Cedar Planks Over Popcorn Ceiling PT1

Hey friends, in my last post I shared the reveal of our fireplace built-ins, and mentioned how we still needed to update the popcorn ceiling so that the space could be complete. Well over the past weekend, my husband and I decided to finally tackle the ugly popcorn ceiling we’ve been living with for the past three years.

I sketched up three options for covering the popcorn ceiling:

  1. Planked Wood

2. Drywall with Faux Beams

3. White Shiplap Planked with Faux Beams

I polled my followers to see what they thought and #1 was a clear winner.

But why not just Scrape The Popcorn Ceiling or have it skim coated?

Choosing to cover a popcorn ceiling instead of scraping it is like opting for a stylish upgrade without the headache. It made sense for us because:

1. Covering it is a much easier and less labor-intensive process, saving us time and effort.

2. It’s more cost-effective and less messy, as we’d have to hire it out. Plus we had someone scheduled last year to scrape the ceiling and he never showed up—ughhhhhh! finding good tradespeople nowadays is HARD

3. Safety First: Because our home is older there’s a chance that our popcorn ceiling could contain asbestos, covering it encapsulates it, addressing safety concerns.

4. Quick and efficient, it’s a faster solution seeing how we were looking to make the change without a prolonged renovation.

In a nutshell, covering the popcorn ceiling was basically a shortcut to a hassle-free, and stylish ceiling improvement.

What Material Did You Use?

Cedar plank ceiling

We used these Knotty Cedar Planks.  They’re very lightweight at only a 1/4″ thick and are V- groove style.  The planks are rather smooth except for a few random ones in the pack, but overall I would recommend them-They could be used in so many ways.  Lowe’s also carries a similar product that is pine, for a little less, but purchasing from Home Depot was more convenient for us.  Our ceiling is roughly 12×20 and it cost us about $650 with tax in material.

How to Install Wood Planks over a Popcorn Ceiling

  1. MEASURE your space to decide how many packs of planks you will need.  Our room is approximately 12.5x 20.5.  If you use the calculator on the product page as I did, it is pretty accurate. I put in 13×21 and it was estimated that we would need 22 packs, which we did with little waste.
  2. INSTALL furring strips on your ceiling (optional). Although it’s often recommended to remove any existing popcorn texture, we skipped this step (for reasons listed above), instead, we installed 1/2″ furring strips (scrap wood) perpendicular to the ceiling joists using drywall screws to create a level surface and provide a secure base for the planks.  We started at the wall, and went every 48”, but quickly realized that every 24″ on center —screwing into (some of the joists) worked well for the planks to feel secure, we added them in as we went.Made by carli planked ceiling
  3.  DECIDE on your layout: Now one thing we are kicking ourselves about is not measuring and cutting our planks for even distribution across the ceiling. Opting for a straight installation instead of a staggered one led us to an awkward seam placement, right at the end of a recessed light. Now, I’ll have to get very creative to make this right. Here’s the advice: Before diving into plank installation like us, calculate the room length and divide it by the number of rows needed (we went for 3). Cut your first row to match this measurement. For example, in our 21′ long room, cutting the first two rows to seven feet each would have shifted the seam location, ensuring even strapping. Learn from our oversight to make your project run smoother—more details coming in my next post. Because we chose to install them to run straight as opposed to staggered, the seam where the planks meet is not in an ideal location (at the end of one of our recessed lights.)  I’ll have to get creative on figuring out how to make this right, but please learn from me: Divide your room length by (however many rows you will need, we needed 3), and then cut your first row to match the measurement. So because our room is approximately 21′, I should have cut the first two rows to seven feet, which would have shifted where the seam would be, and then my strapping would have been even—more on this in my net post.
  4. CUT the cedar planks to fit, as I mentioned above we used the full length of the planks, for our first row but we left a 1/4” gap along the walls (using a shim) for expansion. If you are installing directly to the ceiling you can apply adhesive to the back of each plank and secure them to the ceiling using a nail gun. However, we attached them only using brad nails.  They’re so lightweight, I can’t see them going anywhere.
  5. MAP out any obstacles: we have 6 recessed lights in our ceiling and unfortunately, we could not find our 6” hole saw, so we had to improvise. I installed the planks as close to the hole as I could, and then used a bowl with a 6” circumference to create a template on the planks, and used a combination of my jig saw and an oscillating tool to make my cuts-luckily the collar on my lights are very forgiving.

Cedar Planked ceiling over popcorn ceiling

I’m just obsessed with how this DIY project adds warmth and character to our space, I seriously didn’t think this room could be any cozier.

Next up, ceiling trim (Faux Crown Molding) and strapping for the seams- stay tuned!

You can follow the process on Instagram Here

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