Seamless Shiplap To Tile Transition (A Guide For Homeowners)

Initially, shiplap was used to build exterior sidings. However, of late, this wooden board has found its way into the interiors of many homes.

That’s because it looks amazing, it’s versatile, and here is the best part; it’s one of the most affordable interior finish materials.

Though it’s relatively easy to install, there is one hiccup that you may stumble across when fitting shiplap on your walls – transitioning from shiplap to tiles. Such a scenario isn’t rare, after all, tile is also a common interior finish material.

If you are installing a shiplap in your home and there is an area where it meets tile, in this article, I will guide you on how to create a seamless shiplap-to-tile transition. I will also list some common obstacles you may encounter and how to avoid them.

Shiplap wall

How to Transition from Shiplap to Tile?

There are two main ways you can transition from tile to shiplap. You can either use a trim piece between these two materials. Or, you can directly join shiplap to tile.

I’m going to discuss both options so that you can have a better understanding of each procedure.

• A Direct Tile to Shiplap Transition Using Caulk

This is the least complicated method because you don’t require any additional materials. To create a direct tile to shiplap transition, you will have to be very keen with the measurements.

First, you must ensure the shiplap and tiles sit flush against one another. You don’t want a scenario where the shiplap is protruding over the surface.

Proceed to install the shiplap. When you reach the area where shiplap meets tile, begin installing the latter from there going downwards or on the other side. Make sure you use a strong tile adhesive.

To create a smooth tile-to-shiplap transition, you have to work along a straight line. This is why I’m advising you to first start with installing the shiplap so that the tile will fit perfectly right below or next to it.

This shouldn’t be much of a problem because both shiplap and tile are rectangular shaped. Therefore, it should be easy to create a straight transition. If done well, this transition often looks unique and seamless.

There will be a gap between the shiplap and the tile. You can cover it using caulk. Apart from filling the gap between shiplap and tile, caulk also helps smoothen the transition.

• Installing a Trim Piece Between the Tile and the Shiplap

The other method of how you can create a tile to shiplap transition entails the use of a trim piece. This trim piece can either be a J-Channel, a quarter-round molding, a bullnose tile, or a wooden strip.

Once you settle for the ideal trim piece out of the above options, to create this transition, fit it between the tile and shiplap joint.

A trim piece can either run vertically or horizontally depending on your design. However, similar to a direct tile-to-shiplap transition, you will need to ensure it’s straight. If it’s crooked, it won’t look so good.

A trim piece creates a unique tile-to-shiplap transition because it separates these two materials. As a result, it accentuates your shiplap and tile design.

One of the advantages of using a trim piece to build such a transition is that you can paint or finish it, however, you see fit.

You also have the option to choose a material that suits your preferences. These trims are available in various materials ranging from wood to metal and PVC.

What are the Challenges Associated with Creating a Tile to Shiplap Transition?

Installing both tile and shiplap is easy. However, building a seamless transition between these two materials isn’t always a walk in the park. Here are some of the obstacles you may encounter and how you can avoid them;

1. The Shiplap Not Sitting Flush with the Tiles

Because Shiplap and tiles have varying thicknesses, there is a huge chance they may not sit flush with each other. You may end up with the shiplap protruding a few inches from the wall and vice versa.

However, this is a problem that can easily be avoided with enough preparation. You need to know the thicknesses of each material before installation.

So that as you nail the shiplap or install a cement backer board, you leave enough room for both tiles and shiplap to sit flush.

The tile-to-shiplap transition must be even, especially if it’s a direct transition. Should you discover that these materials aren’t sitting flush, you should go for a trim piece joint.

2. Blending Varying Finishes

As you may already know, shiplap and tile have varying finishes. Shiplap is made out of wood and tiles are made of ceramic, glass, and asphalt.

Getting these two materials to blend aesthetically may be a little bit complicated. Most of the time, a tile-to-shiplap transition only works if both are painted white.

If you are interested in another color, you may have a hard time getting a pleasant finish and transition.

Is It Advisable to Build a Shiplap to Tile Transition in a Bathroom?

Wood doesn’t do very well in high-moisture areas. That is why most people have doubts about building shiplap-to-tile transitions in bathrooms.

Please note that it’s possible to create a shiplap-to-tile transition in a bathroom as long as the tiles are used in the shower surround and the shiplap is a bit further away.

Shiplap will swell and wear out when frequently exposed to water. Therefore, it needs to be installed a bit further from the shower surround.

When creating a transition between shiplap and tile, go for vinyl trim pieces. Unlike wood or metal, they are much more resistant to water damage. Bullnose tiles are also an excellent moisture-resistant option.

Some extra precaution measures you may take when creating a shiplap to tile transition is by painting it with a mold-resistant coat. This can come in very handy.

Alternatively, you can opt for PVC shiplap which is resistant to moisture and mold and is considered the best type of shiplap for bathrooms and high-moisture areas. It’s also lightweight and that makes installation relatively easy.

Do You Need to Glue Shiplap to Tile?

There is no need to glue tile to shiplap when creating a transition. As long as the shiplap is securely screwed to the walls and the tiles adhere using adhesive, your transition is in perfect condition. The only thing you may need is some caulk to fill the gaps but not glue.

Which Material Should You Install First When Building a Tile to Shiplap Transition?

It may be tempting to want to start with tiles before proceeding to Shiplap. However, if you want a smooth transition between these materials, always start with a shiplap.

When you start with shiplap, you will be able to create a smoother and leveled transition. Something that will be challenging to accomplish when you start with tiles.

Do You Need to Hire an Expert Contractor for a Tile-to-Shiplap Transition?

If you have the skills to lay tile and fit shiplap, you don’t need to hire an expert contractor to build a transition for you.

Using the guide I have shared with you above, this process should be quite simple. Just choose the type of transition you would like to install and follow the instructions provided.

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