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What are Shiplap Cabinets?

Thanks to certain television shows and a trend towards rustic wood, shiplap has become one of the most common building materials used in interior and exterior design. The shiplap trend shows no sign of slowing down. Before you decide if shiplap cabinets are right for your home, you need to know what shiplap is and what it’s good for.

What is Shiplap?

Shiplap is a material that is known for its use in inexpensive applications. It was first used in building barns, outhouses, and other such inexpensive buildings. Shiplap boards are rough-hewn boards, which means that they’re not sanded and finished as carefully as boards normally used for construction, especially interior construction. The boards are known for having rabbets, which are corresponding grooves on the top and bottom of each board. That allows you to fit them together much like hardwood flooring. That gives shiplap construction its distinctive look.

Shiplap Cabinets

There are two basic kinds of shiplap cabinets. You can buy MDF cabinets that have been designed to look like shiplap. They’re probably the most affordable option but they’re slightly less authentic. They also lack the distinctive feel of the rough-hewn shiplap cabinets. If you want the most authentic shiplap cabinets you can find, you should look for ones that are made from authentic hardwood.

Softwood shiplap is available but most softwoods are, as the name suggests, soft. In fact, you can often dent or scratch pine with your fingernail. That’s probably not what you want from your cabinets. However, some people do like the rustic, distressed look. In those cases, a softwood cabinet might be ideal. It will take on more character as time goes on.

Building Your Own

Shiplap is simple to work with since the wood is designed to fit together. You can build shiplap cabinets yourself with some simple tools. One way to do that is to find thin shiplap boards and lay them over your existing cabinets. Alternately, you can measure your cabinets and build wooden frames in the dimensions of your existing cabinet doors. Cut and fit the shiplap boards together to make your cabinets.

One of the benefits of using shiplap is that you don’t have to be as precise or as skilled to make them look good. They’re rustic boards that look good if they’re slightly uneven or not as carefully constructed as professional cabinets.

Shiplap cabinets are a great trend to take part in, no matter which way you decide to go with it.


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