Can Shiplap Go Over Cinder Block?

Shiplap is the broad term for wood panels stylistically hung on your walls. This is currently a very popular look, but it’s also a very classic one and one that can find its place in any home, regardless of its features.

Shiplap is an easy way to improve the look of a cinder block wall, and the process is easy. With the proper tools, you can install shiplap anywhere, even in cinder blocks. If you have the correct drill bit and concrete screws, you can use a traditional process or several alternative options.

Shiplap Basics

Shiplap is typically installed with a nail gun, but nails are not a good option if your walls are concrete or cinder block. Because a concrete wall will not have the traditional studs or joists, you’ll need to make some adjustments to your hardware.

Another basic to cover is that cinder blocks are a form of hollow concrete, so when you’re looking for tools and supplies, it’s okay if they specify with “concrete” rather than “cinder block.”

Instead of nails, you can use concrete screws. These can go directly into your wall through the shiplap. You will want to prep your boards with a pre-drill bit so you do not strain or damage the wood.

If you prefer, you can construct a frame of 2x4s that replicate the studs of a traditional wall. Measure out the distance at which you want to attach your shiplap; the size of your wall you are covering will impact this. When you have finished the frame, you can anchor it to the cinder blocks.

There are a few ways to do this, but one of the most economical and effective methods is to use an actuated fastening tool. This high-powered, hand-held tool places nails straight through the wood into the concrete.

You might think that this is a good way to attach your shiplap to your concrete, but this option is not ideal because of the power of the tool. This method is not meant to be a stylistic one. Rather it is one that will guarantee your 2×4’s stay sturdily connected to your concrete. The following video will show you exactly why this could be a risky idea for your shiplap.

Whether you decide to attach your shiplap directly into the concrete or onto a 2×4 frame, there are a few different kinds of wood you can use to achieve the shiplap look.


Plywood is thin sheets of wood pressed together to form one piece of wood in varying thicknesses. It is one of the cheapest kinds of wood you can use to create the shiplap look.

It does not come sealed or primed as other wood panels do. Because of this, you will need to spend extra time and money priming and sealing the wood. After priming and sealing, you can paint and install. Primers and sealants are important because they smoothen the rough appearance of wood and help the paint adhere better to the wood.

Shiplap is a look achieved by hanging individual panels of wood with spacing in between each panel. In this case, you might decide to cut your plywood into panels and install them separately.

Another method is to use a Sharpie marker to draw lines on the wood.


This is, by far, the cheapest option for creating the shiplap look, but it’s pretty effective and is rather easy to install by comparison to other methods.

In using a sharpie, you forego the elegance of real shiplap paneling, but you still achieve a similar look. For using this method on concrete, you might paint beforehand, both to brighten the room from the concrete’s natural color and to get a closer replica of shiplap.

This method plays into the main incentivizing component of shiplap: the overlaying look. Use the sharpie and a long, straight-edge to draw lines on the wall, to give a look of overlay such as with genuine shiplap.

The sharpie method is not the nicest or most reliable, but it is a method nonetheless.

Peel And Stick

Peel and stick wallpaper is super popular right now, and shiplap is also super popular, and now you can get peel and stick shiplap!

With this version of shiplap, you still get real wood panels, but these come with a sticky back so it adheres to your wall. The price is comparable to non-sticky boards and is easier to install yourself.

From companies like, you can purchase peel and stick shiplap in an array of colors and styles. Installing this kind of shiplap is ideal if you are completing this project yourself. The only supplies you’ll need are a roller, a level, a pencil, and a saw.

When you order peel and stick shiplap, you get an amount that covers an area of square footage, meaning the planks are not pre-cut. It will be up to you to cut and measure each panel yourself.

Traditional Shiplap

Shiplap has a unique shape that gives it its trademark spacing. The panels are designed to fit together and be spaced out according to your desires. This achieves the traditional shiplap look.

The pricing of real shiplap panels varies. Pre-primed and seal planks are more affordable at a hardware store and you can have them cut to your needs when you purchase them. On the other hand, you will need to paint the planks according to your style.

If you order panels from a company specializing in shiplap boards, you will have more options for sizes and colors, and some will even send you the exact measurements you need. This can be a more expensive option, but if that’s the look you are trying to achieve, then this is absolutely the way to go!

Tongue And Groove Boards

Tongue and groove boards are similar to shiplap boards as far as their interlocking capabilities, though the actual technique is different.

This kind of panel will provide you a very similar look to real shiplap boards, but you cannot space them how you desire, as you can with shiplap planks.

Between the price and options of size and color, tongue and groove boards are a perfect middle-grade option for hanging shiplap in your home.

Ricky Kesler

With all of the projects I've done over the years, you'd think that I work on my house full-time. But I actually enjoy other things like spending time outdoors and time with my family.

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