How Do I Install Shiplap Knotty Pine?

Written by mark morris
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How Do I Install Shiplap Knotty Pine?
Knotty pine is selected for the knots. (pin noueux image by Unclesam from

The shiplap, or channel, joint is one of the most basic edge joints in carpentry. It consists of a square rebate edge, or groove, typically 3/8-by-3/8-inch in ¾-inch material. This makes the thickness of the resulting tab or tongue that protrudes along the edge 3/8-inch thick as well, or equal to exactly one-half of the board's thickness. Knotty pine is traditional pine lumber selected specifically for its colourful round knots that add a rustic flavour to the material. Shiplap is available as a siding or floor material, and installation techniques are similar.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Shiplap knotty pine
  • Tape measure
  • Chalk line
  • Leaving
  • Mitre saw
  • Nails
  • Hammer

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  1. 1

    Remove siding and sheathing from the wall to expose the framing studs. Start at one end at the bottom edge of the wall. Position a board with the tongue of the top edge joint facing out so the groove, or channel, is against the wall, and mark and cut it to fall in the centre of the stud that is nearest to the board's far end. Use a circular saw to make the cut.

  2. 2

    Hold the first board in place and check the pitch with a level; adjust as needed. Nail the board to each stud with two ringshank, 2-inch nails.

  3. 3

    Butt the next board up end to end, mark and cut it as before and nail in place. Watch for splitting and drill small 1/8-inch pilot holes for each nail if it appears to be a problem.

  4. 4

    Lay boards in the same way to the end of the row. Set the next board on top, with its tongue edge to the wall so that it drops into the channel of the first row. Nail the second row in place as for the first.

  5. 5

    Cut boards to fit around obstructions, such as doors and windows, by placing them against the wall to mark the outline of the needed adjustment, then making the cuts with a jigsaw. Continue adding boards until the wall is covered.

  1. 1

    Remove all flooring and subflooring to expose the floor joists. Since shiplap does not lock together and the material is made from real wood, floating and glue down installation techniques are not applicable. Exposing the joists allows the shiplap to be nailed directly to it.

  2. 2

    Start along the longest wall that is perpendicular to the floor joists, in one corner. Position the board with the channel side down, toward the wall. Mark and cut the board ends to fall on the joist centre as for wall installation. Stagger the end joints between rows for a stronger floor.

  3. 3

    Space the boards 1/4-inch away from the wall to allow for expansion. Nail the boards to the joists using 2-inch finish nails--two in every joist. Overlap the boards in the second row onto the tongue of the boards in the first row. Do not nail through the tongue.

  4. 4

    Install quarter round, or base shoe, moulding to cover the gap at the edges of the floor by nailing it to the baseboard, pressed firmly against the face of the shiplap.

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