Asked on Mar 24, 2015

Paneling/flooring on a ceiling: Good or bad idea?

Has anyone used paneling or appropriate flooring on a ceiling?
After a plumbing disaster upstairs, we had to remove our plaster and lathe dining room ceiling in our 1916 house. Some of the exposed rafters were cracked and damaged, so Handy Hubby repaired the damage by sistering in new beams. He then had to level each rafter/beam to each other so he could put up drywall. After an injury, he can't jockey the 4x8 or 4x12 drywall up to the ceiling, so we're considering using beadboard paneling strips or some sort of flooring that will go up in sections.
The beadboard will give the room a farmhouse country look, which I like. Need to know, however, about any tips, tricks, or advice anyone might have.
Dining room post leak upstairs with rafter repair and leveling.
  37 answers
  • Angelina Angelina on Mar 24, 2015
    Great opportunity to do it! It will look amazing.
  • Martha Martha on Mar 24, 2015
    I saw an idea on Pinterest that I plan to try on my sunroom ceiling. Cut "boards" from sheets of plywood and nail up. I will paint them first to save overhead labor.
  • Karla Karla on Mar 24, 2015
    My daughter and son -in-law put tongue and groove flooring on their kitchen ceiling, is beautiful. They stained and polyurethaned it prior to installing.
  • 1451299365 1451299365 on Mar 24, 2015
    I have tongue and groove on the ceilings of 4 rooms. I love it.
  • Lee Cunningham Green Lee Cunningham Green on Mar 24, 2015
    If it is a nice looking panel/ wood it will look good and there are so many ways to go depending what the over all look is you are going for. From country, to rustic, to spa, to even quite elaborate. I think it is always beneficial to think outside the box . Have fun and express your self in your space !
  • Moxie Moxie on Mar 24, 2015
    Sry to read you had such an horrible plumbing deal, never fun, and sry your hubby got hurt : ( I luv the idea of the ceiling alternative and it is very popular. Be sure you get real wood backing if you use flooring materials..some are too flimsy to span without sagging..the ones that are not are a bit salty but you may find something in between. I put some on my bathroom wall and it is amazing. Good luck!
  • Adrianne C Adrianne C on Mar 25, 2015
    I put up white wood paneling in one of my rooms, turned out nice!
    • Adrianne C Adrianne C on Mar 29, 2015
      @Adrianne C The thing about the wood paneling, is if you do have a leak, the wood is very forgiving, and doesn't get damaged as easily.
  • Ruth  Nederlk Ruth Nederlk on Mar 25, 2015
    That sounds like a good idea. Would you use poly treated so it wouldn't have to be painted and just wiped over if needed?
  • Didier Chevallier Didier Chevallier on Mar 25, 2015
    bien sur tres bonne idée - vous pouvez meme prevoir plusieurs eclairages dans votre realisation - pensez y et reflechissez egalement a la finition de votre plafond - vous pouvez utiliser une lasure blanche ou blanc cassé - bon courage
    • See 2 previous
    • Didier Chevallier Didier Chevallier on Mar 25, 2015
      contrairement a beaucoup de français j'aime l'amerique - votre français est un tres bon debut - je ne connais pas l'indiana - je suis classique pour le moment - new york - san francisco et los angeles - et grand sud ouest bien sur - californie- nevada - utha - colorado nouveau mexique et arizona -j'habite le sud est de la france entre st tropez et les gorges du verdon non loin du dernier crash aerien - le colorado ressemble beaucoup a la provence - sedona en arizona egalement - bonne journée - didier
  • Andrea Skrip-Evans Andrea Skrip-Evans on Mar 25, 2015
    above I sent link showing many pics of tongue/groove ceilings. Yes, great idea to stain, paint, varnish before application! I had installed a few of these ceilings as trim carpenter in FLA.
  • Phil Thompson Phil Thompson on Mar 25, 2015
    My only thought is, if you had another leak, ac problem, ore wiring problem, how hard would it be to take down?
    • See 1 previous
    • Susan Bechamp Susan Bechamp on Sep 29, 2015
      Build a coffered ceiling and use hinges on the flat portions under plumbing lines. Make sure no light fixtures run into a hinged panel.
  • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on Mar 25, 2015
    I was thinking about the weight of the wood flooring on the ceiling. You may also want to consider ceiling tiles. They may be easier to install. My husband used 1/4" plywood by himself (I was not available at that time) to have a backing for the tile that followed.
  • Thebakers47 Thebakers47 on Mar 25, 2015
    If the problem is just the lifting the drywall to the ceiling, rent a drywall lift. Tool rental places have them. We're used them, their great. Weekly cost isn't a lot. It's so easy you may only need it a day.
  • Linda Hunt Linda Hunt on Mar 25, 2015
    We have also done tongue and groove in one room and liked the look to much we did another. Do your treatment first if you choose one!!!!!!! We have since seen barn board and board and batten also done. All of them fit into the room styles seamlessly and so easy to care for too!!!!! Beadbourd sounds like less work if your hubby has a bad back now. BTW hubby had back surgery and the most valuable advice his surgeon told him he should heed is back exercises EVERY weekday for the rest of his life if he wanted to keep a healthy back and good mobility into the golden years. Apparently many people ignore this to their detriment. Good luck and post us a pic if you choose a wood treatment. Sorry to sound bossy about the back!!!!
    • Susan-Amber Springer Susan-Amber Springer on Mar 25, 2015
      @Linda Hunt Don't worry about being bad-back bossy! Maybe he'll listen to you...sure doesn't listen to me all the time! ;)
  • Ims1400622 Ims1400622 on Mar 25, 2015
    My whole house has wood plank ceilings above the exposed rafters with 4 to 6 inch trip below ceiling and a lot of the rooms have paneling half way up. Yes, my house has a lot of wood, but I love it.
  • Lori Benner Lori Benner on Mar 25, 2015
    We've had tongue-n-groove flooring on our vaulted l.r. ceiling for over 25 years. We only polyurethane d it, but it is so warm and homey.
  • Kathy Kathy on Mar 25, 2015
    We just put tongue and groove in new sunroom add on. Bought the wood already preprimed and we painted. Looks good.
  • MikkiGirl MikkiGirl on Mar 25, 2015
    If you're looking for something that's inexpensive, how about pallet wood? It can be stained or painted and won't be a huge expense if you would happen to have another leak or have to remove part of it for any reason.
  • Ruth  Nederlk Ruth Nederlk on Mar 26, 2015
    I really like this idea. We had a leak one time in kitchen and husband put up drop ceiling white and as time went by needed painting I had to do this and it was a big pain, Had to remove each tile take down and return to space it belonged in. Can't do anymore. Big mistake!
  • Pamela Langone Pamela Langone on Mar 29, 2015
    I put bead board panels on my ceiling please look at my site at my finished fireplace it shows my ceiling
  • Brenda Brenda on Apr 06, 2015
    My hubby put knotty pine on the ceiling in our bathroom about 12 yrs ago I'm ready to change everything else in the room. But that STAYS!!! Best wishes to ur husband and his back.
  • Karen Coulas Karen Coulas on May 19, 2016
    Armstrong carries a product called ceiling planking. It is prefinished and made for putting on strapping or drywall. I bought it in white and love it. Not that costly.
  • Connie Hoge Connie Hoge on May 25, 2016
    I grew up in a big ol' summer cottage that had been winterized. All the 2nd story walls and ceilings were beadboard. They were pine, I think, and tongue-in-groove, two strips wide. That would be bead, flat, bead, flat. Does that make sense? So maybe 4" wide? They were all just stained. When we painted my little brothers room orange it took 3 coats.
  • Tammyraejones Tammyraejones on Sep 07, 2016
    We placed the bead board panels up in our last house - they are heavy and hard to hold up- but it looked amazing ! In our current home we bought the tongue and grove bead board planks and flipped them over and used the plank side and put in our kitchen-dining room - utility room and foyer! Patience is needed & 2 of you need to be on step stools and work in unison. DO not prime prior to installing! Some of the tongue and grove will not fit & makes it stressful! Look for the good wood planks when you are buying them. We just did it on the days we were off together and it went really quick!
  • Michael Cook Michael Cook on Nov 13, 2016
    I've seen people use mini orb the smaller version of corrugated iron,either one works ok, plus its reasonably cheap and comes in different colours, or have a zinc aluminum finish.
  • UpState UpState on Jan 09, 2017

    Simple paneling (60's/70's style)....easy up & easy down. If it gets ruined, it's an easy and inexpensive fix. Relatively light to work with and secure.

    Almost exactly like the 'soup-of-the-day' ..... 'ship-lap'.

  • Sue Kiene Sue Kiene on Jan 10, 2017

    As a Realtor I would not advise putting up paneling. To me in most cases it looks cheap. It also tends to be rather saggy over time. There is some expensive paneling that would be ok but it is fairly heavy. I think that most drop ceilings are the same (cheap looking). The beadboard is ok but I would think rather heavy to put up. I think I would go with some kind of planking. One thing to think about is they make a (not sure what it is called) drywall jack that will allow the entire sheet of whatever you decide to be taken and put up in place for securing with minimal handling. Using pallet board as one person suggested could be interesting or even some rough sawn cedar. Not sure how large your dining room is but maybe go to a home improvement place and look at the siding accessories in vinyl. They make polymer boards and other items that could be very cool as a ceiling.

  • Nancy Nancy on Jan 10, 2017

    Get the right type of breadboard. DO NOT use flooring or paneling. It will bow or sag after time. So if you have to do all that work, choose the right product.

  • Eroque022810 Eroque022810 on Jan 15, 2017

    They rent a machine that you can place drywall on and the raise to ceiling and screw in at big box store like home depth and Menard or lowes. Ask them because paneling will still need to be nailed in to something sturdy and while ceiling is open you may want to insulate it in a house that age it would really help.

    • Susan-Amber Springer Susan-Amber Springer on Jan 16, 2017

      We finally called it quits and got the drywall jack as suggested. We're also thinking of using textured wallpaper (beadboard pattern) on the ceiling...

  • Dale Curtis Dale Curtis on Jan 25, 2017

    Yes, my wife's uncle did it in a beautiful old home in San Antonio. It was one of my favorite features.

  • Shirley Shirley on Feb 05, 2017

    We built our home 7 years ago after we torn down some very old buildings. We used tongue & groove 100+ year old pine boards for our ceilings in over half of our home. We cleaned them, ran them though a planer and then I just sealed them before my husband put them up. They are the highlight of our home, that and the pre-Civil War beams we used as a mantle and support beam in my kitchen. I say go for it, if you get a leak you do not have to worry about replacing Sheetrock. Good luck!

  • Susan-Amber Springer Susan-Amber Springer on Feb 10, 2017

    Thank you, very very much, for reusing old materials! Entirely too often I've seen projects "brand-new" instead of green oriented, as well as useful materials being burned or otherwise tossed away. Makes my heart break.

    Due to other issues, we've now decided to go sheet rock, more's the pity. However you have raised a topic for us to discuss, as we're also removing the red pine flooring in the attic. We thought about planing the lumber and reusing it for the walls up there, but...maybe the kitchen? Hmmm.

    Thanks again!

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jan 05, 2023

    What ever you choose to have done, have it done for you by professionals. It is not worth damaging your health for a ceiling!

  • Mogie Mogie on Feb 07, 2024

    Some buildings require materials to be incredibly fire resistant, making wood a potential no-go for your facade. This is especially true in multi-story or multi-family housing, where fire spread could be catastrophic.

    Additionally, wood is the food of choice for a number of common pests. Since wood is an organic material, some insects and animals will use your wood ceilings as food or nest-making materials.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Feb 13, 2024

    We have tongue and groove on our porch ceiling and I love it, as long as there are no leaks, you should be fine. As always, be sure it is up to code.