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How to Install a Very Simple Shiplap Ceiling

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shiplap ceiling to cover ugly

by Robin

This shiplap ceiling was so easy to do, we weren’t even planning to write up the tutorial.  But after we shared our post about how to make a faux beam that we made look like reclaimed wood – readers started asking us how we did the shiplap ceiling, too.

(Many people have asked where to get this gorgeous ceiling fan – it’s here.)

So here you go – a very simple tutorial for a very simple ceiling treatment!

We have so many projects to show you from our Mobile Home Makeover.  We’ve finally solved the worst of the problems:

It feels fabulous to finally be working on the prettier parts that are infinitely more fun to share.

We haven’t talked much about our bunkie – which is weird because it’s one of our favourite features of our weekend getaway!  We’ve barely even shown you pictures of the place.

You may have caught a glimpse of it in our recent post about how we transformed our totally tacky shed.

log cabin bunkie and farmhouse shed makeover
There’s the bunkie! It’s got an adorable little porch that is begging me for a rocking chair. 

(You won’t believe how this shed looked before – so tragic.)

The bunkie is really adorable. It’s a tiny log cabin – just big enough for a double bed with a cedar chest for a nightstand/storage.

We use it for overflow sleeping when we have extra visitors – usually, it’s our daughter and her friends.  (And Ed and I have been known to sneak out here on rainy days if the mobile home is overrun with noisy kids.)

log cabin bunkie with shiplap ceiling
I never thought I’d own antlers! 
A surprising benefit of having antlers is it’s a great place to dry your paint rollers. 😜

Enough blah blah about the bunkie! 

Here’s what we promised – how we installed our simple shiplap ceiling:

Step 1: Demo your old ceiling and insulate as needed

ugly to be covered with shiplap ceiling
The true BEFORE of this bunkie is so much worse than this!  (You can see some of it here – I’ll spare you the menacing picture of Ed and the gross reason we tore down the ceiling in the first place.)   
What you see here is the ceiling prepped: we’ve cleaned it up and put insulation between the joists.

Step 2: Choose your Shiplap Ceiling Materials

DIY shiplap ceiling boards
We looked at a few products and settled on this one.  We liked the broad proportion of the 1X8″ boards plus these boards are reversible – one side is smooth and the other side more rustic and rough.       

We knew we were going to build and install a rustic beam and the bunkie has rough wood walls, so we chose the smooth side for contrast.
choosing best boards for shiplap ceiling DIY
Choose your boards carefully. Look at all the edges to make sure they’re not damaged. Look at the knots to make sure they aren’t too lose or falling out.     

Step 3: Prime Your Boards

You’ll also notice that we primed our boards first.  Consider doing this – it’s much faster to do them outside where you have space and don’t have to hold your arms up over your head.  You can be so much less tidy which equals speed!

Step 4: Install Your First Board PERFECTLY

shiplap ceiling how to start
Installing the first board takes the longest.  Just shy of FOREVER.      

But the reason it takes so long is because it’s essential to get it perfect.  If your first board isn’t straight and level your whole ceiling will be wonky and will look awful.
shiplap ceiling DIY first board
Double and triple check that your first board is level. 

Step 5: Nail Your Boards in Place

shiplap ceiling nail in place

Nail your board in place along the corners and joists.  A couple of nails in each joist should be plenty.

shiplap ceiling before and after
Continue working your way up the ceiling.  It won’t take nearly as long as that first board.   
Repeat the process on the other side.

(Note: wearing your father-in-law’s hand me down shirt is rarely flattering. In case you were wondering…)

Step 6: Cover Roof Peak with Wood Faux Beam (full tutorial here)

easy shiplap ceiling how to finish before beam
Almost done!  With the shiplap ceiling in place, we were ready to make  faux beam from wood.   
You can see all the details on that here.
finished shiplap ceiling with wood faux beam
Ta da!  

To compliment our shiplap ceiling we chose this affordable outdoor ceiling fan – it’s so good!
finished shiplap ceiling with faux beam and ceiling fan

We’ve got more projects from our Mobile Home Makeover for you to enjoy!  Check them – including the story behind this unique property – here. 

We’ve got lots of DIY Ceiling Ideas, find them all here

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Lynn Spencer

Thursday 23rd of July 2020

You always have such great tutorials and this is no exception! Thanks for the clear instructions.



Thursday 23rd of July 2020

Thanks so much, Lynn! You're so sweet to comment. :)

Valerie Haumont

Friday 17th of July 2020

This is misleading. You don't show how you made the sides with the router.


Saturday 18th of July 2020

Nope. Not misleading at all. The product we used already has the sides with the grooves: You can see this in the photos.