Updating plank ceilings

IMG_3285We had one bedroom in our house we had never painted.  Yep, sadly, it was still as it was on the day we closed in December, 2000.  The room, directly above the living room, overlooks the backyard and features the exposed brick chimney for the woodstove.  Leaving the chimney exposed adds a rustic touch, but more importantly, when the woodstove is burning, the chimney throws a little heat, adding some extra warmth to our cold New England house.  There was a problem, though.  The chimney had a leak, and the leak damaged, and continued to damage, the drywall ceiling.

We’d tried several different ways to address the leak.  New flashing, our roofer added more asphalt sealer around the chimney roof joint, a mason came and replaced the first course of bricks, all to no avail.  Finally, in spring 2011, we had Supaflu come and retrofit a new chimney liner, and that stopped the leak.  At last we could IMG_3289paint.  Someday.

Fast forward to the present, and taa daa, we are finally painting.  First, we had to come to some agreement about what to do about the plank ceilings.  The bedrooms in our 1 1/2 story Cape are all tucked under the eaves of the house, with cozy sloped ceilings.  The two bedrooms in the main part of the house had knotty pine tongue and groove planking on the slopped portion of the ceilings, which had been left unfinished since installation.  Over the years, it had darkened IMG_3293considerably, and on one wall, we had some water stains from the chimney leak.  I felt like it made the rooms dark and cramped, but Dan liked the natural wood.  We hemmed and hawed, and finally Dan agreed to try whitewashing the planking with white stain.  For the paint, we picked out a lighter shade of yellowy-green called Independent Gold.

Wow, what a difference.  A simple coat of white oil-based stain lifted the ceilings and made the room appear significantly larger and brighter.  First we treated the water stains with Oxyclean, which lightened the stains considerably, then sanded using our random orbital sander attached to the shop vacuum, to remove dust and dirt and open the pores of the wood.  Finally, we gave the planks a thorough vacuuming to remove any residual dust.  Then, fans in the window for ventilation, we stained.  The old wood just drank up the stain, we did not even have to wipe it off.  The stain needed a couple of days to thoroughly dry, then we finished with 1 coat of polyurethane in a satin finish.  IMG_3322

It should have a second coat, but I moved on to other tasks, namely, removing the hideous wall paper and border.  Ugh.  I understand at some levels the desire to wallpaper rooms, but after removing it from walls over a number of years, I can’t foresee a day when I will decide to add wallpaper.  But I digress.  Once the wallpaper was off, we got to the fun part, painting.  More on that in part deux.  In the meantime, I’ll leave you a sneak peak of the new color.

2 Responses to “Updating plank ceilings”

  1. Ben Says:

    That will brighten up the room. Nice job.

  2. Rahul Says:

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