Anyone who has watched the popular cable TV home design shows have undoubtedly heard the term “shiplap.” Savvy television designers use shiplap instead of drywall or sheetrock to add design elements to the walls in most any room, including the kitchen and the bath. But what exactly is it? Why is it called shiplap? Here’s the lowdown on this historic, rustic material, including the basics on how to add shiplap to your kitchen or bathroom design.
What is Shiplap?
Shiplap is a type of wooden board that today is often used for building barns, sheds, and other outdoor rustic buildings. Traditionally, shiplap has grooves cut into the top and bottom, allowing the pieces to fit together and forming a snug seal. Tongue and groove planks are similar in some respect, but are not considered shiplap.
Why is It Called Shiplap?
Some historians believe shiplap may have been a material used to construct the hull of a ship. The overlapping boards formed a watertight seal, making the vessel seaworthy.
Shiplap in History
Shiplap used to be used in a home to provide a sheathing between the exterior and framing. Historically, shiplap used inside a home interior was not meant to be exposed. After it was installed, it was typically covered with fabric like cheesecloth or muslin to mask the seams before wallpaper was installed. Once sheetrock became more widely available, shiplap fell by the wayside.
How to Add Shiplap to Your Kitchen or Bathroom
If you have an older home, there’s a chance there might be shiplap behind the wallpaper. In that case, consult with a professional interior designer on how to utilize the existing material. More than likely, your home’s interior walls are constructed using drywall. In that case, shiplap boards are installed in a method similar to hardwood flooring — working from one side of the wall to the other. They can be painted to complement your color scheme as well.
- Shiplap can be installed anywhere, but in the kitchen consider adding it above the sink or around the island for an added visual element.
- In the bathroom, consider adding waterproof shiplap around the tub or shower.
However you decide to add shiplap to your kitchen or bathroom, you’ll likely create a homey feel that’s also one of the most trendy designs today. Consult a professional designer for ideas and help transforming your space into a shiplap haven.