Asked on Apr 09, 2018

What's the best way to seal a wood ceiling?

by James
Our house was built in 1906 and has had many updates since then. Unfortunately, the previous owners didn't appreciate the character and decided to install a drop ceiling in the living and dining rooms. My plan was to remove the drop ceiling (@ 8') and the tile ceiling that was above that (take it back to 10'), and install sheets of old barn tin. But when I started to remove the tile, I found some beautiful wood 2-bys (anywhere from 2x6 to 2x12 and I think they're oak). The wood also runs horizontal down the walls and is covered with paneling (which I don't like). Anyway, my wife and I love the look of the wood and would like to maintain the character of the house.

My problem is, I'm not sure which would be the best way to seal the cracks which are anywhere from 1/8"- 1". There is batting insulation above the ceiling, and I am having more insulation sprayed next month. I cannot seal from the attic due to a bedroom covering half the dining room. I have done some research and found that caulking will shrink and create cracks. I have also seen where some people have used rope (stained to match the wood) to fill the cracks in floors, but how do I glue or secure in the cracks in the ceiling. Will the rope provide enough movement to seal without creating a gap when seasons change? Just curious if anyone has done this or has any suggestions?

Also, because this is in the dining room, what would be the best way to clean the wood (possibly restore it to it's original color) so we don't have dust falling onto the dinner table?
  3 answers
  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Apr 09, 2018

    We sanded ( old water spots) and resealed ours. It was a dusty and labor intense job to do both walls and ceiling We contracted help. Some of the cracks where the beams and roofline are have trim molding mounted on each side, could this help you?

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    • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Apr 09, 2018

      Hello, the walls and ceiling of this 1973 Pan Abode log home are cedar logs and cedar ceiling panels. Some of the trim wood along the beams and hiding the electric lighting wiring were custom stained in attemps to match, not being the same cedar wood species.

      We tried 3-4 different wood sealing products trying to find a nice sealed finish without too much glossiness. We even tried a Benjamin Moore matte finish, but that did not look great on our wood In a test run.

      We used 2 coats of Minwax satin poly ( please see photos) and it has a little shine in the lower sheen intensity that we had hoped for.

      Interesting that the ceiling below in the basement is a coarse rustic wood, we thought about polying that but are hesitating. The cedar home recommend a (?Cabot?) oil application as their suggested wood finish.

      I hope I answered your questions, best wishes on your wood renovation adventures. How wonderful to have such a historic soild home, the new wood products ( we added new hw floors in an addition) just arent the same!

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  • Charla Sisk Charla Sisk on Jan 29, 2021

    I am restoring an 1890’s Historic home in Texas which also has original wood slat ceiling and beautiful Cedar Wood walls. I have been trying to find out how to fill the gaps as well. Polyurethane will not solve this problem. Clear caulking is one option I have thought may fix the problem, but most likely will need some Re sulking later. I’m still researching but this is what I have found so far. Best of luck! I think your ceilings will be gorgeous!

  • Annolene Annolene on Jan 27, 2022

    This is my ceiling and I am desperate to find a solution to prevent dust falling through the gaps. House was built in 1805. I have vacuumed the attic and pinned down membrane to prevent dust coming through, but no success.

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