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Shiplap vs. V-Groove: Which Tongue & Groove Profile Is Best?

Two of the most popular types of cladding are shiplap and tongue & groove choosing between them can be a difficult task. Shiplap and tongue & groove refers to how the panels fit together. This can produce different properties in terms of strength, structural integrity and appearance.

Embarking on a cladding project? You’ll need to make some important choices, such as the timber species you want to use, but also the profile you need.

Let’s explore the differences between two of the most popular tongue and groove cladding profile types: shiplap and V-groove.

Firstly, what is a cladding profile?

When it comes to cladding, the profile refers to how the wooden panels fit together. In the finished project, this fit can produce different properties in terms of strength, structural integrity, weather protection and appearance.

Profiles possess their own particular attributes, which can lend a particular profile more towards a certain purpose than another.

Shiplap, V-groove, tongue and groove — clearing up any confusion

The world of cladding can be a slightly baffling one to the uninitiated.

We often hear people seeking to compare shiplap with tongue and groove. This is a mistake — shiplap is actually a tongue and groove profile itself. Rather than shiplap, you may be thinking of halflap, which does not have a tongue and groove fit.

It’s also common for people to refer to V-groove as simply ‘tongue and groove’, overlooking the fact that shiplap is technically a tongue and groove profile too.

This blog post will be comparing the two most popular types of tongue and groove cladding — shiplap and V-Groove (sometimes known as V-jointed cladding).

Shiplap

Shiplap profile cladding in Siberian Larch species.
Shiplap profile cladding panels made of Siberian Larch.
Shiplap profile.
An example shiplap tongue and groove profile — note the long curve compared to V-groove.

In terms of appearance, shiplap and V-groove cladding aren’t dissimilar once installed. Note, however, the longer curve detail on shiplap cladding. This is not just an aesthetic difference; this longer curve has an additional function providing extra water run off.

A traditional cladding choice for out buildings, shiplap has a tongue and groove fit, for a secure way of fixing and is almost always used horizontally offering optimum rainwater resistance to aid with rot, decay and swelling.

For installations that need to withstand harsh elements and heavy rainfall, shiplap is the preferable option.

V-groove

V-groove profile cladding in Siberian Larch species.
V-groove profile cladding panels: a shorter lip and neat-looking fit.
V-groove profile.
An example V-Groove profile.

V-groove (sometimes referred to as V-jointed, or often simply ‘tongue and groove’) is probably the most popular cladding profile out there.

With its uniform chamfer, it allows panels to join together to make a flatter cladding surface, with a little shadow line creating distinction between boards.

Like shiplap, each timber panel has a tongue (the thinner, protruding ridge) on one edge, and a groove (the slot) along the opposing side. Once fitted together, they form a V — hence the name.

The strength and durability created by the interlocking panels is one of the most impressive aspects to V-groove cladding; this profile is a fantastic choice for anyone looking to build a very sturdy structure. With its smart appearance, it might also become your profile of choice for aesthetic reasons.

Despite shiplap being optimal for rainfall resistance, V-groove cladding still protects buildings effectively from weather damage. It can be fixed vertically or horizontally, providing a strong shield from adverse weather conditions such as rainfall.

What about the cost?

Price differences between shiplap and V-groove can vary depending on the species of timber used. A cladding project of exotic African hardwood is always going to cost more than the equivalent using Siberian Larch — regardless of profile used!

But, as a general rule, there isn’t a price difference between the profiles.

So, which is better: shiplap or V-groove?

If you’re looking for maximum protection from the elements, you might prefer shiplap because of its longer channel for water runoff.

If a more modern design element is priority, V-groove might be your best choice. Alternatively, if you’re drawn to the appearance of one profile over the other, that should really be the deciding factor.

Overall, however, the differences between shiplap and V-groove are very minimal — with the right species and installation, both represent a secure, beautiful and weather-proofed cladding profile choice.

Made your profile choice? We’re ready when you are

At Duffield, we’re a leading UK supplier of timber and timber products. Explore our expansive range of high-quality V-groove and shiplap cladding, available in a number of stunning, versatile species.

If you’re after a different profile, we’ve got you covered there, too — we stock shadow gap, halflap, featheredge and many more cladding profiles.

For a more detailed chat about your specific cladding requirements, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly customer service team of timber experts — they’ll be delighted to advise you on your next project.

You can reach us at sales@duffieldtimber.com or over the phone on 01765 640564. If you’re in the area, why not call in to marvel at our enviable collection of timber in person?

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