Using wood planks on the ceiling has become an increasingly popular trend. Whether reclaimed, driftwood or white-washed, it adds a sense of natural charm to any room. It also covers up old or damaged drywall, adding a fresh layer of insulation and beauty to your home.
Making a floor on a wooden ceiling requires a bit of extra planning, but the rewards are worth it in the end. Not only will the finished project look great, but it will also be easier to clean and a more durable surface than a gypsum board (drywall) ceiling.
Start by determining the square footage of your ceiling and buying enough hardwood planks to cover the area. You’ll need to allow for the thickness of each wood panel. For example, if the ceiling is 4 feet tall and 16 inches wide, you’ll need to buy eight wood panels per foot for the whole area.
Cut the planks with a saw and install them in rows, one row per wall. You can use a strike block and rubber mallet to ensure each plank is straight and in the proper alignment, allowing it to sit securely against the wall.
As you work, keep track of where you need to install the next row. If you forget, you’ll have to go back and re-cut. The same applies if you run out of wood, so make sure to measure the entire area and plan accordingly.
Establish a Square First Row
Once the planks have been installed, you’ll need to stagger the tongue-and-groove ends of each row. This allows the planks to fit properly and avoid odd pie-shaped pieces at the end of the row.
You can also stagger the lengths of the planks to create a smooth surface and to help hide any slight height differences between the floor boards. Some flooring manufacturers make boards with beveled edges, which can do a much better job of hiding any small lippage caused by the difference in the plank’s height.
Stain the planks before installation
Another option to consider when installing wood floors on a ceiling is to stain and seal the end grain of the boards before installing them. This will hide any gaps between the planks, which can occur when the wood shrinks or expands during seasonal temperature shifts. It will also hide any minor cracks or imperfections.
Be sure to allow the planks to acclimate for about a week before you start painting and installing them, so they can acclimate to your environment. This will also prevent the wood from warping or bending when it’s exposed to moisture.
If the ceiling isn’t flat, you will need to support it with joists. To do this, you will need to locate the ceiling joists and mark them for each plank to be installed on top. Ideally, joists should be located on the same side of the wall as the wood planks. If they aren’t, you will need to make alterations to the drywall or build blocking to support the planks.