Structural Green Oak Beams
Air Dried Oak Beams
Oak Boards
Larch, Douglas Fir Boards
Roofing Shingles
    Timber Cladding
    Custom Milled Oak Boards, Beams and Posts!
    Oak Buildings
    Oak Mantel Pieces
    Solid Oak Doors
    Other Oak Furniture
    Oak Flooring and Skirting
    Oak Gates
    Decking Boards and Components
    Fencing Materials
    Railway Sleepers
    Raised Bed Kits
    Garden Furniture
    Fixings and Treatments
    Cutting and Machining
    « Back to news list

    Which Wood Cladding is Better, Tongue and Groove or Shiplap

    10th July 2024

    When it comes to choosing the right wood cladding for your project, there are a couple of popular options that always come to mind - tongue and groove as well as shiplap. Each style has its own benefits with the decision between them having a significant impact on how your finished project looks like, its durability as well as how functional it is. It is important to understand these two cladding styles whether you are renovating your home, constructing a garden shed or working on a commercial property. So, we will now delve into the world of wood cladding to see which could serve you best.

    Understanding Tongue and Groove

    Tongue and groove exterior siding has one board edge with an extruding “tongue” that fits perfectly into the corresponding “groove” in the adjacent board. This system makes it possible for boards to be tightly sealed creating solid cover against weather.

    Pros of Tongue and Groove Cladding:

    • Great resistance to weather: The interlocking design helps keep out water.
    • Slick and unified look: A perfect fit creates uniformity.
    • Stability: An interlocking system minimizes chances for warping or twisting.
    • Versatility: Applicable within both indoor and outdoor spaces.

    Cons of Tongue and Groove:

    • Be more challenging to put up including if done by yourself.
    • Some other types of cladding may be less costly than this one by slight margins.
    • Replacing individual boards can present challenges in case they get damaged.

    Getting to Know Shiplap

    Shiplap exterior siding features boards with rebates (also called rabbets) cut into their top and bottom edges such that when installed, these rebates overlap creating a distinct shadow line between boards.

    Pros of Shiplap:

    • Beautiful attracted rustic appearance- depth brought by lines shadows
    • Good Weather Resistance: Water dripping is avoided via overlapping design
    • Easier than tongue and groove to install.
    • If damaged, the warped boards are easily replaced individually.

    Cons of Shiplap:

    • May not be as weathertight as tongue and groove in extreme conditions.
    • The gaps that may exist between the boards can collect dust and dirt over time.
    • The rustic look might not suit all architectural styles.

    Comparing Performance

    Weather Resistance

    Whilst both tongue and groove or shiplap provide decent protection from the elements, it is often said that the former performs slightly better under extreme weather conditions. The tightness of their joint system ensures there are fewer leakages of air and rainwater compared to other sidings. However, they both offer enough weather protection for most UK climates if correctly installed and maintained.


    In terms of durability, both styles can last a lifetime if made from quality timber like oak. As far as structural soundness goes, however, tongue and groove have a slight advantage due to its interlocking nature that minimizes warping. On the other hand, shiplap permits more natural expansion & shrinkage in woods hence ideal for areas with changing temperatures /humidity levels…

    Aesthetic Considerations

    Personal preference is what determines whether one chooses tongue-and-groove or shiplap cladding because each offers its own unique appeal based on looking at you!

    Tongue and Groove:

    • Gives the impression of a smooth, even surface
    • Suits modern style or minimalist designs
    • Appropriate for both horizontal and vertical orientations


    • Has a more traditional feel than other options.
    • More visual interest is created by the lines on the exterior.
    • Ideal for historic homes or country design styles


    Installation and Maintenance


    Compared to tongue and groove, shiplap is generally thought to be easier to install, making it popular among do-it-yourself adherents. Slight misalignments can be accommodated for in the overlapping design. On the other hand, tongues and grooves offer more snug fits when installed but require more attention during installation lest they fail to interlock properly.


    Once properly set up and treated, both styles are relatively low maintenance. Dust particles can collect between gaps formed by shiplap cladding hence you may need to clean it often as time goes on. Tongue and groove may be slightly simpler to keep clean due to its tight fit, but it is usually trickier when you want to replace an impaired plank.

    Cost Considerations

    At first glance, shiplap may seem less costly than tongue and groove because of its simpler manufacturing process. However, this price difference is often negligible especially if one uses high-quality wood like oak. It should however be noted that tongue and groove’s enhanced weather resistance might translate into long term savings in terms of durability as well as reduced maintenance requirements.

    Environmental Impact

    When choosing between tongue and groove or shiplap consider their environmental impact. Both types are sustainable choices if they are harvested from sustainably managed forests. In fact, oak is a good choice for whichever of these cladding styles since it has a strong appeal as well as being environmentally friendly compared with others. The lifespan of both types also has implications for less replacement works thus lowering overall environmental impact.


    Making Your Decision

    Now which is better, tongue and groove or shiplap? Answering this question requires a consideration of several factors. These include:

    • Climate: In areas prone to extreme conditions, tongue and groove is generally preferred because it has better weatherproofing capabilities.
    • Aesthetic preferences: The overall look you are aiming for matters too. On one hand, a contemporary design may benefit from tongue and groove whereas the other might be true for an old-fashioned or period property.
    • Installation method: Shiplap might be more forgiving if you are planning a do-it-yourself project.
    • Maintenance considerations: Think about long-term care and how much time you are willing to invest in upkeep.
    • Budget: Even though these prices may not differ much, shiplap tends to cost less on average.
    • Property type: Consider what’s typical for your area. Certain styles may match with the local building tradition.

    In conclusion both cladding systems namely tongue and groove as well as shiplap offer excellent possibilities of wood cladding. Each has its own strong points that can result in beautiful long-lasting surfaces when applied correctly and kept well-maintained. Depending on individual requirements, tastes, and project specifics, the most suitable variant will appear out of these two choices

    Regardless of whether you prefer seamless appearance provided by tongue and groove or textured ambiance created by shiplap go for high-quality materials like oak which will make your cladding last a lifetime. Remember that successful cladding is determined not only by the material but also by proper installation practices, regular maintenance activities as well as good quality supplies

    So, take your time, think through everything properly; don’t hesitate to seek professional advice either. After all this choice is likely to affect your house’s external appearance for many years into future.

    « Back to news list

    We use cookies to provide you with a better website experience. Close this popup to carry on browsing, or click here to find out more about cookies