Tongue and Groove Ceilings

After two months of a ceiling-less living room we are happy to say the process of rebuilding it is in motion. In our previous post you can see the beams installed as the joists. To counter the beautiful dark beams we knew we wanted something bright with a bit of texture to add contrast to the space.

Standing on the first floor looking up into the attic.

Cole and I love a good bargain. When we first purchased the house one of our first purchase trips was to a building supply auction. We adore auctions of all kinds and I highly recommend going to one if you have never been. Even if you don’t find anything they usually have some yummy food. At this particular auction we did quite well and were able to purchase a large quantity of tongue and groove boards. When bidding at an auction be aware that you will usually have a percentage of what you buy be unusable do to defects or damage. It is important to carefully inspect your bid choices and over estimate the quantity you will need.

Tongue and groove boards. Right with one coat of Synthetic Shellac.

We went back and forth on whether we should whitewash the boards for a more opaque finish or paint them white. We finally decided on painting them so that they highlighted the beams while not competing with them. The tongue and groove was knotty-pine and therefore needed to have a coat of shellac applied as the primer. We used a synthetic shellac by Sherwin Williams and so far have been very pleased with it. It was tinted white which was a benefit as well.

Make sure you have a well ventilated area, gloves and a respirator.

I first cleaned the boards with a brush to remove any dirt and dust before starting. Then using a 4″ roller I applied paint to about a third of the board and then quickly back brushed the shellac. It went on fairly thick and had to be brushed quickly or it would become “gunky”. I was surprised at how it dried to be a very thin layer considering how thick it went on. I am assuming it was doing its job of soaking into the wood grain to seal it.

Stacked boards drying

We then applied two top coats of Sherwin Williams Cashmere paint in Dove White. It is a slightly warm tinted off-white. Your typical can of ceiling paint actually has a slight blue tint to it and we did not want it to have such a stark feel. This paint also has a very nice soft sheen when dry.

We applied the top coats with a roller brush and then back brushed it with a paint brush. Between coats we did a light sanding with a very fine grit sandpaper. I think they turned out beautiful and look even better on the ceiling.


We have completed about half of the living room at this point. It feels really good to have a ceiling up again. We plan on keeping the other details of the room simple and elegant while letting the ceiling make the statement when you enter the room.


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