How to Install Shiplap on a Ceiling

If you’ve ever admired the rustic vibes of shiplap on a ceiling, then you know that it can make a huge statement in any room. But as anyone who has taken on the task of installing shiplap will tell you, it’s no easy feat.

How to Install Shiplap on a Ceiling

Despite this challenge, installing shiplap is not something to be intimidated by thanks to some simple tools and techniques; and once completed, your hard work will certainly pay off as you revel in the polished look of your stylishly upgraded space! If this sounds like an upgrade you’ve been considering for your own home, read our guide on how to install shiplap on a ceiling – we have all the info necessary to get started!

Why May You Want to Install Shiplap on a Ceiling?

1 . To Add Texture and Character to Your Ceiling

Adding a shiplap to a ceiling can add visual interest and texture to an otherwise plain surface. The horizontal lines created by the overlapping boards can give your room a unique, rustic look that is both modern and timeless. It’s a great way to add character to a space without overwhelming it.

2 . To Hide Imperfections or Damaged Ceilings

Shiplap can be used to cover up any imperfections or damage on your ceiling. Whether you have water stains, cracks, or uneven surfaces, shiplap can easily cover it up and create a smooth, uniform appearance. This makes it an excellent solution for older homes with less-than-perfect ceilings.

Shiplap Can Be Used to Cover Up

3 . To Improve Insulation and Energy Efficiency

Using a shiplap on a ceiling can also help improve the insulation of your home. The overlapping boards create an extra layer of protection against heat loss, helping to keep your home warmer in the colder months and cooler in the warmer months. This, in turn, can lead to energy savings and lower utility bills.

4 . To Create a Cozy and Inviting Atmosphere

Shiplap on a ceiling can add warmth and coziness to a space, making it feel more inviting. This is especially true if you opt for natural wood shiplap, as the natural color and texture of the wood can create a welcoming and rustic ambiance in any room.

5 . To Add Value to Your Home

Installing shiplap on a ceiling can also add value to your home. It’s a popular design trend that many homeowners are looking for, so having it in your home could potentially increase its resale value. Plus, with its durability and timeless appeal, shiplap can be an investment that lasts for years to come.

How to Install Shiplap on a Ceiling in 6 Easy Steps

Step 1: Gather Materials

Before starting the installation process, make sure you have all the necessary materials. This includes shiplap boards, a stud finder, a level, a tape measure, nails or screws, a saw for cutting the boards to size and any additional tools such as a hammer or drill.

Step 2: Prepare the Ceiling

Start by removing any existing trim or molding from the ceiling. Use a stud finder to locate and mark the studs along the ceiling. This will serve as a guide for where to place your shiplap boards. Also, consider removing any light fixtures or ceiling fans that may be in the way.

Step 3: Cut and Measure the Shiplap Boards

Measure the length of your ceiling and use a saw to cut the shiplap boards to size. It’s important to leave a small gap between each board to allow for expansion and contraction due to temperature changes. Use a level to ensure the boards are straight.

Use a Saw to Cut the Shiplap Boards

Step 4: Install the First Row of Shiplap

Place the first board along the edge of the ceiling, making sure it is flush with the wall and secured to a stud. Use nails or screws to attach the board into place. Continue adding boards along the first row until you reach the end.

Step 5: Continue Installing Shiplap

For the second row, start with a shorter board than the first row to create an offset pattern. This will add visual interest to the ceiling. Remember to leave a small gap between each board and secure them into place.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

Once you have installed all of the shiplap boards, fill any nail or screw holes with wood filler and sand smooth. You can also add trim around the edges to give a more finished look. Finally, paint or stain the shiplap boards to your desired color.

Some Extra Tips to Install Shiplap on a Ceiling

1 . Do Not Forget the Gaps

When installing a shiplap on a ceiling, it is crucial to remember to leave small gaps between each board. This allows for the expansion and contraction of the wood due to changes in temperature and humidity. If you skip this step, your shiplap may buckle or warp over time.

2 . Use an Adhesive

Using an adhesive in addition to nails or screws can provide extra support and stability for your shiplap ceiling. This is especially important if you are installing the shiplap on a surface that may have irregularities or imperfections.

Installing the Shiplap on a Surface

3 . Don’t Overdo It with Nails

While it may be tempting to use numerous nails to secure each board, this can actually weaken the structure of your shiplap ceiling. Instead, try to use fewer nails and focus on placing them in key areas where the boards may be more likely to shift or bend.

4 . Consider a Stain or Finish

If you want your shiplap ceiling to have a certain color or finish, it is best to apply this before installing the boards. This will save you time and make the installation process easier. However, if you do choose to stain or finish after installation, be sure to protect your floors and walls from any potential drips or spills.

5 . Take Your Time

Installing a shiplap ceiling can be a tedious and time-consuming process, but it is important to take your time and ensure that each board is properly secured. Rushing through the installation can lead to mistakes and ultimately affect the overall look and stability of your ceiling.

6 . Consider Hiring a Professional

If you are unsure about your ability to install shiplap on a ceiling, it is always best to hire a professional. They have the knowledge and experience to ensure that your shiplap ceiling is installed correctly and will last for years to come. Plus, it can save you time and potential frustration in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Precautions Should I Take Before Installing Shiplap on a Ceiling?

Before beginning your shiplap installation, it is important to take some precautions to ensure a smooth and successful process. Here are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • Make sure the ceiling is structurally sound and free of any water damage or leaks.
  • Measure and cut the shiplap boards accurately to avoid any gaps or uneven edges.
  • Sand down any rough edges on the shiplap boards to prevent splinters and create a smooth surface.
  • Use a level to ensure your first row of shiplap is perfectly straight. This will serve as a guide for the rest of the installation process.

How Do I Determine How Much Shiplap I Need?

To determine the amount of shiplap needed for your ceiling, measure the length and width of the area you will be covering. Multiply these measurements to get the square footage, then add 10-15% extra to account for any mistakes or waste.

Measure the Length and Width of the Area

Can I Install Shiplap on a Textured Ceiling?

While it is possible to install shiplap over a textured ceiling, it may not be the best option. The texture can create an uneven surface and make it difficult for the shiplap to adhere properly. It is recommended to remove the texture before installing the shiplap for a smoother and more secure installation.

Do I Need to Prime or Paint Shiplap Before Installing on a Ceiling?

This depends on personal preference and the type of shiplap you are using. If you want to maintain the natural wood look, you can skip priming and painting. However, if you prefer a painted finish, it is recommended to prime the shiplap before installation for better adhesion and a smoother finish.

How Do I Cut Shiplap for Outlets and Light Fixtures?

When cutting shiplap to fit around outlets and light fixtures, it is important to measure accurately and cut with caution. Use a jigsaw or hole saw to carefully cut out the necessary openings. To ensure a precise fit, it may be helpful to create a template using cardboard before cutting the shiplap boards.


With the right tools and instructions, you are now fully equipped to make your own shiplap ceiling. It is bound to be a satisfying, rewarding project that everyone in the family can enjoy and take pride in! However, if it seems too daunting, or out of your scope of expertise, don’t hesitate to hire a professional.

Weighing all of the pertinent factors involved will ensure you put forth the effort necessary to achieve a look that will truly add ambiance to any room.

Now you know how to install shiplap on a ceiling! In conclusion, don’t forget that adding new elements to your home projects like shiplap can completely change the look and feel of your space. Remember that it doesn’t have to be an expensive renovation – small changes sometimes work wonders!

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Adrian Green

Adrian has been interested in woodworking since he was a child. His father had a woodworking shop, and Adrian would help him out and learn from him. He gained basic carpentry knowledge as well as an understanding of how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others. So he started this blog to spread his passion and knowledge to those interested in DIY wood-working projects. He knows that with a little guidance and practice, anyone can create beautiful pieces of furniture or décor from scratch.

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