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.
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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
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
- Miter Saw
- Caulking gun
- Pin Nail Gun
- Paint Brush
- Paint Pan
- Drop Cloth
- Tape Measure
- Chalk Line
- Cleaning Rag
- Step Ladder
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Once the last board is installed then you are done. We left the ceiling with whitewashed flat sheen look and we love it.
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:
- DIY coffered wood ceiling
- DIY beadboard ceiling (and beadboard basement drop ceiling)
- Herringbone pattern painted ceiling
- Quick install plank ceiling panels
- How to apply knockdown ceiling texture
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.