Can I Use Shiplap As A Backsplash?

Shiplap has become a popular choice for backsplashes in recent years. With its clean, rustic look, shiplap can add instant charm and visual interest to a kitchen or bathroom. But is it actually a good material to use behind a sink or stove? Here is what you need to know about using shiplap as a backsplash.

What is Shiplap?

Shiplap refers to wooden boards that have a groove cut into each edge. This allows the boards to be installed tightly together, with the protruding lip of each board fitting into the groove of the next. The result is a flat, smooth surface.

Shiplap is most commonly made from pine, but other woods like cedar are sometimes used as well. The boards are typically 3/4″ thick and come in a variety of widths, from 4″ to 8″. They can be left natural or painted/stained.

Benefits of Using Shiplap for a Backsplash

There are several reasons why shiplap can make an excellent backsplash material:

Aesthetic Appeal

  • Shiplap has a clean, rustic look that works well with many kitchen and bathroom styles, from traditional to farmhouse. The visible seams and wood grain add visual texture and interest.
  • It provides a casual, cottage feel that can warm up sleek, modern spaces.
  • Painted or stained shiplap can be coordinated with other colors and materials in the space. Natural shiplap adds organic texture.


  • Shiplap is typically cheaper than materials like ceramic tile or metal backsplashes. Pine shiplap is very budget-friendly.
  • It’s relatively easy for a handy DIYer to install, avoiding labor costs.


  • Shiplap is installed with adhesive and/or nails, making it simpler to work with than tile which requires mortar and grout.
  • It can be applied directly over existing materials like drywall in many cases, avoiding tear out.
  • Individual boards are manageable sizes for DIYers.

Considerations for Using Shiplap as a Backsplash

While shiplap has definite design perks as a backsplash, there are some important factors to weigh:

Water Resistance

  • Wood is prone to warping, swelling, and deterioration when exposed to lots of moisture and steam. Special treatment is required to make shiplap water-resistant.
  • The seams between boards may allow water penetration without proper sealing.


  • Grease and grime can stain and adhere to the porous surface of wood over time. It requires gentle cleaning.
  • You need to take care not to soak or saturate shiplap when cleaning.


  • Shiplap is generally not as durable as materials like ceramic, metal, or stone. It can become damaged by impact, heat, and moisture.
  • The seams between boards may separate or wood may split over time. Filler and resealing is required for repairs.

Best Practices for Installing Shiplap Backsplash

If properly prepped and sealed, shiplap can hold up well to limited backsplash use:

  • Opt for higher quality, resin-rich woods like cedar or redwood that resist moisture better. Avoid soft woods like pine.
  • Thoroughly seal all sides with water-resistant finishes. Use a product rated for kitchen/bathroom use. Reapply yearly.
  • Install with a waterproof adhesive as well as nails for stability. Caulk all seams thoroughly.
  • Use trim boards and moulding around the perimeter for a watertight fit. Apply sealant at edges.
  • Limit use to backsplashes 6 feet wide or less. Avoid areas that will get direct splashing.
  • Clean gently with mild soap and water. Avoid excessive moisture and harsh cleaners.

Ideas for Styling a Shiplap Backsplash

From rustic to contemporary, a shiplap backsplash can be styled many ways:

  • Paint it a crisp white for a fresh, coastal look. Pair with navy kitchen cabinets.
  • Stain it a warm brown and keep the wood grain visible. Combine with antique-inspired hardware.
  • Opt for a pastel paint color like sage green. Add delicate patterns with ceramic tile accents.
  • Mix widths and colors of boards for an eclectic, vintage vibe.
  • Install horizontally and light the shiplap with small pendant lights for a modern style.
  • Accent with pot racks, floating shelves, and woven baskets for a farmhouse kitchen.


With proper prep and care, shiplap can be a charming, budget-friendly option for small backsplash areas. For heavy-use cooking zones or larger installations, materials like ceramic tile or metal may be better suited to stand up to moisture and wear-and-tear. But for adding a bit of relaxing, rustic style behind a bathroom or bar sink, shiplap can be just the right fit.