Home » How to (Faux) Plank a Ceiling

How to (Faux) Plank a Ceiling

I am loving the modern farmhouse look that is so popular these days. New or newer houses boasting exposed beams, big, open kitchens, chippy furniture, rustic barn doors, sprawling wood tables and bright white plank wood ceilings!

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All above photos via Pinterest

When we started this kitchen refresh, I knew a planked kitchen ceiling would be the perfect solution for hiding our cracking, yellow, textured plaster mess. When we replaced the dining room ceiling about a year ago, we had a similar issue in that room, too. Removing the plaster would have been really messy (and potentially cause more issues… you never know what you will discover when you demo). For that room, we simply decided to lose an inch of ceiling height and put new drywall right over the plaster. The ceiling there looks great now! But it was a whole lot of work. Installing drywall, taping and mudding the seams and then sanding, sanding, sanding was a ton of work, in addition to a huge mess. We weren’t super excited about repeating that process in the kitchen.

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Here is the ceiling right before we took on this refresh project.

Daniel and I headed to Lowe’s one evening to research some planked ceiling options. We looked at tongue and groove solid cedar wood, laminate wood flooring that we would paint, and sheets of wood paneling. None of these options seemed easy or cheap, which is more our style. We ended up asking a Lowe’s salesperson what they suggested and they pointed us to a display by Armstrong. We had never heard of this company before, but they had a few options for ceilings that were mostly various styles of drop-tile ceiling squares, best used for basements, garages, or commercial properties. But then we saw their Country Classic product and fell in love!

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This is the sample photo from Armstrong’s website. The planks come in 6 feet tongue and groove planks. The website had a great tool for determining the number of planks needed for your room based on the square footage. We used that tool before we placed our order with Lowe’s.

From the display at Lowe’s, it looked like this product was made of the same material as a drop tile square (some kind of pressed fiber; very lightweight and already primed white!). We had a really hard time figuring out how to install this product though, and no one at Lowe’s seemed to have any experience with it. The product website showed 2 options for installation, one using metal clips that fit in the groove of each plank and get screwed into your existing ceiling, and then a rail and clip system for suspending a ceiling. We ordered the clips that the Lowe’s staff suggested (after lots of confusion and double checking).

When we went to pick up the ceiling planks and clips, we realized we had actually ordered the clips used to install the planks for a dropped ceiling, not the ones for attaching to an existing ceiling. This was a frustrating discovery. Now we would need to purchase the drop ceiling rails that went with the clips in order to attach the ceiling, plus we would lose an extra inch of ceiling height. This was turning into a much more expensive (and annoying) project than we had anticipated. Hundreds of dollars more than we had budgeted for. The clips and rails are made specifically for this product, and they weren’t cheap. And needed to be ordered and waited on. Ugh.

My Dad came over to take a look at things, and he suggested we just install the planks with glue and staples and forget the whole clip and rail system. Great idea! So that’s what we did!

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We started by screwing our first row of planks about an inch off the wall (to allow for expansion of the planks). We knew the screws would be hidden by the crown molding we were installing.

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We inserted each tongue into the groove of the previous plank and glued each plank as we went. We stapled in the groove for extra support. It took us the better part of a day to get the whole ceiling up, the hardest part being all the cuts for the recessed lights.

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After a coat of white paint and some crown molding, BOOM new ceiling!

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We cut the recessed light holes a bit too large, so we need to track down some extra wide covers to hide that. Oh the joys of DIY. Seriously guys, if you haven’t figured this out by now, we are so NOT professionals. We are just figuring things out as we go 🙂

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So, in general, we were happy with the Armstrong product we used. It was less expensive than the solid wood options and was really easy to cut and install because it was so lightweight (we just used a straight edge and a razor blade, no saw needed!) We weren’t thrilled with our experience at Lowe’s this time and we felt the company should have offered more in-store support for their product, or the option to order directly through them, since they are the experts on the item. Maybe purchasing this item from a different store would yield a very different experience, but this is our story.

Please let me know if you have any other questions about this install. If you are considering this item for your home and need more specifics, we would be happy to help!

Special thanks to my parents for helping us with this project! It would have taken so much longer without the extra hands and hot meal! Thanks!

 

One Response to “How to (Faux) Plank a Ceiling”

  1. Tyler says:

    The ceiling looks great. We are considering using the same project in our family room. What brand glue did you use? And what size staple? Some reviews I have read say that this product is prone to damage during installation so any feedback on this topic would be much appreciated as well. Thanks!

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