Fixing, Maintaining and Repairing Shiplap Cladding Boards

Learn how to install your shiplap cladding and keep your structures under control with some maintenance and restoring tips. 

Shiplap is a traditional profile of cladding that is extremely versatile thanks to its lightweight features and easy installation. Commonly used as a material to build sheds, summerhouses and feature walls, it provides both conventional and contemporary appeal alike.

The stylish look coupled with its watertight properties, makes for the perfect profile for cladding buildings. Installation of shiplap can also be a simple process that can be completed by even the most unskilled person as long as you have some basic instructions and tips!   Read on for some valuable information that will help with the installation, maintenance and repairing of your shiplap structures!  All three cycles that will need to be completed at some point so we've stuck them all together for an easy read.

Installing Shiplap

Fixing shiplap is super easy but requires a bit of pre-planning beforehand as the installation may differ slightly depending on what you are fitting the boards too.  Having the correct dimensions and resources is also key.  We have several tips for this stage.

 

  • Preparing the shiplap boards

It may be necessary to cut your cladding boards in order to fit any gaps or to get the correct size. But what about water ingress due to cuts?  All you need to do is use our End Sealing Wax to stop moisture levels entering the wood and affecting it. 

Another good tip is, If installing your shiplap boards vertically, cutting the boards at a slight angle will allow any moisture to run off the ends.  This stops any sitting water from accumulating and potentially soaking into the wood. Where an end of the board meets a corner or edge, allowing a minimum of 8mm gap will also dramatically reduce the chances of water sitting on the end grain.

  • What are the shiplap boards being fixed too?

Fitting Shiplap on the exterior walls of buildings requires a bit more attention, taking into consideration factors such as insulation, cavities, and battens.

Installing an insulation layer and breathable membrane to your exterior wall before cladding may be required to reach good thermal and complete waterproof properties. Ideally, this is done by adding an insulation layer which can be directly applied to the exterior stud wall. Ensure that when two insulation boards meet, there is a minimal gap no bigger than 5mm in between. A breathable membrane layer can then be applied onto the insulation boards, ready to be battened.

The correct air ventilation and water drainage is important to minimise rotting and enhance the longevity of the boards. Therefore, it's recommended that you create a cavity between the wall and the boards - easy when you know how. Battens can be used to create a channel between the cladding and wall. Larger channels can be utilised if required by fixing one batten perpendicular to another, known as counter battens and can be seen in the photo below. This channel will need to be open at the top and bottom so leave a small gap between both the ground, roof and boards. The battens need to be spaced out 600mm apart to create a durable, sturdy structure. 

To stop insects and pests entering these small gaps, check out our insect mesh which will restrict access but still allow sufficient airflow throughout the structure.

Shiplap can also be applied directly to a stud wall without a breathable membrane if a completely watertight structure is not absolutely necessary. Although Shiplap is renown for being watertight, minimal water does enter through the overlapping structure in high winds and heavy downpours.  All too common in the UK, right?  But, if you aren’t that worried, then this way offers a super simple and quick solution.

  • Fixing the shiplap boards

 To begin with, you need to make sure you have all the correct fixings, so be sure to check out our 50mm nails or tongue-tite plus screws to secure your boards.  Both fixings should be driven into the boards so that the head is flush with the surface of the board. This stops any water from sitting in the small pockets as well as creating a tidier finish. 

The battens should be perpendicular to the cladding, therefore horizontal cladding boards will be fixed to vertical battens and vice versa. It is important to use two fixings per board, 25% in from the edges at both ends making sure that the head of the fixing ends flush with the surface of the boards. 

The first board is crucial to setting out for the remaining of the boards. Starting from the bottom of the wall, we recommend using a spirit level for a perfectly straight finish. For extra precision a key tip is to apply construction adhesive prior to nailing and double check with the spirit level. Once you are happy with the level of it, seal with two 50mm nails or tongue-tite plus screws.

To complete the installation of your shiplap cladding, repeat the step as per the first board. Continue seamlessly interlocking each board together and fixing to the stud wall. Don’t forget to check each board with a spirit level so that the cladding is level throughout.

Maintaining Shiplap

 Does the idea of maintaining your shiplap timber feel like it could be a big task and a bit overwhelming? Well it's actually a straightforward and rewarding process due to the transformation that can take place with a bit of maintenance and TLC. Just follow our three easy tips and tricks and you are guaranteed to increase the lifetime of your beautiful shiplap!

  1. Osmo UV Protection

 To stop the harsh UV rays causing a dull and dreary look to your timber, apply a coat of Osmo UV protection! This helps maintain the natural organic colours and grains in the wood and stops swelling or shrinkage through regulating moisture levels. The oil has pigments in it which matches the colours of the wood, resulting in a natural appearance. It is recommended that a coat is applied every 12 weeks to help keep your boards in excellent condition! An easy solution for a massive benefit!

  1. Clean your cladding!

 For easy maintenance with effective results, cleaning your shiplap boards every 6 months can lift the appearance of your timber as well as increasing the lifespan. Simply wipe down the boards with a microfibre cloth and an Eco-friendly solution and watch the dirt disappear! If you have painted your cladding, you may need to do a few touch ups to keep it looking pristine. 

  1. Act quickly

 Due to shiplap being a natural product, there is a possibility of natural wear and tear. To ensure minimal damage, it is important to keep an eye out for any changes or impairments and to act quickly and repair anything before it worsens. If a board has started to rot, it's crucial that this is replaced as soon as possible. Otherwise, the rot can spread to other boards, causing you a bigger headache and hole in your wallet further down the line.

Repairing broken Shiplap boards 

Despite shiplap being renowned for its durability when maintained, it can still experience damage from adverse weather conditions, and wear and tear due to the natural nature of the timber.  

What you will need: 

  • New replacement shiplap boards (2 per each broken board) 
  • Screwdriver 
  • Hammer 
  • Block of wood

To begin the replacement of broken shiplap, you must firstly remove any corner trimmings. Just simply undo all screws holding the corner trim in place and remove this from the structure. 

You will then need to tap the existing nails completely into the cavity wall using another blunt tool such as a screwdriver. Hold the screwdriver on the nail and tap the other end with a hammer to apply force on the nail, pushing it into the cavity wall and out of the board. 

Once no fixing is holding the board in place, it is now possible to slide the board out. The ease of this will be dependent on the weather. If the shiplap is particularly wet, it tends to swell, causing further tension when trying to remove the boards. A good tip to help you here is to place a block of wood on the end of the shiplap board and hit this with your hammer (be careful of your fingers!) You will also want to remove the board above the damaged one in case the timber has swelled.

Next, slide the replacement panels into the gaps and secure onto the cavity wall with nails. If the gap is a little tight, use the trick with the block of wood to tap the replacement board back into place. Re-apply the corner trims and touch up with Osmo UV Protection oil.

We hope you have found this blog to be of some use.  Shiplap really is a great versatile Cladding that offers a good all-round cladding solution.  In this day of ever increasing price hikes, you really can save yourself money by not only buying good quality shiplap but also by investing some time and energy in maintaining it to a high standard.  Simple and straightforward - just like Shiplap itself!

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