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Can Shiplap Be Used In A Bathroom?

Wondering if shiplap can be used in bathrooms? Read this post to find out how to safely use shiplap in a bathroom, which material is best, and more.

Bathroom with white shiplap wall, white and chrome old fashioned bathtub, built-in shelves holding towels, soap, and candles, light-colored hard wood flooring

The surge in farmhouse-style interior design over the last few years has made shiplap a design staple. Homeowners now want to use it in nearly every room of the house, including the bathroom. But is shiplap ok to use in the bathroom?

As a general rule, wood shiplap can be installed in a bathroom if it has been properly sealed. Only shiplap made of PVC or similar waterproof material should be used in shower surrounds and as a backsplash to prevent mold and warping. 

If you want to upgrade your bathroom with some farmhouse flair, keep reading to find out the best ways to use shiplap in your bathroom that are both safe and beautiful. You’ll also learn about protecting your shiplap, which materials are best, and more. 

Table of Contents

Can Shiplap Get Wet?

When wood shiplap is sealed and installed correctly, it should handle occasional moisture. However, it shouldn’t be directly exposed to moisture, high humidity, or heat on a regular basis because it will likely warp or mold – regardless of how well it was sealed or installed.

For places like shower surrounds, you should only install the shiplap if it has been made with a waterproof material such as PVC and is designed to handle moisture.

Will Shiplap Warp In A Bathroom?

Shiplap that has been sealed and installed correctly shouldn’t warp in a bathroom. 

Of course, there are several factors to consider when you’re installing shiplap in a high-moisture room such as the bathroom or kitchen. It’s important to think about how well the space is ventilated, how quickly the shiplap will be dried if it gets wet, and whether or not a dehumidifier will be used.

In a well-ventilated room, any shiplap that’s been sealed and installed correctly should last for many, many years. 

Will Shiplap Mold In A Bathroom?

Another very common question that homeowners have is about shiplap molding. 

So, will shiplap mold in a bathroom? Just like the warping concern, the answer is maybe

When the shiplap isn’t sealed correctly or painted with mildew-resistant paint, it’s very likely to grow mold over time. Likewise, if the shiplap pieces aren’t properly put together and installed, they will collect standing water and even let the water run behind them. 

On the flip side, mold or mildew shouldn’t be a problem when the area is prepped, the shiplap is properly sealed, and is installed correctly. 

What Kind Of Shiplap To Use In A Bathroom?

There are several material options to choose from when it comes to shiplap. The cost of each material will vary, as well as how they should be prepped and installed. 

Genuine Shiplap

Since the original shiplap was designed with weather-tight overlapping rabbets, you can use it in bathrooms without worry. Like any other material, you’ll want to look it over and prep it for installation. In general, authentic shiplap is probably the most expensive material on this list but will hold up the longest and is the most genuine material for shiplap.

Plywood

Plywood is one of the most inexpensive materials to re-create a shiplap look and is most widely used by those who DIY the installation. You simply buy sheets of plywood and cut them to size, sand, prime, paint, and install. While this is the most labor-intensive method, plywood is typically the most cost-effective material for shiplap.

Cedar

Cedar is one of the best materials for shiplap because it is more resistant to moisture and warping than other types of wood. It’s also one of the more beautiful materials and many people simply seal with a clear coat to keep the natural look. You can find cedar shiplap planks that are ready to be sealed and installed or DIY them with cedar boards.

Pine

Pine is a popular shiplap material and you can get it unfinished or primed. Most people opt for inexpensive pine boards and DIY their shiplap, but this does require a lot of work. You can also buy pine shiplap planks that are ready to be painted and installed, just like with other materials.

MDF

While some people report that it swells easily and becomes grainy despite being painted or sealed, MDF is another material option. Many people also say that MDF is also more difficult to work with than other materials. You can buy entire MDF boards and cut them yourself or buy MDF shiplap that’s already been cut to size, painted, or sealed. 

PVC Shiplap

Many people don’t realize that there are actually PVC shiplap options that are great for shower surrounds or backsplashes. Shiplap made of PVC is very lightweight, easier to install than other materials, and moisture-resistant. Keep in mind that this type of shiplap will probably be in the higher price range, though.

Shiplap vs. Tongue and Groove

There’s a lot of debate over shiplap vs. tongue and groove planks and which ones are best for a shiplap wall. They’re often used as interchangeable terms, but they’re definitely not the same thing. 

Shiplap by definition will have rabbet edges, which allow the boards to rest on top of each other with no gap for a watertight seal.  

Tongue and groove planks simply join together and interlock, which tends to give the appearance of a tighter gap.

Each has its pros and cons, as well as varying price points. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, especially when they’re both sealed and installed correctly. 

Choosing between shiplap and tongue and groove planks comes down to different key considerations, so it’s important to do your research and be discerning when choosing between the two.

Choosing a Style

There are a lot of styles and looks when it comes to shiplap and each one will give your room more depth and texture. 

You can achieve a natural raw wood grain appearance which will give your space a warm, rustic feel. Cedar is a great material for this, but you can also buy ready-to-install shiplap that’s been made to look charred, weathered, or distressed. 

If you’re looking for a more modern and refined look, you can paint your shiplap or even use a clear coat sealer over your shiplap once it’s been sanded and smoothed.

How To Protect Shiplap In A Bathroom

If you’re going to put shiplap in your bathroom, you need to know how to protect it so that it doesn’t warp or mold. 

The space you’re installing it in will need to be prepped and cleaned, as well as the shiplap itself. This includes any milling, sanding, or filling holes in the wood, as well as priming.

Choosing mildew and water-resistant paint and/or a clear coat sealer is vital, as it will keep the shiplap from soaking up moisture and discourage mildew. Not all paints or sealants are the same and not all are made for indoor use, so make sure you choose ones that are specifically made for bathrooms and indoors.

You also need to continue to care for the shiplap by inspecting it regularly for gaps, warping, mildew, or mold. It’s important to always dry the shiplap if water gets on it or if the space is especially humid. To further prolong your shiplap, use an exhaust fan and dehumidifier so that there’s less moisture in the air.

Alternatives To Shiplap

There are alternatives to shiplap that will give you the same or similar finished look, so if you don’t want to mess with shiplap you don’t have to! 

You can buy tile planks that are around the same size as shiplap and are perfectly safe to use in any area of the bathroom. Tile planks come in a wide range of textures, colors, and price points. Some are easier to install than others, just like any other materials.

Another option is paneling or beadboard. Again, you’ll want to choose a material that will be resistant to moisture and mold. This option also comes in varying looks and price ranges. 

Pros and Cons of Shiplap in a Bathroom

Like everything, there are pros and cons to using shiplap in a bathroom.

Pros

It’s versatile

You can install shiplap on the ceiling, as skirting, an accent wall, or whatever your heart desires. 

It’s inexpensive

Depending on the material used, shiplap can be inexpensive, especially if you DIY the installation. 

It’s both trendy and timeless

Shiplap has been a trendy design staple for the last several years, but it’s also timeless and will work for virtually any home decor style.

Cons

Can be hard to keep clean

Shiplap can be difficult to keep clean of dust or dirt collecting in the grooves.

Can be difficult to prep and install correctly

If you’re going the DIY route, it can be difficult and labor-intensive to properly prep, seal, and install shiplap – especially if it’s your first time. 

Can be expensive

Depending on the material and product you use for a shiplap look, it can get expensive.

Should You Put Shiplap In A Bathroom?

Whether or not you should put shiplap in a bathroom comes down to personal preference. Shiplap is a great way to add texture, depth, and visual appeal to any room – which is why it’s so popular. However, it is important to know what you’re doing and what you should be shopping for to prevent warping and mold, or mildew.

If you’re wondering if shiplap is okay to use in a bathroom, the answer is yes – as long as it’s installed properly. Otherwise, the shiplap will end up looking bad and likely have mildew, in which case it will eventually need to be replaced. 

As long as you’re prepared to do your research on how to install shiplap or ready to call in the pros, it’s perfectly okay to use shiplap in a bathroom.