This post about a ceiling makeover is sponsored by The Home Depot. It’s quite possible that your home has some secret treasures just waiting to be uncovered. Whether it’s removing a ceiling to expose the wood beams, reconfiguring your bathroom layout or installing additional lighting it’s all within your reach.
A DIY tutorial to makeover your ceiling and expose wood beams. Step by step instructions to remove the ceiling and expose wood beams.
Meet my newly exposed wood beams! They’ve been hiding for years under a thick layer of plaster and lath and are now ready for their debut.
Doers Get Things Done
I’m a doer. I take great pride in doing all the home improvements and this ceiling makeover may just be my best project yet. But I could not have done it without the help of The Home Depot Delivery Pros and their delivery option for online orders. Did you know they have over one million items you can have delivered to your doorstep for free?!
Let’s back up for one minute and start at the beginning.
This room is what’s known as the keeping room in a traditional primitive saltbox farmhouse. Sort of the early version of a family room before cushy sofas and TVs were invented.
And now that very same room has beautiful, exposed wood beams! With a bit of DIY muscle power and the awesome delivery service from The Home Depot I was able to complete this ceiling makeover.
Step one for this project was to order all the necessary supplies. When you are tackling a large project that involves big, heavy supplies I highly recommend delivery.
Home Depot Delivery Pros:
- order everything you need online and save a trip to the store
- flexible delivery options
- free delivery on over a million items
- expanded return window on unopened items
Taking on a project like this can seem daunting but it’s definitely possible. I’m just a mom getting things done with the help of this delivery solution from The Home Depot.
If you’re not sure where to start I highly recommend browsing the How-To videos and tutorials on at homedepot.com. They have thousands of how-to videos for projects and repairs you need to make at home.
For this ceiling makeover project I have some prior experience to fall back on. Many years ago I removed the ceiling in our dining room and more recently the ceiling in the master bedroom. So, I can confidently proceed with this third ceiling project. And I’m happy to share the tutorial details down below if you’re wanting to expose the wood beams in your home.
Ceiling Makeover: Where to Begin
- determine all necessary supplies (see my supply list below) and place an online order for delivery
- prepare the space
- take it one step at a time – it will feel overwhelming so small steps will help overcome this feeling
- mentally prepare yourself it will take longer than you think
- plaster is extremely dusty and dust travels – dust mitigation is your number one concern when preparing
Then when it’s all over you can marvel at the warm, inviting space you have now created!
Exposed Wood Beams
This view above is peeking into our master bedroom where I exposed the beams a few years ago.
And you may discover some amazing details along the way like these roman numerals that were chiseled into the horizontal beam. Classic post and beam construction means the joist slots were labeled with roman numerals for the corresponding joist.
Let’s get to the nitty gritty!
- ram board
- ram board tape
- pry bar
- multi-tool with flush cut blade
- 3/8″ sheetrock
- utility knife
- 2×2 furring strips
- 2 1/2″ spax screws
- impact driver
- measuring tape
- 1 1/4″ drywall screws
- joint compound
- drywall joint tape
- joint compound knife
- drywall hand sander
- sanding blocks
- white ceiling paint
- shortcut 2″ angled brush
- 6″ foam roller
My delivery from The Home Depot arrived complete with plastic covering to protect the lumber and sheetrock from moisture.
Step 1: Remove all furniture from the space and lay down ram board. When you knock the plaster from the ceiling it slams to the floor (sometimes in big sections) so you’ll want to protect the floor and keep dust under control. Be sure to go up the wall with the ram board and use ram board tape on the seams.
- cover outlets with painters tape
- close HVAC vents and seal with a piece of ram board and tape
- cover and seal all doorways with heavy plastic and painters tape, I recommend 2 layers
- wrap any stationary items with plastic (like the interior shutters)
- open all windows
- prepare to collect and remove plaster and lath as required (check construction disposal rules in your town)
- spray bottle with water (helps to keep dust settled)
- apply carpet plastic to wood floors above to keep dust from traveling between the cracks
Step 2: Using a flush cut blade on a multi-tool cut through the seam where the wall meets the ceiling. Work in sections, you don’t want to cut all four sides of the room at once. Making this cut will release the plaster from the wall. Then begin by hammering upwards on the plaster to loosen it from the lath.
In a typical plaster and lath ceiling the plaster is smooshed onto wood lath and the wood lath is nailed on the joists. You need to loosen the plaster from the lath and then remove the lath.
Step 3: In my experience it’s much easier to hammer the ‘keys’ of the plaster from above – inside the cavity between the joists. This allows the plaster to fall. Then you can pry the lath from the joists.
You’ll want to suit up entirely for this process. Then once the seam at the wall is cut the only tools you need are a hammer and pry bar.
The majority of plaster in our home is horsehair plaster. You may find big chunks of horsehair mixed in with the plaster.
You can clearly see the post and beam construction here at the corner along with the wood pegs. I absolutely marvel at primitive construction. The carpenters of colonial days are my heros!
Step 4: Now that all the lath is gone you are left with a bazillion nails. Remove all the nails with a pry bar.
Step 5: In order to install sheetrock up in the cavities we need to first attach furring strips so we have something to attach the sheetrock to. This also creates a 1 ½” gap between the floor boards and sheetrock should you wish to run electrical.
Screw the cleats to the joists using 2 ½” spax wood screws. Be sure to leave a ¼” gap where the cleat meets the floorboard. This allows for any wood movement in the floors above (seasonal changes, people walking, weight of furniture, etc).
Step 6: Now is the best time to sand the joists. Sanding removes years of dirt and dust and smooths any rough areas.
Step 7: Measure each cavity and cut the sheetrock to fit. This will be tedious and hard because each cavity is a slightly different size, sheetrock is heavy and you’re working overhead. Score and snap the sheetrock then install using 1 ¼” drywall screws.
Step 8: Use joint compound to fill any gaps and tape seams where sheetrock pieces meet. Don’t worry if you get compound on the wood, it will wash off later.
You can see the seams above in the exterior wall above the windows where I had to install small pieces of sheetrock between each joist.
Step 9: Once the joint compound is dry then sand the drywall. Again a very messy and dusty process.
Now that the drywall is all sanded we will clean the exposed wood beams.
Step 10: Wash the wood beams to remove any excess joint compound and dust. Use your joint compound knife to protect the sheetrock as you scrub the wood. You don’t want to saturate the drywall so the knife protects it while you clean the wood.
Step 11: Prime the drywall. Cut in on both sides using a 2” angled shortcut brush and then roll the remaining area with a foam roller. I recommend two coats of primer and then two coats of flat white ceiling paint.
Now clean up all the dust and move the furniture into the space. Amazing what we can accomplish with determination and a delivery of supplies!
Thanks for joining me for this ceiling makeover project. Please leave any questions in the comments below and be sure to follow me on social media for sneak peeks, tools and project inspiration:
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