What Kind of Paint and Primer Is Best for Shiplap?

Shiplap has become a popular choice for walls and even ceilings. It adds texture and dimension to any space, providing an elegant rustic charm that fits any design style. 

However, choosing the right type of paint and primer is essential for a successful project.

Water-based paint is ideal for shiplap. It adheres well, creates a crisp, clean finish, and is also easy to clean. It’s also essential to use a good-quality primer. Ideally, a shellac-based primer with stain-blocking power should be used. This will block stains and knots in the wood. 

In this article, you will learn:

  • The 4 factors to consider when choosing paint for shiplap
  • What type of paint to use
  • What finish is best
  • My top picks for the best paint and primer for shiplap

The 4 Factors to Consider When Choosing Paint for Shiplap

1. Color 

When choosing a paint color for your shiplap, consider the existing colors in the room. Lighter colors make a room feel brighter and more open, while darker colors add depth and coziness. Be sure to test the color first, since the color can look different on shiplap than on a sample card.

2. Brand 

Not all paint brands are created equal. Don’t skimp on the quality of your paint. High-quality paint will last longer, look better, and ultimately save you time and money in the long run. Look for brands specifically formulated for painting wood and offering a range of finishes and colors to choose from.

3. Durability 

Durability is also an important consideration. Look for a paint designed to stand up to wear and tear, as well as moisture. A high-quality paint will withstand the elements and last for years without needing to be repainted.

4. Application 

Before you begin painting, consider the application method. A brush or roller is a classic choice for painting shiplap. However, using a paint sprayer could save you time and effort, especially if you have a large area to cover. Choose a paint that is suitable for your preferred application method.

What Type of Paint Is Best?

Latex Paint

Latex paint is a water-based paint that contains synthetic polymers as its main binding agent. It was introduced as an alternative to oil-based paint, which was more difficult to work 

with and posed health and environmental concerns.


  • Easy and quick to apply
  • Dries fast, enabling multiple coats within a day
  • Low VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
  • Less likely to crack and peel compared to oil-based paint
  • Easier to clean up with just soap and water
  • Resistant to mildew and fading


  • May not adhere well to glossy or previously oil-painted surfaces without proper preparation
  • May show brush marks and roller stippling if not applied correctly
  • Can’t be applied in extreme cold or humid conditions
  • May require more coats to achieve desired coverage, especially when painting light over dark colors

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is popular for painting shiplap due to its versatility and durability. It can be applied to various surfaces, including wood, metal, and plastics, making it an ideal choice for shiplap panels.


  • Versatile
  • Quick-drying
  • Durable
  • Water-resistant
  • Easy to clean up


  • Requires multiple coats
  • Can be toxic if inhaled
  • Tends to dry darker than expected
  • Not suitable for all surfaces
  • Can crack or peel over time

What Paint Finish Is Best?

When it comes to painting shiplap, the paint finish you choose can significantly impact its appearance and durability. The sheen of the finish is a crucial consideration based on the room where the shiplap is installed. 

Semi-gloss is the ideal choice if you are painting shiplap in a high-traffic or moisture-prone area such as an entryway or bathroom. This finish offers excellent durability, is easy to clean, and is resistant to moisture, making it perfect for spaces prone to excess humidity or water splashes.

On the other hand, eggshell is a great option if you want to achieve a subtle and even look. It falls between a flat and a semi-gloss finish, providing a little shine without looking too glossy. 

Eggshell is particularly well-suited for low-traffic areas like bedrooms or living rooms, where there is minimal contact or foot traffic.

Finally, if you prefer a more muted appearance without any shine, a flat finish is perfect for your shiplap walls. Flat paints absorb light, making them ideal to create a cozy atmosphere without any glare.

However, it’s essential to note that flat paint is not ideal for high-traffic or moisture-prone areas since it is less durable and difficult to clean.

The Best Paint and Primer for Shiplap

Best Paint

When painting shiplap, there’s no better choice than Benjamin Moore Regal Select Interior Paint. This premium-quality, 100% acrylic paint and primer is known for its exceptional flow and leveling, guaranteeing a smooth and flawless finish every time.

This paint boasts an unbeatable combination of durability and reliability that’s trusted to withstand the test of time. It can withstand scuffs, marks, and burnishing from everyday wear and tear, ensuring that your beautifully painted shiplap stays fresh and vibrant for years.

One of its key features is its proprietary Stain Release Technology. This advanced technology makes it easy to clean and remove stains and spills from your painted shiplap without compromising on the quality or appearance of the finish.

In addition to its durability and stain-resistant properties, it also offers excellent hide and fast-drying capabilities. This means you can complete your shiplap painting projects faster, even if you opt for light colors.

Best Primer

Zinsser B-I-N Primer is the original shellac-based primer-sealer. It is specifically designed for interior and exterior use, making it an ideal choice for shiplap projects.

One of the greatest features of this primer is its unmatched ability to permanently block stains, odors, and wood knots.

This is especially important when dealing with shiplap with imperfections or knots in the wood that could bleed through the paint. This primer-sealer will ensure the final paint job looks smooth and professional.

Zinsser B-I-N Primer is also effective at sealing pet, smoke, and musty odors, which is especially helpful if the shiplap is located in a damp or musty area. This primer-sealer is also designed to adhere to all surfaces without sanding, saving time and effort during preparation.

Another great benefit of using this primer-sealer is its lightning-fast drying time, allowing for recoating in just 45 minutes. This means that you can get the job done quickly and with less downtime.

Joshua Milton

Joshua Milton is a passionate DIY and home improvement enthusiast. With his expertise in various projects, he provides practical tips, step-by-step guides, and creative ideas for transforming your living space.

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