Installing Wood Ceiling Panels
to Install Wood Ceiling Panels and Planks
By Mark J. Donovan
One of the nicest features I like about Adirondack homes is the decorative wood
ceiling panels that often accompany them. The wood ceiling panels or planks just
add an extra amount of ambiance and texture to a room that makes it feel
comfortable and warm. Wood ceiling panels and planks are often made from pine,
but can also be manufactured out of more expensive hardwoods. Ceiling wood
panels and planks often have tongue and groove edges to ensure a tight
connection between boards. Some wood ceiling panel and board types also include
unique designs and features to absorb sounds, which is a common concern with
wood paneled ceilings.
There are also faux wood ceiling panel and plank systems that are less expensive
to install yet look very good as well. They come in a variety of sizes, colors
and grains, are light weight, and can be installed by the moderately skilled DIY
homeowner. They are manufactured out of high-density polyurethane and thus
require zero maintenance, will not rot or decay, and are not susceptible to
Installing wood ceiling panels, particularly solid wood types, can be
somewhat challenging as ceilings are normally not square and ceiling joists are
not always exactly evenly spaced. Consequently itís a good idea to hire a
professional contractor who knows what he is doing. This said, if you feel up to
the challenge, by all means go for it and install your own decorative wood
The first major step when installing wood ceiling panels or planks is to check
the ceiling to see how square it is and to identify where the ceiling joists
are. Use a chalk line to snap lines on the drywall ceiling directly underneath
the locations of the ceiling joists. This way thereíll be no issues when it
comes to nailing the wood ceiling boards or panels in place. The ceiling panels
or planks are typically installed perpendicular to the ceiling joists.
When actually cutting wood ceiling planks do not cut all of them to the same
length. When you measured the ceiling to see how square it was most likely you
noticed that one portion of the ceiling was wider or longer than another. Thus
it is wise to cut only enough boards of the same length to cover a ceiling width
of only 12 to 18 inches. After each 12 to 18 inch section check the ceiling
width or length again to determine how long to cut the next set of decorative
wood ceiling panels. Also, when installing your first wood ceiling plank or
panel make sure it is positioned so that it is square across the entire ceiling
This may mean you may need to fill a small gap with a scribed plank at the end
of the project. Ideally you should position the first plank so that there is
enough room to install a scribed plank of nearly the same width as the rest of
the planks. This way the end piece does not look like a small triangular sliver.
Depending upon the type of decorative wood ceiling panels or planks you are
installing you may need to include glue on the back side of the pieces.
Typically, however, with wood ceiling planks they are tongue and grooved so each
piece simply needs to be nailed into the ceiling joist and the adjacent oneís
tongue slid into the groove of the previous one installed.
After the wood ceiling panels or planks have been installed a decorative edge
molding, e.g. a quarter round, is installed around the perimeter of the ceiling
to hide the gaps between the planks and the ceiling edges.
In some decorative wood ceiling panel installations a cross network of trim
pieces are installed first so that effectively inlay wood ceiling panels are
created with the installation of the wood planks. This installation method is
more time consuming and includes more precision for ensuring square or
rectangular panel areas are created, via the cross network of trim pieces.
While installing the wood ceiling panels or planks itís often necessary to
account for lighting fixture electrical boxes, speaker boxes, and fire alarm
electrical boxes. Extra measurements are required and a jig saw comes in handy.
Once the decorative wood ceiling panels or planks have been installed the
ceiling can be finished with a light stain or clear wood sealer. Finally
lighting fixtures, and other electrical items, can be re-attached to the ceiling
to complete the project.
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Related Ceiling Information
Decorative Wood Ceiling Panels From Amazon.com
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