Building A Modern Shed – Part 13 – Installing Shiplap on the Soffit

To give the “workshed” a touch of class, we’re installing shiplap in the soffit area. There’s a quick discussion on if venting is needed or no, an explanation of the approach I took and a way to blend in the custom cuts necessary on the sides so they aren’t noticeable.

Pricing of this part and a project total are at the end of the article

The video below gives you an overview of this step.

Do I Need Soffit Venting?

The first thing that popped into my mind was, do I need venting for my soffits? 

No.  Soffit vents are traditionally part of the intake ventilation for venting an attic space and since there’s no attic in my “shed” structure it’s not something I need to worry about.

If it was necessary, the requirement for attic venting is 1 square foot of venting for every 300 square feet of attic space, and the total venting space should be at least shared equally between the soffit and roof vents.

If you really want to go down a rabbit hole of learning about ventilation, Ownes Corning put out a Ventilation Training Manual that’s worth reading, even if it’s to understand your house a little better.

Painting the Shiplap

It really wasn’t necessary to paint the shiplap before putting it up.  It came already primed and I could have painted it after putting it up.  The important thing is that you don’t install the primed shiplap and wait a long time to paint it with an exterior paint.  The primer isn’t meant to be exposed for a long period of time.

I really lucked out and came across this paint for $3 / gallon clearance.  I don’t really know the final paint color for the soffits so this will work great in the meantime.  Truthfully, it’ll stay this color…..

Clearance Paint
Clearance Paint

I started with the back of the shiplap first because why not when your paint is $3 a gallon.  A medium to heavy nap roller made short work of this.

Painting the Back of the Shiplap with a Heavy Nap Roller
Painting the Back of the Shiplap with a Heavy Nap Roller

Once the back dried enough, the shiplap was flipped over and the rabbeted part of the shiplap was painted with a brush.

Painting the Lap Areas with a Brush
Painting the Lap Areas with a Brush
Painting the Front of the Shiplap with a Smooth Roller
Painting the Front of the Shiplap with a Smooth Roller

Where to Start the Shiplap?

We wanted the shiplap to run horizontal from the front all the way to the back.  The question is where to start?  There were a couple of things I thought of when trying to decide on how to install the shiplap.

  • One thing was certain, people would look at the front more than the back.
  • Where did I want to make custom cuts?
  • When I had to make custom cuts and create the shiplap rabbet, did I want to do it on longer pieces?

After doing some measurements, it was apparent there was going to be an 1 ½ strip that would have to be dealt with in the front.  If I started in the very front of the soffit working back, I would have to deal with long cutout on the 5th course of shiplap. 

Showing 1 half inch strip in the front soffit area
Showing 1 1/2 inch strip in the front soffit area

One of the problems I saw was that if I did this cutout where the thinner strip was along the front wall, I could only nail and glue it to the rafters.  Where if I did this strip at the front of the soffit area, I could glue and nail it to the sub-fascia 2 by lumber.  This would make sure there was less of a chance of the wood warping.

The final decision we made, cause I like to have my wife make sure I’m not just talking crazy, was to do a full course of shiplap along the front and back wall of the shed and do adjustment cuts at the very front, back and any side adjustments of the soffit area.

Putting in the Front Soffit Shiplap

With all that figured out, let’s get installing.  If you don’t want that shiplap going anywhere, use a combination of adhesive and nails.

16 Gauge Galvanized Nails to Nail the Shiplap in Place
16 Gauge Galvanized Nails to Nail the Shiplap in Place
Brad Nailer for Nailing Shiplap In Place
Brad Nailer for Nailing Shiplap In Place

The shiplap I’m using is a combination of 12’ and 8’ pieces.  Measure to cut a 12’ piece.  Make sure you are measuring to the center of a joist.

Measuring to Middle of Joist for Shiplap Length Cut
Measuring to Middle of Joist for Shiplap Length Cut

The tape measure kept coming unhooked, so I had to do the long measurement in two sections.

Using a Furring Strip Board as a Scratch Pad
Using a Furring Strip Board as a Scratch Pad
Measuring the Long Cut for the Front Soffit Shiplap
Measuring the Long Cut for the Front Soffit Shiplap
Cutting Shiplap to Length
Cutting Shiplap to Length

Just a side note, I’ve been using this Evolution Sliding Miter Saw for most of this project.  It’s been a solid performer the whole time.

I’m starting the first course installation with the longer board first, then moving to measuring and nailing in the shorter one.

Applying Construction Adhesive Before Installing Shiplap
Applying Construction Adhesive Before Installing Shiplap
Nailing Shiplap In Place with Galvanized Brad Nails
Nailing Shiplap In Place with Galvanized Brad Nails
Nailing the Short Shiplap Cut on the First Coarse
Nailing the Short Shiplap Cut on the First Coarse

When you install the other courses of shiplap, make sure you overlap the joints.  To make sure we do that, just alternate the side you’re doing the long cut boards on.

Installing 2nd Course Starting with Long Cut on Opposite Side to Overlap Joints
Installing 2nd Course Starting with Long Cut on Opposite Side to Overlap Joints
Installing the Final Full Course on the Front Soffit
Installing the Final Full Course on the Front Soffit

Bolstering Up the Sides Before Installing the Back Soffit

If we were installing the shiplap perpendicular the side rafter blocking there wouldn’t be a problem, but since we’re installing it parallel, we need to have something to nail to on the shed wall side.  We’ll layer up 2x4s on the side rafter to do this.

Nailing 1st 2x4 Layer to Build Out the Wall Side to Nail the Shiplap In-Place
Nailing 1st 2×4 Layer to Build Out the Wall Side to Nail the Shiplap In-Place

Apply a layer of glue, if you want to be excessive, between the first 2×4 layer and the second.

Nailing 2nd Layer of 2x4 for Shiplap Install on the Sides
Nailing 2nd Layer of 2×4 for Shiplap Install on the Sides

We’re doing this now before installing the first course of shiplap on the back side of the shed soffit.

Installing the Only Full Course of Shiplap on the Back Side

There’s only one full course of shiplap to install on the back soffit area.  Just make sure you pay attention to the orientation of your board.  Just like the front, do a long cut and short cut board.  We’ll come back and do all the custom cuts later.

Installing the Only Full Course of Shiplap on the Back Side of the Shed
Installing the Only Full Course of Shiplap on the Back Side of the Shed

Installing Full Course Shiplap for the Sides

Now we can start installing the shorter shiplap pieces along the sides of the shed.  We’re going to install pieces until there is 2 feet between the back shiplap course and the side courses.

Just like the other sides, use adhesive and galvanized brad nails to attach the shiplap.  Make sure you have the shiplap fit as close to the fascia edge as much as possible.

Installing Courses of Shiplap on the Side of the Shed
Installing Courses of Shiplap on the Side of the Shed
Leaving 2 Feet of Shiplap on the Sides for Custom Cuts Later
Leaving 2 Feet of Shiplap on the Sides for Custom Cuts Later

Doing Custom Cuts for the Front and Back Soffit

The front and back custom cuts are going to be the easiest.  It’s a matter of measuring the gap, ripping the shiplap and then installing it.

Measuring the Width to Rip the Shiplap for the Small Gap on the Front Soffit
Measuring the Width to Rip the Shiplap for the Small Gap on the Front Soffit
Measuring and Cutting Shiplap to Length Before Ripping It
Measuring and Cutting Shiplap to Length Before Ripping It

Make sure you’re keeping track of which side you need to rip the shiplap on!

Ripping Shiplap for the Small Width in the Front Soffit
Ripping Shiplap for the Small Width in the Front Soffit

Before you start gluing and nailing things in place, do yourself a favor and dry fit it.  I made that mistake once 😊

Laying Down Construction Adhesive After Dry Fit
Laying Down Construction Adhesive After Dry Fit
Installing the Short Shiplap Custom Strip
Installing the Short Shiplap Custom Strip

The back soffit custom install is the same as the front one.  It’s worth saying twice, watch the shiplap orientation when you do your rip cuts and make sure you do a dry fit.

Custom Cuts for the Side Soffits

The reason the cuts for the side soffits are more complicated is that we will have to replicate the rabbet on the one side of the shiplap. 

Replicating the 5-8th Inch Rabbet on the Shiplap
Replicating the 5-8th Inch Rabbet on the Shiplap

We’re only going to modify one side of the shiplap.  I chose to cut and modify the rabbet that faces down.

Recreating the Rabbet that Faces the Bottom
Recreating the Rabbet that Faces the Bottom

Measure the distance you want to do the cuts for.

Our soffit gap was right around 2 feet on one side and just over 2 feet on the other side.  For the sake of the article, we’ll look at the 2 foot side.  This means that we were going to remove right about ½ inch from each width of the 4 boards. 

One thing I didn’t account for was the 1/16 inch gap that’s created between the boards.  Because of that, I had to modify the last board put in to fit.  Instead of ½ inch I should have cut 9/16 off each board.

Trimming the Width of the Side Soffit Shiplap
Trimming the Width of the Side Soffit Shiplap

After trimming the board to width, use multiple passes with the tablesaw to make the rabbet.

Nibbling Away the Rabbet using a Regular Tablesaw Blade
Nibbling Away the Rabbet using a Regular Tablesaw Blade

It’s always good to use some off cuts and do test cuts to make sure it will look good.

Test Cuts to Make Sure it will Look Standard
Test Cuts to Make Sure it will Look Standard

Just like the other shiplap, you’ll glue and nail them in place.

Installing Custom Cut Side Soffit Shiplap
Installing Custom Cut Side Soffit Shiplap

You might notice some inconsistent gaps along the corner fascia area.  That will get hidden with some caulk in the next step.

Caulking Around the Seams

Last thing to do is caulk between the shiplap and fascia and where the long cut lengths meet the short ones.  Try not to fill in the nickel gap when you caulk where the shiplap buts up against each other.

Caulking Near the Fascia and where Boards Meet
Caulking Near the Fascia and where Boards Meet

Project Total

This was one of the more inexpensive parts of the shed build at right around $216.  I lucked out with finding the paint clearance for $3. 

Running Project Total with Shiplap Soffit Install
Running Project Total with Shiplap Soffit Install

If you want content like this sent to your inbox when it’s available, please subscribe using the subscribe now area at the top right.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.