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How Thick & Wide Should Shiplap Be? (Shiplap Size Guide)

Shiplap is an amazingly easy and cheap way to change a wall’s look. It adds a different texture and charm to your room. Thinking of installing shiplap but confused about the size and installation process? Here is a detailed guide about Shiplap size.

How thick & wide should shiplap be?

5 ½ inch and 7 ¼ inch shiplap are the most popular shiplap widths. The best shiplap width depends on the room size. Large rooms look nice with wide shiplap and smaller rooms need slightly narrow shiplap. ¾ inch is the ideal thickness of the shiplap.  

The name shiplap came from the horizontal planks once used to make ship corridors and rooms. Later the unique style of ships inspired people to use them in their homes. 

When it comes to size, traditional sizes are widely used and tasted. 5-inch to 8-inch wide ship laps have a uniquely satisfying feel. 

The thickness of the shiplap affects the visibility of the gaps between the shiplap. Let’s talk about the size in detail. 


The gaps between the planks will be more noticeable with thicker shiplap. Wider planks will make the gaps less noticeable.

The shiplap looks best when the gaps are slightly noticeable from a close distance. For that ¾ inch is the perfect thickness of shiplap.

¾ inch shiplap is most common too. You can also find ½ inch and 1-inch shiplap. ½ inch thick shiplap is sometimes hard to work with.

Nails that are half an inch longer than the shiplap thickness are pretty fine. Usually, 1 ½ inch and 2-inch nails are used to install shiplap.


There are two popular sizes of shiplap; 5 ½ and 7 ¼ inches. 5 ½ is even more common than 7 ¼ inches. Other sizes around those are also available in the market.

You can use shiplap to make your room look wider or longer. Horizontally installed shiplap makes your room look longer. A vertically installed shiplap makes your room visually taller.

If you want to use a wider shiplap, this effect will be lower. 

What is the standard thickness of the shiplap?

¾ inch is the standard thickness for shiplap. Although shiplap thickness can vary depending on the material. Standard wooden shiplap should be one inch thick.

However, MDS is always better than wood. Wood is very costly and can go bad due to humidity and other factors. With ¾ inch MDS shiplap you can get the perfect gap texture from the outside. It’s easy to install and carry. 

Medium-density fretboard (MDF) is a product of engineered wood. It is dancer, durable, strong and most importantly it is cheap. So, ¾ inch MDF shiplap is the best thickness option for you.

Wooden shiplap is timeless. If you want to add rustic charm to your room wall, go for a 1-inch wooden shiplap.

What happens when one uses thicker or thinner shiplap? A thinner shiplap will make the gaps noticeable. It’s not usually preferable when you are looking for a classical vibe.

Thicker than ¾ inch is hard to carry, and work with. It will also make the MDF plank gaps less noticeable.

Shiplap dimensions: 

Although there are some regular sizes of shiplap found in the market. You will be able to find lots of different sizes of shiplap too. 

There is numerous shiplap with different colors and textures. Woody colors, gray, blue, white, and many other designs are found in the market. 

But the variation of size is not that vast like design. You can expect between 4 inches to 8 inches shiplap on the market.

Check the features of different sizes of shiplap available in the market.


Here are the available widths of shiplap and their features. To generalize the list, we are avoiding fractions.

4 inches:

Four inches shiplap is one of the less used shiplap. It is good for the bathroom and smaller rooms and ceiling. 

It needs more time to install as it covers less area and needs more shiplap prices. It’s not so good for living rooms and drawing rooms. As the narrow texture looks messy if looked from far.

5 inches:

5 inches is a standard width for shiplap. One can use 5 inches shiplap anywhere he/she wants. It will look just fine no matter how small and big the space is.

6 inches:

6 inches is a good size for living rooms and medium-sized rooms. The 6-inch shiplap looks good even if installed vertically.

With a 6-inch shiplap, you can get the freedom to choose the gaps between the planks as it looks decent with bigger gaps.

7 inches and above:

Shiplap above the width of 7 inches is good for big rooms and corridors. Wider shiplap is not very good for small and medium-sized rooms.


Shiplap can be found in a few different sizes. ½ inch, ¾ inch, 1 inch, and, 1 ¼ inch shiplap can be found in the market. Check out their features here. 

½ inches:

½ inch shiplap is good for highlighting the gap line. It’s easy to carry.

¾ inches:

¾ inch thick shiplap is standard and widely found in the market.

1 inch: 

1-inch thick shiplap is available in the market. It’s not a good option if you are installing alone.

1 inch+:

Thicker shiplap can be used in auditoriums and other bigger spaces. It can weaken sound waves better than other materials. 

How to measure for shiplap?

Measurement is an essential part of the shiplap installation. Small technical mistakes can be fixed easily, but mathematical mistakes can cause an epic failure of your project. 

Here are the steps to measure for a perfect shiplap installation. 


First, measure your installation wall with tape. Measure the height and length of your wall and write them down.


Calculate the area of your wall. Suppose, your wall is 20′ long and you want to install 6′ from the ground. So, the area is 20′ x 6′ = 120 square feet.

Choose your plank size:

Now choose your plank size and measure the area. If the planks are 5″ long and 12′ wide, the area is 5 sq ft. 


Now, divide the wall area with the plank area. 120 ft/ 5 ft = 24 planks. So, with 24 planks, you will be able to cover your 20′ x 6′ wall. 

Keep in mind that this calculation does not contain the small gap distance between the planks. If you have an actual shiplap, you will not have to worry about this.

Always buy some extra planks to fix any mistake without visiting the shop again. You can return unused planks after finishing the project.

How to install shiplap?

The shiplap installation process is easy and possible to complete a medium-size room within one day. Here are the steps of installation.


First, clean the wall, remove nails and the light switches. 


Mark the wall with a long scale and chalk or chalk powder and a rope. You don’t need to mark the entire wall. Just the starting, end, and midpoints. It will help you to visualize the pathway.


Start installing from the bottom. Simply, nail through the planks directly into the wall. A nail machine will make your job a lot easier. Make sure to nail the same point of each plank 

Don’t waste time:

Don’t waste time perfecting the endpoint. An extra plank over the ending point of installation will fix all the uneven cuts.

Cut the plank:

If there is a switch, cut the plank in the size of the switch point.

Use spacers:

Use spacers or craft sticks to make perfect gaps between the planks. Actual shiplap doesn’t need spacers.


Reinstall the switches after completing the shiplap installation.

What size shiplap should I use?

The best shiplap size for you depends on the size of your room. You can choose a differently-designed shiplap depending on your taste. But for size, you can follow this,

Large room:

7-8 inches shiplap is best for large rooms. They can be used on accent walls, hallways, and ceilings. 

Medium room:

6-7 inches shiplap is best for medium rooms. The best shiplap size depends on your room size as wider shiplap looks best from a bit distance. The narrow shiplap looks good from near.

Small room:

5-6 inches shiplap planks are best for small rooms. Always install shiplap horizontally in the small rooms. Horizontal lines will make the room look larger than actual. 

Bathrooms, kitchens, and verandas are some good places to install 5-6 inch shiplap.

Final thoughts

Wider shiplap fits best in large rooms. A narrow shiplap is best for small rooms. Use shiplap horizontally in smaller rooms. ¾ inch thick shiplap is standard and commonly used. However, those are some general rules, there are many ways to make amazing walls with shiplap.