Your outdoor projects can keep you busy, and are so rewarding when they are finished. You may have planned for months before you actually got to start building, and now, you’re ready to add the finishing touches. Considering that most projects will need cladding, you may want to make a decision between shiplap and tong and groove cladding. Here are some facts about both that may help you make your decision.



First of all, what is the purpose of the cladding? If you have built a storage shed, how much traffic will it have? If it is just for storing garden utensils, then shiplap will be fine. But, if you have build a playhouse or workshop, you may want to consider tongue and groove.

Shiplap Cladding

Shiplap cladding has a bevel cut on the front, across the length of the top of the board. This creates a concave shape with a thinner edge along the top. Across the bottom, on the back of the board, is a groove cut that will just fit over the edge of the piece below it. This is a type of tongue and groove, but there is only one groove. It sloughs the water off of your shed, protecting the structure and whatever is inside the building.

This cladding is fairly easy to install, as the top board just sits over the bevel. As the cladding is secured, it seals the joint quite well.

Tongue and Groove Cladding

Tongue and groove cladding has a more complex construction. It usually involves cutting two parallel grooves into the edge of the board, lengthwise. The other side of the board is routed out, leaving two tongues that should fit into the grooves. This creates a very tight seal. Tongue and groove is quite strong cladding. This cladding is suggested for buildings that will undergo a lot of traffic. A workshop, for example, will have a lot of traffic. Tools can be heavy, and working in a structure will create stress on it. This type of cladding adds strength so that the frame does not torque or sides break down.


Overlap Cladding

These are panels that you simply overlap. There is no beveling, and no grooves. This is the least expensive cladding, and the easiest to install. However, as far as structural soundness, the overlap cladding will not provide the stability of the other two.


The least expensive of the three types of cladding is the overlap. It will waterproof your structure and protect the interior. You will have to take care to seal the corners, though, because there will be plenty of gaps. Your structure won’t be as strong, either, so if you will have heavy equipment or a lot of traffic in it, it may not last as long.

Shiplap is the mid-expense, and is quite strong. Tongue and groove is the most expensive and the strongest.

The good news is that there is a cladding out there that you can afford, and that will protect your building.