How To Build It


Install a Planked Ceiling In No Time at All

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Tools and Materials You’ll Need For The Job

Enough tongue-and-groove wooden planks to cover your ceiling

Painting supplies (tray, liner, 6” roller and foam cover)

Paint and primer to cover the square footage of the ceiling


Finishing nail gun

16 gauge 1-½” nails for your specific nail gun

Construction grade adhesive for gluing planks to the ceiling

Paintable trim caulking (color to match) and caulk gun

Stud finder

Wood marking pencil

Jig saw

Chop saw

Eye protection

Spackle or wood filler

2” angled paint brush

Taking Ceiling Measurements/Plank Selection

Determin the square footage of the ceiling. This is done by multiplying the length and width of the ceiling. A rule of thumb for purchasing material to cover the ceiling (or floor) is to buy enough for your measured square footage plus 10% for mistakes and waste. Thin and lightweight planks are best for ceiling coverage.

Purchase planks at least a week prior to starting your project. Leave them in the room they will be installed in to acclimate to the temperature and humidity of the room to avoid expansion of the wood later.

Painting Your Planks

Prime and paint each of the planks prior to installing. Avoid getting paint in the tongue or the groove sections of the planks. Wipe away immediately if paint gets into the tongue or groove section of the plank. You can also use polyurethane or a stain to achieve different looks.

Cutting Planks To Fit The Ceiling

Before starting your project, determine the direction in which the planks will run through the room. If you can, run the planks perpendicular to the ceiling joist. This will allow you to nail the planks directly into the joist for a secure hold.

Follow a pattern in your cutts. For the first row, cut a plank to 10” long. Follow this plank with a full sized plank (normally 60” from the hardware store). Then cut the next plank to fit the remainder of the length of this first row. For your second row, stager your seems at least 6” apart. This means you would cut your first plank (which will lay parallel to the first row of installed ceiling planks) 18” long. Follow the 16” plank with a full sized plank. See the example below.

For a ceiling with the length of 12ft or 144 inches, your cutting pattern should look like this:

1st row – 10” plank, 60” plank, 60” plank, 14” plank
2nd row – 16” plank, 60” plank, 60” plank, 8” plank
3rd row – 22” plank, 60” plank, 60” plank, 2” plank
4th row – 28” plank, 60” plank, 56” plank


Optional: Make cuts as you go, instead of cutting all of your planks at the start of this project. This will help you avoid wasting materials and having to purchase more in mistakes in measurements are made. Especially since most ceilings are NOT square. So if you run your first row of planks along the edge of the wall, you will likely have to cut your last row to fit the angle of the opposing wall.

Adhering Planks To The Ceiling

Grab a partner to help with this step. Using your construction grade adhesive, glue the plank to the ceiling first. Then secure your plank to the joist using your nail gun. Be sure to avoid any electrical wires and ac/heat ducts. Ensure tongues and grooves are lined up.

Installing Planks Around Light Fixtures

When you come to light fixtures in the ceiling, shut off power at the breaker. Remove the light fixture from the ceiling. Hold the plank up to the ceiling and trace the necessary cut to leave a hole through the plank for the light. Use your jig saw to make this cut.

Final Touch-Ups

You can fill the nail hole with spackle or wood filler and sand smooth. Then paint over the spackle/wood filler with your top coat. You can use caulk to fill gaps or crevices between the ceiling and the walls. Or, you can leave the nails and gaps unfinished for a more rustic look.

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