Shed Buying Guide: The Difference Between Shiplap, Tongue & Groove and Overlap
January 16, 2019


If you’re wondering which type of garden shed to buy, or perhaps which type of gate or garden building, you’ll most likely come across different cladding types. But what is the difference between shiplap, tongue and groove, and overlap? In a nutshell, they’re different styles of construction which tell you how the wooden slats fit together. These styles give wood sheds and other buildings different levels of durability, strength and structural integrity.

With each type offering different benefits and the price varying significantly between the three, it’s important to know how exactly they differ so you can buy the right product for your needs. Read on to find out which is best for you.

overlap shedoverlap shed

What is overlap?

Great for those on a budget, overlap sheds and buildings tend to be the cheapest. As the name suggests, the horizontal panels overlap each other, with the bottom of each slat always going over the top of the next to aid water run-off. This way, gravity can do its work and prevent the rainwater from getting in and causing damage.

Overlap structures are not as strong as those with shiplap or tongue and groove cladding, but they’re ideal for areas with some protection from the elements. They’re also great if you like the simple, traditional look.

tongue and groovetongue and groove

What is tongue and groove?

Tongue and groove panels sit in the middle of overlap and shiplap when it comes to price and quality. The panels slot into each other rather than overlapping, much like laminate floorboards, making the structure extremely strong and durable with a neat appearance. This method’s often used on shed floors to provide a robust base.

The panels may shrink a little in the heat, which could cause gaps to appear over time, though good tongue and groove constructions should allow for a certain amount of warping.

best pop up gazebobest pop up gazebo

What is shiplap?

Generally considered to be the best type of cladding, shiplap panels interlock with each other – just like tongue and groove – but with an additional lip on each panel for extra protection from rainwater. The lip acts as a barrier to prevent water infiltration, allowing it to run off more easily. This means they’re less likely to succumb to rot so the structure will have a longer lifespan, as long as it’s maintained properly.

Assembly generally takes a little bit longer than with other types of cladding but for such a strong, durable building with excellent storm resistance, it’s worth spending the extra time on it. The benefits of shiplap also justify the higher price, though don’t feel you need to fork out for a shiplap shed if it’ll be well protected from the weather – an overlap shed may well do the job just fine.