Popcorn Ceiling To Plank Ceiling

Remember when I did that presto change-o for Kevin’s brother, Kerry, a while back?

The one where I mentioned, that he mentioned, that he wanted his living room to look more like this:

Well, I’ve been blogging about what we’re doing over here at our house a lot lately, but what I haven’t blogged about yet is that we’ve also been working with Kerry on his living room, too. Here’s the “before” photo again…

And here’s the inspiration presto change-o I blogged about last year

We went back over there the other day to help him scrape the popcorn off the ceiling, and I took a couple more “before” photos, just to have them documented…

Kerry’s wife, Robyn, was at work that day- so me, Kerry and Kevin took on the job of scraping the “popcorn” off the ceiling around the border of the room. (Note: Kerry’s house was built in the mid-80’s, and the ceilings had never been painted, so we didn’t have to worry about aesbestos- but that is something you’ll want to check if you’re house was “popcorned” or painted earlier than 1979.)

We started by misting the area we wanted to scrape with water. We worked in (approximately) 12″ square areas at a time…

After we were done misting, we immediately started scraping the popcorn off with flat-edged, metal scrapers…

We didn’t know what to expect when we started that day, but because the drywall underneath hadn’t been primed or painted- the stuff literally came off like melted butter. We were so happy!

A note about the mist bottles: If you can find some like these (Kerry got his at Academy Sports)- get them! They spray the water vertically into the air and they worked SO WELL for this job!

It took us about 2 hours to finish scraping the entire soffit that runs around each side of the room. Then we all did the popcorn shakey-shake…

After that, we ripped out the old carpet, and stood around with our hands on our hips for a while…

The next step is to replicate the blue-painted wood ceiling in the inspiration photo up above, so this week, Kev and I are going to head back over there and install 165 square feet of Sea Salt-painted wood planks on the center part of the ceiling. It’s still covered in popcorn, but since we’re doing the planks, we didn’t see any point in scraping it all off…

We’ll just find the ceiling joists with a stud finder, mark them with chalk lines, and nail gun them into the joists. And for a little extra security, we’ll squirt some Liquid Nails on the back side of each plank, too.

And speaking of wood planked ceilings- we still haven’t finished the one in Kev’s office…

…but I wanted to show a close up of what our textured ceiling look like. It’s different than popcorn. It has more of a “sponged” look…

We’re also just covering ours up with the same tongue-and-groove planks

They’re pretty inexpensive (just under $11 for a pack of six, 8-foot long planks at Lowes), so not all of the tongues-and-grooves are created equally (in other words, some planks are harder than others to lock together) but we’re really happy with how they look when they’re all in place. Here’s a close up of how they lock together…

We nail them along the back edge only so that it’s easier to click the next row of planks into the tongue on the previously installed row.

Well, I better sign off for the day. Kevin’s in there waiting for me to come help him put up some more planks as I type. Only 82 square feet to go!

PS- Each pack of planks covers 14 square feet. (It only cost $155 to do our entire office/guest bedroom!)


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  1. Beverly says

    WOW…WOW…WOW, I live in a Log Cabin and it took three tries to recover the ceiling with popcorn after the previous tenants almost destroyed this lil diamond in the rough. I didnt even think about this kind of ceiling but I really love it!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Margo says

    I am new to your blog – what a gorgeous ceiling! Would you share (or point me to a past post) where you describe the “how to” or background of your horizontal – painted plank-style walls as well? Love the warm cozy look of your cottage/porch/farmhouse style

  3. says

    Oh, I wish my life could be this easy. We bought a foreclosed farm site. (It was what we could afford.) There is popcorn on the ceiling. The farm was built prior to 1900. The addition was done in the early 70’s. I am guessing there is asbestos in the popcorn ceiling. It would be so wonderful to cover it with tongue and groove wooden planks and be done with it. But, there was a roof leak and some of the popcorn is friable and hanging precariously. So, we bought disposable protective clothing with built in boots and head covers and full face masks. We are going to take it down.

  4. says

    hahaha I like the ‘stood with our hand on our hips for a while step’. I could do that! looking good so far! Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  5. Lauri mcIntosh says

    Hi Layla. I have a question about the ceiling planks. Could they be applied to a wall? How wide are they and are they prepainted? I want to do one wall in our dining room (horizontal) and those look like they would do the trick! Lauri

    • Layla says

      Hey Lauri!
      I think they’re actually made to be used on walls, so yes! :-) I think they’re a little over 3 inches wide, and no, they are not pre-painted. Just click on the Lowes link in this post to take you over to their site, and happy re-decorating! :-)

  6. Patricia Brooks/Lapidus says

    I love the planks! If you want a nice free trip to calif, I could use some help!

  7. Beth says

    My parents have ceilings like yours (house built in 1984). The pattern was made by a paint covered mop. One of the painters just walked all around the room holding a mop upside down and hitting the ceiling with it, plunger style! Love your style!

  8. says

    I thought you would have to remove the popcorn ceiling before putting up planks. I’ve been wanting to do that in our family room, but thought scaping the ceiling would be a nightmare. Are you not applying planks to the part around the outside – is that why you scraped it and not the middle? I’m curious to know how it goes. I adore beadboard plank ceilings and think it would be the ticket to cover up some water damage in the popcorn ceiling. You guys are amazing – what you tackle.

    • says

      I want to know too, if you’re putting planks over the border couldn’t you just put them over the popcorn?

      I need to know so when I tell husband that we are doing this (or getting someone else to) I have all the info first. He takes things better that way! :)

  9. Candice says

    We did a blue beadboard ceiling in our screened porch and I loved it so much that I ended up painting the ceilings in my living and dining rooms blue, too! I love the look, can’t wait to see your finished project.

  10. erica rankin says

    i love our wood plank ceilings we have in our remodeled garage turned family room. our room is huge and it was up 2 me to white wash them 16 boards at a time it took a couple days. i painted and my husband installed. the result is beautiful. now i wish i could get him 2 do the rest of the house!

  11. says

    holy Moses-I will be waiting w/ baited breath to see your progress on Kerry’s ceilings. We have the very same angle from the wall to the ceiling and I KNOW it would be stunning if I could accent it somehow–Can you finish this weekend? :)

    You two are so flipping inspiring. I love you and think I am going to change my will to include you!
    Thanks!!!! Cheri

  12. Kathy says

    great idea. we have a summer home and the pop[corn ceiling. I have been wanting to get rid if it but my husband does not want to battle the mess. This might work for him. I hope so, I love the idea.

  13. says

    Ugh! Every time I see these popcorn ceiling ideas I cringe. My old farmhouse has popcorn ceilings in several rooms and I dread scraping them. You have encouraged me to think about doing it sometime in say….the next 10 years. I love the planks….it adds character. Lovely. Just lovely. Lisa!

  14. says

    When you install the planks, do you cut the plank ends on a 45 degree angle to minimize the seam or do you just butt the ends together? I just wonder if the planks contract during times of the year when there’s low humidity if those seams will show a lot more?

    Love those misters. I’ve never seen them before.


  15. says

    will you be my sister-in-law please? now i want to plank a ceiling in my house. i don’t know where, but that’s the fun part – figuring it out – right?

  16. ellen says

    many of the projects you are working on are ones I am planning to do in my newly purchased 1919 home… the closets and the board ceilings… not sure I can DIY them like you and kevin but its awesome to see what it could look like…. you are one of my favorite blogs! Thanks

  17. Janet says

    Love,love,love! ! The room just brightens up! Love getting you in my inbox and seeing your updates . I want you as my decorator.

  18. Liz says

    Did you nail directly into the top of the plank (which you would need to fill the holes with spackle or wood filler) or did you nail into the groove like you would for hardwood floors?

    The picture looked like you nailed into the top which would be a pain to fill all the nail holes after. I want to have the whole process down before we attempt our kitchen ceiling.

    It looks so great in your rooms!

    Liz VanKirk

    • Layla says

      Hi Liz,
      We nail into the plank, but we only shoot 2 or 3 teeny brads per plank. When we’re done we just hit each of the itty bitty holes with touch-up paint and we’re good to go! :-)

  19. Karen So/Fla says

    I really, really LOVE this look and would die to do it in our living room over the popcorn BUT we live in a 2 story townhome and the ceiling is solid oncrete…so I am pretty sure there is NO way to nail anything to that ceiling. Boo Hoo.

  20. Cheryl says

    Just wondering…….was Kerry’s tee-shirt chosen ‘specially for that day?!!! Verse seemed appropriate considering all that work :)

  21. Mimi says

    You guys are such an adorable couple and how awesome of you to help out relatives. I wish we could tackle our ceilings but my husband doesnt have the DIY gene in him and we small babies that take up any time we have open, they’d probably love playing in the popcorn scrapes (prob. try to eat them too, yuck)… you look great btw :)

  22. Laura says

    One quick question.. Would you recommend this for ceilings that are only 8ft tall to begin with? Thanks!!

  23. says

    This is a great project. In the inspiration photos it looks each plank spans the entire length of the ceiling. The planks you bought were 8 feet long, correct? Is it possible to get longer planks? How do you handle the transition if they are not long enough?

  24. says

    We have that stippled ceiling in three bedrooms and the front hall…no DIYers here unfortunately…that is an excellent price though!
    I’m marking this one for future reference!

  25. says

    I have the same ceiling you have (circa 1972). We call it the “chicken foot” ceiling…. At any rate, since asbestos is something we do have to worry about and we REALLY want the chicken feet to go away… What do we do?

  26. says

    Seriously, who ever thought popcorn ceilings were a good idea?!! We have them in our entire house and I would LOVE to remove them but I am so afraid of the work. Because our living space is open floor plan that would be like 1,000 sq. ft. just for that “one” room.

  27. franky says

    You make this look so easy to do! I noticed that you didnt take off all the popcorn ceiling in the whole room, only in certain areas. Was it done purposely or you felt that only certain parts of the ceiling needed to be removed?

  28. says

    I love what you did with the ceiling. I work in the home decorating industry and I see a lot of people with those old popcorn ceilings. Your simple and elegant redesign is pretty affordable for most of my clients so I’ll let them know about some alternative design choices, inspired by you of course!

  29. katie says

    where one board ends and the next begins, did you fill in the seams with something?
    how does it look so tight and seamless?

  30. Lexi says

    How funny – I saw that exact feature in whatever magazine (I was waiting at a dentist’s office for my son to have his check-up done) and ripped out that exact spread to show my husband. We have popcorn ceilings and I hate them. And now I know how to change it! You guys rock – thanks for sharing the process! ^_^

  31. frank says

    what a great project, at the looks of it you and your family looks like you guys are having a ton of fun doing this together! I wanted to know if it would be easier to handle wood planks that are shorter? i know you used 8 ft.

    • Layla says

      Hi Frank!
      We used 8 footers when we could, but most of our planks ended up being shorter because it was hard to get the long ones to lock together all the time. (Bad cuts, uneven ceiling, etc.) So, yes, it was easier to handle the shorter planks! :-D

  32. Dana says

    Hi Layla-
    Love what you did to the ceiling but what really caught my eye was the entertainment wall in your inspiration pic. Is the wall unit something I can buy or is it a custom build idea? I want to do this in my den without breaking the bank. Thanks!

  33. Deb says

    I love this look and want to do it too. A few people have asked the same question I have and you have yet to answer so here goes. How do you handle the end to end? Do you calk and then paint the joins? I understand that you stagger the boards so that the ends to ends don’t end up in the same place, it is the finishing I would like to know. Thanks for your relpy.

  34. Maggie says

    I scraped for 2 and half hours by myself on my popcorn ceilings in my craft room and was wondering if I need to use a special paint to repaint the ceiling? I’ve noticed ceiling paint at the hardware stores but wasn’t sure if there really was a difference or if I can just paint it the same as the walls.

  35. Amber R says

    Layla love the room! What software do you use to create the rendering of what you guys wanted the new room to look like. Its amazing and would be a huge help to visualize any major changes I try and convince my husband I want to do to a room!



  36. Amber T. says

    Hi, i’m curious if this would work in a mobile home? Do you have any idea? I love this look though!

  37. says

    this looks great and I can not believe I did not know about this – I am wondering about the recessed lighting that I have in the ceiling – I guess just cut around it

  38. Kate says

    When did you do this that you were able to find the planks at Lowes. I went to my local store today and couldn’t find them and don’t find them online.

    Please help because we are ready to do this!!!

    Thank you for your inspiration!

    • Layla says

      Hi Kate!
      We did it a couple of days before this post was published (June 1) and they’ve still got a whole end cap full of ‘em at our local Lowes. You can click on the word LOWES in this post to take you to the page they’re on on Lowes.com. Hope that helps! :-)

  39. Christi says

    Hi, found your planked ceiling projects and would really love to do this in our living room. We have a popcorned ceiling in our home built in the early ’70’s. Do you have to scrape it off, or can you just cover it up with the planks? Thanks!

    • Layla says

      Hi Christi!
      I imagine you can cover it right up, assuming the bumps don’t vary too much in height, and you nail them into the joints above it the ceiling! :-)

  40. Susy says

    The ceiling looks great! Did you staple it directly into the sheetrock? I was not sure if you had to staple it to framing.

    • Layla says

      Hey Susy!
      We had wood up above our sheetrock, so we shot our nails up into that. If you don’t have wood underneath your sheetrock, you’ll definitely need to drive your nails into the ceiling joists to make sure the planks stay up! :-)

  41. Catherine Regan says

    Layla, showed the pics to husband he’d like to know what you did about the can lights. Did you remount them or did you trim around them and leave them recessed in the old ceiling.

  42. Amy says

    I’m having a hard time on Lowe’s finding exactly what you have used. I found a product that says it’s knotty pine. Your planks look so smooth. Did you fill in the knots on the wood with something before paitning them white to give them a smooth look? I would prefer to not have the knots showing.

    Love this look! If you have a link to the exact product you used, that would be awesome!

    • Layla says

      Hey Amy! Ours are pretty knotty too, and we didn’t fill them with anything. They just sort of go away with all the primer and paint, I guess. You can click over to the post about them by clicking on the words “wood planks” in this post. Thanks for visiting today! :-)

  43. Paulette says

    Hi Layla,
    I found this product at Lowe’s and am going to do my daughter’s kitchen ceiling as it is TERRIBLE! I just wanted to know if you would please tell me if you caulked the planks where you joined the two ends together, or did you just leave it. Please let me know. Thanks so much as I have learned so much from your website.

    • Layla says

      Hi Paulette! I don’t think we caulked them. (?) I think we just made sure they butted up as tight as possible, but you could always caulk them if necessary. :-)

  44. Jaime says

    I adore your style, and the way joy shines thru all you do is the icing on the cake.
    I’ve wanted to try this in our small cottage style home. However, do you think one would need tall ceilings in order not to get a closed in feel.
    Blessings to you both,

    • linda sullivan says

      all’s fair in love and do-overs!!! Afterall, initation IS the most sincere form of flattery!!! The ceiling ROCKS!!!

  45. Mark says

    I have been looking all over for a way to get that ‘cottagey’ plank look. I went to Lowe’s to look for these planks you are using but the only thing they have is 1″ thick stuff.

  46. cheryl ratliff says

    I have not been able to find these packages of tongue and groove planks at Lowes. Can you be more specific? I only found the the single pieces for about $10 each? Ugh. Cant do that. Let me know when you got these thanks a bunch I love the ceiling!!!!!!!!

    Cheryl Ratliff

  47. Allie says

    I want to do this in my kitchen. I’m concerned about dust and grease. I’m not too crazy about the idea of cleaning my ceiling . But if I have to do it a minimum of 1x a year that’s not too bad.

  48. Tammy says

    Hi. Can you tell me what these planks are called? I can not find them on the Lowes website. Thank you!

  49. Lydia says

    Love this idea and pictures…turned out beautiful. We love the wood floors in this house. Do you know what kind of wood they are and where they came from? thanks.

  50. Joanna Vasquez says

    I have been following your page and journey for about 2 years now and absolutely just love your work. I finally convinced my husband to try the plank ceiling to cover up our hideous popcorn ceilings. Anyway, just to be clear- do you have to remove the popcorn before applying the planks or can you just put them right into the popcorn? I’ve seen on other DIY pages that they recommend putting furring strips before, but I really don’t see the point to it if you have already located the joist. Anyway, just wanted to hear your thoughts…looking forward to more pics of the new house!!!

    • Layla says

      Hi Joanna! :-) I guess it’s the “popcorn” is smooth enough, and you know where the joists are, you should be good to go! Furring strips might be good if you’re worried about keeping everything super level though! :-)

  51. Karen Campbell says

    You folks are awesome! I have a question. I am wondering what kind of nails you used on this job – were they tiny and white? Did you have to go back and spackle or paint over them at all? I sure don’t see any indication of nails in your pictures!..Thanks!!!

  52. Gem says

    How did you go putting the tongue and groove over the stippled recoiling (popcorn). I want to know because I’m looking at doing it and want to know if it is messy work and if it took long?

  53. Carole says

    Yep, that’s the type of heavy texturing we have in our house, walls and ceilings (I hate it). When we first moved in I sponge painted the living room walls so that the texture wasn’t as obvious, and that hass served us well for several years. The ceilings are a different story, and I’ve been thinking about wood plank, not only because it would look nice (and update the house), but because it’s not all that difficult to install (and we’ve done a lot of installation of various things lol).

    It’s nice to see ‘in progress’ pictures to get an idea of what we’re in for. lol

  54. Gary Lewis says

    I want to do your ceiling over popcorn. Are you running horizontal to the ceiling joist and are you putting putty in each nail hole?

    • Layla says

      Hi Gary,

      We ran our planks in the opposite direction of the ceiling joists and puttied as many holes as we could ! :-)

  55. Michelle Denman says

    Exactly which planks did you buy at Lowes? Also what size nails did you use in your nail gun? Did you also use liquid nails on the back side of the planks? Can’t wait to hear back. So sick of our popcorn ceiling but don’t have a lot of funds to change it.

  56. says

    I love your site! We are about to do this to our two living areas and down a hall. Also adding some fake beams. My question is what paint finish did you use? I cant seem to find what paint finish is typical on a plank ceiling.

  57. Melissa says

    How do you decide which direction the planks run in a room? Do you just run the longest length? I want to do this on all three bedrooms in our house. Each are a different size but all are off of the same hallway near each other. Does this matter in the layout of the planks in each room?

    • Layla says

      Hi Melissa!
      We ran them opposite the joists in the ceiling above the sheetrock so that we could attached them very securely. :-)

  58. Alissa says

    How big was the room you did this in? This is the look I am going for. The width of our room is 13 feet and the planks are 8 feet long. How do you cover the seams where the two planks meet? Thanks!

    • Layla says

      Hmmm- I’m not sure what the size was, Alissa. Maybe 14×16? We didn’t cover the seams, we just primed and painted everything and it was good to go! :-)

  59. Molly says

    I have the same ceilings. Thank you for this. I now have to convince my parents that it’s totally worth it. They hate our ceilings!

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