Shiplap Ahoy! MDF Producers Answer the Call

DIYers want the shiplap look, so manufacturers are making it more affordable and easier to install on walls and ceilings. PacTrim’s Pioneer Series interior MDF wall boards are pre-primed for time and cost savings.

(Photo of Hatcliff Construction project The Grove, Franklin, Tn., by Carolyne Raney, Simply Irresistible Photography)

If you’ve watched any home design or remodeling show in the last year you know the shiplap look is making a comeback for interior walls. From Craftsman to farm house to modern—call it shiplap, nickel gap, nickel slot, or T&G—the clean lines are in demand by homeowners and designers across the country.

“We are seeing it increase,” says Dan Beaty, director of sales, TLC Mouldings, Willacoochee, Ga. “It started about a year ago and has been increasing ever since. I think it is just a new look that is actually an old style, of course, which is very trendy right now that fits hand in hand with the Craftsman-style home being built all across the country.”

The resurgence has been enabled by the product now being available in MDF, instead of just solid wood.

Melissa Morinelli, sales and marketing manager for Pacific MDF Products, Rocklin, Ca., explains: “In yesteryear, the product was natural wood and that is very expensive today. If you’re looking for a stain-grade product, you’ll want natural wood. Many times the original wood shiplap is painted in the renovation. We offer a more affordable product that’s easy to install and looks great. That ‘designer look’ is now within reach to many more people.”

She suspects the popularity of HGTV and DIY TV networks have also been an influence. “Many (on-camera) designers love blending the old with the new and some of the well-known ones—like Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper—loves shiplap!

Renovation shows are extremely popular right now—Fixer Upper, Flip or Flop, Love It or List It, Property Brothers, Rehab Addict, Good Bones, and the list goes on.”

To make the look even more accessible to DIYers, Pacific MDF Products recently introduced the Pioneer Series interior MDF wall boards. “People can now get the traditional shiplap look without the worry of filling knots, priming, and trying to install warped boards,” Morinelli says. “Our boards come already primed, ready to install and finish. With our precision sizing, once you place your first run on the wall the rest of the pieces are easy going. The 16-ft. length also makes it easy to install over long walls popular with today’s open concept living.”

Although shiplap is most associated with woodsy Craftsman and coastal Cottage styles of architecture, their resurgent popularity isn’t limited to a single area. Suppliers have found demand across the country—and it’s showing no signs of slowing.

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