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Can Shiplap Be Used in a Bathroom

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Downstairs Bathroom 2 4258

Shiplap is visually pleasing, durable, and suitable for any interior style. You can install it in a rustic-styled living room, a modern bedroom, or a farmhouse cottage. That’s why it’s many people’s choice when they renovate their houses. This begs the question, though: can shiplap be used in a bathroom?

You can definitely install shiplap in your bathroom. In fact, it’s one of its most common uses. People love it because it makes tight spaces look spacey. If your bathroom is small, the shiplap will give an illusion that it’s bigger than it is.

Lastly, the bathroom should be well-ventilated to avoid suffocating the wood and prevent bacteria and mold from growing on its surface.

Is Shiplap OK in a Bathroom

As long as it’s not inside the shower, where it’ll be frequently exposed to water, you can use shiplap in your bathroom. Remember that the shiplap isn’t waterproof, so no need to push it.

It’ll be perfectly fine on your bathroom walls, though. With some precautions, it’ll stay intact for a lifetime. For instance, some people apply mildew-resistant paint to keep mold from growing on the wood. We all know mold and moisture are best friends, so most bathrooms are prone to that.

Additionally, some people apply a wood sealant on the edges to keep them from coming out. You may also paint the tiles to give them a layer of protection against moisture. If you don’t want to change their colors, you can apply a transparent sealer.

Alternatives to shiplap in the shower

If you want to achieve a shiplap look in your bathroom decor, there are some alternative materials you can consider:

  1. Waterproof Wall Panels: You can use waterproof wall panels made of materials like acrylic, fiberglass-reinforced plastic (FRP), or PVC to mimic the appearance of shiplap. These materials are designed to withstand moisture and are suitable for shower enclosures.
  2. Tile with Shiplap Pattern: You can create a shiplap-like pattern using waterproof ceramic or porcelain tiles. These tiles can be arranged in a shiplap design for a similar aesthetic while providing the necessary moisture resistance.
  3. PVC Shiplap or Vinyl Shiplap: Some PVC and vinyl shiplap options are designed to be moisture-resistant and can be used in areas with high humidity, such as bathrooms and showers. However, make sure to verify that the specific product you choose is suitable for wet environments.
  4. Waterproofing Measures: If you’re determined to use traditional wood shiplap in the shower, it’s crucial to take extensive waterproofing measures. This may include using a waterproof membrane, proper sealing, and regular maintenance to ensure that the wood remains protected from moisture.
Hazardous Design diy long shower curtain

Can I Install Shiplap in the Shower

Unfortunately, you can’t. In the end, shiplap is made of wood, and wood isn’t waterproof. It may withstand the occasional spill and some humidity, especially if it has a protective coating. However, putting it in a shower will be like throwing a chicken to a pack of wolves and hoping it comes out safe. Spoiler alert: it won’t.

There are ways around it, though. If you desperately want to give your shower a shiplap look, you can get PVC planks. Thanks to modern technology, these planks are now available in shapes that mimic shiplap. So, you’ll get the look without the disadvantages. They won’t have the same rabbeted edges, but they’ll look just fine on your shower wall.

All in all, it’s better to keep shiplap for the bathroom walls, not the shower.

Do they Make PVC shiplap?

Yes, PVC shiplap is readily available in the market. PVC (polyvinyl chloride) shiplap is a popular choice for interior and exterior wall cladding because it is highly durable, moisture-resistant, and easy to maintain. It provides the aesthetic appeal of traditional wooden shiplap but with the added benefits of being waterproof and low-maintenance.

PVC shiplap boards come in various profiles, colors, and finishes to suit different design preferences. They are often used in bathrooms, kitchens, basements, and other areas where moisture resistance is important. PVC shiplap is also commonly used for exterior applications, such as siding on homes, as it can withstand exposure to the elements without deteriorating.

When using PVC shiplap, it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s installation guidelines for the specific product you choose. Proper installation ensures a watertight seal and long-lasting performance. PVC shiplap is a versatile and practical option for achieving a shiplap look while benefiting from its waterproof properties.

The Risks of Installing Shiplap in Bathrooms

If you’re installing shiplap in your bathroom, you should know all the associated risks. It looks trendy and aesthetically beautiful, but it comes with its share of downsides. Here’s a roundup of the risks.

Water Splashes

When bathing or showering, you’re prone to getting some water splashes on the wall, especially if you’re bathing a kid. Frequently splashing the wall can cause the shiplap wood to wear out. Even if it has a waterproof layer, you’ll have to do some maintenance to prevent that from happening.

All you’ll have to do is dry the walls after you take a shower and make sure your family members do the same. It would help if you also did the same when you splash water on the wall when rinsing your hands or so.

Moisture Getting Into the Boards

If your shiplap planks aren’t interlocked using a tongue and groove mechanism, they’re at great risk of getting moisture inside. In that case, there won’t be a proper barrier for the moisture. If the planks are stuck together using adhesives, it’ll be even worse because most adhesive materials aren’t waterproof.

In both cases, your planks are at risk of getting ruined because of improper installation. The best way to interlock them is with a tongue and groove mechanism. That way, they’re watertight, and moisture can’t get in.

Leakage and Floods

All bathrooms are prone to floods and leakages, and these are major risks for shiplap. The best thing you can do is check regularly under your sinks for any seepage. Additionally, you can watch all your bathroom fixtures and get a plumber whenever necessary; hopefully, maintaining your bathroom will prevent leaks.

If a major leakage does happen, you need to take an instant action to fix the problem and dry your bathroom, especially if it’s coming from wall pipes.


Humidity is an invisible enemy. You can’t see it, but you’ll do when it causes the wood to warp and crack. Humidity seeps through the tiny openings and penetrates the shiplap. Eventually, too much humidity may cause the wood to get ruined. You’ll find its edges coming out or cracking.

What you can do is make sure your bathroom is well-ventilated, so the air keeps getting circulated.

How to Install Shiplap in a Bathroom

I did it as a newbie years ago in this floor to ceiling Shiplap in a Bathroom Makeover with white shiplap walls. I was very happy with the results, check it out for inspiration! Also decorated it with a beautiful vanity and awesome electrical outlets. Very Farmhouse style as I do love!

Installing shiplap in a bathroom can add a stylish and rustic touch to the space while also providing some moisture resistance, depending on the type of material you choose. 

Shiplap is mostly pine or cedar, but it can be found in many other types of wood as well.

Here’s a general step-by-step guide on how to install shiplap in a bathroom:

Materials and Tools You’ll Need:

  • Shiplap boards (PVC, MDF shiplap with waterproof paint, or other moisture-resistant materials)
  • Measuring tape
  • Level
  • Stud finder
  • Jigsaw or miter saw (if cutting boards)
  • Construction adhesive
  • Finish nails or brad nails
  • Nail gun or hammer
  • Caulk and caulk gun
  • Paint or finish (if desired)

Installation Steps:

Prepare the Bathroom:

  • Remove any existing wall coverings, such as wallpaper or old tiles.
  • Ensure that the wall surface is clean, smooth, and free of any defects.

Measure and Plan:

  • Measure the height and width of the walls where you want to install shiplap.
  • Decide on the spacing between the shiplap boards (commonly 1/8 to 1/4 inch) and how high you want to install them. Typically, shiplap is installed vertically, but horizontal installation is also an option.

Locate and Mark Studs:

  • Use a stud finder to locate the wall studs. Mark the stud locations on the wall.

Cut Shiplap Boards:

  • If necessary, cut the shiplap boards to the desired length using a circular saw or miter saw. Ensure the cuts are precise for a clean look.

Apply Construction Adhesive:

  • Apply a bead of construction adhesive vertically along each wall stud where the shiplap will be installed. This adhesive helps hold the shiplap in place and provides additional moisture resistance.

Install the First Board:

  • Start at one corner of the wall, aligning the edge of the first shiplap board with the corner. Make sure it’s level and plumb.
  • Nail the board into the studs using finish nails or brad nails, ensuring that these go through the shiplap and into the studs. Space the nails about 6-8 inches apart.

Continue Installing Shiplap:

  • Repeat the process for each successive shiplap board, leaving the desired gap between them.
  • Use a level to ensure that each board is plumb and level before nailing it in place.

Cut Around Obstacles:

  • If you encounter obstacles like toilet, sink, outlets, switches, or plumbing, measure and cut openings in the shiplap boards to accommodate them.

Finish the Installation:

  • Continue installing shiplap until you reach the top of the wall or your desired height.
  • If necessary, cut the final board to fit the remaining space.

Caulk and Finish:

  • Fill any gaps or seams between the shiplap boards with caulk to create a watertight seal.
  • Also cover the nail holes with wood filler.
  • If desired, sand, paint or finish the shiplap boards with a waterproof paint or finish to enhance their moisture resistance and aesthetics.

Final Touches:

  • Reinstall any light fixtures or accessories that were removed during the installation process.

Proper installation and sealing are crucial to ensure that your bathroom shiplap remains resistant to moisture over time. If you’re not experienced with DIY projects, consider consulting with a professional for the best results.

How to Take Care of Shiplap In Bathrooms

There are some simple steps you can do to take care of the shiplap in your bathroom. Here’s a roundup of the necessary precautions to prevent moisture from ruining your wall.

Regular Walls Maintenance

Shiplap in bathrooms comes with responsibilities. If you want your bathroom to look beautiful, you’ll have to maintain the walls regularly to keep them intact. For instance, you should make sure the finish is in good condition. If it starts coming off, you’ll want to apply it again.

On top of that, any cracks that appear on the wall should be fixed instantly before they accumulate.

Decorative Bathroom Tiles

To further protect your shiplap walls, you can install decorative tiles around your bathroom. They’ll keep the water in check and prevent it from reaching your walls. Plus, they’re easy to clean and wipe dry, which is a bonus.

Regular Fixture Maintenance

If you want to protect your walls, you’ll need to regularly check the bathroom fixtures for any problems that need solving. These fixtures include the pipes, the sinks, the taps, the showerhead, the bathtub and the lavatory valves.


You can use shiplap in your bathroom. However, be prepared to replace it soon if you don’t take good care of it. As long as you keep the planks dry, fix their cracks, and ventilate the bathroom, they’ll stay intact for a long time.