After installing our planked ceiling (here), I finally finished all the filling, caulking, and painting this weekend.
My hands hurt from the caulk gun, my legs are bruised from the ladder, I am still finding paint in my hair, but it is all worth it to have the planked ceiling I’ve been wanting for ages. I loved it as natural wood but that just isn’t the vision for this kitchen. After being painted, our new kitchen ceiling is all bright and happy and interesting, kind of like how I want to be … on a good day. Enough about me – here’s how to paint a planked ceiling for a perfect finish.
Step One: Fill and Sand
These particular boards require lots of wood fill, and that’s even before addressing all the nail holes. I wanted a less rustic ceiling, so spent a ton of time filling every single knot, gouge, and imperfection. And nail hole. I used a spackle knife and a large container of wood fill (and afterwards I totally used this great tip from Sarah to keep my wood fill lasting longer). Here’s how the ceiling looked after the wood fill but before sanding – all the darker spots are the wood filler, pre-sanding
To speed up the sanding process, I used my orbital sander and went over the entire ceiling, paying particular attention to smoothing out all my wood fill.
Step Two: Prime
Knots can bleed through white paint, so to avoid that, I used Zinsser’s shellac-base primer over the entire ceiling.
This stuff was a lot thinner than I expected, so I rolled it on lightly. Even then, I had a few watery drips drop on the floor. Luckily, our floors in the kitchen haven’t changed much from this. Here’s how it looked after one coat of primer.
Step Three: Repeat
After priming, you will see spots you missed when filling and sanding. Or in my case, an entire row of spots you missed (it must have been late…).
You will be pretty discouraged at this point. Swear words come to mind. Loudly. But it gets better! So put on your big girl pants and launch into another round of filling, sanding, and priming.
The process goes so much faster the second time around and really helps improve the whole ceiling. Before the next step, take a final look around for any knots that still show through the primer, like this.
Give those a third coat of touch up primer so there is no chance of bleed-through.
Step Four: Paint
I tried a new paint for this and went with Sherwin Williams Cashmere in Extra White in low lustre (which is in between satin and semi-gloss, so probably similar to eggshell). It is supposed to go on really smoothly and have a nice silky finish. I thought it was fine, but nothing exceptional. I applied it by brushing the grooves and then rolling over the entire ceiling. Make sure you only paint a couple of grooves at a time before rolling over the area so that the finish stays smooth and uniform.
Step Five: Caulk
I waited to caulk until after painting because paint fills so many of the cracks. More paint fill = less caulking, which is a win in my book. But some gaps need more than paint.
If your hands are wimpy like mine, and if you are cool with gaps, feel free to skip the caulk. I prefer that look for things like my white painted floors, but for this particular ceiling I wanted a more finished look. So caulk and hand pain it was. No tricks to this, just use paintable caulk and keep the caulk opening small so that you don’t overly fill the grooves.
Step Six: Final Coat of Paint
Finish off the ceiling with a final coat of paint (with the same brush-then-roll technique) and that’s it. Done.
Here you can really tell the level of sheen, when the sun was shining directly on the ceiling – pretty sweet.
I finished on Sunday afternoon and then celebrated with a late outdoor lunch and then fun with the kiddos in the backyard.
This planked ceiling is the first thing we’ve completed in our kitchen (other than demo) and it feels sooooooo good! I love the look of progress.