Add Shiplap to Your Fence for Strength and Beauty!

by Jeanne
7 Materials
3 Hours

We have a nice sized, fenced back yard. Our fencing is wood - weathered wood. I love the look of our fence! Over the years, we have replaced many of the boards and those we have not replaced, we have nailed and screwed in several times. The posts are still nice and solid so we haven't felt the need to replace the fence yet. Our neighbors to the South and West of us have large dogs, 3 to the South and 2 to the West. One day a couple of years ago, I was weeding along the South fence when one of the dogs to the South must have gotten spooked and charged the fence. Since the fencing is older, the plank right by my face came loose and I was staring into very large teeth as the dog was trying to come all the way through the fence to get to me. I knew it was time to do something to add strength to the fence.

Our beautifully weathered fence

 I thought that if I bought some boards and screwed them along the bottom of the fence, it would prevent the boards from falling down and also keep the dogs from being able to push them from the other side. I went to Home Depot to see what my options were. The fence posts are 8' apart so I was looking for 8' boards. I decided to get shiplap instead of plain boards. I bought 14 of them and brought them home.

 My initial idea was to just use the shiplap along the bottom of the fence but then decided to add them along the top of the fence too. I installed the bottom ones along this fence line before deciding to paint the wood. 

As I was installing the shiplap at the top of the fence, I thought it looked unfinished with just the top and bottom rails so I bought cedar fence planks to attach to and cover each fence post. This time, I painted the wood before installing it. Two coats on each piece.

While installing the shiplap to the fence posts, I discovered that the posts were not spaced exactly at 8'. That meant that there were gaps between the pieces of shiplap where they were attached to the posts. Although the fence is old and weathered, I couldn't leave it looking tacky with those gaps. I decided to cover them with pieces of wood. To add interest to the fence, I installed solar lights on the 1" x 6" pieces of board on every other post.


  • Apply two coats of paint on all boards
  • Cut decorative plaques from the 1" x 6" board to the size that works for your fence. Mine are 6" x 6" and 6" x 9"
  • Install shiplap with screws along the top and bottom of the fence
  • Install fence boards to each post using screws
  • Attach the U holders to the small decorative plaques

  • Center the holders on the plaquePlace the holders 1" from the top and 1" from the bottomAttach with small screws
  • Install decorative plaques on the posts where the shiplap boards meet
  • Place solar lights into the U holders on the plaques

There are more pictures on the link with additional information on the process. The cost and time spent is per section of fence so your cost will vary depending on how much fencing you are working with. Also, I had the paint & solar lights already so that cost is not included in the amount shown. I updated 25 sections of the fence and used 12 solar lights. The wood for my project was around $500.  The peace of mind it gives me - PRICELESS!

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  2 questions
  • Bry Bry on Jun 06, 2019

    Your fence looks amazing now. What color paint did you use? I really like it.

  • Itsmemic Itsmemic on Jul 11, 2019

    shiplap ws less costly than plain planks? Going to have to check that out. I too have an older stockade fence with rotted bottoms on some. As we have 2 chihuahuas I am always afraid they will find a spot. Now? I'll fix them !! Thanks for a great idea and look...fence will have new life !!

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4 of 93 comments
  • Carol Cole Carol Cole on May 28, 2020

    Very pretty. Do you get enough privacy?

    • Jeanne Jeanne on May 28, 2020

      This project didn't change the amount of privacy we have. The fence is a 6' standard height and was here when we bought the house. It provides privacy when we are in the backyard but it's not near high enough to provide any when we are on our back deck

  • Jane S Jane S on May 28, 2020

    WOW! It looks so high end now. I love it.

    • Jeanne Jeanne on May 28, 2020

      Thanks! It made a lot of difference in the look while helping to stabilize the fence a bit.