Here’s a solution for your basement ceiling that you can do yourself and looks pretty snazzy. All you ever wanted to know about how to install a wood slat ceiling. Because in certain spaces having an accessible ceiling just might be your best option.
A DIY tutorial to install a slat ceiling. Finish that basement with a wood slat ceiling that’s easy to install.
Welcome to my basement where I’ve been working hard to finish the space for my teenage kids to hangout. First I built a wall cladded with shiplap, then I repointed the stone foundation walls and now I installed a wood slat ceiling. What could be next?
Just for giggles you can see in the before photo above what is your classic basement ceiling. Exposed joists with lots of electrical, plumbing and HVAC running every which way. To make this space more finished and cozy I decided to add wood slats.
Wood Slat Ceiling
And now the ceiling is complete. I love the touch of modern lines from the wood slats mixed with the natural stone wall, knotty shiplap and green metal console. It’s the complete mix of elements that makes my heart flutter.
I stained the wood slats a mix of dark walnut and briarsmoke to blend in with the existing joists. Then to attach the joists I used trim screws. Trim screws have a pretty brass finish and a smaller head than regular screws.
Basement Ceiling Solution
- conceals electrical, plumbing and HVAC
- easy to install DIY project
- able to scribe against the stone foundation
- customizable to fit most spaces
- easy to uninstall should I ever need to remove for access
Like most basements we have a lot of mechanical obstacles to contend with. Also given the historical nature of our home it has undergone many, many transformations over time so it’s a bit of a patchwork quilt. I knew there would be no real good way to hide all these obstacles so I just worked them into the space. And I’m actually loving how they become part of the room without feeling too annoying.
There’s plumbing and electrical everywhere plus a big, grey HVAC return vent. Maybe some day I will paint the venting but for now it’s au-naturale.
Wood Slats Easy to Customize
The best feature of using 1×2 wood slats on the ceiling is the ease of customizing to fit around your obstacles. As long as you secure the boards to the joists then you can cut around any items that may be in your path.
This view looking up is pretty fantastic if you ask me! It’s worth noting that I used SELECT pine boards which are almost double the cost of regular pine and triple the cost of furring strips. But like anything you pay for what you get. I wanted a tidy look with few knots (as opposed to the shiplap wall) so I choose select pine. If you’re looking for a more rustic look you could use furring strips and save a ton of money.
For more details on how to install this wood slat ceiling scroll down a bit.
- 1×2 select pine boards
- stain & foam brush
- miter saw or circular saw
- measuring tape
- 1 1/2″ trim screws
Step 1: Sand your boards. Even though they are select pine there still may be rough edges and dirt marks to remove.
Step 2: Stain the boards. I highly recommend staining the boards before installation.
Step 3: Cut the boards to length and place in position.
Step 4: Attach one end to the joist using a 1 1/2″ trim screw. Use a small piece of 1×2 scrap on its narrow side as a spacer. This will give you an even 3/4″ space between each slat.
Step 5: Attach the board at every joist and be sure to use the spacer at every screw to guarantee equal spacing.
When you come to obstacles do your best to notch the boards using a jigsaw. Or cut the board in two pieces for a natural seam around the obstacle.
For the light fixture I choose to give the brown finish a bit of a makeover to make it fit better with my aesthetic. I used the Modern Masters metal effects kit in rust to give a nice crusty finish. It looks right at home up against the wood, metal venting and copper pipes.
Thanks for joining me for this wood slat ceiling 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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