Shiplap vs. Tongue & Groove: Which Profile Is Best?

Shiplap vs. Tongue & Groove: Which Profile Is Best?

Published on Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Cladding is available in a range of profiles, all of which possess their own particular attributes, lending them more towards certain purposes than others.

Two of the most popular types of cladding are shiplap and tongue & groove (on our website, V-jointed); choosing between them can be a difficult task. Shiplap and tongue & groove refers to how the panels fit together. This can produce different properties in terms of strength, structural integrity, weather protection and appearance.

To make choosing between the two a slightly easier task, we’ll discuss the benefits of each, and how these two different profiles can have different applications.


European Shiplap Cladding

Tongue and groove and shiplap cladding do look very similar once installed. The main difference between them is a longer lip on shiplap cladding, which acts as an additional layer of protection against moisture and rainfall.

Because of this, shiplap cladding offers optimum rainwater resistance. The lip acts as a barrier, whilst also creating a small groove; this allows water to run off the shed or building it is placed on. For installations that need to withstand harsh elements and heavy rainfall, this makes shiplap the preferable option.

This profile offers the best defense against water infiltration, with risks of rot and swelling dropping to a minimum.

Tongue and Groove

V-Jointed Tongue and Groove Cladding

Tongue & groove panel.

The most popular type of cladding profile is tongue & groove. It has a neat appearance, and, like shiplap, retains the ability to shield buildings from water and weather damage. The interlocking joints provide an effective shield from harsh weather conditions such as rainfall, also being a good insulator.

However, with tongue & groove, it’s essential to consider shrinkage during warm weather. This type of V-shaped cladding, for example, should allow for shrinkage during installation. This prevents the appearance of gaps in the future.

That said, the strength created by the interlocking panels is still impressive; this profile is a fantastic choice for anyone looking to build a very sturdy structure.

What about the cost?

Price differences between shiplap and tongue & groove can vary depending on the type of timber used. That said, shiplap does tend to command a higher price because of the additional lip providing more weather protection, whilst not compromising on structural integrity.

Overall, it’s fair to say that the differences between shiplap and tongue and groove are quite minimal - with the right installation, both provide a secure, aesthetically-pleasing and weather-proofed choice. However, the appearance for your specific project may be an important factor, as may the additional level of protection provided by shiplap.

For a more detailed chat about your specific requirements, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly customer service team of timber experts - they’ll be delighted to advise you on your next project.

You can reach us at or over the phone on 01765 640564. You might even want to call into our Joinery & Woodworking Centre to marvel at our enviable collection of timber; it’s been called a wood lover’s paradise!