If you’re planning to remodel your house or building from scratch, you might be considering Shiplap panels as an ideal choice for your wall design.

However, it can be confusing whether you need to apply a layer of drywall first before you apply it or you don’t need one at all. On the contrary, you might have an already existing drywall and you’re wondering whether you need to tear it out first before applying the Shiplap.

So Does Shiplap Need drywall? As a rule of thumb, consider shiplap and drywall alternative options for wall design. In other words, you technically don’t need existing drywall to apply a shiplap. However, if you already have drywall installed, you can simply apply the shiplap over it with a few changes in the technique.

Keep on reading if you want to know whether shiplap is better than drywall and how to install shiplap to your wall, whether you have drywall or you don’t.

Can You Install Shiplap Directly to Studs Without Having Drywall

From a technical point of view, you don’t need to apply drywall to your wall in order to install shiplap. You can simply install them directly over house studs.

However, in some state laws, there are building codes that your house has an existing layer of drywall before installing any shiplap directly.

Installing shiplap directly to studs without drywall will also be quite easier because it uses less equipment.

You’ll be able to spot the studs and frames directly, so you won’t have to use an electronic stud detector to find that stud for you.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that applying shiplap over drywall is a bad thing, as they have both advantages and disadvantages, which we’ll have an in-depth look at shortly.

Shiplap vs. Drywall: 6 Reasons Why You Should Pick Shiplap

Now that you know that shiplap and drywall are technically interchangeable and you don’t need drywall to install them, here are some of the advantages of installing shiplap on your wall rather than drywall.

1. More Durable

While drywall is known for its high tendency to dent, crack, and scratch with intense use, shiplap is far more durable and suitable.

This is simply because shiplap is usually made of authentic solid wood with a thickness of about 3 to 4 inches and can go as wide as 12 inches.

If you’re looking for a tough wall material that’s both heavy-duty and would look good as new for years to come, shiplap is your way to go!

2. Easier to Install and Less Messy Installation

Even if you lack serious DIY skills or proper experience, you can still use shiplap and install it easily and much quicker than drywall.

Not only that, but another huge advantage in this field is that shiplap will typically require you to work with fewer tools. For instance, you might only need as little as a hammer or a nail gun to get going.

Moreover, if you’ve taken a good look at how these panels fit into each other, you’ll instantly figure out how they’re installed by fitting pieces together just like a puzzle or a jigsaw.

On the other hand, drywall won’t only be a more tedious process, but will also include far more steps and tools to deal with that require a fair share of previous experience and skills.

Even when you’re done installing drywall, you’ll be left with a lot of mess. The process involves sanding and taping that needs a good clean up. Alternatively, if you’re careful enough, you might not leave any mess behind while using shiplap.

3. Easier to Paint and Maintain

Painting on shiplap is as easy as painting on wood. You can start the priming and painting directly after installing the shiplap.

However, with drywall, you’ll have to finish mudding and sanding first before applying any coat of paint on the wall.

4. Allows for a Worry-Free Hanging of Objects

Hanging objects on drywall is a daunting task because you’ll need to fit them over wooden frames and studs. This requires you to either use an electronic stud detector or figure out where the studs are the hard way, punching a pointless hole in the wall.

As for shiplap, it’s already made entirely of solid wood, so hammering a nail in it anywhere to hang a picture frame won’t be a problem.

5. Shiplap gives a Unique Aesthetic Touch to the Wall

Although it’s a matter of preference, the main reason why people opt for shiplap is that it gives a better texture to the wall and is far more aesthetically pleasing than drywall.

6. A More Cost-Efficient Overall Process

Ideally, drywall costs less than shiplap. However, if you put in consideration the costs of extra tools, longer installation hours, additional materials used in the process. As well as the need for frequent maintenance, you’ll realize that shiplap is the cost-effective option in the long run.

Shiplap Directly on Studs vs. Shiplap on Drywall

If you’re planning to apply shiplap panels on your wall, the process remains mostly the same whether you already have drywall or you’re fitting them directly on wooden studs.

In fact, there are a variety of benefits that you get from the combination of drywall and shiplap.

For instance, it’ll greatly strengthen the structure of the house and allows you to hang objects directly anywhere on the wall because shiplap is, literally, wood boards.

It also adds to the aesthetics of the house and gives the wall a unique texture, especially when installed vertically, as it gives the illusion that the room is bigger.

The presence of drywall also adds extra resistance against some elements. As well as better soundproofing, which shiplap lacks of.


There you have it! A complete guide that answers the question “does shiplap need drywall?” As you can see, the clear answer is no.

If you’re building straight into the wall’s studs and frames, you can apply the shiplap panels directly on them without having a drywall interlayer.

However, if you already have drywall installed on the room frames, I recommend that you keep it on to benefit from the combination of both shiplap and drywall.

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