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. 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!

    • Layla says

      Hi Amber!
      As long as there’s something secure to attach them to, I don’t see why not! :-)

  2. 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

  3. 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! :-)

  4. 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! :-)

  5. 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! :-)

  6. 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.

  7. Jim says

    If you shoot the nail into the tongue part of the board you don’t have to putty any holes.

  8. 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! :-)

  9. 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. :-)

  10. 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!!!

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Tammy says

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

  15. 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.

  16. 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! :-)

  17. 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!!!

  18. 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?

  19. 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

  20. 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 ! :-)

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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. :-)

  24. 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! :-)

  25. 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!