How Wide is Shiplap?

Finally settled on installing shiplap in your home, only to discover planks aren’t one-size-fits-all? Don’t worry – various widths are a good thing. Shiplap’s versatility is one of the reasons why it’s seen such explosive growth in recent years.

But which width is right for your living space? And does it really matter what size you choose? Let’s dig in and find out.

Understanding Shiplap Widths and Their Impact on Interior Design

The width of your shiplap planks is critical in determining the overall aesthetic of your area. So whether you’re installing an accent wall or revamping an entire home, understanding how different widths affect appearances is essential.

The Role of Shiplap Width in Room Proportions

Selecting a shiplap width is similar to choosing hardwood flooring or siding – each width can dramatically affect the perception of a room’s size. Simply put: Wider planks make small areas appear larger, while narrower planks create an intimate feeling.

Did you know? Shiplap planks come in numerous widths, including 5 ¼”, 6”, 7 ½”, and 8”. What width is right for you depends on your application and desired aesthetic. 

Nickel Gap and Its Relation to Shiplap Width

Nickel gap refers to traditional shiplap where boards are spaced about as far apart as a nickel coin. This creates the subtle shadows homeowners have come to associate with farmhouse chic.

The term ‘nickel gap’ often pops up when discussing sizes because this spacing gets amplified by wider panels, but maintains modesty with narrower ones. 

Gaps in your shiplap will have an impact on the total cost, time needed for installation, and how well the planks will blend with other design elements in your living space. Keep nickel gap in mind when choosing a width!

Impact on Style

Most traditional shiplap is similarly built, and raw wood materials provide the classic look you’d expect in a farmhouse. Change up the widths though, and you can quickly add a one-of-a-kind accent wall to any room.

Key Takeaway: Choosing the right shiplap width can completely transform your space. Wider planks give small areas a larger feel, while narrow ones enhance intimate vibes. Considering gaps along with your plank width helps to plan for cost, time, and overall aesthetic.

Choosing the Right Shiplap Width for Your Space

We know shiplap planks come in a variety of widths, and what you choose can have a significant impact on your space’s aesthetic. But which width is right for your project?

A few things to keep in mind when deciding:

  • Cost implications
  • The Impact of shiplap size on room feel
  • How to install your shiplap
  • Whether to paint or leave planks natural

Cost Implications of Different Shiplap Widths

As with any home improvement project, pricing can be a major factor when choosing materials. Shiplap board prices vary depending on your location and availability, but you can usually expect natural wood shiplap to range from $1 to $7 per square foot.

Home Depot offers natural shiplap planks that fall within that range, and your local hardware store or lumberyard may be similar. You don’t have to settle on the first store you find, either. Shop around until you see a price and product you love.

Pro-tip: Wider planks may look pricier up front, but keep in mind that fewer planks will be needed to fill a large area. This might save money in the long run!

The Impact of Shiplap Size on Room Feel

Beyond price considerations, selecting an appropriate shiplap size can dramatically change how a room feels. As an example: Traditional shiplap planks measure somewhere around 6 inches wide – offering balance and versatility across various spaces.

If you prefer a bolder look, consider picking a more dramatic width (some go as high as 12”). 

Nailing Down Installation Aspects

Installing shiplap isn’t too difficult, though – like any project – proper preparation and patience are key. This is particularly true when aligning your shiplap planks, since varied gaps can negatively draw attention and are a time-consuming fix.

Pro-tip: You don’t have to stick to traditional methods of orientation when working with shiplap! Try a vertical approach to add height to rooms with lower ceilings.

Bringing Color Into Play

Whether you choose to paint or leave your shiplap planks natural will have a big impact on the end result. Your paint selection can emphasize natural beauty, add a touch of flair, and even protect against stains and minor damages.

Check out our blog post on shiplap designs to discover a few popular options.

Key Takeaway: Choosing the perfect shiplap width for your space isn’t just about aesthetics. Cost and installation time should be factors when figuring out what’s best for you. And keep in mind: Painted shiplap can make a big difference, too!


Commonly Used Shiplap Widths

As we briefly discussed above, shiplap’s versatility has tremendously impacted its popularity in recent years. This includes the width of shiplap planks, which can be tailored to fit virtually any design style – from rustic farmhouse to modern chic. Let’s look at a couple of common widths and the uses for each.

The Versatility of 6-Inch Wide Shiplap

Six-inch wide shiplap (or as it’s known in the industry, 1x6 shiplap) is one of the most popular choices. This width offers an appealing balance between coverage and detail – large enough to make a statement without overpowering other design elements.

Whether you want to create an accent wall or transform an entire room, 6-inch shiplap boards might be a great choice. This is especially true if you’re looking for a rustic, natural wood vibe!

The Appeal of 8-Inch Wide Shiplap for Larger Areas

If you’re covering larger areas like long walls or high ceilings, wider panels like eight-inch (aka 1x8 boards) shiplap might be more fitting. This width is on the higher end of what’s typically seen in shiplap homes with traditional tongue-and-groove planks.

With a broader surface area, 1x8 shiplap boards add a bit of dramatic effect to spaces they occupy (think Joanna Gaines-style farmhouse chic.) Yet despite a larger width, 1x8 boards maintain versatility in rustic and contemporary designs.

Remember, though: It’s not just about looks. The width of your shiplap planks has practical implications too. Installation is one of them.

Key Takeaway: Picking a shiplap width can be a big decision, since it’ll likely have a big impact on your living space. Six-inch wide boards are commonly used to create rustic, cozy atmospheres. For those working with larger areas or needing a bit more dramatic effect, eight-inch panels might be a better choice.


Installation Techniques for Different Shiplap Widths

Installing shiplap with precision is key to achieving a polished, professional look. The installation process will vary slightly depending on the width of your chosen planks.

For instance, wider 1x8 boards likely need fewer nails to secure them to a wall compared to their narrower counterparts – saving time and resources. Nails aren’t the only thing to consider though.

Proper Spacing Between Shiplap Planks

When it comes to shiplap spacing, maintaining consistency between planks is essential. This will not only enhance the appeal of your space, but also ensures structural integrity.

Pro-tip: As we’ve discussed, a standard gap when installing shiplap can be measured by using a nickel coin.

The wider the plank, the more pronounced this spacing will appear, which can add depth and texture to walls and ceilings. And while the majority of homeowners likely prefer perfect gaps throughout a project, incorporating small variations can give shiplap a unique, one-of-a-kind look.

Here’s a nice guide on how to achieve proper spacing during installation, regardless of whether you're working with 6-inch wide traditional shiplaps or larger 8-inch panels.

The Nail Gun: A Game-Changer for Installation

Nail guns simplify the installation of both narrow and wide shiplap boards, speeding up the process and keeping gaps even. This is especially true if you’re working with a large area. If you don’t feel like purchasing a nail gun is necessary, you might find them available for rent at a local construction store.

If done right, the time you save using a nail gun might be more than worth the slightly higher cost compared to a hammer and nails.

Fitting It All Together

If there’s one piece of installation advice to keep in mind, remember: While installation techniques may vary slightly depending on shiplap widths, properly securing your boards while maintaining consistent spacing is key. This goes for 1x6 boards as well as 1x7, 1x8 and on.

Key Takeaway: For a polished, professional look when installing shiplap, precision is key. And though the process may change slightly depending on what width you choose, maintaining consistent spacing will ensure you’re left with a project you can be proud of for years to come.

Design Styles Achievable With Different Shiplap Widths

We’ve discussed how shiplap widths can dramatically affect the style of a room, and touched on a few common applications. Need a bit more inspiration? 

Achieving a Rustic Look With Shiplap

The charm of rustic design is in its warm, homely appeal. What better way to achieve this than by using traditional, real wood shiplap?

Wider 1x8 planks create a cozy cabin vibe that works great in woodland chalets, ski lodges, and cabins.

Pro-tip: If rustic is what you’re after, consider using pine boards. This type of wood often comes knotty and rough-sewn, enhancing the natural beauty of shiplap.

And remember: If you’d like to deviate slightly from the traditional shiplap look, adding in a splash of color can work wonders. 

Crafting Coastal Vibes With Narrower Planks

Ah, coastal vibes. Narrow shiplap planks (think 5”) painted white give homes a fresh, crisp look characterized by beach houses around the world. Pair together a high gloss white with horizontally installed planks and your guests will be amazed at how big a space feels.

Modern Aesthetics With Variable Sizes

We’ve talked about proper spacing. We dug deep into various shiplap widths and their applications. Now, here’s a curveball.

Instead of sticking with 6” or 8” planks, why not combine the two and transform your room into a modernly unique living space?

This design technique allows you to use different wood shades and widths for added depth and contrast. For example, combining engineered wood with natural, raw wood can result in an eye-catching blend of textures.

Key Takeaway: Shiplap widths play a vital role in shaping your space’s aesthetic. Wider 8-inch boards lend themselves to rustic vibes, while narrower 5 or 6 inch planks add to a fresh, coastal look. Want something entirely different? Try mixing shiplap sizes for a modern, unique feel.

How Wide is Shiplap – FAQs

What is the standard size of shiplap?

The common size for shiplap typically ranges from 6 to 8 inches, but it can vary based on design preferences and room proportions.

How wide is the gap in shiplap?

In traditional installations, the gap between shiplap boards – known as nickel gap – is usually around 1/8th of an inch wide.

Does wider shiplap make a room look bigger?

Yes. Wider planks can give the illusion of more space by drawing your eye along their length and creating horizontal lines.

How is shiplap width measured?

Shiplap width is measured across its face from one edge to another excluding any rabbets or tongue-and-groove elements that may be present.


Now that we’ve talked about shiplap widths, costs, applications, and installation techniques, it’s time to pick a product that will transform your space into something truly special.

From rustic looks to coastal themes, you’re armed with everything you need to choose a shiplap width you can be proud of.

Looking for a DIY way to get that classic shiplap look without breaking the bank? Check out our reclaimed wood peel and stick planks at