cheapest way to do shiplap

Budget-Friendly Shiplap Ideas: Cheapest Way Revealed

Creating a custom shiplap wall doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. If you’re looking for the cheapest way to do shiplap in your home, you’re in the right place. With the help of plywood and some basic tools, you can achieve a stylish and affordable shiplap look that will transform your space.

Key Takeaways:

  • By using plywood and simple tools, you can achieve a cost-effective shiplap wall.
  • Underlayment plywood and cut plywood strips are great options for DIY shiplap.
  • Ensure equal gap width between planks and securely attach boards.
  • Consider the width of the shiplap boards and experiment with different sizes.
  • Finish your shiplap wall with paint, putty, and trim for a polished look.

How to Make Faux Shiplap with Underlayment Plywood

If you’re looking for a cheap and easy way to achieve the trendy shiplap look in your home, underlayment plywood is your secret weapon. This versatile material can be transformed into faux shiplap planks that give your walls a rustic and charming appearance. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create DIY shiplap using underlayment plywood:

  1. Cut the plywood into planks: Start by measuring and cutting the underlayment plywood into desired plank widths. A standard width of 6 inches works well for most shiplap projects.
  2. Attach the planks to the wall: Apply construction adhesive to the back of each plank and use a nail gun to securely fasten them to the wall. Make sure to leave a small gap between each plank for the classic shiplap look.
  3. Ensure equal gap width: To achieve a uniform appearance, use spacers (such as nickels) between the planks to maintain an equal gap width throughout the installation.
  4. Fill in nail holes and sand: Once the planks are in place, fill in any nail holes with putty and sand the surface to create a smooth and seamless finish.

Once your faux shiplap wall is prepped and ready, it’s time to unleash your creativity. You can paint the shiplap planks in any color that suits your aesthetic or leave them in their natural wood grain for a rustic touch. The possibilities are endless when it comes to transforming a plain wall into a stunning focal point with DIY faux shiplap made from underlayment plywood.

Faux Shiplap with Underlayment Plywood

Installing Shiplap Using Cut Plywood Strips

When it comes to budget-friendly shiplap installation, using cut plywood strips is an excellent option. This method allows you to achieve the coveted shiplap look without breaking the bank. Here’s how you can easily install shiplap using plywood strips.

First, measure and mark the studs on the wall where you plan to install the shiplap. This step is crucial as it ensures secure attachment of the plywood strips. By nailing the strips directly into the studs, you create a sturdy foundation for your shiplap wall.

Next, start nailing the plywood strips at the baseboard level. Use a spacer, such as a nickel, to maintain a consistent gap between each board. This gap adds to the classic shiplap appeal, and the spacer ensures that it remains even throughout the installation.

Row by row, continue nailing the plywood strips to the wall. Take your time to ensure each strip is securely attached before moving on to the next one. It’s important to maintain a consistent gap between the boards and ensure they are straight.

As you progress upwards, keep nailing the plywood strips until you reach the top of the wall. This step-by-step approach ensures a uniform and visually pleasing shiplap installation.

To add a finishing touch and conceal any imperfections, install a trim piece along the top of the shiplap wall. This final step not only enhances the overall look but also provides a polished appearance.

Plywood Strips

With the help of cut plywood strips, installing shiplap has never been easier or more affordable. Follow these steps, and you’ll have a beautiful shiplap wall in no time, adding a touch of elegance to any space.

Tips for Creating a Shiplap Wall on a Budget

When working on a budget, there are a few tips to keep in mind for creating a shiplap wall. These shiplap tips will help you achieve a budget-friendly and affordable shiplap look.

Choose High-Quality Plywood Boards

Start by selecting plywood boards that are free of blemishes or warping. This will ensure a smoother finish for your shiplap wall. Check each board carefully before purchasing to ensure they are in good condition.

Invest in an Air Compressor and Nail Gun

Using an air compressor and nail gun can make the installation process much faster and more efficient. This budget-friendly shiplap idea will save you time and effort, allowing you to complete the project with ease.

Mark the Studs on the Wall

Before attaching the shiplap boards, take the time to locate and mark the position of the wall studs. This will ensure that your boards are securely attached and provide extra stability.

Level the Boards Periodically

As you install the shiplap boards, it’s essential to periodically check for levelness. This will help you maintain a straight and even installation. Use a level to ensure that each board is aligned correctly.

To illustrate, here’s an image of a beautifully budget-friendly shiplap wall:

budget-friendly shiplap wall

By following these shiplap tips, you can create an affordable shiplap wall that adds charm and character to your space without exceeding your budget.

Choosing the Right Width for Your Shiplap Boards

The width of your shiplap boards plays a crucial role in the overall aesthetic of your shiplap wall. While the author of this article used 6-inch wide plywood strips for their project, it’s important to note that the shiplap width can vary based on personal preference and the desired look you want to achieve.

Experimenting with different widths allows you to create unique and customized shiplap designs. You can opt for wider shiplap boards to make a bold statement or choose narrower widths for a more subtle and delicate look. Consider the size of your space and the overall aesthetic you want to achieve when selecting the width of your shiplap boards.

By choosing the right size and width, you can enhance the visual appeal of your shiplap wall, creating a stunning and cohesive design. Whether you prefer the classic 6-inch width or want to explore different options, there are endless possibilities to achieve the perfect shiplap look.

shiplap width

For more inspiration and guidance, continue reading the following sections of this article, where you’ll discover tips for installation, painting, and finishing your shiplap wall, as well as a comparison between real shiplap and plywood shiplap. Get ready to transform your space with budget-friendly shiplap ideas!

Painting and Finishing Your Shiplap Wall

After installing the shiplap, it’s time to paint and finish the wall. Follow these steps to achieve a professional-looking result:

  1. Prime the surface: Before painting, it’s important to prime the shiplap wall. Apply a coat of primer to ensure better paint adhesion and a smoother finish.
  2. Choose the right tools: Use a roller and brush combination to get even coverage on the shiplap. A roller helps cover larger areas quickly, while a brush ensures precise application along the edges and corners.
  3. Apply the paint: Start by cutting in the edges with a brush, then use a roller to cover the rest of the shiplap wall. Apply multiple thin coats for a more durable and vibrant finish. Consider using a paint color that complements your overall design scheme.
  4. Fill in nail holes: After the paint has dried, inspect the shiplap wall for any visible nail holes. Use wood putty or spackle to fill in these holes, ensuring a seamless look.
  5. Sand the surface: For a smooth finish, lightly sand the shiplap wall with fine-grit sandpaper. This will remove any roughness or imperfections caused by the painting process.
  6. Add finishing touches: Consider adding trim or quarter round to the edges of the shiplap wall. This will give it a more polished and finished appearance.

For inspiration, here is an example of a beautifully painted and finished shiplap wall:

painting shiplap

Experiment with different paint colors and finishes to achieve the desired aesthetic for your space. With a little creativity and attention to detail, your DIY shiplap wall will become a stunning focal point in your home.

Benefits of Using Plywood for Shiplap

When it comes to creating a stunning shiplap wall, plywood is a cost-effective and versatile option that offers several advantages. Whether you’re on a tight budget or simply looking for an easy DIY project, plywood shiplap is the way to go.

Plywood Shiplap

One of the key advantages of using plywood for shiplap is its affordability. Compared to traditional tongue and groove boards, plywood is a much more cost-effective option. You can find plywood at most home improvement stores at a fraction of the cost, making it accessible to homeowners with different budgets.

Plywood is also readily available, making it a convenient choice for your shiplap project. With its wide availability, you won’t have to search far and wide to find the materials you need. Plus, plywood can be easily cut into strips, allowing you to customize the size and shape of your shiplap boards to fit your unique design vision.

Another advantage of plywood shiplap is its smooth and durable surface. Plywood provides a solid base for your shiplap wall, ensuring that it can withstand the test of time. Additionally, the smooth surface of plywood makes it easier to paint and finish, giving you the freedom to experiment with different colors and finishes to achieve the desired look for your space.

With all these benefits, it’s clear that plywood shiplap is a cost-effective and practical choice for creating a stylish and visually appealing shiplap wall. Whether you’re a seasoned DIY enthusiast or a beginner, using plywood for shiplap is a straightforward and rewarding project that can transform the look of your home.

Real Shiplap vs. Plywood Shiplap

When it comes to creating a shiplap wall, you have two main options: real shiplap or plywood shiplap. Both materials offer their own advantages and considerations, so it’s important to understand the key differences before making a decision.

The Authentic Look of Real Shiplap

Real shiplap, made from tongue and groove boards, provides a truly authentic and traditional look. The interlocking design creates a seamless and timeless aesthetic that adds character to any space. However, real shiplap can be more expensive compared to plywood options. It also requires precise installation and may involve additional maintenance.

Affordability and Ease with Plywood Shiplap

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly alternative that still delivers the classic shiplap style, plywood shiplap is a great option. Plywood strips can be cut to size and easily installed using basic tools. This cost-effective choice offers similar aesthetics to real shiplap and can be painted or stained to match your desired look.

When deciding between real shiplap and plywood shiplap, consider your budget and personal preferences. Real shiplap is ideal for those seeking an authentic and high-end finish, willing to invest in higher material costs and intricate installation. On the other hand, plywood shiplap provides a more affordable and DIY-friendly solution, making it accessible to a wider range of budgets and skill levels. Both options can create a beautiful and stylish shiplap wall that adds charm and character to your home.

Comparison of Real Shiplap and Plywood Shiplap

  • Real Shiplap: Provides an authentic look and timeless aesthetic.
  • Plywood Shiplap: Offers affordability, ease of installation, and similar aesthetics.
  • Considerations: Budget, installation complexity, and desired finish.


Shiplap walls are a fantastic way to bring character and charm to any space in your home without breaking the bank. By utilizing affordable materials like plywood and following the budget-friendly tips provided in this article, you can achieve a stylish shiplap look on a tight budget. Whether you opt for real shiplap or the more cost-effective plywood shiplap, the end result will be a visually appealing addition to your home that won’t drain your wallet.

With the cheapest way to do shiplap using plywood strips or underlayment plywood, you can easily create the look of shiplap without the high cost of traditional tongue and groove boards. By carefully measuring, cutting, and installing the plywood strips or underlayment plywood, you can achieve an even, gap-filled shiplap appearance that is both affordable and durable.

Remember to take into consideration the width of your shiplap boards, as this can dictate the overall aesthetic of your wall. Experimenting with different widths can help you achieve the desired look for your space. Once installed, painting and finishing the shiplap wall will give it that final touch. With a variety of paint colors and finishes to choose from, you can truly personalize your shiplap wall and make it your own.


What is the cheapest way to do shiplap?

The cheapest way to do shiplap is by using underlayment plywood. Cut the plywood into planks and attach them to the wall using construction adhesive and a nail gun.

How do I install shiplap using cut plywood strips?

Measure and mark the studs on the wall and begin nailing the plywood strips at the baseboard. Use a spacer, like a nickel, to maintain an even gap between the boards. Continue nailing the strips row by row until you reach the top of the wall.

What tips should I keep in mind for creating a shiplap wall on a budget?

Choose plywood boards without blemishes or warping, use an air compressor and nail gun for faster installation, mark the studs on the wall to ensure secure attachment, and level the boards periodically to maintain a straight and even installation.

How do I choose the right width for my shiplap boards?

The width of your shiplap boards can vary depending on personal preference. Experiment with different widths, but in this article, the author used 6-inch wide plywood strips for their shiplap wall.

How do I paint and finish my shiplap wall?

Prime the surface before applying paint, use a roller and brush for even coverage, fill in nail holes with putty, sand the surface for a smooth finish, and consider adding trim or quarter round to the edges for a more polished look.

What are the benefits of using plywood for shiplap?

Using plywood for shiplap is a cost-effective option compared to traditional tongue and groove boards. It is readily available and provides a smooth and durable surface for painting and finishing.

What is the difference between real shiplap and plywood shiplap?

Real shiplap provides an authentic look but can be more expensive and harder to install. Plywood shiplap offers a more affordable alternative with similar aesthetics.

Can I create a shiplap wall on a budget?

Yes, by using affordable materials like plywood and following the tips outlined in this article, you can create a stylish shiplap wall on a budget.

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