Skip to Content

How to Install Tongue and Groove Ceiling Planks – it’s so simple!

Save & Share!

We may earn a commission on purchases made after clicking links on this page.

Does your “Before” ceiling look better than ours? 😂
Yeesh. I hope so.

by Ed

Since our closet turned basement bathroom was featured in February’s Better Homes and Gardens magazine we’ve had questions about how to install tongue and groove ceiling planks. 

How had we not shared this before?! It’s simple, classic and beautiful.

Such sad omission because a tongue groove ceiling is a really easy ceiling to install anywhere.

We did this one in our low ceiling basement, but it really could be done anywhere – anyone want to hide a popcorn ceiling?

How to Install Tongue and Groove Ceiling Planks


Tongue and Groove Ceiling Materials List:

Step by Step: How to install tongue and groove ceiling

Step 1: Choose the best side to start


Begin at a wall that is square and will provide a good foundation point for working from.

Step 2: Set your first board as perfectly as possible

Cut your first board to length and nail in place with the groove facing the wall and the tongue facing out.

Nail close to the wall on the groove side (Crown mould will hide this nail) and on the V-groove part of the tongue side. 

Step 3: Nail on the tongues

Cut and position the next board.

Carefully work the tongue into the groove and, again, nail along the V-groove side near the tongue.

You will now only need to nail on the tongue side, as the groove will be held in place by the previous board.
Two down, lots more to go!

It actually goes pretty fast and the payoff is great.

Step 4: Cut around objects in ceiling (lights, fans, etc)

Carefully cut around any ceiling fans, pot lights etc as you work across the room.

Add in extra backing pieces between joists if needed for nailing.   

In another style of room these natural wood ceiling planks would look pretty, too.

Step 5: Cover edges with crown moulding

Add crown mould or any finish detail as desired. This hides a few nails and finishes things off nicely.

Step 6: Fill and caulk any holes or gaps – then paint

Fill any nail holes that are not covered. Prime and Paint the ceiling and trim. Consider using two coats of primer on any knots.
Caulk any seams that show a gap (if desired)
Caulk any spaces that show up between the crown mould and the ceiling for a finished look. Done!

So how did it all turn out? Here it is! Our DIY tongue and groove ceiling…

how to install tongue and groove ceiling planks

Here are all the details for our Closet to Basement Bathroom Room Makeover…

beforeandafterbasementbathroomfromclosetDIYnoroughin 1
You can fit a new bathroom anywhere – and it can look beautiful! We’ve done it.
Below are all our how-to tutorials.

This is just one of our DIY low basement ceiling ideas! Check them all out here.

Save & Share!


Tuesday 24th of January 2023

Love this idea, but how do you access anything if the ceiling (if needed)?


Friday 27th of January 2023

Glad you like it, Shannon! In this part of our basement we don't have anything we need to access above this ceiling, so it's aok. :)

Tongue And Groove Plank Ceiling | Stunning Ceiling Design Ideas - Best Ceiling Decor & Painting

Friday 17th of July 2020

[…] Download Image More @ […]

Stephen A Justin

Monday 13th of July 2020

Your ceiling looks great! I did my master bath ceiling to cover the mushy looking popcorn, but i chose to go with "car siding". At half the cost of the premium tongue and groove. You just have to sort through the boards a bit to get the better of the lot. They come in a variety of lengths, from 6' to 14' at my big box stores.


Wednesday 8th of July 2020

Beautiful and very crisp, contemporary, and quite ingenious. Thank you for sharing.


Wednesday 8th of July 2020

Thanks so much, Melinda! You’re kind to leave this message. :)


Wednesday 8th of July 2020

Love it!! Great job!


Wednesday 8th of July 2020

Thanks so much, Debbie! :)