Asked on Jul 22, 2014

How can I finish my back porch ceiling in an inexpensive way?

I can see my porch ceiling from the windows in our house and it does not look very nice. I don't want to spend a lot of money. I also have a toddler so I don't have much time but I would like to do it on my own.
  75 answers
  • Z Z on Jul 22, 2014
    I would just paint it. You can always dress it up later. I'm not sure how you would attach it, but anaglypta, paintable wallpaper, in beadboard between the beams would look great too. Staining it is another option, but wouldn't hide the strandboard as much as paint would.
  • Cori Warner Cori Warner on Jul 22, 2014
    What about just attaching beadboard panels? A 4ft x 8ft is about $20.00. If your 2x4s are a standard 16" apart, it looks like you will need 10 or so. You could get the whole thing done for a few hundred dollars.
  • Teresa Schroepfer Teresa Schroepfer on Jul 22, 2014
    My parents have one of these just like it. With a little help the metal wavy sheets they use for roofs on barns, etc. looks good and it reflects light. You can also put insulation up between and it really helps with heat bearing down. Good luck
  • Cori Warner Cori Warner on Jul 22, 2014
    lol, just below your question in my feed was this post: This person used lattice on her porch ceiling.
  • Mikell Paulson Mikell Paulson on Jul 22, 2014
    I used pine!
  • Charlotte Belange Charlotte Belange on Jul 22, 2014
    beadboard,or cheap paneling, the wavy sheets. you will need long enough nails,and screws. I would put in the insulation before you cover it. you will have to add it now/ later later it may cost more. Char B YELM,WA
  • Sheryll S Sheryll S on Jul 23, 2014
    I would just paint it. I think that would look great, really great and definitely the cheapest way.
  • Sheryll S Sheryll S on Jul 23, 2014
    @Cori Warner, that is a cute idea too..... lattice is nice and if you do not paint it would be as cheap as paint. With lattice you need a good, strong helper to hold it up while you drill and screw it up....... paint can be done alone. I really like the lattice... and would do it if I had a helper.
  • Hope Williams Hope Williams on Jul 23, 2014
    There is an option of up cycling pallets. They give a rustic look and feel. Using varied stains, it will look like wood flooring. I've seen this in person and it was awesome visually and cheap. Hardest part is taking apart the pallets. Have fun and be creative!
  • Rochelle Rochelle on Jul 23, 2014
    Primer and paint, then maybe to dress it uniquely - every few sections put tacky shelf paper, the decorative kind, should be water proof and would give it an unique-ness:)
  • Barbara Barbara on Jul 23, 2014
    A few pcs of 4x8' lattice work. Could use unfinished pcs or use white acrylic.
  • Debbi W Debbi W on Jul 23, 2014
    I just painted mine, Behr deck and wood stain in a solid, from Home Depot. one coat ,great coverage, less time and work they have a nice color selection.
  • Beckwith Campbell Beckwith Campbell on Jul 23, 2014
    Skip the lattice or paneling....both are flimsy. For now, paint it a pretty color...something OTHER than a pretty blue or "frosted berry" color. Don't paint it to make it go away, paint it to make it pretty! Believe it or not, chip board (the roof decking) CAN be pretty painted. Make sure you use a good exterior primer! Eventually, when you can afford it, you can get an exterior "tung and groove" material that can be used to cover it...and then paint that a pretty color. You can soften the posts by hanging "mosquito" netting curtain panels on each side of each post and then tied off with a ribbon...maybe burlap. The mosquito netting is weather resistant, and honestly you wouldn't even have to hem it. I just made my son a mosquito net for his hammock and it does not fray....found ours at a fabric store (Hancock's) and got it for less than $3 a yard with a 50% off coupon!
  • Deborah Hilbourn Deborah Hilbourn on Jul 23, 2014
    Another easy and relatively inexpensive but very pretty idea- is the faux copper or tin look thermoplastic pieces you can get at a Lowes or Home Depot. Youmay even be bale to find a close out style or design. the just get nailed in and glued into place.
  • I dont' think the bead board would work because the porch was not constructed very well and it is not very square. Do you have any suggestions on how to paint it without making a mess? I could put drop cloths down. I was thinking a blue. Should I paint the beams too? If I use a roller on a stick I will get it on the sides. I can paint the sides too.
  • LJ Elliott LJ Elliott on Jul 23, 2014
    Paint or stain....lattice is nice, but you have to keep in mind...spider webs, wasp nest, can"t get to any of that to keep clean.
  • Kelly S Kelly S on Jul 23, 2014
    We put recessed lights and beadboard on ours and painted it white to match the trim. You can cut the beadboard to size and you can run it lengthwise like we did or crosswise. We used caulk to seal the seams so wasps and yellow jackets didn't get in there. The we used screen stop to hide the caulk and nails.
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    • Kelly S Kelly S on Jul 23, 2014
      @Rod Watkins , we used unpainted beadboard, primed and painted 2 coats before we cut and installed it. the same with the screen stop. After all the nails were recessed and caulked we put on a third coat over the joints. It's a whole lot easier on my neck and back to do the majority of the painting with the beadboard on saw horses that in the overhead. I paint and my husband cuts and attaches. We used screws to hold the beadboard and a brad nailer for the screen stop and trim.
  • Kim Kim on Jul 23, 2014
    It would look lovely just painted in a nice very pale blue.
  • Kelly S Kelly S on Jul 23, 2014
    If you choose not to enclose the beams and ends then just put drop clothes down and use a ladder to get the beams with a brush or use a small roller on a pole for the beams and use a wider roller on the rest of it. You could use a solid stain or paint, just be sure to outdoor products.
  • Dorleen Dorleen on Jul 23, 2014
    How about burlap? Inexpensive and it would give kind of a rustic look.
  • I used drop clothes as curtain and they got all moldy in one year. I put them in the wash and they fell apart. So I am afraid to use fabric on the ceiling.
  • Nancy Cole Phy Nancy Cole Phy on Jul 23, 2014
    How about using inexpensive bamboo curtains. You can staple them up very quickly and you can paint them before you put them up.
  • Linda Linda on Jul 23, 2014
    I do know this for a fact because we did it! Always paint the underneath of any porch no matter the size a light, DOES keep yellow jackets from building their nests under there. I heard they think it is the sky and there for can't build. What ever their reasons IT WORKS!!!
    • Barbara Turner Barbara Turner on Jul 23, 2014
      @Linda - Yep, this sky thing sounds right because our's is gray and every once in a while a wasp will try to build a nest but I just shoot it with the Hornet spray and that pretty much takes care of it. You do want to be careful with whatever you do with it because I was walking by our house on the driveway side and happened to look up and what did I see? A gaping hole that some woodpecker or critter aka squirrel has chewed a 4 in. diameter hole in the wood on the end of the eave! Pretty much anything could get in it but I sprayed some Ortho home perimeter pretty good up into it and nothing came out so my husband's gonna take a look at it and see if it'll be an easy fix! Critters! UGH! LOL
  • Letitia Letitia on Jul 23, 2014
    Had the same dilemma. I painted mine then stenciled the ceiling and the beams. I finished it with a very light "antique wash" It took a while but was well worth it.
  • Janet Janet on Jul 23, 2014
    Some places have "Oops" paint for a fraction of the price.......I like the blue color idea....if the oops paint isn't the right color for you you may be able to tint some of them also.
  • Mags Mags on Jul 23, 2014
    Something fast & expensive ..... Use bamboo fencing that's in the garden shop. You can buy it in 50 or 100 ft lengthens.
  • Irish53 Irish53 on Jul 23, 2014
    I would paint the beams a contrasting color. They are there so why not make them a part of the decor ? Can always just add a bit of darker paint tube to the left over paint from the rest of the ceiling.
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    • Irish53 Irish53 on Jul 23, 2014
      @Kelly S It is only a quick temporary solution for now but why not have the same quality to your work? Blue is a good color because has the bugs thinking it is the sky so they don't hang around. You can also add white if you want the beams too be a lighter color instead.
  • Susansaw Susansaw on Jul 23, 2014
    Why not make the beams look like "beams" in a log home by staining them, then paint the ceiling part in a light color. If you have someone around who is handy with a saw you could use the beadboard lengthwise and just have them rip it to size then glue/nail up in the spaces. But staining and painting would be less expensive if cost is an issue.
  • Elise Carow Elise Carow on Jul 23, 2014
    Paint the ceiling a sky blue, and be ambitious & paint the rafters white.
  • April E April E on Jul 23, 2014
    recycled pallet lumber you can find free pallets on craigs list
  • Thank you for all your amazing responses! I have decided I want to paint with light blue paint. Now I just have to figure out how I will make it look nice and clean without going crazy! :) I have a ladder but there is an overhang on the two sides.
  • Jody D Jody D on Jul 23, 2014
    Go to the lumber yard and ask for scabs....these are the cut ends with the bark still on them, You could lay them so many different ways and they would look awesome... like a log cabin. My neighbor built a fence from them and it looks really good........and they they were free... only problem is the cutting nailing might be an issue with a toddler
  • Karen608 Karen608 on Jul 23, 2014
    Sky blue paint will discourage wasps from nesting... old timer's trick that helps homeowners!
  • Debra Esposito Debra Esposito on Jul 23, 2014
    Haint blue is a traditional color for porch ceilings down south. Haint comes from the word haunt, and it was thought that the color would ward away evil spirits! Look up "haint blue", it is interesting.
  • Donna J Donna J on Jul 23, 2014
    We added a back porch two years ago. The contractor knew we wanted the ceiling exposed showing the beams and we wanted it painted. He used the cheapest board for the ceiling so we had a hard time getting the paint to show. We eventually had to apply an expensive primer and then the paint. The ceiling was painted to match the house siding and the beams are the color of our house trim. I like the sky blue idea too. I've seen it in several magazines. Whatever you decide you might want to apply a primer first so you won't have to do the job over and over. Good luck!
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  • Funnygirl Funnygirl on Jul 23, 2014
    Love a blue ceiling with white rafters.You can now buy paint with primer.
  • Dana O'Neill Studer Dana O'Neill Studer on Jul 24, 2014
    Cut wainscotting and put it between the beams. Its very inexpensive. You buy it in a big sheet like paneling. You can buy it in a white finish or you can paint it another color.
    • Hope Williams Hope Williams on Jul 24, 2014
      If I'm not mistaken, the white color you are referring to is a primer coat only.
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Jul 24, 2014
    Whatever color paint you use, be sure and use a good primer! It will make a difference and make the job go smoother...better results!
  • Joan Curtis Joan Curtis on Jul 24, 2014
    paint it, cloth it, tack up corrugated metal, fill it with string lights, tack up fake grape vines, cover with postcards or glue up seashells, pine cones..........................................
  • Debbi W Debbi W on Jul 24, 2014
    In answer to your question, Yes,one coat coverage and they do have a pretty light blue too or they also can mix a white to the color of blue you want. Have fun!
  • Brenda Taft Brenda Taft on Jul 24, 2014
    I used upholstery tacks and burlap. Looks country
  • Cheryl Porter Cheryl Porter on Jul 24, 2014
    Search "painted ceilings" and "painted porch ceilings" over on Pinterest. There is a southern tradition of painting them a certain pretty shade of blue. It is supposed to keep the flying bugs away, besides being pretty to look at.
  • Sheryll S Sheryll S on Jul 26, 2014
    Please let us know what you choose and do with it. I personally love it with the boards showing, just spend the money on a primer. Did you know you can tint your primer to match your paint color?????? I don't, because I can't afford to buy primer just in one color..... so have a gallon of primer in the whitest white.
  • Sheryll S Sheryll S on Jul 26, 2014
    Oh gosh, I missed where you said you were going with light blue till just now. Wonderful choice in my opinion. Very southern style. And please be careful. I wish I could help you, but you are too far away. Ladders and me = scared.
    • @Sheryll S Thank you for offering! We live in PA but I like the idea of the light blue. I think I will just get a light blue with primer. This won't be fun to do but I think it will look great when it is finished.
  • Therese C Therese C on Jul 27, 2014
    Another idea is to contact a flight school near you and find out if you can purchase a used sky blue parachute. (they generally do not charge too much) and do a draped ceiling on the porch. All you need is the parachute..cut it to size double what you need, and staple it up!
  • Jill Valeri Jill Valeri on Jul 28, 2014
    If you paint these boards you will likely still see the texture. If that doesn't bother you then you should go ahead but definitely use a primer like Killz to cover the printed words or they will bleed through. Another idea would be to buy white garden lattice sheets and nail them to the beams. You could string lights above it in the gaps or weave them through the lattice. If you buy the plastic lattice it will be easy to keep clean and won't rot. Good luck!
  • Purchase vinyl soffit material and nail it up. It cuts with a sharp scissors and attaches with roofing nails. Purchase J channel to go all the way around and simply place the panels in the channel after cutting them to size. It is an easy project and will look great for years.
  • I started with the beam today. I chose an outdoor blue paint with primer. A slow process but less expensive than other options. I also have time while my daughter naps.
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    • Change of Art Change of Art on Jan 23, 2015
      @Lisa @ 50 Things to Know Life Looks like a pretty blue – bet this will look great when you're done.
  • Charlotte Belange Charlotte Belange on Jul 29, 2014
    pictures please Char
  • Jen R Jen R on Jul 30, 2014
    I know you've already started, but wanted to add my 2 cents. We had an UGLY porch ceiling that had some previous water damage that was repaired poorly - painting wasn't an option for us. We ended up buying bamboo fencing and stapled it up. We then bought some quarter round to finish the edges. I unfortunately didn't take any photos, and we've since moved. I think the project only cost about $150. Not uber cheap, but on the low end. Good luck with painting and look forward to seeing photos of the finished product.
  • Susan H Susan H on Jul 31, 2014
    We put up something called smart board. It looks like a textured wood panel.It can easily be painted any color.
  • Karen Buskist Karen Buskist on Jul 31, 2014
    Jen~ I just bought bamboo fencing to cover under our new metal roof. Wish me luck!
    • Jen R Jen R on Aug 04, 2014
      @Karen Buskist Good luck!!! I loved the look, hope you do too. Looking forward to seeing some photos when you're finished.
  • Debra Darcy Debra Darcy on Aug 03, 2014
  • The Chirping Frog The Chirping Frog on Sep 30, 2014
    you could go to Home Depot in the gardening section (ours is outside) and buy the bamboo "screen" they carry and staple it up. Or use simply 4x8 sheets of plywood that could be painted/stained.... or simply paint what you have all the same color... all woud be economical and all would look nice.
  • Junebugtx Junebugtx on Sep 17, 2015
    Corrugated metal roofing from Home Depot or Lowes is pretty inexpensive, no maintenance and looks good on a ceiling.
  • Jonnie Hammon Jonnie Hammon on Oct 06, 2015
    Painting it is the least expensive, and the least time consuming way to go. Later as time permits, you could stencil in between the rafters, or stencil through rafters, for and interesting punch. That would be your wow factor.
  • Melinda Melinda on Aug 27, 2016
    I have the same issue except that mine is the under side of the carport attached to my manufactured home. It's low and cuts off so much light. I think it had a very poor job of white paint slopped on there once but now you can plainly see the texture of the plywood. I have kiddingly said, maybe I'll just unroll aluminum foil between the beams and improve the light but probably magnify the heat. So, I guess another good coat of white should help. At least one neighbor in the nice senior park where I live had issues with the bamboo rolls of fencing they used - wind damage. I'm in the mountains where it can really blow. We get a couple 80 + mph storms every winter. The other bad one - wasps. You can figure that one out yourself. What I brilliantly came up with to increase the light inside the house is to put in a new front door with 3/4 glass. A solartube isn't worth the cost and potential problems with my small roof space.
  • Eun22760758 Eun22760758 on Jun 11, 2018

    Paint it light blue, the wasp will think it is the sky and they will not build nest.

    I have done this on my porches and the ceiling in my storm shelter. It also works for spiders

  • Jen Jen on Feb 20, 2019

    Lisa, did you have photos of the finished project? Would love to see!!

  • on Jun 16, 2021

    A simple fix would be using some simple exterior grade plywood. Nail it up and paint it.

  • Libbie B Libbie B on Jun 18, 2021

    I would use something that adds a little bit of texture! Bamboo fencing is a great option. Pine that you whitewash (although wood prices are still high) would be pretty too.

  • Deb K Deb K on Jul 01, 2021

    Hello, honestly a quick coat of nice white paint would do the trick!

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Apr 07, 2023

    Paint it, or Board it over or pannel it out.

  • Mogie Mogie on Apr 13, 2023

    17 Inexpensive Porch Ceiling Ideas for an Adorable Porch Experience

  • Deb K Deb K on May 12, 2023

    Hi Lisa, hope this helps you out. You can coat it with killz,

  • Cover it with 4'x8' beadboard.

  • Mogie Mogie on May 16, 2023

    The cheapest and easiest fix would be to paint the ceiling.

  • Angela Angela on May 28, 2023

    I just redid mine with paint on the plywood and stain for the boards. It was a bit of work but looks so much better considering what little I spent. (I ended up staining the fence to match!)

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  • Sharon Loucks Sharon Loucks on Oct 03, 2023

    My husband and I bought a big roll of burlap and stapled it up. Looked really cool.

  • Libbie B Libbie B on Nov 24, 2023

    I would paint it a pretty light blue. They do that in the south and it always feels so welcoming. Be sure and prime it first.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Nov 26, 2023

    Paint it with Eggshell or Satin finish White or Duckegg blue paint using a long reach roller or a brush or both.

  • A quick solution would be to paint it black. It will stop drawing your eye and make the ceiling height feel taller.