How to plank a ceiling… without removing the popcorn first!

Dislike popcorn ceilings too? Learn how to plank a bathroom popcorn ceiling without removing the popcorn first! Hide the popcorn without all the mess or asbestos worries! Click to read the full tutorial.

How to plank a ceiling… without removing the popcorn first!

This super cool project is part of my most recent master bathroom makeover.

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

Take the full salvaged farmhouse bathroom tour HERE

One of the main features in the master bathroom makeover 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!

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

Planked ceilings actually aren’t new to this old house.

This white planked ceiling 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. And I’ve loved it ever since.

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

However if you look really close, you’ll note some separations in the boards.

I did not paint the boards before they went up and I did not crack fill anything after they went up.

It’s still pretty with a more rustic feel!

However using that as a guide to try and do better, here’s how to plank a ceiling… without removing the popcorn first… my way!

PS: And it turned out amazing!

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How to plank a ceiling

 

Dislike popcorn ceilings too? Learn how to plank a bathroom popcorn ceiling without removing the popcorn first! Hide the popcorn without all the mess or asbestos worries! Click to read the full tutorial.
Supplies I used:

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wood planks

1 x 4 for the crown mouldings

primer and paint

paint brush and roller

miter saw

rubber mallet

chunk of wood

palm sander

wood filler and caulking

nail gun and nails (I used 1 ΒΎ”)

measuring tape

pencil

ladder

hammer and one big nail

exacto knife

lots and lots of room for painting boards

someone to make dinner for you (I ordered out!)


Dislike popcorn ceilings too? Learn how to plank a bathroom popcorn ceiling without removing the popcorn first! Hide the popcorn without all the mess or asbestos worries! Click to read the full tutorial.

How-to:

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1. Prime and paint your planks with a brush. 

Planks

 

Tongue and pine ceiling 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 https://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/

Prepaint the planks

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Prime and paint the planks and tongue and groove edges with a quality paint brush.

For quicker coverage, you can roll on the flat surfaces, then smooth out right after with a wide paint brush to avoid orange peel.

* Julie via Follow Your Heart Woodworking suggests to shellac wood knots in case they bleed through. Good idea!

Update: The wood knots came through several years later so it’s a good tip!

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

How to get the whitest white paint

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I used a tip from Makely School for Girls, called Lindsay White. πŸ™‚ 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! 

Dislike popcorn ceilings too? Learn how to plank a bathroom popcorn ceiling without removing the popcorn first! Hide the popcorn without all the mess or asbestos worries! Click to read the full tutorial.

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.

Dislike popcorn ceilings too? Learn how to plank a bathroom popcorn ceiling without removing the popcorn first! Hide the popcorn without all the mess or asbestos worries! Click to read the full tutorial.

Mark out the ceiling joists

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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 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

If you can’t pick up the joists with a stud finder, this is what I did:

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.

Dislike popcorn ceilings too? Learn how to plank a bathroom popcorn ceiling without removing the popcorn first! Hide the popcorn without all the mess or asbestos worries! Click to read the full tutorial.

Dislike popcorn ceilings too? Learn how to plank a bathroom popcorn ceiling without removing the popcorn first! Hide the popcorn without all the mess or asbestos worries! Click to read the full tutorial.

Attaching the planks

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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.

If you join your wood with joins, just make sure you stagger them.

Where to nail

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Place two nails on each joist and one or two nails on each end.

How to join the tongue and groove

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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 the board in place with a rubber mallet.

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.

Dislike popcorn ceilings too? Learn how to plank a bathroom popcorn ceiling without removing the popcorn first! Hide the popcorn without all the mess or asbestos worries! Click to read the full tutorial.
Working around obstacles

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Wall jogs, ceiling fans or light fixtures will likely 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.

Dislike popcorn ceilings too? Learn how to plank a bathroom popcorn ceiling without removing the popcorn first! Hide the popcorn without all the mess or asbestos worries! Click to read the full tutorial.
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… 

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

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

Caulking the gaps and nail holes

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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 featherweight spackling), then sand. Caulk in between boards wherever there’s a gap.

How to cut the tip of caulk / How to plank a bathroom ceiling with pine planks - full tutorial via https://www.funkyjunkinteriors.net/
How to caulk – best tips from a pro!

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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.

  1. cut caulk tube on a small angle
  2. apply caulk
  3. release the gun pressure
  4. then wet your finger with water
  5. run it along the fresh caulk
  6. 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 https://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. πŸ™‚

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

Dislike popcorn ceilings too? Learn how to plank a bathroom popcorn ceiling without removing the popcorn first! Hide the popcorn without all the mess or asbestos worries! Click to read the full tutorial.

Dislike popcorn ceilings too? Learn how to plank a bathroom popcorn ceiling without removing the popcorn first! Hide the popcorn without all the mess or asbestos worries! Click to read the full tutorial.

Finishing paint coat

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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!

And that is how to plank a ceiling… without removing the popcorn first!

I am so thrilled with the outcome of this gorgeous planked ceiling! It’s pretty much flawless due to the pre painting 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.

Think you’ll try to plank a ceiling of your own? Which room would you start with?

Other related posts you may enjoy:

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

Visit all parts to Master Bathroom 2014 HERE

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58 thoughts on “How to plank a ceiling… without removing the popcorn first!

  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! πŸ˜‰

    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. πŸ™‚

  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. πŸ™‚

  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!

  14. I did the same thing in my bathroom. As the pine has aged though the oil in the wood has started to come through the white paint making yellow stains in the ceiling. I will have to repaint to cover them.

    any suggestions on type of paint to use so that this doesn’t happen again.

    I used Behr kitchen and bath from home depot.

    • Oh no Jeannette! I might suggest to use a bonding primer first, then paint to fix it. I used Cloverdale Paint (in Canada) drywall primer, then kitchen and bath satin wall paint, and I’ve had no issues to date.

  15. Wow! I can’t wait to get to Lowe’s!!! I have ALWAYS wanted a plank ceiling. Thanks for the step-by-step directions. I think I can do this!!

  16. Great work and well documented. I’m just starting my bathroom planking, but I have a cathedral ceiling with a skylight to deal with. After seeing this I think I’ll pre-paint.
    Thanks, John

  17. We have popcorn ceilings in the family room and two of the bedrooms but the rest of the house has conventional ceilings. I love what you’ve done and I really want to do something with the popcorn but the family room is 36 x 24 and is one continuous ceiling with the hallway. As much as I love what you’ve done, I can’t see myself applying this for days virtually on scaffolding on my back. The master bedroom has a high gabled ceiling so the slope concerns me. I think our only option is to hire it out, but the budget won’t stretch that far for now.

    • I agree, sounds like hiring out is the way to go. I got my entire home quoted because that is too much for me alone, but the price has me making new friends with the popcorn… groan!

  18. So glad I found this, Donna! Our kitchen had fake beams fixed to the popcorn ceiling. When we took them down we were left with ugly grooves in the popcorn. We wanted to drywall over top of the popcorn but we live in the country and can’t find a drywaller who’ll come out here, and previous experience tells us we’re not the people for the job. But planking we can do! Going to do the bathrooms too, while we’re at it. Thanks for sharing this – you’ve really inspired us!

  19. i would love to do my bathroom like that would like too have a try if i get the stuff used to watch my boyfriend do it thanks for the things to try it cannot wait too do it

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