Friday, February 20, 2015

DIY Planked Ceiling

Hey there.

I'm only posting once this week but I have a nice long one for you. Some of the photos are pretty off color-wise since I did most of this project after 9 pm and I was using my new phone which I clearly do not have a handle on yet. But, this is a complete project from start to finish, which basically never happens around here.

Our master is architecturally a little funky. We don't really know what the room was originally but it's clearly been modified a lot including our modification as part of the kitchen expansion. It has a support beam running the length of the room creating a hallway feel in front of our bed area. We completed the bed area awhile ago (like 2 years!!) including the canopy on the ceiling. We patched the ceiling in the hall area but have left it untouched since.


The patch was not our best work and that combined with the textured ceiling was going to make it basically impossible to have a nice looking ceiling in this area. So, we decided to try something a little different. I came across this picture of an awesome planked ceiling in a hallway with the double lights and fell in love with the idea, but in keeping with the rest of the house, wanted a more rustic version.

We picked up a bunch of inexpensive 1x4's from Lowe's and Olympics semi-transparent stain in "beige-grey" (great name huh?). I didn't make any cuts before we stained the boards. We just laid out the boards on a plastic sheet and used our paint sprayer to spray on the stain and then back brushed each board to make sure there was even coverage. 

Our little helper enjoyed watching from his wagon...

It took a full 24 hours to let the boards dry. Then it was time to put them up. The width of the hall is just over 4 feet so I cut each board in half. This left gaps at the ends but since we were going to trim out the ceiling, the gaps would be hidden. It took me two nights to get about a third way through. This was mostly because the nails coming out of the nail gun were not wanting to go into the ceiling. It turns out that a new battery finally fixed this problem but it still was a little slow going.

Night Photo

Day Photo

See what I mean about the color issue?? 

I tried really hard to only nail on the ends so that I wouldn't have nail holes showing in the middle but not all the boards lay flat since the ceiling wasn't completely flat and we bought cheap boards. I finally got smart and hid the nails in knots in the middle of the boards. Can't see them at all! 

I was able to bust out the rest of the ceiling in another night. I alternated which side had a gap on the boards so that I averaged the angle (the walls aren't perfectly parallel to one another)

Since I was doing all this ceiling work I decided to finally get new lights too because seriously, the only thing worse than one boob light is two boob lights right next to one another.

I did a lot of searching for lights and finally landed on these from Lowe's. They were $74 a piece which is a lot for me but I couldn't find any that I liked for less.

Next up was crown. I'm not going to even pretend that I'm an expert in this area. It is by far the most frustrating DIY ever and it always requires multiple cuts for us to get it right. 

My only tips: 
  • Mark the top of each piece of crown and check compulsively before cutting. 
  • Get a Kreg guide for crown. 
  • Mark the right and left side of the crown after you cut it. 
  • Have patience. 

We don't really have any pics of installing the crown since it requires all hands but Will did decide to help (scratch that... insisted) so Nate was able to grab on pic....

Once the crown was up we just needed to caulk everything and we were done!

Lights on

 Lights off

I love the semi-transparent stain so much. I cannot even describe to you how giddy I was when I was finished. After staring at that unfinished ceiling for so many years it is so nice to see this completed and looking exactly how I wanted it!

We have some more trim work in this room to do and the closet door to deal with but we are busting through the to-do list in this room!


  1. that looks great!
    We have some of the same issues with the ceiling in the kitchen...and am thinking of doing a plank in there. With 1X3s... was your cost high for such a small place? (not including the lights of course)
    We have a large kitchen area...
    and will go back up with ceiling fans. Texas... ceiling fans a must!

    1. We actually used 1x4's (fixed it in post) which are nominally .75 x 3.5 and the space was 49" x 141" with a bump out near the end. I had almost no scrap ( the long boards in the bump out had enough remaining to fill in the spots where the light hole needed to be) and used a total of 38, 8 ft long boards @ $1.77 a piece so a total of $67.26 not including the crown or the lights. The stain was another $30 but we have a bunch left over. Overall not the cheapest project but not the most expensive either.