readily available with different beneficial functions. Unlike shiplap, drywall is only for interiors because it is not water-resistant. Drywall is also a weak choice if you don't want your rooms to look dull.   

Take time to deliberate the pros and cons.

Learn more from these related posts:

How Far Should Drywall Be Off The Floor?

Can You Put Shiplap Over Tile

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