How to Create a Shiplap Look with Dolly Varden Siding

Published on: August 24, 2022

Shiplap is a popular design style and you can get that look on your home with Dolly Varden siding replacement. This type of siding uses classic tongue and groove paneling for a strong seal and easy installation.

As far as wood siding or engineered wood siding goes, Dolly Varden is popular thanks to the way the pieces fit together and the final appearance of the siding. Interested in designing a modern home exterior with this type of siding? Here’s what you need to know about Dolly Varden.

All About Dolly Varden Siding

Dolly Varden Siding

Dolly Varden siding dates back to the 1930s. One reason why it is so popular is that it is similar to bevel siding but offers self-spacing due to the rabbet at the bottom that makes the pieces fit together nicely.

It gets its name from the Charles Dickens novel “Barnaby Rudge.” In the book, there is a character named Dolly Varden who often wears bright, fashionable colors. The siding isn’t the only thing named after the character. You’ll so find a breed of trout, a type of rose and a waltz named after Dolly Varden.

Designers like using Dolly Varden because it has many diverse applications. You can side your exterior or use it to make an interior wall or ceiling look especially unique. It is considered a more rustic type of siding and is a more affordable siding option compared to clapboard siding.

These are generally cedar panels made from 7-ply engineered panels. The panels then undergo extensive weather pressure tests to ensure they meet all requirements. You can purchase the panels stained and sealed or you can do it on-site to get the exact look you want.

You should use non-corrosive fasteners, such as stainless steel, hot-dipped galvanized or aluminum nails that are at least 1.25 inches long for the best results.

You’ll also find that Dolly Varden siding is thicker than plain bevel siding, which helps provide it greater longevity. Learn all about natural wood siding from the selection, installation and finishing guide from Western Wood Products Association.


How Much Does Dolly Varden Siding Cost?

Dolly Varden siding costs about $2-$5 per square foot for installation. On average, it costs $7,000 to $23,000 to replace the siding on a home.

However, you have to consider the total cost of ownership for your siding. Real wood siding will require much more maintenance than Dolly Varden does. You’ll need to repaint and seal real wood siding more often than engineered siding.

Real wood requires painting and staining every 3-5 years. In contrast, engineered wood requires painting only every 10 years, though its color vibrancy can fade with time. 

Engineered wood is more durable and resistant to warping, pests, mold and mildew, fungus, water damage and other weather-related damage. It comes prefinished so you don’t have to paint or care for it on-site. You’ll also find that engineered wood is far easier to cut and install. 

Although the term sounds like it could have a complicated manufacturing process, it is still eco-friendly because it is made from recyclable materials. 

You’ll also get a 20-30-year lifespan from engineered wood compared to the 10-15-year lifespan of real wood siding.

What Should I Consider Before Installing Engineered Wood Siding?

Before installing engineered wood siding, you should review the main considerations for this type of siding. Here’s what you should review before installing engineered wood siding, such as Dolly Varden.

  • Expense: engineered wood has a smaller upfront expense compared with real wood for the materials. However, installation for wood siding is generally far more expensive than engineered wood. Plus, removing existing wood siding could add to your total project cost. 
  • Surface area: depending on how large your project is, the total cost will vary. The larger the project, the more cost savings you’ll experience using engineered wood.
  • Design preferences: engineered wood can look like anything you want it to. From tons of colors and stains to a variety of textures and finishes, engineered wood will allow you to accomplish your design goals. Wood has more limitations and you’ll need to factor in the type of wood that will work best for your design.
  • Maintenance: consider the cost and work required for maintaining your siding. If you’re young and have the time and ability to maintain wood siding yourself it might not be as big of a factor as it is for homeowners who must pay someone to maintain the siding for them.

Allow the Professionals to Do It

Is Shiplap Still a Popular Design Trend?

Shiplap has crested the wave of popularity, meaning you won’t see as much of it in years to come as you did just a few years ago. But that’s not to say that shiplap is out of style. There are many ways to do shiplap and incorporate it into modern designs.

The most popular use cases for shiplap are coastal homes and farmhouses. So while it isn’t trending anymore, it still has excellent use cases. Vertical shiplap is also more modern than horizontal application.

You don’t have to follow design trends entirely, but you do want to consider the fact that engineered wood should last 20-30 years, meaning you’re committing to that siding for a few decades.

Is There Siding That Looks Like Shiplap?

Shiplap siding involves a drop lap siding that uses a flush joint profile. It is a tongue and groove with at least a half-inch groove. While Dolly Varden will look slightly different since the pieces don’t lay flush with one another, this type of siding offers a similar alternative that is long-lasting and provides a secure fit.

How Do You Do Exterior Shiplap?

Shiplap siding is easy to install and is long-lasting and weatherproof. You’ll start by applying a vapor barrier or house wrap. Then attach furring strips that are 16 inches apart. You can predrill your holes for easy installation. Drive a 3-inch screw through the wood in your pre-drilled holes to secure the boards to your home or building. Watch the full guide for how to install shiplap siding for more.


How Long Does Cedar Bevel Siding Last?

With proper care, you can get 10-15 years from cedar bevel siding. You’ll need to paint and stain it regularly to preserve the siding. 

2FL Siding Experts

2FL Windows, Siding and Roofing offers a team of experts who know various siding types and their ideal use cases. If you want advice on whether you can pull off shiplap siding or whether wood or engineered wood is better based on your needs, our team will help you weigh the pros and cons.

Schedule your free in-home estimate to learn more about our high-quality materials and outstanding workmanship on all siding installation jobs. 

Further Reading:


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