Google+ Nine Red: DIY White Wood Ceiling

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

DIY White Wood Ceiling

We're done! Well, sort of. We have to add some trim, but that can be another post. This was so much easier than I expected.  We'd been brainstorming wood ceiling ideas,  and felt pretty confident in tackling this.  I'm so happy with the results, I want to do it to every room in the house!

It's really rustic, but clean, & adds to our mountain-ey, cabin-ey home... while staying light & fresh.  If you want to do something like this in your house, I say do it. It's amazingly easy & satisfying. Here's what you need:
  • Wood planks - we were going to use bender board so it would be lightweight, but I couldn't find it. So, we used lightweight cedar fence boards instead.  $1.38 each!
  • White Paint (Semi Gloss, Paint + Primer in one)
  • Paint gun (optional)
  • Nail gun + 2" nails (ours connects to the air compressor)
  • Air Compressor (if you'll be using the nail & paint guns)
  • Saw (we used our DeWalt Miter Saw, my favorite toy)
  • Measuring Tape
  • Stud Finder
  • Drill + spade bit, if you need to make a hole for wires to come through.
First up, you want to paint your boards.  You could cut your boards first if you like, but we chose to paint them first, so that while they dried we could go in the room and do measurements, etc.

Here's Ralph:
We've had some amazing weather lately, which is good for working outside, but really really bad for California. We are now in a drought, yikes... 

Anyway, everyone all lined up on a giant dropcloth:
I adore my paint gun. It attached to the air compressor, and makes painting 3 million times easier.   Here's the one we use: HVLP Paint Gun.  Not paid to tell you that either btw, it just really has saved me hours of time! You want to mix a little floetrol in with your paint first, so it runs out of the gun easier & spreads out on your surface better.
It's about a 1:4 ratio.  1 part floetrol to 4 parts paint.  
  • TIP: If you want stark white boards, seal or prime your boards FIRST.  Cedar fence posts are amazingly thirsty, and sucked up a LOT of paint. Luckily we liked the look, or it would have been frustrating.  I think any seal would do, even plan white glue would have been fine I bet.

 Boards all done, see how thirsty they were:
Now while that dries, pop back in the house and start planning out the space.  You want these  boards to stay in the ceiling, so find the studs.  Our boards will be going the shorter distance of the room (across), which is perpendicular to our studs, which go the length of the room.  This way we can nail through the boards at each stud, making it sturdy.
***If your studs are not going perpendicular to the way you want your boards, put a few small pieces of wood before the planks that DO nail into the wood. In short, you're making a second set of studs, that connect to the ones under the drywall, but these will be outside the drywall, giving you a strong set of beams to nail into. Email me if that totally didn't make sense.
Here's our nasty ceiling, with our matching nasty light: 

 The texture wasn't sitting well with me, and Ralph agreed. Nast.  But makes a great before shot.
Use your stud finder to find your studs. This is a great time to make jokes about the stud finder. Heh...
Run the stud finder along the ceiling, and when it beeps to tell you there's a stud, make a mark. Doing this over and over all over the place will quickly give you an idea of where & which way the studs lie. Draw lines along the studs so you know where to nail. 

Paint dry on your boards? Great. Start measuring your ceiling and cutting boards. You probably want to cut one at a time if you think your room isn't exactly straight, like ours. Hold each piece in place before you nail, to make sure it fits. 

Now gear up with lots of protection.  This was my first time using a nail gun, and I was a little nervous after reading the warnings.  They really put the fear in you in those manuals! 
Safety first.. ha! So dorky, but at least I have my eyes and ears unharmed.  I tested the nail gun on a few scraps to make sure my settings were correct (read your manual), and then nailed each board one by one. 
Nail guns are amazing! So fast.  Our studs were on the sides (pretty common) and one down the middle. 

Once we reached the light fixture, we paused, turned off the power to the room, and finally took down that hideous fixture! 
Now we were going to keep the electrical box in it's place, and run a chain to our new fixture.  So, with the power off, we measured the distance from the wall as well as the adjacent board, to the wires, and knew that was where we needed a hole in our next board. And, it worked:
Don't turn that power on until your wires are sealed up! Don't risk it with electricity. After we ran the wires through the hole, we put the new light up & temporarily connected it.  We sealed everything in electrical tape, so we didn't accidentally touch it. 

Then, we just... kept going... here's a thousand pictures:

I love it! The only things left to do is add some trim so it looks built in, and put a mounting plate over our electrical work. Did you notice a few paw prints in the photos? Yea... while our boards dried, a lovely raccoon came by and walked all over them. This was also after we cleaned up all our paint, of course! We figured we'd paint over it later, but now... I kind of want to keep them? Hehe...See if you can find them.

So that's it! This was really easy, and the crown will be the perfect finishing touch.  What do you think? Wanna do it?

Have a great one!


Leftover things to do in the bathroom:

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Post a Comment


  1. I love the paw prints! Very rustic. ;)

  2. Stunning! It completely transforms the bathroom. It took it to a whole new level of beautiful. You've done a marvelous job!

  3. I love it! It turned our wonderful and adds so much to that small space. I really wanna do it too!

  4. Love the new ceiling! And especially the paw prints!! Almost done-yea!! Love, Mom

  5. Thanks everyone! I'm really really happy with it... last thing is to add a little trim to make it look finished :D

  6. These DIY things are real splendid. You get to compartmentalize, as well as allocate your resources, such that you keep the results in a manageable level. In your case, it's in the sturdy woodwork and proper order for the electricity. Thanks for sharing that! All the best to you!

    Eleanor Roy @ Douthit Electrical


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