Can You Install Shiplap Directly To Studs?

Chad Kilpatrick
by Chad Kilpatrick

Shiplap is an affordable building material that is easy to install and can resist moisture. The long wood planks are ideal for indoor and outdoor use, and any homeowner can install shiplap without professional help. So, can you install shiplap directly to studs?

You can install shiplap directly to studs if you don’t have drywall in place. It is better for your siding to install insulation between the studs before you apply shiplap so that it will last longer, however. Add insulation between the studs to prevent moisture damage and you can install shiplap directly to them.

The process is easy as long as you properly stagger the planks. Follow along as we explore how you can install shiplap directly to studs.

Do You Need to Hire a Framing Contractor?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

Can You Install Shiplap Directly to Studs

It is possible to install shiplap directly to studs if you don’t have drywall. The water, weather, and fire-resistant nature of shiplap mean that you will retain many of the same benefits as if you had drywall. However, professionals recommend that you install insulation between the studs to protect against water damage.

Place rolls of batt insulation between each stud before you install shiplap directly to studs. This is an affordable way to retain energy efficiency and prevent moisture damage without installing drywall. Install a breathable membrane behind the shiplap if you want to improve the airflow in the space.

Use nails that measure 2”-2 ½” when you install shiplap to studs so that you can create a sturdy connection. This will prevent the nails from coming loose and will allow you to anchor deep within the studs.

Why Should I Install Shiplap?

You may be considering installing a shiplap for several reasons. Shiplap is produced and sold in most lumberyards. Let’s look for some examples of why you may want to use shiplap.

Shiplap examples:

  • Matching what is already there. You may be matching the shiplap that was already used in your home and does not want to change the design.
  • You may be looking for affordable siding. Shiplap can be an affordable product if you are wanting to go with something cheaper than Hardy board.
  • Decorating a room with a shiplap wall looks good. You may decide you want to change the design of a room by adding a shiplap wall.
  • Remodeling may require you to use shiplap. If you are repairing a wall that is already using shiplap, you may have to replace some pieces.

Using shiplap can be a great alternative to more expensive wall finishes. It still looks great and adds character.

Shiplap Safety Codes

Most local building codes allow you to install shiplap directly to studs. However, each municipality is different and it varies based on what room of the house you are talking about. For example, most areas allow you to install shiplap to studs around a fireplace, but you’ll need to check your local building codes first.

Shiplap is typically fire-resistant because it contains fiber cement. That is why it is such popular siding material. The makeup of shiplap makes it weather and fire-resistant which is why you can install shiplap directly to studs without a problem.

How To Insulate Behind Shiplap

If you are attaching shiplap directly to studs, you have a few options for adding insulation. Shiplap works well on its own because it keeps moisture out and stays tight. You may still want to add some wall insulation between the studs before installing the shiplap.

You can staple rolls of insulation between the studs. Once you have done that, you can either add black felt paper or a fire-rated product type.

Then install the shiplap over that. Make sure to mark out your studs if you cover them with paper. Sheetrock is fire-rated, which is why it is the most used material for walls. Make sure to double-check the building codes in your area if you are using shiplap only.

Tools Needed For Installing Shiplap Siding

You will need some construction tools if you will be installing shiplap siding: saws, nailguns, levels, and more. Installing shiplap directly to studs will require you to fasten them to the wood. Here is a list of some of the essential tools for shiplap siding installation.

  • Pencil
  • Square
  • Level
  • Measuring tape
  • Table saw
  • Drill
  • Caulking gun
  • Spacers

To install shiplap siding, you will need to have some construction knowledge and experience using these types of tools. You can install it by hand, but a compressor and nailgun would be the best option.

How To Install Shiplap

Here are some instructions how to install shiplap!

Step 1: Find The Studs

First and foremost, you will need to find the vertical studs that are behind the drywall. To do this, you can search for them with an electronic stud finder.

Move this horizontally along the wall until it tells you that a stud has been found. The LED bulb will flash, or a beeping sound will activate when you place it over a stud. Make sure you go slowly, so you don’t miss anything.

When you find a stud, mark the spot with a pencil. Do this lightly enough to where you can see it, but you don’t have to do it horribly dark. Just so that you know the stud is there.

Step 2: Check The Marks

Ensure your lines are vertical by using a level. Connect the dots for the studs to use as a guide. You’ll want to double-check that it’s completely vertical.

Step 3: Install The First Shiplap Board

You’ll need to measure the shiplap board and the wall to cut it to fit. Then, you will need to apply adhesive to the back of the board and attach it to the area.

The adhesive should be for indoor use since this is where you’re installing your shiplap board. You can then attach the boards to your studs after you fit each one on the wall with the adhesive.

Make sure afterward that you take the time to caulk and hide the seams. And always double-check your measurements before permanently installing; otherwise, you’ll have a huge mess to clean up.

Hide Seams in Shiplap

There are noticeable seams between boards when you install shiplap directly to studs. Some homeowners don’t mind the seams, but it is common to hide them so that they don’t stick out. The best way to hide seams in shiplap is to caulk them, and it only takes a few quick steps.

  • Remove the existing trim. Use a prybar to pull the existing baseboards and molding at the top of the wall away.
  • Apply a coat of paint primer. Brush a coat of paint primer onto the paneling.
  • Put a layer of drywall tape onto the seams.
  • Scrape away the drywall mud and caulk over it.

This will make the seams look even and flush with the rest of the siding. Use a table saw when you install shiplap to make precise cuts so that the seams turn out more evenly when you install it.

Tips For Installing Shiplap

I’ve installed my fair share of shiplap siding over the years, and have some tips for getting the job done quick and easy.

  • Use a table saw for cutting the pieces. A table saw works much better than a handsaw, or circular saw. The table can be set up on sawhorses, to help hold the siding in place.
  • If you are putting it on the ceiling, consider using glue. If you are putting it up on the ceiling, you may want to consider gluing it with construction for decorative reasons adhesive.
  • Always double-check your measurements. Write your measurements down on a piece of wood or in a notebook. Double-checking measurements will save you from costly mistakes and wasted material.

We hope these tips will help anyone who is taking on a shiplap project. Now that you know a little more about how, and where it is used, you can find some design ideas!

Related Questions

Can shiplap be used in new construction?

Yes, shiplap can be used in new construction. If you have a reason you would prefer shiplap siding, you can buy it at most lumberyards. Many people use shiplap for interiors for decoration purposes.

Paint shiplap before or after installing?

You can paint shiplap siding before, or after installing. We suggest painting the siding before you install it. If you have the option, spray, and backroll the siding. Painting it after it is installed, is hard on brushes and rollers.

Do You Need to Hire a Framing Contractor?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

Summing It Up

Shiplap is one of the most useful forms of siding, and you can install it directly to studs. It is ideal to install insulation between each stud so that you don’t have to worry about moisture damage. Drywall is not necessary when you install shiplap, but it is more fire-resistant than shiplap itself.

Use caulk to hide the seams between planks of shiplap. You can legally install shiplap to studs in most areas of the house, but refer to local building codes to make sure it is okay where you live. Mark the studs before you install the shiplap, and use 2”-2 ½” nails for the ultimate grip.

Chad Kilpatrick
Chad Kilpatrick

I'm a writer that is passionate about home improvements, remodeling, and renovating. I enjoy learning new skills and techniques and sharing them with others.

More by Chad Kilpatrick