• Brackenwood-2

Shiplap Cladding – A Beginner’s Guide

Characterised by its simple interlocking pieces, shiplap cladding utilises the power of precision cut joints that allow each adjacent board to neatly overlap with the other.

The seal formed from the profile of the wood is one of design ingenuity in that it is both tight enough to provide exceptional protection from the weather elements, such as wind and water, whilst also offering some give, allowing for the expansion and contraction of the wood in changing climates.

In fact, it is thought that shiplap takes its name from the style of cladding long used on ships, whereby the overlapping joints provided an impressive weatherproof solution to being on the open seas!

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What is Shiplap Cladding Used For?

Whilst commonly used for garden buildings, such as sheds, summerhouses and cabins, shiplap cladding has become an increasingly popular choice in architectural design. It provides the perfect combination of a stylish, modern look with the rustic charm that comes with any wood, making it suited to a variety of uses both inside and out.

Aside from the pleasing aesthetics, shiplap cladding comes with a whole host of benefits as a construction material. Here, we discuss these in more detail.

Benefits of Shiplap Cladding

Speed of installation

One of the main benefits of cladding, particularly when used on a larger scale, is how quickly a project can progress in comparison to many other building projects. Plus, with shiplap cladding, the installation generally requires less work than tongue and groove.


On a practical level, shiplap cladding is well suited to a whole host of buildings thanks to its solid frame and the protection it provides from the outdoor elements. On a design level, it can also offer a relatively simple way to add a striking feature to many interior and exterior projects.  From a small feature wall to a unique extension or trendy block of apartments, the choices are endless!

Weather protection

Providing the cladding is installed correctly, shiplap offers protection from water penetration, whilst providing an armour against the wind and also offering insulation properties. As mentioned previously, the slightly looser fit in comparison to tongue and groove can in some cases be beneficial, particularly in changing climates whereby the wood can expand and contract with fluctuating humidity.

Sustainable and environmentally friendly

There are several environmental benefits to using timber cladding, but it is important to first check whether yours has been responsibly sourced.  Most suppliers will clearly specify if this is the case on their website. If you cannot find the answer, make sure to ask. Here at NORclad, our raw material is sustainable and responsibly purchased and all our timber cladding solutions come with superb environmental credentials.

For more on this, check out the environmental page on our website.

Scope of imagination

Using wood in construction allows our imagination to come into fruition thanks to the ease of cutting pieces to accommodate for the most intricate designs and shapes.

Cost effective

When budget is a consideration, whilst there is little difference between the finished appearance of most cladding profiles, shiplap can be a cheaper option to some tongue and groove profiles.

Stability and strength

Most shiplap cladding is made from high density softwood, which has been slow grown and kiln-dried offering stability and strength.

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Installation Tips

Type of wood

Shiplap cladding can be made from a variety of wood species, so it is important to ensure you use the type of wood most suited to your project. The Siberian larch timber cladding, for example, is one of the hardest commercial softwoods with excellent machining properties. It makes it a particularly useful cladding choice in areas of high impact damage such as schools, or shops.

Treat/Paint before you begin

This way, you can be sure no wood is left exposed and susceptible to rot and any difficult to reach places are already painted for a professional finish.

Use the correct nails

Make sure the nails are suited to the thickness of the board and that they made from either stainless steel to prevent staining of the wood should the nails begin to corrode.

Level starting board

A vital element of correctly installing shiplap cladding is to make sure your starting board is level. Most commonly, shiplap is installed horizontally and by starting at the bottom it is easy to use a spirit level to ensure your first board is entirely straight. This board will then be the guide for the next and so on, allowing for speedy progress.

Shiplap Care and Maintenance

As with any use of timber in construction, it is important to understand how best to care for your cladding to optimise its performance and prolong its lifespan.


Some species of wood are naturally more durable, for a low maintenance option, look for shiplap cladding that does not need to be treated such as Canadian Western Red Cedar.

At NORclad, for those species that do need to be treated, such as Siberian Larch or European Redwood, which are both only classified as moderately durable, our expert knowledge and high pressure treatment facilities allow us to ensure your cladding is treated in a way that is most suited to both the type of wood and it’s end use.

We offer a 30-year warranty against rot and fungal decay. Plus, we have the choice of two-colour options – with either our NORclad Lite, or NORclad Brunnea option – to suit your preference, and project requirements.


You can rest assured, when it comes to the finished look of your shiplap cladding you will not be limited in paint choice. Here at NORclad, we offer a huge range of paint and pre-coating factory applied finishes using premium coatings manufacturers.


As well as protection from the elements, you may need to protect your cladding from the risk of fire, timber can be achieve EuroClassB if required. More relevant if timber cladding is being used in construction of residential, educational, health care and retail projects.

The Wave - Siberian Larch

Getting Started with NORclad

If you are considering shiplap cladding for a new and exciting project or perhaps to enhance the appearance of an existing building, here at NORclad, we are ready to help you find the most suited cladding for your every need. We have over 40 years’ experience specialising in the manufacturing of wood cladding and our huge range of products each come with superb environmental credentials.

To find out more, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our friendly team today.

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Have Any Questions?

To learn more about NORclad®, our approach and our products, simply get in touch with us today.

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If you’re stuck for inspiration and want to see working examples of our expertise, feel free to browse through our case studies.

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2020-10-15T11:20:58+01:00August 21st, 2020|

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