Should You Use Shiplap Or Tongue and Groove For Accent Walls? Complete Guide

Should You Use Shiplap Or Tongue and Groove For Accent Walls? Complete Guide

Choosing between shiplap and tongue and groove for accent walls can be challenging, as both options offer unique aesthetic and practical benefits. This guide will help you understand the differences between shiplap and tongue and groove, and provide insights into which option might be best for your project.

Understanding Shiplap and Tongue and Groove


Definition: Shiplap boards have a rabbet, or notch, cut into the top and bottom edges, allowing them to overlap each other. This creates a tight seal that helps keep out moisture.

Appearance: Shiplap typically features a distinct horizontal line between each board, giving it a classic, rustic look.

Installation: Shiplap is relatively easy to install and can be attached directly to drywall or studs. The overlapping design allows for some flexibility in aligning the boards.

Tongue and Groove

Definition: Tongue and groove boards have a tongue on one edge and a corresponding groove on the other edge. The tongue fits into the groove of the adjacent board, creating a seamless joint.

Appearance: Tongue and groove panels provide a smooth, continuous surface with no visible gaps, offering a more polished and refined look.

Installation: Installing tongue and groove requires careful alignment to ensure the boards fit tightly together. The interlocking design provides added stability and strength.

Benefits of Shiplap

Easy Installation

Shiplap is straightforward to install, making it an excellent choice for DIY enthusiasts. The overlapping edges allow for some margin of error, making it easier to achieve a uniform look.

Rustic Charm

Shiplap's visible seams and rustic appearance make it a popular choice for farmhouse and coastal designs. It adds texture and character to any space.


Shiplap is often more affordable than tongue and groove, making it a budget-friendly option for accent walls.

Benefits of Tongue and Groove

Seamless Finish

The interlocking design of tongue and groove creates a smooth, gap-free surface, offering a more sophisticated and polished look.

Durability and Stability

Tongue and groove panels provide excellent stability and strength due to their interlocking edges. This makes them ideal for high-traffic areas and structural applications.


Tongue and groove can be used in various applications, including walls, ceilings, and flooring, making it a versatile choice for home improvement projects.

Choosing the Right Option for Your Project

Consider the Aesthetic

  • Shiplap: Choose shiplap if you prefer a rustic, textured look with visible seams.
  • Tongue and Groove: Opt for tongue and groove if you want a smooth, seamless finish with a refined appearance.

Think About Installation

  • Shiplap: Ideal for DIY projects due to its easy installation process.
  • Tongue and Groove: Requires more precision during installation, making it better suited for experienced DIYers or professional installers.

Evaluate Your Budget

  • Shiplap: Generally more cost-effective, making it a good option for budget-conscious projects.
  • Tongue and Groove: May be more expensive but offers added durability and a high-end finish.


Both shiplap and tongue and groove have their unique advantages and can enhance the aesthetic appeal of your accent wall. Your choice will depend on your preferred style, installation capabilities, and budget. At Wallcraft Wood, we offer high-quality reclaimed wood for both shiplap and tongue and groove projects, ensuring you get the best materials for your home improvement needs.

Whether you're a seasoned DIY enthusiast or a professional designer, Wallcraft Wood is here to support your creative endeavors. Explore our collection of reclaimed wood and discover how it can transform your space into a stunning focal point.