Shiplap Ceiling Tutorial To Cover Textured or Popcorn Ceilings

13 Materials
2 Days

Do you have heavily textured or popcorn ceilings and you don’t want the hassle of removing it? Learn how to install shiplap on your ceiling!

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Before Pictures

Installing shiplap is a great way to give a room a little boost. After we completed this project, we marveled at how much brighter and bigger the room seemed! 

Step 1. Remove everything from the ceiling.

Start by removing fixtures from your ceiling, including lights, chandeliers, air vents, and anything else that is attached to your ceiling. 

Step 2. Locate the ceiling joists.

Before you begin nailing, find the ceiling joists with a stud finder.

Step 3. Attach the shiplap planks.

Instead of joists, we had sheets of plywood right above our ceiling, so we were able to nail right into the plywood which worked perfectly.

Ideally, the joists and planks should run perpendicular to each other.

After attaching the furring strips into the joists, you can nail the planks directly into the furring strips.

As you begin nailing, make sure you are holding your nail gun at a 45 degree angle. This will prevent the planks from shifting against the other boards and straining the enforcements above.

Using a hole cutter for the circular cuts and a multi-tool for the straight cuts, we cut along the markings so we could easily reattach our fixtures and vents over the shiplap ceiling.

Step 4. Sew things up with caulk and spackle.

Now that your shiplap planks are in place, it’s time to caulk and spackle.

First, apply caulk in a small bead, along the edges of the room. Then, smooth with your finger to create a seal between the walls and ceiling planks.

Keep in mind that paint touch ups along the wall may be necessary after caulking. For this project, we planned on painting the entire room, so the messy caulk smears weren’t a major concern for us.

If you wanted to make sure your lines were clean, you could apply painter’s tape to the wall first and then remove the tape after you’re done caulking.

Spackle the nail holes using a putty knife, sand to smooth, and then you are ready to paint.

5. Complete the project 

For all of our ceilings, we use Behr’s Flat White ceiling paint, but you can use any color of your choice. Roll on the paint in the directions of the planks. 

If you find the paint is running between the shiplap planks, run a screwdriver along edges between the planks while the paint is still wet.

As you are painting, be mindful of “bumping” the walls with your roller. For this reason, it’s a good idea to “cut” into the ceiling with a paint brush, painting about an inch or two into the ceiling planks and away from the walls. We use an angeled paint brush for this.

After the ceiling is painted and dried, replace your light fixtures and vent covers, and enjoy a beautiful and bright new look!

Updating aging ceilings doesn’t have to break the bank! Installing shiplap over textured ceilings is a great way to skip scraping and will give your home an updated look that you can be proud of.

If you love this DIY,  check out all of my DIY wood projects tutorials in the archive here!

Affordable Home Upgrades

Explore additional gorgeous and budget-friendly home updates in our comprehensive article on Home Improvements That Look Like They Cost Thousands.

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Chelsea @ Making Manzanita
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Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 41 questions
  • Hope Hope on Oct 26, 2022


    I think your ceilings turned out GREAT!!

    Were you able to do every room in your house for $500.00 in materials or did you just do a couple of rooms or...?

  • Michael Michael on Nov 10, 2022

    How wide are the Planks?

  • Michelle Donohoe Meldrum Michelle Donohoe Meldrum on Feb 19, 2023

    What would you do at the end of the plank if your room is wider or longer than the plank size? Thanks!

Join the conversation
3 of 172 comments
  • Yes they are 20x20 and you glue them up with good glue that sticks fast (not superglue!) They've been up for 2 yrs now we have them in the master bath and shower too! They come in many colors on amazon! Search styrofoam ceiling tiles mine are copper and so pretty!

    • Kimzbizz Kimzbizz on May 25, 2023

      Do you know if they would work onreally heavy popcorn ceilings?

  • Yes, go on Amazon and check out the reviews! Look up Styrofoam ceiling tiles, so many pretty ones to choose from! The 20x20 or larger go up fast. If they don't have a color you like buy white and paint before installing.