How to plank a bathroom ceiling

How to plank a popcorn ceiling instantly via FunkyJunkInteriors.net
Unless you’re new here, you’ll already be aware of my most recent master bathroom makeover.

How to plank a bathroom ceiling with pine planks - full tutorial via http://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/

One of the main features in the master bathroom was the planked ceiling.

Planked ceilings are gorgeous! I mean, I’d welcome this crisp, clean, timeless look for every ceiling in my own home! But I desired to start with one to check things out. So here’s how to plank a bathroom ceiling… my way.

How to plank a bathroom ceiling with pine planks - full tutorial via http://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/

Planked ceilings actually aren’t new to this old house. This beauty resides downstairs in my photo studio. When I moved in, there WAS no ceiling, just a jumble of wires. The planks finished it off beautifully! But at the time with no skills (and no guts), I had the install done for me.

How to plank a bathroom ceiling with pine planks - full tutorial via http://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/

If you look really close, you’ll note some separations. I did not paint the boards before they went up and I did not crack fill anything after they went up. So using that as a guide to do better, here’s what I did this round.

How to plank a bathroom ceiling

 

prime planks with a brush / How to plank a bathroom ceiling with pine planks - full tutorial via http://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/
You’ll need:

wood planks

1 x 4 for the crown moulding

primer and paint

paint brush and roller

miter saw

rubber mallet

chunk of wood

sander

wood filler and caulking

nail gun and nails (I used 1 ¾”)

measuring tape

pencil

ladder

hammer and one big nail

exacto knife

lots and lots of room for painting

someone to make dinner for you

prime planks with a brush / How to plank a bathroom ceiling with pine planks - full tutorial via http://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/

and well behaved kitties! (paint was dry at this point)

1. Prime and paint your planks with a brush. 

> Planks

I picked up some thin, pine tongue and groove planks in a bundle from Home Depot.

Cloverdale Kitchen and Bath eggshell finish with a brush / How to plank a bathroom ceiling with pine planks - full tutorial via http://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/

> Paint

Prime and paint the planks and tongue and groove edges with a quality brush (for those that don’t like orange peel texture)

* Julie via Follow Your Heart Woodworking has suggested to shellac wood knots in case they bleed through. Good idea! I’ve never had this issue, but it’s worth mentioning.

how to whiten your white paint / How to plank a bathroom ceiling with pine planks - full tutorial via http://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/

> Paint tip / add white to white

I used a tip from Makely School for Girls, called Lindsay White. :) Lindsay describes it best, but she says if you add a little colour to your paint, even the same colour, your coverage will be less opaque and cover better.  She was right! 

how to whiten your white paint / How to plank a bathroom ceiling with pine planks - full tutorial via http://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/

2. Ungunk the tongues and grooves.

You’ll end up with a little bit of paint buildup where the wood needs to fit together. Run an exacto knife  along each painted edge to remove the gunk.

how to find ceiling joists / How to plank a bathroom ceiling with pine planks - full tutorial via http://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/

3. Find the ceiling joists.

You’ll need to locate the ceiling joists (and they way they run) so you have something to nail the boards to. I totally lucked out in that the joists ran the opposite way my planks were to go down. If they ran the same direction, I would have either had to add wood strips to the ceiling first, or change my plank direction. 

> How to check for ceiling joists

Pound a big nail into the ceiling with a hammer until you find one. Then measure 12 – 16″ away from it to find the next one.

installing a plank ceiling / How to plank a bathroom ceiling with pine planks - full tutorial via http://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/

installing a plank ceiling / How to plank a bathroom ceiling with pine planks - full tutorial via http://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/

4. Cut boards to right length, then nail into ceiling.

Placing the narrow side of the board towards the wall and the slot towards you, nail in your first plank.

See how I drew a couple of lines to guide my way while I nailed in boards?

Also note, I chose to only use planks that ran the entire width of the room to avoid joins. You’ll waste more wood this way, but I plan to use the cut offs for future projects anyway so it’s all good here. If you join your wood with joins, just make sure you stagger them.

> Where to nail

Place two nails on each joist and one or two nails on each end. There are joists of some kind there too.

> How to join the tongue and groove

Once your first piece is in place, dry fit your next piece to check for fit. If it won’t willingly slip into place (which 99.9% of them won’t), place a small chunk of wood against the board, then tap with a hammer or rubber mallet until the board is in place.

Some will fit. Some won’t fit. Rather than fight the ones that didn’t, I just nailed them in place anyway and continued, resonating that filler would take care of the gaps. I was right.

> Measure periodically for staying square.

installing a plank ceiling / How to plank a bathroom ceiling with pine planks - full tutorial via http://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/
> Working around obstacles

Wall jogs, ceiling fans or light fixtures may be in your future. Measure areas against the walls, then pencil onto your cut to size boards. To trim, I clamped the wood into a workmate, then cut with a jigsaw.

cutting planks around obstacles / How to plank a bathroom ceiling with pine planks - full tutorial via http://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/
See all those nail holes? Those are times I thought I was missing a joist, but my gun just ran out of nails!  

It’s all good. A little humour will help get you through this… crack fill will become your best friend is  all.

Caulking a plank ceiling / How to plank a bathroom ceiling with pine planks - full tutorial via http://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/

Filling a plank ceiling / How to plank a bathroom ceiling with pine planks - full tutorial via http://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/

5. Fill in holes and cracks with filler and caulk.

You’re going to be left with some gaps in between wood slats as well as nail holes, so filling them in will improve the finish. Dramatically.

Fill nail head holes with filler (I like the feather weight spackling), then sand. Caulk in between boards where ever there’s a gap.

How to cut the tip of caulk / How to plank a bathroom ceiling with pine planks - full tutorial via http://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/
> Caulk tip / Cut the opening on an angle, and make sure it’s small.

I learned this little tip from a pro moulding guy, so heed this advice because it’s golden. This gives you totally control over how it goes on. Do NOT cut that hole too big or you’ll have a real mess to contend with.

Lay it on, release the nail gun pressure, then wet your finger, and run it along the fresh caulk. Follow up with a wet rag. Keep your fingers, caulk tip and caulked areas spotless, and you’ll have perfect lines and very little clean up afterwards.

After you’re done, stab a nail or screw into the opening so it doesn’t dry out.

A separate post on this topic alone may be a good idea… the right way makes a world of difference.

How to plank a bathroom ceiling with pine planks - full tutorial via http://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/
Above – nail holes are filled, but caulking between slats is not done yet.

Ignore all the black rubber marks. Rookie move from the nail gun. :)

How to plank a bathroom ceiling with pine planks - full tutorial via http://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/
Above – nail holes filled AND caulking done. Ready for touch up paint!

popcorn ceiling before / How to plank a bathroom ceiling with pine planks - full tutorial via http://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/

How to plank a bathroom ceiling with pine planks - full tutorial via http://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/

6. Spot prime, then repaint where needed.

I spot primed over the nail holes with a brush, then rolled the entire ceiling with finishing paint, following with brush strokes to remove the orange peel texture.

Crown moulding shown are 1 x 4s. Simple!

I am so thrilled with the outcome of this gorgeous ceiling! It’s pretty much flawless due to the prepainting and finishing done. Well worth the extra work!  I suggest to start with a smaller room to build some experience before tackling a bigger area. Especially if you’re doing it solo.

Other highlights to this series…

Board and batten attic towel wall / How to plank a bathroom ceiling with pine planks - full tutorial via http://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/

How to create a towel board and batten attic wall HERE

Salvaged farmhouse bathroom makeover / How to plank a bathroom ceiling with pine planks - full tutorial via http://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/
Salvaged Farmhouse Bathroom Makeover HERE

How to make a farmhouse window with moulding / How to plank a bathroom ceiling with pine planks - full tutorial via http://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/
How to make a farmhouse window tutorial HERE

Visit all parts to Master Bathroom 2014 HERE

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Categories: Cool Projects, DIY, How To Build, Junk Drawer, Reclaimed wood projects, Rooms, Staging / decorating, Tools & Building, Window treatments
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  1. Looks great, but what I fell in love with is the toilet paper holder. Genius and makes me smile! (Plus, with room for several rolls you wouldn’t have to change the roll nearly as often.)

  2. Love the planked ceiling! I just used the same boards and planked my daughters bathroom walls, it took some time but wasn’t difficult and I love the finished results!

  3. hi thanks for the tutorial!! you did a great job!
    question thou, what is finishing paint? diffidently want to try this one!!

  4. This looks Great! I love that you covered up that popcorn! And most folks don’t do anything to what I call the 5th wall when decorating a room, but I feel it is not done without some sort of application to it. Every room in my home has some sort of treatment done to the ceiling, i.e. beadboard, tin, venetian plaster or different paint color besides white. The ceiling makes the room complete! And that attic wall is so creative, I LOVE it! Awesome job! Love your style! Love your fearless attitude as well! You can do anything! ;)

    Cindy @GlassSlipperRestorations.com

  5. Your bathroom looks great! I love the ladder in there for towels. I have two ladders and would love to use one in a bathroom but there isn’t a good spot it any of my bathrooms for one. They work great to hold quilts and blankets in other rooms though. I love the idea of the planks on the ceiling too, by the way. :-)

  6. Can I just copy and paste your tutorial on my page for MY series, lol. Ya took the words outta my mouth. ONLY difference with my ceiling were my studs weren’t evenly placed so I was stuck with MANY nails and holes. Oh well, live and learn. And you’re right, a planked ceiling can become addictive. I’m already thinking of planking our kitchen next … whatta job that will be. Yours turned out BEAUTIFULLY!!!

  7. So if doing a larger room would you recommend using scaffolding? I would think working on a ladder and above your head would be difficult to hold up the wood and shoot in the nails.

    • For this short room, it wasn’t too bad. I suppose if one had room for scaffolding, it would be good, but for long planks, it’s my guess you’d need two people regardless. That would be a very BIG scaffold!

  8. Great job on the plank ceiling! Thanks for all the extra little tips-we don’t always think of those! The bathroom transformation is wonderful! Kudos!

  9. We have a “old” home in McKinney Tx. and all the original ceilings were tore out over time .. when we bought this house goopy popcorn was what we had.. uuugh.. we bought a ceiling product from armstrong.. it is called Country Plank and it is same as laying wood floors for the ceiling.. it goes up easy it is very light.. & it cuts with a box knife! Check it out! Lowes can special order it.. 10 years ago it was in stock @ the stores as time went by (6 years) as we did room by room it became “special order” only.. still nice to use!

  10. ok. I was totally planning to do this in our bathroom, but it has been met with some hesitation…our bathroom has a shower, and concerns have been raised re: moisture collection between layers even with a fan? I am NOT a diy’r so this is all new territory…anyone have this happen?

    • In an existing bathroom, they should have already taken precautions against moisture. Especially if it’s newer, it should have moisture-proof sheet rock and taping (we learned this one the hard way). Older houses should still have adequate ventilation. The nice thing about planking is that it allows air to circulate between the planks.

  11. OMG! That pic with the crack fill – WHERE did you get that floor????? distressed black paint on floor planks) Please don’t tell me your house came with it. I want a floor like that in my studio. Did you do it yourself? I’m so jealous!

    And I love the ceiling!

  12. Hi Donna,

    This looks great. Do you think this is more or less expensive than having the popcorn removed?

    Thank for the inspiration!

    Phyllis

    • Hard to say Phyllis, I haven’t priced out the removal process at all. The ceiling ran me a little over $100 I believe so to me that was very worth it! Regardless, I love the look of planked so I would have chosen that anyway. :)

  13. I’m still in the convincing stage with hubby. He doesn’t like them but refuses to look at any other solution than hiring a professional to scrape and refinish. I love this so I have something new to show him!