How to Shiplap a Ceiling

October 1, 2015

Hi! I'm Nicole

Fearless DIY. Sharing building project tutorials and interior design tips. Let’s build something beautiful together. For more projects, design tips and behind the scenes, follow me @designtobuild.nicole

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I have been working on my current project for what seems like an eternity. I started redoing the two younger boys’ room at the end of August and I am just now seeing the light at the end of the long tunnel. I searched and searched my files and could not find a before-picture. But it wasn’t much to look at anyway. Just picture tan walls, twin beds, a hodge-podge of decorations (tried to go with an outdoor theme, but pretty lame with just a couple pictures on the wall and camping theme bedspreads), and a messy boys room most of the time.

The boys have been begging me for quite a while now to redo their room. Giving me guilt trips of, “You’re always working on other projects around the house, when are you going to do our room???” Then I fell in love with a picture of a boy’s room in my Country Living magazine and I was pumped. Completely on board and excited to start this new project.

The look is a clean, vintage, barnwood decor. I know I’m asking for more stress in my life, by painting their walls white. Am I crazy?? But I have this awesome vision of what it’s going to look like in the end. Even if it looks like that for only a day. At least I’ll still have pictures.

So I completed step one, painting the walls ( I used Behr Marquee, Frost), on the kids’ first day back to school. I relished in the silence and peacefulness of an empty house and then cranked up my talk radio. Yep, that’s my groove-place. 🙂

Sorry for the very low-quality picture…

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Got it all done in one day and was so excited to start step two, painting my ceiling planks. I like to use underlayment for planking walls, ceilings, etc. It’s cheaper and very easy to work with. And since these were going on the ceiling, I really didn’t want anything heavy. So these worked great!

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I started off by staining both sheets with General Finishes Black Gel Stain. This stuff will stain everything; including your hands! So be sure to wear gloves.

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Then I dry-brushed over the black stain with white paint. It was really a trial and error til I got the look I wanted…

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Once I fell in love with them, I poly’d (polyurethane) each sheet one time. I used a satin poly to give it just a tad bit of shine. You actually could skip this step. I didn’t notice much difference afterwards and it’s not like they’re going to get dirty up on the ceiling.

Next I cut my sheets of underlayment to 4feet by 6inch boards on my table saw. (If you don’t have a table saw, Home Depot will cut your boards for you).

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I was so excited to start step three, actually planking the ceiling. I did a staggered pattern (as you can see by the picture)…

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The shorter boards (not shown) are located at the end of every other row and are 2 feet long; longer ones are 4 feet. To make things a little easier on me, I squeezed caulk on the back of each board. This helped it stick to the ceiling long enough for me to position my nail gun and fire. If you’ve never used a nail gun, please don’t be intimidated by it. My first time planking a wall I thought I would go the “easy” route and just use a hammer and nails. After about 3 nails, I was done. Nail guns are very easy to use and make projects go so much faster. I love my Ridgid battery powered nail gun. It is probably my favorite tool I own.

This was the part I was dreading….

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I had to put my thinking cap on for this one. I ended up using paper the width of my board and tracing the hole through the paper…

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Then I cut out my circle and traced it onto my board…

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I wasn’t completely convinced this was going to work…it was going a little too smoothly. But I was very pleased, after using my jigsaw to cut out the circle, that it fit almost perfectly with the hole. YAYYYY!!!

After I got over this little bump it was smooth-sailing. Just caulk, stick to ceiling, fire nailgun, repeat. It really is that simple. Love, love, love the finished look…

How to shiplap a ceiling

I’m ready to do this to all my ceilings now…well, that may be a little overboard. But it was really easy and added so much to the room. It actually makes the ceilings feel a little higher. I’m learning some new things with this project and having a lot of fun in the process. Can’t wait to reveal more to you as I go.

So many custom builders are moving away from the simple spanish lace ceilings and actually drawing your eye up, by adding character and dimension.. What is your favorite ceiling treatment? Coffered, barn wood beams, planked, car-siding? Hit Reply and share your favorite or any tips/questions you may have.

UPDATE: I have since finished the boys’ bedroom. Here’s the link to check it out!!

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