How to Install Wood Paneling on the Ceiling

Wood paneling on a ceiling is a beautiful architectural element. Paneling on the ceiling adds texture to what may be an otherwise bland space. You can install wood paneling on your ceiling but understand this is a tiring job that requires a lot of time standing on a ladder. The proper information will get you started.

Wood paneling installed on a ceiling.

Step 1

Use a stud finder to locate the ceiling joists. Mark the joists with a pencil and snap each of the lines with a chalk line. This will make the location of the joists easy to see. Whenever possible, install the planks perpendicular to the ceiling joists. This will make the wood paneling stronger.

Step 2

Measure the length of the ceiling. This will help to give you a good idea of how long each of your ceiling planks needs to be. Since you are using tongue-and-groove planks, you will need to cut off the tongue from the side of the plank that will butt up to the wall. Use a miter saw to cut the ends of the plank.

Step 3

Apply a bead of construction adhesive to the back of the first plank to be installed. While standing on a ladder, push the plank into place next to the walls. Carefully pull the plank down and then push it up again into place. This will help to evenly spread the construction adhesive to the back of the plank. Use a pneumatic nail gun to nail the plank into the ceiling joist.

Step 4

Install all of the planks in the same manner that you installed the first plank. However, with the consecutive planks you need to make sure that you are placing the tongue into the groove of the previous plank. This will strengthen the planks. As you come upon light fixtures and other ceiling obstructions, measure and mark the planks and use a jig saw to cut the wood paneling to size.

Step 5

Measure and cut the final row of planks. Most likely the planks in the final row will be smaller than the whole planks. Measure the space for the plank and rip the plank to size on the table saw. You will need to cut the bottom lip of the groove off from the last board so that the last plank will drop easily into place even in a tight space.


  • When working with power tools it is important to follow the manufacturer's safety directions and always wear safety goggles.

About the Author

Cadence Johansen is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about travel, marriage, family relationships, caregiver support, home improvement and money. Johansen has been writing professionally since 2008. She holds a master's degree in family studies from Utah State University.