Beadboard vs Shiplap: Key Differences for Home Walls

When it’s time to choose a wall treatment for your home or office, the debate between beadboard vs shiplap is common. Each presents unique aesthetics and practical advantages, and these factors should be considered when making a decision for your project.

Fun fact: Beadboard has been used in homes since the late 1800s, and can be found in structures built in virtually every decade up to today.

What are the main distinctions in appearance, installation, and cost between beadboard and shiplap? What does it take to maintain them? And what are the advantages of using beadboard and shiplap in specific situations?

Beadboard vs Shiplap: Which is Right for You?

Beadboard and shiplap are two of the most popular wood paneling options for homeowners looking to add a bit of rustic charm to a modern space. What are some of the biggest differences between them? Let’s take a closer look.



Beadboard paneling features narrow vertical planks with distinctive ‘beads’ running lengthwise across each panel. Shiplap, on the other hand, has horizontal lines created by overlapping rabbet joints on the edges of each plank.

Beadboard adds texture and detail to a space, while shiplap offers clean lines with minimal visual interruptions.



Installing shiplap is relatively easy due to its interlocking design, which allows for quick alignment. This makes it a great choice for DIYers and professionals.

Beadboard isn’t quite as easy to install, and requires careful attention because it needs precise cutting around fixtures and electrical outlets if used as wainscoting. 



Shiplap tends to be more affordable than beadboard paneling. That being said, the end expenditure will depend largely on variables such as material quality and professional labor fees. Both beadboard and shiplap can be painted or stained according to your personal preference, which can add to the overall budget.

Whether beadboard or shiplap is right for your home comes down to individual taste and how much you’re willing to spend. Either way, both options will add tremendous character and warmth to your living space. 

Aesthetic Appeal of Beadboard and Shiplap

The aesthetics of shiplap and beadboard are one of the biggest differences homeowners need to consider when investing in either option. Shiplap offers a clean, sleek look, while beadboard paneling has its own distinctive appearance with ‘beads’ running across each panel. 

Pro-tip: Beadboard and shiplap made from reclaimed wood look great on their own, but both types of panel can be painted or stained to match your design. It’s your home – get creative!

Creating the Illusion of Space with Shiplap

Shiplap boards installed horizontally can make a room appear wider and more spacious than it actually is. This makes it a great choice for smaller spaces that need a little help not to feel cramped. Plus, the simple design and rabbet joints of shiplap paneling allow it to blend seamlessly into any interior style – from rustic farmhouse chic to modern minimalist decor.

Adding Texture with Beadboard

Beadboard paneling is perfect for adding texture and detail to a space with its unique pattern created by evenly spaced beads along the panels. The vertical orientation draws eyes upwards, making ceilings appear higher and giving rooms and sense of grandeur. Beadboard wainscoting works well in traditional settings like cottages or Victorian homes, and also adds character to contemporary designs when paired with modern furnishings. 

Ultimately, the choice between installing shiplap or beadboard depends on your desired aesthetic, as well as factors like cost and whether you plan to install it yourself. To make an informed decision about which choice is best for your project, it’s important to explore different room inspirations and consider how each type would look in your space. 


Protecting Walls from Moisture Damage

Shiplap and beadboard paneling aren’t just visually appealing. They also offer practical solutions to safeguard your walls against potential damage caused by everyday wear and tear. These materials provide extra protection against damp patches or issues caused by exposure to moisture within your home or office.


Benefits of Using Wood Paneling for Wall Protection

Wood paneling is a durable and mold-resistant option that can prevent dents, scratches, and even water damage. Shiplap and beadboard paneling – in particular – are known for their sturdiness, making them ideal choices for protecting the structural integrity of your walls. Additionally, shiplap’s tightly fitting planks with locking rabbet joints helps to prevent mold growth due to reduced moisture accumulation behind the panels. 

Installing shiplap or beadboard wainscoting is also relatively simple compared to wall treatments like tilework, so they’re a nice choice for DIY enthusiasts looking for quick yet impactful upgrades to their home.

Remember: If you’re leaning more towards beadboard paneling and want to install it yourself, it’s important to do proper research. Beadboard in particular needs to be measured, cut, and installed properly for best results. 


Benefits of Wainscoting Applications

Shiplap paneling creates a clean and modern look that works well in contemporary spaces, while beadboard wainscoting adds a touch of classic charm to traditional or farmhouse-style interiors. Both paneling options can be easily customized by painting or staining to match your existing decor, making them versatile options for virtually any room.


Ease-of-installation Between Beadboard & Shiplap

Installing shiplap is a breeze compared to installing beadboard. Shiplap’s interlocking rabbet joints and self-spacing design make it a simple task for even novice DIY enthusiasts. Beadboard, on the other hand, requires more precision and patience to ensure proper spacing and alignment. That’s not saying homeowners should avoid choosing it, though!

Shiplap Installation Process

Shiplap installation is pretty straightforward. Simply measure, cut, apply adhesive or nails, and fill gaps. And to save time and effort, shiplap paneling can be installed directly over your existing drywall!

Beadboard Installation Process

Installing beadboard wainscoting is a bit more finicky. You’ll need to use spacers and measure carefully to ensure consistent alignment and spacing. It’s not impossible, but beadboard could prove to be more challenging than installing shiplap. 

Installing shiplap:
Self-spacing design and interlocking rabbet joints make installation easy, no matter your skill level.

Installing beadboard:
Better suited for those with intermediate DIY skills or with professional assistance.

Maintenance Requirements for Beadboard and Shiplap

Shiplap’s horizontal design generally requires more frequent cleaning, since dust and dirt can accumulate quicker. Maintaining beadboard’s vertical panels is much easier. Here’s how to keep each looking their best:

Cleaning Tips for Shiplap Walls

Since shiplap boards are installed horizontally, they tend to gather dust on their ledges. To keep your shiplap walls looking fresh and clean, follow these simple steps:

  1. Use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove loose dust from the surface.
  2. Create a mixture of warm water and mild dish soap or wood cleaner.
  3. Dip a soft cloth into the solution and wring it out so that it's damp but not soaking wet.
  4. Gently wipe down each plank, paying special attention to grooves where dirt might hide.
  5. If necessary, use an old toothbrush or small scrub brush to get into tight spaces between planks.
  6. Dry the wall thoroughly using another clean cloth or towel after cleaning is complete.

Keeping Beadboard Looking Fresh

Beadboard paneling, with its vertical orientation and distinctive beads running lengthwise across each panel, tends not to collect as much dust compared to shiplap. To keep your beadboard looking its best, follow the same guidelines listed for shiplap above. 

By following these simple maintenance steps, you can keep both shiplap and beadboard looking great for years to come.

Remember: Harsh chemicals can damage the structural integrity of wood planks. Only use mild detergents when cleaning your shiplap or beadboard walls.


Wainscoting: An Alternative Wall Treatment Option

Undecided between shiplap and beadboard, but like the design aesthetic of both? Wainscoting is worth considering. Wainscoting involves installing wooden trim or panel molding on the lower third of a wall, adding an elegant touch to any room by drawing attention upwards towards higher ceilings.

Benefits of Using Wainscoting in Home Decor

Elevated style:
Wainscoting adds a classic, sophisticated look that complements both traditional and modern interiors.


Like shiplap boards and beadboard paneling, wainscoting protects walls from scuffs, dents, and other damage caused by everyday wear-and-tear.


Available in various materials such as wood or MDF, wainscoting can be customized with paint or stain to match your existing decor.

Comparing Costs and Difficulty of Installation

The main difference in installation between shiplap and beadboard vs wainscoting lies in the complexity of the process. While rabbet joints make it easy to install shiplap panels, working with the intricate patterns found on some types of wainscoting may require professional help for proper alignment. Additionally, cutting precise angles for corners could pose a challenge if you lack woodworking experience.

In terms of cost factors, wainscoting materials are generally a bit more expensive than shiplap or beadboard. However, the final price will depend on things like the type of material, its quality, labor costs, and the size of your project.

Before making a decision between shiplap boards, beadboard paneling, or wainscoting for your home improvement project, it’s important to consider some of the factors we’ve laid out in this post. Aesthetic preferences, budget constraints, and DIY skill levels all play a part in determining which is the right choice for you.

Beadboard vs Shiplap FAQs

What’s the difference between beadboard vs shiplap?

To put it simply, beadboard has vertical panels with a small ridge, while shiplap is made up of horizontal boards that overlap slightly – creating a distinctive gap called a “rabbet.”

Is beadboard or shiplap more expensive?

Prices vary greatly between shiplap and beadboard. Costs depend on factors such as your chosen material, labor, availability, and your location.

Is beadboard considered dated?

Beadboard has a long history, but it’s certainly not dated. Beadboard remains versatile today by complementing various design styles, from farmhouse chic to coastal cottage aesthetics.

What about board-and-batten?

Where beadboard has vertical panels with ridges, board-and-batten features wide vertical planks separated by narrow wooden strips called battens.



When it comes to beadboard vs shiplap, both have pros and cons, but shiplap can make small spaces feel bigger, is often cheaper, and can be installed by DIYers of all skill levels.

However, beadboard offers a unique aesthetic with added detailing and protection against moisture damage, and wainscoting is also a great alternative wall treatment option.

Both shiplap and beadboard can be customized through painting options or matching paneling with existing home decor, and maintenance is relatively easy.

For ideas on how to bring shiplap into your home, check out our range of peel-and-stick designs at