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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Install Planks

This step is best completed with two people. Start on side of room that is most visible. Place first plank flush against wall and nail into ceiling with a finishing nailer. If nailing into the drywall, insert nails at a slight angle and apply a small amount of construction adhesive to back of each plank with a caulk gun. If shooting into ceiling trusses, use a stud finder and mark location of trusses with pencil. Nail straight into ceiling trusses to secure. Construction adhesive may also be applied to back of planks for additional hold. When applying second plank to complete first row, make sure tongues are lined up and planks form a straight, continuous line. Most homes do not have perfectly square walls, so planks may not fit perfectly flush against wall. Install second row of planks, staggering joints. Tip: Tongue and grooves may not always fit together perfectly and adjustments may need to be made to warped boards. Imperfections in the wood might cause some gaps. These can simply be filled with caulk if desired or left alone for a more rustic look.

Cutting Around Light Fixtures

When ceiling treatment reaches a light fixture, shut off electricity to room at the breaker box. Remove light fixture. (A drill or additional tools may be required for this step, depending on the fixture.) Hold plank up to ceiling outlet and mark width and depth with a pencil (Image 1). Cut out marked area with a jig saw (Image 2). Hold plank up to outlet to make sure cut is in proper place. Repeat with other planks around outlets. Reinstall fixtures and turn power to room back on. Continue installing planks until entire ceiling is covered (Image 3). Tip: Find an object that's the same size and shape of outlet to use as a template.

Fill Nail Holes and Touch Up Paint

Apply lightweight spackle with a fingertip to fill nail holes (Image 1). If a cleaner look is desired, caulk gaps and edges of ceiling. Touchup marks left by finishing nailer with ceiling paint and 2-1/2" angled sash brush (Image 2).

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