Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s hit “Fixer Upper” have homeowners across America lapping up rustic reclaimed wood walls. I dare you to find a model home in the South that doesn’t sport shiplap.
When does the ubiquitous become a cliché? Remember the honey-colored paneled dens of the 1970s? They caused home buyers to cringe a decade later. How can homeowners ensure shiplap has longevity before investing effort and money?
Let’s look at its history. The name came from a shipbuilding technique. A long groove, called a rabbet, is cut along the top and bottom edges of each pine board. The alignment of rabbets allows the boards to self-space for water proofing, contraction and expansion. Because shiplap could withstand the elements, it was often used as exterior siding on coastal homes and on barns and other farm outbuildings.
What is the style and geography of your home? Shiplap makes sense if the home is a cape cod, cottage or farmhouse. Not so much, if the home is an urban apartment or a suburban split-level.
Crown moulding and wainscoting will always look timeless in a colonial. Shiplap can be just as classic in the right setting. It’s all about the context.
The photos on this post are from my listing at 1905 Lone Oak Point in Mount Pleasant. They used hand-stained and painted poplar shiplap in shades of gray throughout to add texture and visual interest. It’s right at home in this coastal abode.
Susan Matthews is a writer and a REALTOR® with Carolina One. She works with buyers from all over the world and sellers in the greater Charleston, SC area.