How to Remove Shiplap without Damaging: DIY Project

First, let’s define shiplap. Simply put, it is a wooden board used to build and decorate homes.

The boards have a groove on one edge and a lip on the other, allowing them to be fitted together to create a seamless wall surface.

If you’re unsure whether your wall has shiplap, you can often tell by looking for these grooves and lips.

You might want to remove the shiplap from a wall for many reasons.

Maybe you don’t like the look and wish to update your space with fresh paint or wallpaper.

Or, perhaps, you’re embarking on a home renovation project, and shiplap no longer fits your vision for the room. Whatever your reason, removing the shiplap can be a challenging but rewarding task.

When Should You Remove Shiplap?

You should remove shiplap from your home for these reasons.

I. Personal preference

  • If you don’t like the look of shiplap and want to update your space with a new design style, it might be time to remove it.

II. Home renovation

  • If you’re planning a home renovation and shiplap no longer fits your vision for the space, it might be time to remove it.

III. Damage or deterioration

  • If the shiplap has become damaged or is showing signs of deterioration, it might be time to remove it and repair or replace it.

IV. Selling your home

  • If you’re planning to sell your home and think shiplap might be a turn-off to potential buyers, then it might be time to remove it and update the space with a more neutral look.

Step-by-Step Guide for Removing Shiplap

Let me walk you through the step-by-step guide for removing the shiplap.

Gather necessary tools

Gather your tools before starting the project.

Pry bar

A pry bar is a long, thin tool with a flat, pointed end used for prying and lifting objects. It is beneficial for removing shiplap as it can fit into the small gaps between the boards and provide leverage for prying them off the wall.


You may also need a hammer to remove any nails or staples holding the shiplap in place.

Nails or staples

These will be removed during the process of taking down the shiplap.

Nail gun

If you are planning to reinstall or replace shiplap, having the best nail gun for shiplap will come handy. Make sure to have a good nailer.

Dust mask

Removing shiplap can create a lot of dust, so it’s a good idea to wear a dust mask to protect your respiratory system.

Start Removing Shiplap

Let’s start the main part.

Locate and remove nails or staples:

  • Start by examining the top edge of the shiplap boards, as this is where the nails or staples are most likely to be.
  • Carefully pull out any nails or staples you find. Then remove them before moving on to the next board.

Prying the shiplap off the wall:

  • Once all the nails or staples have been removed, you can start prying the boards off the wall.
  • Use the pry bar to gently lift the board’s edge and work your way down the length of the board.
  • Be sure to work slowly and steadily to avoid damaging the wall or the shiplap.
  • If the boards are particularly stubborn, you may need to apply more leverage or use a second pry bar.

Dispose of the removed shiplap:

  • Once all the shiplap has been removed, you’ll need to dispose of it.
  • This can be done by breaking the boards down into smaller pieces and placing them in a garbage bag or by carrying the whole boards to a wood pile or other designated area.
  • Be sure to wear protective gloves and responsibly dispose of the shiplap.

Let’s check the video for better clarification.

Safety Tips

No matter what you do, safety always comes first. Follow the safety instruction below.

  • Wear protective gloves to avoid splinters and injuries
  • Wear a dust mask to protect your respiratory system from dust and debris
  • Work slowly and carefully to avoid damaging the wall or the shiplap itself

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s check out some commonly asked questions.

Can I remove the shiplap, or do I need to hire a professional?

It is generally possible to remove the shiplap yourself if you have the necessary tools and experience. However, if you’re not comfortable with DIY projects or if the shiplap is particularly difficult to remove, it might be a good idea to seek the help of a professional.

What tools do I need to remove the shiplap?

You will need a pry bar, hammer, nails or staples, and a dust mask. You may also want to lay down drop cloths or plastic sheeting to protect your floor and furniture.

Can I paint or wallpaper over the shiplap?

It is generally possible to paint or wallpaper over the shiplap, but removing the shiplap is a good idea first to ensure a smooth surface and better adhesion.

What if my wall is damaged after removing the shiplap?

If your wall is damaged after removing the shiplap, you may need to repair the damage using spackling paste or drywall compound. Sand the repaired area to create a smooth surface before painting or wallpapering.

Can I remove just a shiplap section, or do I have to remove it all?

Removing just a section of the shiplap is generally possible, but it might be more challenging to match the new wall surface to the existing shiplap. Removing all the shiplap and starting with a new, uniform surface is often easier.


Removing shiplap can be challenging but satisfying, allowing you to update the look of a room and create a space that reflects your style.

By following these steps and working slowly and carefully, you’ll be able to successfully remove shiplap from your wall and achieve the desired result.

If you run into any difficulties or are unsure of how to proceed, don’t hesitate.

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