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How to Plank a Ceiling & Install Crown

May 20, 2020  —  Written by Chris 

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We’ve talked about wanting to give our ceilings a bit more attention in this home than we have in previous homes, and yesterday we did just that! Though things have really slowed down these past few months (for everyone), we’re making such great progress and are getting so close! Here’s how our closet started out this week:

How to Plank a Ceiling and Install Crown Moulding

Not bad, not bad. But today she’s looking more like:

How to Plank a Ceiling and Install Crown Moulding

Doesn’t that ceiling just make you so happy?! The planks only took 2 hours and the crown another 2, so this could definitely be a 1-day project for a lot of applications – the shiplap installs so fast. Here’s how we did it.

Materials you’ll need for this project:
primed shiplap
primed crown moulding
brad nails
liquid nails
• spackle/wood filler
• paintable caulk

Tools you’ll need for this project:
miter saw
• measuring tape
brad nailer
jigsaw/angle grinder (if coping the crown)
• caulk gun

How to Plank a Ceiling and Install Crown Moulding

Plan for your room
Notice we didn’t list how many pieces of shiplap or crown moulding we used. We didn’t list that because it’s irrelevant to your room. When measuring out for shiplap, take the following factors into consideration:

• Do you want seams (butting two boards together to span an area)?
– you have less waste with seams, but not as a clean of a look
– depending on the size of your room, you may not have the option of no seams
• Which direction do you want the lines to run?
– do you want the gaps in the boards to look like lanes on a road, or steps of a ladder?
• What length of boards would be best?
– depending on your room size, you can sometimes reduce waste and avoid seams by purchasing the right length of boards

How to Plank a Ceiling and Install Crown Moulding

Our closet is about 10 feet at its widest, and a little under 8 feet at the narrow. We went with 12ft and 8ft boards and were able to save a lot of waste (and some cost), as opposed to going all 12ft. And when we cut our boards, we didn’t have to be exact since we added crown moulding after that covered the edges (more on that in a bit).

How to Plank a Ceiling and Install Crown Moulding

Hang the shiplap
If the direction you choose for your shiplap runs perpendicular to your ceiling joists, happy day! Simple run a chalk line alone each joist and pop a brad nail into each board right on the joists. Glue is optional in this case, but usually a good idea as it keeps the boards from loosening and beginning to rattle over years of tiny vibrations that occur in every home.

How to Plank a Ceiling and Install Crown Moulding

If your boards run parallel to your ceiling joists, as in our case, then you definitely need to use liquid nails on the back of your boards. Additionally, you’ll still use the brad nailer to drive brad nails through the shiplap into the ceiling, at alternating angles. The nails are really just there to hold the board in place as the liquid nails dries.

Cut out lights and vents
Most rooms will have lights, so be sure to cut those out. We used a 4in drywall saw and it was perfect. Just make sure that, as you’re hanging your shiplap, you measure and mark the locations of every light.

How to Plank a Ceiling and Install Crown Moulding

You may also run into vents in your ceiling. Nail the plank into the ceiling on each side of the vent before using a jigsaw to cut the profile of the vent.

How to Plank a Ceiling and Install Crown Moulding

Cut and Cope the Crown
Say that ten times fast.
Crown moulding is tricky. With baseboard or window trim you’re dealing with one or two planes – crown moulding is three and they’re almost never squared. You can take one of two approaches – use the miter saw to cut 45 degree angles on inside and outside corners, hoping for the best and caulking the rest. OR, coping. My preferred task is mitering, my preferred result is coping. So we cope.

How to Plank a Ceiling and Install Crown Moulding

When coping crown, you start by installing a solid piece of crown, with straight-cut ends, at your strongest visual point. This is often the wall opposite the entrance to the room, as in the picture above. Then you cut the piece adjacent at the appropriate angle, and carve out the profile using a jigsaw or angle grinder so it slides tightly into it.

How to Plank a Ceiling and Install Crown Moulding

I prefer to use the jigsaw for a rough cutout of the profile, then I fine-tune with the grinder.

How to Plank a Ceiling and Install Crown Moulding

I’m by no means a pro, but I’ll do a more in-depth post and video on coping in the future. It’s a pretty slow process, but ends up with much tighter joints.

How to Plank a Ceiling and Install Crown Moulding

Of course, as you see in the picture above, you still have to miter the outside corners, and mine wasn’t quite snug. But wood filler and sanding will make that disappear. That inside corner, however. Magnifique.

How to Plank a Ceiling and Install Crown Moulding

How to Plank a Ceiling and Install Crown Moulding

I’d say we’re 80% of the way to making these IKEA cabinets look anything but. Once everything is sanded, caulked, and taped off, we’ll be ready for paint, which is gonna blow some minds! But today, we’re celebrating this the progress by staring at it endlessly.

How to Plank a Ceiling and Install Crown Moulding

What do you think?

  1. Colleen says:

    Hi! Just wondering what kind of paintable caulk you use? Thank you!

  2. Allie says:

    Love it! What are the two grey-ish paint colors sampled around the window if you don’t mind sharing? Thanks!

  3. Kendra says:

    funny, my husband wears the same safety shoes when he’s doing anything on a ladder

  4. ERIN says:

    Love this!! It looks beautiful!We just finished planking our kitchen ceiling with Armstrong’s Woodhaven planking… we are in a 1890’s farmhouse, so I’m keeping this in mind for any of the rooms with ceiling issues :)

  5. Esvee says:

    Beautiful job! I’m hoping to hang shiplap on the ceiling and walls of our mudroom, which is currently not drywalled. Would you recommend installing drywall first, or can it go right over the insulation? Do you think the walls would basically be the same process as the ceiling? Thanks so much!

  6. Lexy says:

    Do you start hanging your shiplap from the center and work your way out?

  7. Elaine says:

    Look great! Curious— what size/ type of can lights do you plan on using? Do you mind sharing a link? Thank you kindly!

  8. Amanda says:

    Thanks for opening up your home to us. This is going to be the best IKEA hack of ALL TIME!!! I’m in awe at what a difference the ceiling detail and crown make????. Absolutely glorious!!!!

  9. Jenna says:

    Well! That ceiling just inspired me! I had no idea it would be such a quick and easy project. I have been dying to get rid of our popcorn ceiling but the mess keeps deterring me from taking it on. New plan is to cover it up!

  10. This is incredibly satisfying — I can’t wait to see it with paint, and I’m sure you guys feel the same way!

  11. Janet says:

    Love the look! Did you run it horizontally across the room to give less seams and/or to contrast with the floor? I really struggle with orientation!

  12. Merry says:

    I can’t wait to see this painted! I’m guessing it’s going to be wildly good ❤️

  13. Sarah says:

    I love watching this project unfold! Will you be painting the ceiling the same color as the cabinets?

  14. Michelle says:

    Where’d you get your shiplap? It looks beautiful!!

  15. Lisa says:

    This is going to be such a great space! Can’t wait to see it painted.

  16. Hannah says:

    Thanks for this tutorial! These ceilings are absolutely beautiful! We’re considering putting a type of planking in an unfinished space in our basement, so it is timely. At this point, our ceiling is just studs with insulation between them. With this type of shiplap, I see that there’s a little bit of a true lap (which would hopefully prevent insulation seepage), so would you see any reason to add drywall on the ceiling under the shiplap?

  17. Emily says:

    I am just obsessed with this project. Is it the IKEA hack, the DIY, the accent ceiling? It’s all just so good. I *think* I know the look you are going for with the paint….but I know it will still blow my mind. And I’m ready.

  18. Mara says:

    Why did you stop the crown short on the back wall?

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