We love adding details to ceilings!
A DIY Wood Plank Ceiling project is one of our favorites.
There are a lot of different material options when it comes to wood planks. When you head into your home improvement store, prepare yourself for material overload. Try to have a list and source the look for your inspiration before heading to pick up your materials.
We’ve done shiplap, bead-board, paneling and tongue, and groove when it comes to wood plank ceilings or walls and all work just as good as the other. For this project, we used Dakota™ Prefinished Bourbon Shiplap (1/2″ x 7-1/4″ x 8′).
1. Get Materials:
- Tongue and Groove Wood Planks
- Liquid Nails, Construction Adhesive
- Nail Gun & Nails
- Tape Measure
- Jig Saw
2. Measure & Cut
First, you want to determine which way you’re going to run your planks. We recommend running them perpendicular with your joists. This way you will have something to nail to every few feet. If you ran them parallel with your joists, chances are that one of your boards would run directly in the middle and there would be nothing to nail into except for the drywall ceiling. This would not be a good idea because the drywall can not hold all that weight.
Then, lay out your design and determine how many planks you’ll need and what size to cut them all down to. In a perfect world, all your planks will be the same length but we can almost guarantee that they won’t be.
For this area, we aren’t going to use any crown molding along the edges so, we wanted to make sure to cut the planks tight into the ceiling nook. If you are doing a crown molding around the perimeter you can leave the boards short or not tight to the wall because the gap will be covered by the crown.
We cut the planks as we went one-by-one.
There may be times where you’ll have to cut around fixtures like we had to. To do this, hold your board up and with a pencil mark the width of the hole and measure the depth. Then using a jigsaw, cut the hole out of the board. If you have a hole cutter you can use that as well (see picture below).
Your cut out should be relatively close but most often your light fixture will cover 1-2 inches beyond the hole so if it’s not perfect chances are that it will be covered anyway.
Once your plank is cut down, dry fit it against the ceiling. You’ll want it to be a good fit before you apply any glue. Once you’ve determined that it is a good fit, use your construction adhesive and give the back of your boards a good coat of glue. You’ll see in the picture that we just did 2 straight lines. You can make a wavy line as well to get more coverage.
Either approach will work fine. Make sure not to load up the glue too thick near the edges. Avoiding this will ensure that no glue seeps out the edges. We went through four tubes throughout this project so plan for more than you think, you can always return the tubes if you don’t use them.
4. Install Planks and Hammer in Tight
Installing the planks is difficult to do solo. Find a helper and have 2 ladders ready. Once the pieces are cut to size, glue is applied, you are ready to install them. With one person on each end, butt one of the ends tight to the wall so that the other can push his end up. You should of dry fit them before but in the off chance that you didn’t and your plank is too tight DON’T FORCE IT! The last thing you want to do is mess up your drywall trying to force the plank into place.
Once the plank is into place and tight to the wall on each end, use a hammer and a cut off from one of the planks to hammer it into place. Using a cut off is a much better approach than using a random piece of wood. The cut off will have the same tongue and groove features and you stand a much smaller chance of chipping the planks when hammering.
5. Nail into Place
Once the plank is tightly seated to board behind it nail them into place. We knew where the studs were from the drywall screws so it made it pretty convenient to know where to nail the boards. If this is a previously finished space and the drywall screws are not exposed it is a good idea to mark off where your joists are.
If you’re not sure where your joists are, you’ll probably want a stud finder to locate them. Reminder that writing and marking up your ceiling before hand is no big deal because you will be covering it anyways! We nailed two to three nails per stud. We recommend using a 16 or 18 gauge nailer. Length of nails will depend on the thickness of your plank.
The awesome thing about doing tongue and groove is that you can nail onto the ledge instead of on top of the wood planks where it’s visible. If you don’t use tongue and groove boards, then you’ll want to get wood filler and fill in all of your nail holes.
Let us know how your own DIY Wood Plank Ceiling project went!
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