DIY Wood Ceiling


Ceilings usually are built using drywall, plaster, fiber tiles or other manufactured materials. However, you also have the option of using wood on your ceiling, which can be a dramatic change from standard ceilings. Wood ceiling planking is similar to wood flooring in that it is connected along the side with tongue-and-groove milling, but is made of lighter wood since it doesn't have to bear weight. Installing a wood ceiling yourself is an alternative to having it professionally installed.

Things You'll Need

  • Electronic studfinder
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Pre-finished tongue-and-groove wood ceiling planks, longer than ceiling length
  • Miter saw
  • Trim nail gun
  • Table saw
  • Ceiling trim
  • Find all the ceiling joists in the room, using an electronic studfinder. Mark them with a pencil and use the level to mark each line all the way across the ceiling.

  • Measure the edge of the ceiling along your starting wall with a tape measure; it must run crosswise in relation to the joists. Mark the measurement on a wood ceiling plank. Cut the plank using a miter saw.

  • Position the plank along the edge of the ceiling, with the grooved side facing the ceiling. Leave a 1/2-inch space between the plank and the side wall. Secure the plank by shooting nails with the nail gun through the flat surface of the board, two at a time, at each point where the plank crosses a ceiling joist.

  • Measure and cut the next board. Connect it to the first plank along its tongue-and-groove edging. Secure it by shooting one nail through the side, upward into the ceiling, at each point where it crosses a joist. This will hide the nailheads once the other planks are installed.

  • Repeat for each plank until you've crossed the entire ceiling. Cut along the length of the final plank using a table saw to make it fit, with a 1/2-inch gap, at the wall. Install ceiling trim over the gaps on both sides of the ceiling, cutting the trim on the miter saw and installing it with the trim nail gun.

Tips & Warnings

  • In older homes, the ceiling may not be perfectly square, which means the boards will be different lengths. If you determine with your tape measure that they are all going to be the same length, you can cut them all at once.
  • Wear safety goggles when using miter and table saws.

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  • Photo Credit wooden interior image by TEA from
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