How to Install a Whitewashed Knotty Pine Wood Plank Ceiling

Do you want to update the look of the ceiling in a room in your house?  See how I updated our basement ceiling with a whitewashed knotty pine wood plank board.  I will take you through the DIY wood plank ceiling process step-by-step.

You can also add similar character to other areas of your home by adding a wood plank accent wall or wood plank wainscoting, a planked kitchen island design, or a plank headboard wall

DIY Whitewashed Knotty Pine Wood Plank Ceiling in a Basement

Thanks to DAP for sponsoring this post. All opinions are ours; this post may contain affiliate links — see our full disclosure policy here.

DIY Whitewashed Wood Plank Ceiling

This ceiling really transformed the look of this room in our house.  We love how it turned out. We are thinking of doing this in other rooms in our house but before we do that I wanted to test out how we liked it in this room in the basement.

We had already installed new flooring, so now that we have a new basement ceiling, we just have to do everything in between! #youmightbeaRemodelaholic

See the befores of our Jordan house here and all the projects for this house here.

Time Required:

Multiple days

Size of Project:

11′ x 14′ (154 square feet) ceiling with part drop down.  This room is under the main floor of the house in the basement.

Cost and Materials:

Local hardware store prices

  • (4) boxes 8′ long Knotty Pine Wood V-Plank Boards Kits    $54.01/box
    • 41 rows at 11′ – 6″
    • About 500′ of boards (63 boards, 3.5 box kits)
    • Add 10% more boards for waist.  Half a box worked great for me.
  • (1) Gal. White Latex Paint                                                            $31
  • (10) 10 oz. DAP DYNAGRIP Adhesive                                      $4/10 oz.
  • (1) box 1 1/4″ Pin Nails                                                                 $10/box
  • Total Cost                                                                                 $261

Installing Whitewashed Boards On Basement Ceiling DAP DYNAGRIP

Tools Used:

Video Coming Soon

Stay tuned for a video tutorial of this basement ceiling update. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and click the bell to turn on the notifications!

Whitewashing and Installation Steps

1. Whitewash Boards First.

This will save you a lot of time and headache if you do this first.  I had better control of the color when I took the time to whitewash the boards before I installed them.

How to Whitewash Knotty Pine Boards for DIY Basement Plank Ceiling

Dilute the paint of choice with water. I used about 75% paint to 25% water for this look. I didn’t want it to be too white so I wiped it off, with a rag, right after applying the paint with a brush. Let that dry for a couple of hours then you can start installing.

Related Reading: Use this color washing technique to stain wood any color!

2. Clean the Surface.

Wash the ceiling with a wet rag and some dish soap to remove any dirt or dust.  This will help the boards adhere to the ceiling when you glue them in place.

You’ll also want to remove the light fixtures to reinstall after your plank ceiling is installed. We took this opportunity to swap the flush-mount “boob lights” with can lights and we love the difference! More info about that coming in the video.

Read more about installing recessed can lights or see our picks for more stylish flush-mount fixtures here.

3. Mark All the Floor Joists or Ceiling Rafters.

In my case, I was in the basement below the main level of the house, so I found all the floor joists with a stud finder and chalked a line across the room to identify the center of each floor joist with a chalk line, so I could nail the boards to the floor joists behind the drywall in the ceiling.

Mark Joists to Install Whitewashed Planks on Ceiling for Basement Ceiling Update

I have seen and researched other methods to installing boards on the ceiling, but I decided that just nailing and gluing to the ceiling was the best option for me.  Our finished ceiling height without the new boards was 7′-6″ and I didn’t want to make it too much shorter with other methods that I saw.

See how other DIYers have installed a plank ceiling in the kitchen and in the attic, and a reclaimed wood plank ceiling in a bedroom.

4. Start first row.

Start on the longest wall in the back of the room, opposite of the doorway.  I ran the boards the length of the room, perpendicular to the door.  Cut the boards as you go with a miter saw.

Installing Whitewashed Knotty Pine Boards On Ceiling Tongue Toward Entry Of Room

Oriented the boards so the the tongue of the boards were facing the entry of the room.  I wanted to make sure that from the entry of the room you could not see into the gaps of the tongue and groove of the boards.

I applied the DAP DYNAGRIP Adhesive to the back of the board

Installing Whitewashed Boards On Ceiling Glueing Boards

Then used the pin nailer to hold it in place on the ceiling while the adhesive dries.  I nailed in to the edge of the tongue at and angle, to hide most of the nail heads.  Because I used a pin nailer most of the holes where so small it didn’t even mater too much that they where showing.

Installing Whitewashed Knotty Pine Boards On Ceiling Nailing With Pin Nailer

5. Offset the Ends of the Boards

Offset the ends of the boards at least 4″ from the previous row.  You want to avoid lining up the ends on each row as much as you can.  This will give you a nicer staggered look.

Installing Whitewashed Knotty Pine Boards On Ceiling Stagger Ends Of Boards

6. Repeat the Process Until the Ceiling is Finished

Repeat installing the tongue and groove planks until you’ve covered the ceiling. The upcoming video will include how to measure and cut around the holes for your lights, so be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to see that!

For the last row of boards I ripped the boards to width with a table saw based on the remaining width I needed to finish it off.  I cut off the tongue end of the board.  You also have to remove half of the groove up against the ceiling in order to glue this piece in place.

Installing Whitewashed Knotty Pine Boards On Ceiling for a Basement Plank Ceiling

Once the last board is installed then you are done.  We left the ceiling with whitewashed flat sheen look and we love it.

Basement Whitewashed Knotty Pine Plank Wood Ceiling with Recessed Can Lighting

What do you think?  Let us know in the comments below if a whitewashed knotty pine board ceiling is something you would like in your home. Please share and pin for later!

More DIY ceiling updates:

How To Install A Whitewashed Plank Ceiling In A Basement #remodelaholic

DIY Basement Ceiling Update With Whitewashed Plank Wood Ceiling And Recessed Can Lights #remodelaholic

Website | + posts

I am the husband of the amazing Cassity of Remodelaholic. I love to problem solve and to design and build things inside and outside the house to make life better. I am a professional Landscape Architect by trade and love the outdoors.

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  1. Good points on white wash I normally call the people for the things get done. I hope this can be done by us but need to check the necessary tools available.

  2. Wow, wow, wow, I love the end results. I am so green right now, because I want something like this in my bedroom. Fabulous! Thank you for sharing this beautiful post.
    Happy 202!!!