Old houses, man. Always fun. Always exciting! Always full of crap you're trying to do away with. Hence the covering popcorn ceilings with planks.
Popcorn ceilings – who, who, WHO thought you'd be a good idea? I don't appreciate your or your chunky nature. I don't appreciate the goo and dust that gets stuck on you and is impossible to clean up. I don't appreciate the 40 years of build up you've enjoyed on your surface thus far. And I certainly don't enjoy the flakes of goodness you leave on my floors every time something touches you. This is a house that people actually live in. Things get touched, yo.
And so it is with great excitement and no remorse that I proceed forth in covering up your filth. I shan't be scraping you off – because you most likely have asbestos amongst your awesomeness. And frankly that's too messy for me. Rather, I shall be covering you with pine planks.
No muss. No fuss. No more popcorn. Unless it's real, organic popcorn drizzled in butter and sea salt. I love that kind.
Covering Popcorn Ceilings
We knew this would be a fairly early project in our home renovation list of priorities and when the floor refinisher advised us to take care of it before he showed up to refinish the floors, well, that pushed it even higher up the priority list. It made sense – he didn't want heavy ladders, sawdust, and bits of ceiling flaking off onto his beautifully, redone wood floors. I get it. We went round and round with what to do. Scrape? No. Tin tiles? No. 1×6″ boards? No. All had perks and all had major deterrents – cost being one of the biggest. Eventually, we landed on super lightweight pine planking that is available (and inexpensive!) from our local hardware store. Lowes. Home Depot. Most any store like that. Right off the shelf – Hallelujah!
It was important to me, as these things are, that the ceiling fit the feel of the house that we're creating. French Farm Cottage. Is that a thing? It is now. And the planked look of the ceiling is both clean, fresh, and yet beautifully rustic and old feeling. I'm in love. Thankfully, only the dining room and the office had said popcorn ceilings, so it was only 2 rooms we needed to address. The rest of them are beautiful plaster work and I'm happy to let them stay as-is. At least for now – I'll be the first to admit, the texture and feel of this ceiling work has captured my heart! Layer on the luscious, baby.
– EverTrue Edge V-Grove Pine Planking:
These planks comes in pack of 6, 8 foot pieces – enough to cover 14 square feet. The price is around $11 per package. We found that most of the wood was actually fairly straight and cut well, but we did have a few ‘cull' boards. Purchase a few more packages than necessary to save yourself from running to the store again! Also, the wood planking is very, very thin and lightweight. Great for putting up! But also a bit difficult to deal with because it's inexpensive (read: cheap) and flimsy. Patience is a virtue, they tell me… prepare yourself!
– Liquid Nails:
Not ‘necessary' but also, sorta necessary. Because we're covering up up an uneven surface, the liquid nails helps to adhere the board to that funky bit of surface that it does actually come in contact with.
– Chop Saw
I'll venture out and say that covering popcorn ceilings with planks is a fairly straightforward and easy process – as much as any home renovation project can be, I suppose. That being said, I'm still super glad that Stuart took the reigns and was able to get it all started. Because locating studs and joists is not my forte. I've got strengths. Anything like this is not one of them.
Locate the ceiling joists. You'll want to know which way and where they run so that you can intentionally nail into them. Ya know – if the planks staying up on the ceiling is important to you.
Pull out that first plank, baby! And give it a wee bit of Liquid Nails encouragement on the backside.
Utilizing a ladder or scaffolding, have one person hold the board up on the ceiling while the second nails it into place. This central board should run across multiple ceiling joists. Nail at easy joist. The wood has grooves – so the tongue of one board fits into the groove of the next. Once that central board is up, all you've gotta do is keep clicking the boards into place, cutting as necessary to fit your space. Stuart worked a pattern in the ceiling so it would look ‘normal', meaning all the seams didn't line up in a straight line like they would have if I did it. We worked a 2-row pattern over and over to create a nice, “professional” look. Truthfully, I just did what the man told me to do – measuring and cutting as he instructed.
I can follow instructions. Sometimes.
The pattern was simply repeated until the ceiling was filled! It took awhile. Certainly not a ‘quick' project, but once we got the hang of it and found our own groove we cruised through it pretty quickly. Which was good. Because the floor guy was supposed to show up at 8:00 am the next morning. And this was all done the night before.
Better, no? Yes. Of course it's better. What kind of ridiculous question is that!
After the ceiling was planked, and we were at the depths of exhaustion, we still needed to paint it. Because the thought of paint dripping on my newly refinished wood floors made me want to cry – even if it was the beautiful Revere Pewter that I'm still slathering over every single surface in the house. I wanted to keep a clean, continuity between the walls and the ceilings so we painted the planked ceiling the same color. I love the result. Staining the wood would have completely clashed with the fir flooring. That was a no-go. Plus, I wanted it to feel cottagesque. Not cabineesque. If you get my drift.
Wood: 26 packages of planked boards @ $11.23 each = $291.98
Glue: 10 tubes of Liquid Nails @ $7.25 each = $72.50
Nails: $0, already had
Brad Nailer: $0, borrowed from my Dad (Hey Dad!)
Air Compressor: $0, borrowed from my Mom (Just kidding, it was from my Dad).
Total Cost for both rooms: $404.48
The Finished Product:
WOWZA! Isn't it beautiful in all it's French Country Cottage Farm-esque appeal? The answer is yes. Yes, it is beautiful!
I can't show you the entire room yet. Because it's not finished. And by not finished, I mean currently, it's completely empty because we had to move all of the furniture to have the floors refinished. But as of today, the goods can be put back in place, so there's a final post coming! For now, you'll have to be appeased by this gorgeous ceiling in all it's non-popcorn glory.
Covering popcorn ceilings with planks, yo. It may be my new favorite transformational project.
Viva la cottage!