The Downside to Shiplap Walls You Might Not Know About

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

Sick of shiplap yet? It’s the little wall siding that could, chugging its way all across America these days. We’ve seen it in kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, and even inside showers. Oh, and it is apparently all over a certain Texas town called Waco—maybe you’ve heard of it? Whether you are a diehard devotee, a grudging admirer, or just looking for another reason to hate it, know that shiplap has at least one major check in the “con” column.

(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

I’ll cut to the chase: It is a magnet for dust.

But, before we get into that, I should first mention that traditional shiplap has a rabbet (or groove) cut into the top and bottom, which allows the boards to fit together snugly, forming a tight seal. These days, however, when people talk about shiplap, it’s almost always shorthand for the visual style: Long planks, usually painted white, mounted horizontally on the walls. The profile, and/or the gap between boards, will vary depending on what product you use, and how you install them.

(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

Which brings us back to dust. The larger the gap or grooves, the more little ledges there are for the dust to settle on. I was just hanging out in a recently remodeled kitchen that was covered wall-to-wall with wood siding. It looks absolutely amazing and is such a great, affordable way to add texture and interest to your walls, but I was equally amazed at how much dust was hanging out between each of the boards.

If you are sold on this type of wall siding, and you hate to clean more than absolutely necessary, then your mission is clear. To minimize dust, reduce the spacing between the boards as much as possible. Just as you’d choose the right width of your grout lines for tiles, choose the right gap for your siding, and for your cleaning habits.

(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

Otherwise, just go ahead and put those shiplap walls on the list of things you will probably neglect to dust.

Still interested in shiplap, and want more ideas?