Shiplap cladding is used to build the walls on many of our sheds and other wooden garden buildings. It has a rich history of being used in the wider construction industry too.
Here, in the second of our blogs about different types of wooden cladding, we examine how shiplap cladding is made; its pros and cons; and its use on some of our garden products. We then take a look at shiplap’s origins, along with how architects, builders and interior designers now view it in their own spheres of work.
What is Shiplap Cladding?
Shiplap cladding is constructed from interlocking wooden boards, with a flat, smooth-planed profile. The boards are locked together by creating a rabbet in their profiles.
A variety of different woods can be used to produce shiplap, the choice depending on whether it is being installed indoors or outside.
In terms of our garden-based products, cedar, pine and redwood are all popular choices. This wood will invariably be slow grown and kiln dried too, increasing its density and stability, so that it is less likely to warp, bend or crack.
Many people mistake shiplap cladding for standard tongue and groove, which is understandable considering that shiplap is sometimes referred to as ‘shiplap tongue and groove’. However, although these two forms of cladding are similar, they are not the same thing.
The easiest way for the untrained eye to tell them apart is that, where the boards join, shiplap has a noticeably scalloped profile. Those who construct cladding will also tell you that shiplap has a looser interlocking fit than regular tongue and groove.
Advantages of Shiplap Sheds
In the shed cladding hierarchy, shiplap sheds are the midmarket option. They are viewed as superior to overlap sheds but are not as highly regarded as tongue and groove models.
That said, they have a huge number of selling points…
Shiplap Sheds are Weathertight
Because of the high quality of the wood used, and the interlocking design of the boards, shiplap sheds are exceptionally weathertight – far more so than standard overlap models. Shiplap’s scalloped profile also provides excellent rainwater runoff.
Therefore, a shiplap shed is an excellent choice if your aim is to keep stored items dry and the shed’s interior protected from damp.
Shiplap Sheds are Strong and Durable
Using slow-grown, kiln-dried, tightly-interlocking wooden boards ensures that shiplap cladding is strong and durable. And, as they are usually at least 12mm thick, shiplap walls are far thicker than those found on overlap sheds.
Also, unlike overlap models, there are no protruding edges on shiplap shed walls, so there’s nothing that might break off or become damaged - just a solid mass of wall, which forms a formidable barrier to the outside world.
Shiplap Prevents Draughts
This tightly-interlocking wooden barrier also prevents draughts from entering the shed.
So, if you’re in the market for a large garden workshop, in which to comfortably carry out your practical tasks, a shiplap workshop shed is a particularly smart choice.
High-Security Shiplap Sheds
As the wooden boards on a shiplap shed are locked tightly together, without any visible overlap, they cannot be prised apart by thieves.
What’s more, because shiplap sheds are normally positioned as manufacturers’ midmarket option, they will invariably include superior door locks and glazing to overlap models, so providing even greater security for your valuable stored items.
Shiplap Sheds are Stylish
With their smart, scalloped profile, hidden fixings and smooth-planed finish, shiplap sheds are exceptionally attractive.
Also, while shiplap cladding is fashionable, it is far from being a new method of construction. It really does boast a timeless design, which ensures it complements any style of outdoor area.
Shiplap Sheds Provide Incredible Value for Money
As the midmarket option, shiplap sheds are more expensive than overlap models but cheaper than luxury tongue and groove.
However, in terms of its construction, shiplap cladding has far more in common with tongue and groove than it does with overlap, and yet is much closer to the latter in terms of pricing.
With this in mind, the inescapable conclusion to draw is that shiplap sheds provide incredible value for money.
Disadvantages of Shiplap Sheds
Luxury tongue and groove sheds clearly have superior cladding to shiplap, and will usually come with the highest all-round specifications too. So, if you’re searching for the best-quality sheds on the market, shiplap is unlikely to be for you.
Also, please bear in mind that because of their tightly-interlocking wooden boards, once assembled, shiplap sheds are more difficult to repair than basic overlap models. Therefore, it’s of paramount importance that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions with regards to treating the timber. If you don’t, and the wood starts to rot, replacing the damaged boards is an almost impossible task.
If you’ve been thinking of buying a shiplap shed but the above worries you, please read on and we'll provide a solution…
Forest Beckwood Shiplap Sheds
Everybody appreciates that shiplap sheds are a good, solid choice, but Forest has now produced a range to challenge other shed manufacturers’ luxury lines, but without the luxury price tags. This range is called Beckwood.
The first thing to note is that Beckwood shiplap sheds are pressure treated and supplied with an extraordinary 25-year guarantee, so further treatment against rot is not required. This saves you the time and money involved in retreating the wood, while also giving you peace of mind that rot will never become an issue.
Built in the UK, these weather-beating wooden sheds also feature a complete modular design, so they’re delivered in smaller sections of interchangeable panels but you get more overall wood. Not only does this make them easier to assemble and stronger than other wooden sheds, it offers you an unprecedented choice of door and window placements too.
Other standout features include extra-thick 28mm x 56mm framing; a 12mm tongue and groove floor; ledged and braced doors, fitted with a pad bolt; and shatterproof, scratch-resistant 3mm acrylic glazing.
With over 50 different sizes and designs to choose from, there’s sure to be a Forest Beckwood shed to suit your own specific requirements.
For an overview of how shiplap sheds compare to other garden sheds, please read our Shed Buying Guide.
Shiplap Cladding Elsewhere in the Garden
Cladding as good as shiplap will obviously be suitable for other garden products too.
A number of our suppliers use shiplap on their workshops, prefab garages, greenhouses, potting sheds, summerhouses, garden bars, playhouses, patio storage, AND pet houses.
It is worth noting that some composite plastic and metal sheds also have a shiplap profile. This might be for practical or aesthetic purposes – sometimes a combination of the two.
Origins of Shiplap Cladding
Sometimes known as ‘clinker planking’, shiplap dates back to around 300AD, when, as the name suggests, it was a method used to build boats. In fact, the Viking longships that raided Europe and discovered America were built this way.
By the nineteenth century, shiplap’s weather-beating design meant that it became commonly used as exterior cladding on seaside cottages, while its snug, interlocking joints also found favour in fine furniture making. You can find out further details about this here.
Benefits of Shiplap Cladding in Modern Construction
Aside from its use in making sheds, shiplap is now a popular choice of exterior siding on bigger buildings, both for its weathertight design and aesthetic appeal. The former quality has the added benefit of prolonging the wooden cladding’s lifespan, by keeping water out of the ventilated cavity behind the cladding.
Shiplap’s long heritage but clean, modern lines ensure that it complements both traditional and modern buildings. This versatility, coupled with the fact that it is easier to instal than regular tongue and groove cladding, also allows it to be positioned horizontally, vertically, or customised to suit a particular project. It is worth noting that when shiplap is positioned horizontally, it provides a tighter weatherproof seal.
As with garden buildings, shiplap designs aren’t purely confined to wood. Moulded PVC boards are also available in this style.
Shiplap’s Use in Interior Design
Shiplap’s clean lines and hidden fixings have made it popular amongst interior designers too. In these cases, it can have a smooth or woodgrain finish, and is often painted – white being the most popular colour.
When the boards are positioned horizontally, shiplap designs carry the eye around a room to give the impression of space. Likewise, when placed vertically, the eye is drawn upwards, making the room appear taller. Shiplap can even be installed on a ceiling, to draw the eye upwards, while zigzag patterns create a modern twist on the traditional design.
Some interior designers use shiplap-style cladding, but with a slight gap between the boards. The downside of this is that it can be a magnet for dust.
Installing Shiplap in Your Own Home
Further Reading On Cladding
For concise definitions of different types of cladding and other garden-product terminology, Forest’s Guide to Our Products is an excellent reference point.
And for further information on cladding in architecture and construction, please read Timber Development UK’s Timber Cladding Handbook.
If you have any questions relating to the shiplap cladding used to build our garden products, please contact our UK-based Customer Service Team, who will be happy to help.