How to Install a Planked Wood Ceiling

Add architectural detail and rustic, farmhouse charm to a builder basic bedroom with a tongue-and-groove planked wood ceiling. This is also a great way to cover up dated, cottage cheese ceilings or a sloppy drywall job.

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Materials Needed:

  • tongue-and-groove wood planks, enough to cover entire ceiling
  • paint tray and plastic paint tray liner
  • 6" paint roller bar and foam cover
  • 1 gallon paint in desired finish (quart size for smaller rooms)
  • 1 gallon primer (quart size for smaller rooms)
  • step ladder
  • finishing nailer
  • 16 gauge 1-1/2" nails (made for the nail gun)
  • construction adhesive
  • caulk gun
  • stud finder (optional)
  • pencil
  • jig saw
  • chop saw
  • protective eyewear
  • lightweight spackle
  • 2" angled sash paintbrush
  • white paintable trim caulk (optional)

Measure Ceiling and Select Planks

Use a tape measure to determine width and length of room. Multiply width and length measurements to figure square footage of ceiling. Buy enough planks to cover square footage plus 10 percent for waste and mistakes. When looking for planks to apply to a ceiling, it's best to use thin, lightweight planks, preferably tongue and groove. This type of plank can generally be found in the paneling section of hardware stores. Allow planks to acclimate to the space for about a week prior to painting and installation. Tip: Custom "planks" can also be made out of 1/4- 1/2" MDF sheets cut to desired size.

Prime and Paint Planks

Pour primer into lined paint try and apply to planks with a 6" foam roller. Drips in the groove or off the tongue will interfere with how they fit together, so wipe away any drips with a paint brush and apply primer in a thin coat. Once primer has dried, repeat process with paint. Tip: Stain and polyurethane may be applied instead of paint for a different look.

Measure and Cut Planks

Determine which direction ceiling planks will run in the room. It's ideal to have planks run perpendicular to ceiling joists, so they can be nailed into joists. Planks can be nailed directly into drywall if running parallel to joists as long as the planks are lightweight. Determine how planks will fit on ceiling and make any necessary cuts on a chop saw. For example, if planks are running width-wise in a 12' wide room and 8' long planks are being used, cut several planks to 4' long. If installing crown molding, cut pieces slightly short of wall width. If molding or trim isn't being installed, cut pieces to fit perfectly. Cut as many planks as required to cover ceiling. Tip: Always wear protective eyewear when using power tools.

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