DIY Planked Ceiling

After scraping the popcorn ceiling off in our kitchen and dining room, we realized the original drywall mud and tape job wasn’t very good.  There were a lot of annoying imperfections we did not like.  So we had to come up with an idea on how we could hide those imperfections in the ceiling.  I thought of the idea of planking the ceiling with wood to give our ceiling a “shiplap” look.  So I found a tutorial from The Idea Room that gave us guidance for planking ceiling!  Check out our tutorial below on how we planked our kitchen and dining room ceiling:

Here are the supplies we used:

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This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

We bought 27 packs of tongue and groove planks to cover about 300 square feet.  We used $10.00 off $50.00 coupon codes, 10% discounted gift cards for Lowe’s on, the Lowe’s 11% rebate offer and bought the packs in $55 increments.  Here is the break down of how much we spent on the wood planks:

Let’s get started:

Step 1: Prep Ceiling

Before we started to plank our ceiling, we found all of the studs in the ceiling and made chalk lines along them across the entire ceiling.  This will allow you to use those lines as guides to nail the planks into the ceiling studs.

Next, we needed to prep the ceiling with spacers.  Spacers are necessary because you do not want your planks touching the walls.  The humidity can make the planks shift throughout the year so the ¼ inch spacer allows for this shifting.  

We did not want to pay money for spacers so we were able to cut up our old laminate flooring into 4”x 2” x 1/4” pieces and use those as spacers.  If you have anything laying around that is about ¼ inch thick that you can cut up, use that instead of buying spacers!

Tape the spacers about three inches apart along the wall with painters tape.

Step 2: Determine your plank Pattern

We used the following plank pattern when installing the eight-foot planks:

NOTE: This pattern would also work great for laying flooring!

Step 3: Plank

You will need your planks, nail gun, air compressor, nails, liquid nails adhesive, caulk gun, laminate cutter or saw and a lot of motivation for this step. 🙂  We started with a full eight-foot piece of plank wood, first putting the liquid nails adhesive on the plank like this:

Once the entire plank was glued we nailed the plank to the ceiling with the nail gun at all of the chalk marks (studs).  Make sure the groove part is facing out so that the tongue of the next plank can fit into that groove.  

Continue the pattern and planking until you complete the entire ceiling.  There will be light fixtures and corners you may have to cut around, so be careful to watch out for those and cut the planks using a jigsaw to fit around them.

NOTE: These planks were on the cheaper end so there were a few that were broken, chipped or damaged.  Make sure to buy a few extra bundles to account for this.

Step 4: Fill in Nail holes

We wanted to paint the planks with white ceiling paint so we knew we had to fill in the holes and notches in the planks in order for the planks to appear smoother.  This step was tedious but worth it!  We used Minwax High-Performance Wood Filler.  Be prepared; this wood filler is high quality, but kind of hard to work with.  It dries quickly so only mix up about two tbsp worth of filler at a time.

Use the putty knife and be sure to fill in any larger holes along with all the little nail holes you made when nailing the planks to the ceiling.

Step 5: Sanding

Once the wood filler dries, use the sanding Dust-Free Drywall Vacuum Sander without the vacuum hose.  This type of sanding is not very dusty so you won’t need the hose attachment.  Use a fresh sanding screen and start sanding everywhere where you used the wood filler.

Step 6: Paint

Do a quick wipe down of the ceiling so that there isn’t any lingering dust.  Then use Eminence High-Performance Ceiling Paint from Sherwin-Williams to paint the cracks of the planks. I used a paintbrush and brushed in all of the cracks because we knew that the roller wouldn’t get paint in the cracks:

Then David went through and rolled the entire ceiling.  I only painted one thick coat on the inside of the cracks and then David painted two coats of paint with the roller.

Step 7: Perfect it

We thought we would be done after all of this but the ceiling looked a little too “rustic” for us.  Some of the cracks were too large for our liking. So we decided to use lightweight spackle to fill in those annoying imperfections that were bugging us.  It probably took an extra three hours for me to fill these in by hand, but I like that detailed work and I saw what a huge difference it made so I was happy to do this.  Plus David said I could buy some new shoes, so I was all in 🙂

Once I finished spackling, I hand sanded quickly with a sanding sponge.

The planks were then ready for the FINAL coat of paint!

Planking the ceiling was VERY affordable, but it was a lot of work.  We are so happy we did it and love how it turned out!

This DIY Planked Ceiling tutorial gives you the step by step process on how to cover up your ugly popcorn ceiling and give it a clean, shiplap look. Click here for full details! #ceiling #popcornceiling #plankedceiling #shiplapceiling

Check out our Kitchen Remodel for all the details on the complete remodel.



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12 thoughts on “DIY Planked Ceiling”

  1. How long did it take you to do this? We have Popcorn ceiling all through our house but I’m just thinking about doing the living room, kitchen and dining room.

    1. LiliesandLife

      Sandra, the kitchen ceiling took us about 4-5 hours of putting the planks up and then another 4-6 hours to fill the nail holes and paint (including drying time). It took a while and but we loved it in the end!

  2. When clicking on your plank hyperlink, it brings me to a panel, not planks. Is there an updated link you could provide?

  3. Your ceiling looks great! I would love to do this on my wall as a vertical Shiplap! I have a question about the spackle. I do see the difference in the pic, one looks way cleaner than the other. But did the spackle hide the gaps where one plank finishes and another begins? I have 10 ft ceilings and since planks are 8ft I’m wondering if I can use spackle to connect those gaps between the 8ft plus the other 2ft.

    1. LiliesandLife

      Kelli, The total cost of this project was about $200 for us! That includes the planks, nails and caulk.

  4. Your ceilings are beautiful. This is such a smart idea! I would love to do this in our kitchen. We are doing some kitchen cabinet refinishing here in Irondequoit next week. This would be the best finishing touch for our kitchen.

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Emily (1)
Hi, I'm Emily

I’m an Interior designer, decorator and blogger.  I help overwhelmed homeowners and DIYers bring timeless design and function into their home so they can love their space and the life they are building within it!  Thank you for visiting 🙂


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