In the battle of shiplap vs. drywall, one question above all the rest requires an in-depth answer: Is shiplap cheaper than drywall?
In this detailed guide, I’m going to answer this question as thoroughly as possible and help you better understand which material is easiest on your wallet and why.
I’ll also walk you through some of the advantages and disadvantages of both materials in order to help you identify which works best for your individual needs.
If you don’t have enough time to read the entire piece, here’s the answer in a nutshell:
Shiplap is usually more expensive than drywall. Decent quality shiplap will cost $16-$25 while drywall of equal quality will retail for $12-$15. Since the materials used in drywall are cheaper to produce than those found in shiplap, the overall cost of drywall can be much lower.
Let’s learn why…
What is Shiplap?
Shiplap is a type of wooden board that can be used for the interior or exterior of a home. It’s commonly used on the inside as siding for homes, barns, sheds, and even outbuildings. Shiplap has a notch cut or special rabbet on the edges that makes it similar to tongue and groove siding.
In contrast to tongue and groove boards that join together to interlock, shiplap boards lay on top of one another to overlap. If the rabbets on the boards are installed horizontally, they will self-space to fit together in harmony. This will keep any water from getting through them.
The rabbets are hidden so that shiplap can give off the illusion of regular wood boards. The clean lines and look will keep you from seeing the difference.
What is Drywall?
Drywall, also known as sheetrock, is an interior wall technology made up of gypsum material. The gypsum boards are placed on either side and attached with drywall screws. These screws will be self-drilling.
They are considered a more complete product than shiplap because they are finished at the time of purchase. These walls are commonly used in buildings because they can last a lifetime. You can find this strong material in hotels, homes, schools, hospitals, theaters, homes, and more.
There are different variants of shiplap that include different sizes and thicknesses. When comparing shiplap vs. drywall, it’s worth noting that drywall is almost always more favored for walls and sidings than shiplap.
Installing drywall can cost around $40-$60 per board. This includes labor charges. However, if you plan to do the installation yourself, you can easily find drywall at stores like Home Depot for only $12-$15 and save even more.
Is Shiplap More Expensive Than Drywall?
When comparing the cost of shiplap vs sheetrock, you have to consider the materials used. Shiplap will almost always be more expensive than drywall depending on the materials used. In very few cases, these materials may be less expensive than drywall, but this is rather rare.
So, is shiplap cheaper than drywall? It can be, but almost never. Most of the time drywall will be considerably less expensive than the cost of materials for shiplap.
If you are considering the two types for your home, it’s worth remembering that cost isn’t the only factor to take into account. Shiplap may be more expensive than drywall, but it could be the right choice for you.
We know that it’s more costly than drywall, but is shiplap expensive in general? Decent quality shiplap at Home Depot will usually cost $16-$25, excluding the cost of installation if you’re not planning to DIY it.
Consequently, if you have a wall that needs a lot of panels, you’ll be spending a lot more than you might want to be.
Be aware: some shiplap materials are cheaper than drywall because they can be made with softwood. This is wood already available like oak, cedar, and pine. These less expensive boards will be one inch thick and cost a bit less than drywall, but you can tell that they are lower quality, less sturdy, and – honestly – not worth it.
Advantages of Shiplap
If you had your heart set on shiplap, don’t give up yet. Here’s a small breakdown of the advantages of going with shiplap:
Shiplap is becoming a popular choice for homeowners because of the attractiveness it can bring. Natural wood siding brings a more classic and warm look. Regular drywall won’t be able to give off this natural feel.
Whether it be the kitchen, living room, bedroom, or bathroom, installing shiplap can drastically change the appearance of your home in ways drywall can’t. The panels can be stained or painted any way you like them.
This allows for almost endless design possibilities to give you the home of your dreams. It’s a great DIY project for those looking to redesign their home.
When it comes to durability, shiplap will win every time against drywall. Because of the thickness and height of the boards, it’s more resistant to dents and scratches.
Also, with drywall, you have to worry about water damage. Just a few inches of water on your drywall will completely ruin it.
In contrast, although it might stain a bit due to water damage, shiplap almost always can dry out and won’t get destroyed.
Makes Rooms Feel Bigger
Shiplap can be installed horizontally or vertically. Most people think of shiplap as horizontal only, which is why you see it that way more commonly. However, if shiplap is installed vertically, it can make small rooms feel bigger.
It does this by emphasizing the room’s height. You can also install shiplap boards on the ceiling to draw the eye upwards instead of carrying the eye around.
Boards Follow Suit
After installing the first board, the rest follow suit. They fit perfectly next to one another making installation a tad bit easier.
Pro tip: whether you install it with the top board or bottom board first, you need to make sure the board is level. The leveling of the first board is important to evenly install the rest of the boards.
Less Messy Installation
There is little to no mess when shiplap is being installed. All you need to do is nail the board without sanding or mudding.
On the other hand, drywall can leave your home a mess because you need to tape, mud, and sand. This will almost always leave your house with a lot of unwanted dust.
Hang Objects Easily
You’ve probably made a few unattractive holes trying to hang something on drywall. That said, hanging things on shiplap is much easier. Every space of shiplap wood is strong enough to hold nails for pictures and decor without putting unsightly holes in your walls.
Disadvantages of Shiplap
I would be remiss if I didn’t also share with you the disadvantages of shiplap. Above and beyond the cost factor, here are a few of the disadvantages of installing shiplap:
Shiplap that is horizontally installed can have small gaps that dust can collect in. This can be an annoying factor when it comes to having shiplap panels, but the solution is easy. As long as you regularly go over the boards with a duster every so often, shiplap will stay dust-free. Nevertheless, this is not necessary if you go with drywall.
Although very durable, shiplap can still get damaged and require replacing. Replacing the boards that become damaged can be quite annoying and isn’t exactly a favorite item to find on your honey-do list. Why? Shiplap typically comes in large boards that make it next to impossible to remove only a small section. That means, you can’t just take off the busted piece and put on the new one. You’ll have to remove and replace several at a time. Not fun.
Lastly, the installation time can be a disadvantage. Drywall can be put up in record time if you know what you’re doing, but shiplap tends to just take longer no matter who you are. While drywall lends itself to quick installs, the subtle look and feel of shiplap simply doesn’t. Be prepared to be slow and methodical to get it just right. Yes, the install is easy, but that doesn’t mean it’s quicker than putting up drywall.
Reducing Shiplap Costs
You may want all of the great advantages of installing shiplap, but feel like you can’t afford it. If that’s you, here are some tips to consider in order to reduce the costs of shiplap.
First, find wood that is within your budget. The cheaper options can still give you all of the benefits you want. Finding boards that have low costs will save you a lot of money.
The next thing you can do to save money on shiplap is install the panels on your own. DIYing it will save you considerably on the over-bloated costs of hiring a contractor or handyman. There are a ton of how-to guides out there as well as detailed videos that can point you in the right direction.
Advantages of Drywall
If shiplap just doesn’t seem like the right fit for you, that’s okay. There are advantages to having drywall too:
For different types of damage, drywall is considerably easy to repair. Chips, holes, and cracks can be fixed in a heartbeat. It’s also affordable to get these problems taken care of if you don’t want to deal with it on your own.
Most businesses tend to use drywall because of this reason. Drywall is also a safer option because it’s fire-resistant.
Drywall works great as an insulator. It keeps heat in during colder months while cooler air gets kept inside during warmer months of the year.
These energy savings will start small, but they will grow in the long run. You’ll be saving money and resources with drywall.
When it’s time to say goodbye to your drywall, you can enjoy an easy breakdown. Replacing entire sections of drywall can be really easy even after it’s installed.
After your drywall begins to wear down, you can recycle the old material. This makes drywall an eco-friendly product that can help the environment.
Disadvantages of Drywall
Where there are advantages, there are disadvantages too. Some of the disadvantages of drywall include:
Not Water Resistant
Drywall is not water-resistant, which makes it a bad option for rooms with high moisture. If drywall comes into contact with moisture, it can get damaged and even destroyed. Also, damp drywall can cause mold problems.
Drywall is prone to damage if it’s not plastered over. A plaster will make the drywall more impact resistant.
If you do not plaster your drywall, you may find damaged corners and holes. These issues can be easily repaired, but the repairs will eventually add up.
Drywall can be easily installed, but it’s harder to finish correctly. You’ll need to make sure you are dealing with a reputable professional that can finish the drywall correctly or learn how to do it yourself. If it’s done wrong, you can have issues with tapes and joints.
On curved surfaces, drywall may not be the best option. It’s less flexible than other materials and can leave certain rooms looking strange, to put it mildly.
Is Shiplap Cheaper Than Drywall Explained
So, is shiplap cheaper than drywall? The short answer is no. However, you can bring costs down by picking less expensive boards and installing shiplap siding on your own.
Hopefully after reading this entire piece, you not only know the answer to the question, but also have a pretty good idea of the benefits and detriments of each building material.
Ultimately, the choice is yours and completely up to your personal preferences and budget.