What is Tongue and Groove?

Tongue and Groove – A Technical Explanation

Tongue and groove, often abbreviated to ‘T&G’, is a method of joining 2 or more separate flat objects together to form a single flat surface. These objects are usually made from wood.

Each piece has a slot cut along one edge. This is referred to as the ‘groove’. Along the opposite edge is a thin, deep ridge, which forms the ‘tongue’. The size of the ridge is slightly smaller than the depth of the slot.

Therefore, the tongue of one of the pieces fits snugly into the groove of the adjacent piece, joining them together to form a single wooden surface with a very tight seal.

Tongue and groove joinery is often used to build high-quality decking, flooring and garden buildings.

Tongue and Groove Cladding in Practice

tongue and groove wooden cladding


When you’re browsing through our range of sheds, summer houses and log cabins, you will often notice that floors, roofs and walls are described as having ‘tongue and groove cladding’.

This simply means that the wooden boards used to build the products have been joined together using the method mentioned above.

This is a big selling point and one you should embrace when choosing your new garden building.

The reason for this is that the secure interlocking tongue and groove joint ensures a more robust structure, doesn't have gap so avoids water ingress or draughts, and is therefore better insulated.

Tongue and groove construction also allows for shrinkage during warm weather, ensuring that no gaps appear between the boards, providing a long-lasting attractive appearance.

When it comes to flooring, a tongue and groove floor is far more robust than OSB sheeting so will withstand years of footfall and storage of heavier items far better.

Again a tongue and groove roof offers greater strength and durability than OSB sheeting.

Fencing can also be tongue and groove, for a smoother, sleeker appearance as well as a robust fence panel.

Differences Between Tongue and Groove and Other Types of Cladding

wooden shiplap cladding on a shed


Shiplap Cladding

Shiplap cladding is actually a type of tongue and groove cladding. It is designed with a slight channel running along each board, facilitating swift rainwater run-off and therefore, some say, more weatherproof than standard tongue and groove.

Shiplap products are usually the most expensive.

That said, it is very similar to standard tongue and groove and has the same sleek appearance often preferred for modern garden design.

Whether you select shiplap or tongue and groove cladding, you can rest assured that you’re getting a very high-quality garden building indeed.

overlap cladding on a wooden shed


Overlap Cladding

Overlap cladding is the easiest to construct, which makes it the cheapest option to buy.

The timber boards are nailed together, as the name suggests, in an overlapping fashion.

Apart from its price tag, overlap cladding’s main benefit is that it facilitates excellent rainwater run-off.

Although not as advanced as shiplap or tongue and groove, our overlap sheds are still strong, attractive and carry long guarantees, so you can certainly buy one with confidence.

Other Differences Between Tongue and Groove, Shiplap and Overlap Garden Buildings

a wooden shed with tongue and groove cladding, 2 windows and an open door


Joinery aside, tongue and groove and shiplap garden buildings tend to be built from thicker pieces of wood than overlap clad models.

They are more frequently pressure treated too.

Accordingly, they are usually stronger, more durable and less likely to require periodic treatment.

The 8x6 Forest Tongue and Groove Apex Pressure Treated Wooden Shed is a prime example of this type of premium shed.

Tongue and Groove Sheds for Sale

a large wooden shed with tongue and groove cladding and double doors


Buy Sheds Direct is the home of the Great British garden shed, so, as you’d expect, we stock a superb range of tongue and groove sheds.

While you’re here, why not take a look at our summer houses and log cabins too?

You’ll find plenty of tongue and groove options available, allowing you to enjoy the many benefits of this marvellous type of cladding, whatever garden building you own.