Can I Use Hardwood Flooring on the Ceiling?

Kate McFarlin

Pre-finished hardwood flooring is typically installed on the floor, but for a creative touch, this material can be installed on a ceiling. A few installation concerns must be addressed, but hardwood flooring used on a ceiling will give a room a rustic look that is much more visually interesting than a standard ceiling.

Tongue-and-Groove Flooring

Tongue-and groove-flooring, whether it is made of hardwood or laminate, is suitable for use on a ceiling. This type of flooring fits together, so the seams will be much less noticeable. However, if you have old lath and plaster ceilings, it is best not to use this type of ceiling material. Popcorn and drywall ceilings can be prepared with the use of furring strips or slats to provide a firm support for the wood.

Reclaimed Wood

Reclaimed wood is becoming more popular as homeowners seek a green alternative to purchasing new wood. This type of wood can be purchased from special dealers, or you can re-use wood from other parts of your home. For example, if you recently replaced a wood floor, save that wood and recycle it for use on the ceiling. Reclaimed hardwood can be re-sanded and finished, or it can simply be cleaned and used as-is on the ceiling.

Nail-in-Place Flooring

Hardwood flooring planks that are not designed to fit together can be used as ceiling material. However, the seams will be noticeable. This is particularly true if the flooring is new since you will need to leave some space around each board to allow for expansion. You can work with this problem by using a decorative solution. Get trim wood, cut it to fit over the boards and run a grid pattern over the seams to hide them.

Getting Creative

You can turn a wood ceiling into a work of art one of several ways. Instead of installing the wood horizontally or vertically, go on the diagonal. Other ideas include staining the wood different colors and alternating the installation -- for example, one dark board, one light and so on. Other options include laying down a border of darker wood around the edge of the ceiling and using a lighter wood in the center.