The Complete Guide On How To Finish Shiplap Edges

Shiplap walls are a gorgeous feature in a farmhouse-inspired home, as well as being a fairly simple DIY project that most people can do by themselves. It is even possible to directly attach shiplap to the studs even if you haven’t drywalled yet. 

The Complete Guide On How To Finish Shiplap Edges

Although installing a shiplap wall couldn’t be simpler, finishing those pesky edges can be a challenge. When you’ve finished installing shiplap boards, you of course want them to stay looking beautiful.

But if you don’t correctly finish the edges of your walls then they will look cheap and unfinished. Nobody wants that!

Luckily, there are a couple of methods for finishing shiplap edges, and what works best will be down to your personal preference. In this article we’ll tell you all about how to finish shiplap edges, as well as give you some more handy shiplap tips. Let’s get into it! 

Finishing Shiplap Edges With Caulk

Caulk is one of the simplest ways to obtain a clean edge. Caulk gives you a smooth edge you can easily paint over, making it ideal for corners. Caulk will fill in any rough cuts and edges.

If you want to achieve the cleanest edge, then we would recommend caulk. It’s quick and easy, so if you have limited time you can get it done in a flash without special equipment. However, if you want to paint the walls, it’s important to use paintable caulk. 

Caulk can also help conceal any errors you may have made when installing shiplap! Caulk can fill gaps between your shiplap and trim, totally concealing any errors whether you’ve cut the board a little shorter than you intended or not. 

Finishing Shiplap Edges With Caulk Step-By-Step

Step 1: Once you’ve installed the shiplap, run a bead of caulk over the seams where the shiplap meets the inside corner, molding, or wall. 

Step 2: Once you’ve applied the bead of caulk, use a wet rag or your finger to smooth the caulk out while it’s still wet. 

Step 3: Use a clean (lint-free) cloth to wipe away any excess caulk. It’s important to do this as soon as you can while the caulk is still wet so it dries smoothly. 

Step 4: Let the caulk dry fully before you paint over it.

Trimming Shiplap Edges

A trim is yet another way to finish shiplap edges, and is a great way to conceal any gaps and helps to create a smooth look on an accent wall. It’s ideal for adding this finishing touch, so if you’re after a well-finished look, it’s well worth considering. 

You can use caulk with trim or without it, but both methods will make your shiplap wall look amazing! For the easiest experience, you can ask your local home store or Home Depot to cut the trim for you.

Trimming Shiplap Edges Step-By-Step

If you would like to trim around shiplap, one of the most popular and simplest trims to use is quarter round. It gives a shiplap wall that smooth, professional, finished look. 

Step 1: Measure the length you need your quarter round to be.

Step 2: Cut the quarter round accordingly with a miter saw or table saw.

Step 3: Secure the quarter round with glue. We would recommend using Liquid Nails

Step 4: Nail the trim along the bottom of your shiplap wall with your nail gun and finishing nails. 

Step 5: Use caulk to fill in the gaps and allow them to dry before you begin painting.

Top Tip: If your shiplap edge meets a corner that leads to another room, the best thing to do is use corner trim. It’s an amazing way to cover up any gaps and finish the edge. However, it’s important to measure the angle as not all angles are going to be precisely 90 degrees.

Alternative Trim For Shiplap Walls

There are other kinds of trim you can use to finish your shiplap walls, such as crown molding. This will give your wall a sophisticated look that will elevate every room. 

To make things more modern, you can also use a flat trim. This is particularly great if you are adding shiplap to a fireplace, as it pulls the whole room together to make it look more finished.

Tips For Installing Faux Shiplap

Do Things In The Right Order

Install your faux shiplap before you do anything else, such as the trim, crown, and baseboard. Many make the mistake of installing their trim before the shiplap, and have to get their shiplap pieces with a jigsaw so they will fit around features like the doors and windows.

Needless to say, you’ll want to avoid this, as it just makes the process more difficult and time-consuming. 

Begin your shiplap above your baseboards. If you have trim, gently notch out your shiplap with a saw and use caulk or wood filler to close up the gaps that are left. Trust us, nobody will notice!

Get Outlet Box Extenders

Because shiplap makes your walls heavier, it’s recommended to add more depths to your outlets using outlet box extenders so they stay flush to the wall. 

These small boxers couldn’t be simpler to install, but it’s important to remember to switch off the power supply to your home’s electrical box before you do this. They’re very useful to have to hand before you begin your shiplap installation.

Use Tile Spacers Rather Than Pennies

Many shiplap guides use pennies for spacers between ¼-inch plywood boards. However, you may find pennies inadequate, flimsy, and small, and some DIYers find they often fall out when you’re trying to keep your penny in the same place.

Because of this, we would recommend using something that’s a bit sturdier, actual tile samples, nickels, popsicle sticks, or tile spacers.

Final Thoughts

We hope our article has enlightened you on a few methods for finishing shiplap edges like caulking and trimming, and how to deal with those outside corner edges.

No matter which method you decide to use, finishing the edges of a shiplap wall can make a massive difference in the final look of your wall.

Shiplap edges give your home a professional touch – even when it’s DIY – and creates a polished look that is totally worth the time and effort you put into it.

For the best results, make sure you’re well-prepared for the project by doing things in the right order and buying tools like an outlet box so you can have a smooth DIY experience.

So if you’re using real shiplap or faux shiplap, remember to add the finishing touches for a polished, effortless look.

John Whitford
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