Because you shouldnâ€™t just put it anywhere
With its clean lines, rustic charm, and ability to instantly update a room without breaking the home renovation budget, it’s no wonder that shiplap is everywhere. But should it be? Specifically, is it OK to add shiplap to a bathroom, where high levels of moisture and humidity occur?
Whether you’ve scoured the internet for modern farmhouse design ideas or simply watched enough HGTV, you’ve definitely seen shiplap bathrooms. And it absolutely can be done, as long as you take a few precautions.
1. Don’t Install Shiplap in Areas That Get Wet
Because shiplap is a type of wood paneling, avoid placing it in areas that are frequently exposed to water, such as a shower wall or ceiling. When wood gets wet, it can swell, warp, and sag. It can also develop mold and mildew.
The problem becomes a little more complicated when you want to do a sink backsplash or an accent wall by a standalone tub. The shiplap will undoubtedly get wet from time to time—especially if you have young kids—but it won’t be in frequent contact with water. So what should you do?
2. Apply a Wood Protectant to Shiplap Bathroom Walls
To ensure your shiplap boards are protected against the occasional splash of water, apply a coat of mold-and-mildew-resistant paint. These paints are specifically designed for bathrooms and other high-moisture environments and can effectively repel water.
For additional protection, you can apply a clear coat wood sealer on top of the paint. Alternatively, you can forgo the paint and just use the clear sealer if you want a wood shiplap look.
We also recommend applying some sort of wood protectant to all the shiplap in your bathroom, even if you’re installing it far away from your water sources, such as on the ceiling. That’s because bathrooms are prone to humidity, which can still wreak havoc on your wood.
The exception to this would be if you are doing a shiplap bathroom ceiling in a powder room with only a sink and toilet. Without a shower, the bathroom shouldn’t get hot and steamy, which means moisture resistance will be less of a concern.
3. Ventilate Your Bathroom
It’s also important to keep your bathroom properly ventilated if you want to extend the life of your shiplap. That means installing a bathroom fan and using it while showering. And it means opening the bathroom door—and windows if possible—to let steam escape.
4. Opt for Faux Shiplap
If you really want to install shiplap inside your shower or are simply worried about overall wear and tear, consider doing faux shiplap with PVC planks/trim. While it’s true that they don’t have the signature wood texture and rabbeted edges of shiplap, they can mimic a shiplap look. The best part? PVC resists mildew, rot, and swelling without any help from protective paint.
Shiplap Bathroom Ideas
As long as you take certain precautions, shiplap works well in a bathroom. So how will you use it for your next DIY project? Check out these bathroom designs for inspiration and don’t miss our roundup of shiplap wall ideas for every room in the house.