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How to Plank A Ceiling

wooden ceiling planks on powder room ceiling

Installing a new ceiling treatment in a powder room is one simple way to revamp and bring lots of style to a usually small room.

You can paint the ceiling a new color, or maybe install a vibrant wallpaper, or a decorative medallion. In my case, I decided to install wooden planks to keep a cohesive look throughout the house, given that I've already used planks in another room.

The makeover of our powder room got a green light after postponing it for almost a decade,  you can check my previous post where I described the sad condition of this room right HERE.

The floating shelves above the loo had been spruced up and it was time for that dated ceiling to come down.

As I've mentioned many times already, those crown corners were my nemesis, they needed to go!
ceiling makeover

And they were removed, along with the embossed paper and crown molding. :) 

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Getting rid of embossed paper and crown molding in powder room

The planks that I was about to install are the same, similar treatment as the one I did in our master bathroom HERE.  I can send you back there for all the details, however, I changed my strategy during this new planked ceiling install, as I didn't want too many nail heads/holes showing on the finished product.

I could've installed the planks right there on the Sheetrock, making sure to drive the nails to the middle of the joists above the Sheetrock.  But, there was a problem with that type of installation as I only spotted one ceiling joist up there. The way I would've had to position the planks were horizontal, which I didn't like.

Now, this is a 32" X 7' X 9' room, a very narrow and tall room. I thought that height was a bit disproportionate to the overall size of the room. It was another reason for me to build a frame out of 2X4s. As you can see in the picture below.

The ceiling was going to be lowered only four inches and I was going to have ample surface area to nail those planks.
how to plank a ceiling

After running an electrical wire to install a light here in the back of the room, I also framed the ceiling fan.
how to plank a ceiling - Cristina GAray -

It was now time to install the planks!

Once again I used ShipLap boards for this planked ceiling. I love that the boards are primed and ready for paint.

I bought a six-piece box - Thank goodness I had a leftover plank from the other bath reno. 

The Tools & Materials You'll Need:



Even before installing the first plank, you have to check/think about how you're going to install those planks. Doing the math, I only needed 7 planks, and I had to rip one of them. If that excess amount is more than half the plank, it's better to trim the two planks on both end-sides to keep the symmetry. 

Installation usually starts on the wall opposite the entrance door or along the most important side of the room. In my case, that main wall was very crooked. I placed the first plank, all along that wall and noticed a big gap there in the center of the wall, in between the plank and the wall. (left picture below).

The solution to getting rid of that gap on the plank comes by scribing or copying the shape of the wall all along the plank & trimming it. 

I used a compass to mark that line, then I used a jigsaw to cut all along that line. 

You can learn more about how to scribe for a perfect fit right HERE


Once I came back to the room, I checked the opposite wall by placing a plank all along and it was perfectly straight. That realization made me change my strategy and instead, started the installation right there. 

Measure and cut out the planks around the electrical, or in my case, the fan duct.

Powder room makeover

Now, I didn't want too many nail holes showing on the final planks and that's why I used lots of Liquid Nails during this planked ceiling installation.
Cristina Garay

I brought this first plank up to the ceiling and set it in place by first driving a 1-1/2" brad nail in the center of the plank. Most of the nails were driven on that lip which is mainly covered with the next plank.

Although, for this first plank I also had to add two more nails on the face of the plank close to the wall.
Cristina Garay - Ryobi brad nailer


For the second and remaining planks, I first added Liquid nails to the transverse 2x4 sections that the plank was going to cover.
Cristina Garay - Liquid Nails

Then, I also added Liquid Nails to the back lip of the new plank for extra hold.

It was then brought it up to the ceiling, and again brad nails were driven from the lip of the plank and onto the joists on the ceiling.
Cristina Garay - Liquid Nails

As I reached the center of the ceiling, I cut out the hole for the electrical components.  The new light fixture was moved from the wall to the ceiling. 
Cristina GAray - Milwaukee drill

Then, all the planks were installed similarly, until I reached that last plank. I had to trim it a little bit more.
Cristina Garay - Ryobi power tools

The perfectionist in me thought that the gap between the wall and that plank was still too big.

However, after filling that gap with spackling paste that I had at hand, it now looks very OK. 
powder room makeover

And here's how this ginormous ceiling's looking now! :D

Powder room makeover

I love the cleaner look!

But hey, stay tuned for the next project coming to this little bathroom: The Vanity!

Let's say bye-bye to that pedestal sink. ;)
powder room makeover

Let's take a look at all the projects tackled in this tiny powder room!

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