Why shiplap siding has stood the test of time

Shiplap - James Hardie

This home in South Carolina makes use of James Hardie's Aspyre Collection and its shiplap siding.

AIA partner James Hardie examines the popular rustic siding style that’s been used in interior and exterior design for decades

In the home décor world, the word “shiplap” is passed around almost as often as the term “open floor plan.” In fact, it has inundated the vernacular so much that it may be losing its actual meaning.

A shiplap board is defined as one with a rabbet on opposite sides of each edge that allows the boards to connect snugly together, leaving a distinctive reveal line between the boards. As an interior design choice, it’s an inexpensive design element that can add a focal point with rustic sensibility. It’s likely not something you’ll want on every wall of a home but it does add a nice pastoral pop, especially if it’s original. When installing new shiplap paneling inside the home, it’s most often secured horizontally but can also be vertical or even diagonal for a more modern look.

Historically, shiplap was usually pine or cedar, and clad the exteriors of sheds, barns and other rustic buildings. It was a popular exterior siding choice because of its strong seal when lapped, which would keep water out.

As an exterior siding choice, it’s trending on more modern abodes because of its clean reveal lines. Thin, thick, horizontal, vertical, in combination with other siding styles or concrete: the range of exterior shiplap options run the gamut. And on more historic homes, a more traditional shiplap style adds authenticity with airspace and shadows between boards.

For a modern, fiber cement option, check out the Aspyre Collection; it has Artisan Shiplap Siding that delivers the rustic look of shiplap, with deep shadows and clean lines. The tongue-and-groove installation method insures that the siding locks in for a perfect fit. It’s an ideal way to mimic the authentic wood shiplap look while tacking on high-performance benefits.

When exterior shiplap siding is crafted out of wood or wood-based materials, it can split, crack, attract pests, and deteriorate over time. As it is made from fiber cement, Artisan Shiplap Siding resists the effects of weather damage, destruction from mold, and its fire resistant. This siding delivers distinct lines that closely replicate traditional cedar siding and bring authenticity to any home’s façade.

Though shiplap has been around for decades, architects and builders are still finding new ways to incorporate this old staple and make exteriors even more interesting.

AIA does not sponsor or endorse any enterprise, whether public or private, operated for profit. Further, no AIA officer, director, committee member, or employee, or any of its component organizations in his or her official capacity, is permitted to approve, sponsor, endorse, or do anything that may be deemed or construed to be an approval, sponsorship, or endorsement of any material of construction or any method or manner of handling, using, distributing, or dealing in any material or product.

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Shiplap - James Hardie

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