Thursday, June 18, 2015

DIY Faux Beams and Planking on Bonus Room Ceiling

For the past four months, I have been working on the ceiling in my Bonus Room. It's slanted on the sides like a vaulted ceiling, but it's flat in the middle. I've been trying to figure out the technical name for this type of ceiling, but after much googling, it looks like it actually is called "Bonus Room Ceiling." How literal. My goal was to cover the unappealing texture of the ceiling that was close to eye level and, if possible, make it look wider and higher. 

Here's a picture of the room last year.

When I started the built-ins by the window, I tried to leave a gap where my planking would go. Then I realized I needed to actually start the planking before I could put the face frame on the front, so the shelves would be flush with the new ceiling.

First, I had to figure out where the joists were in the ceiling. Using a stud finder, I was able to mark every 24 inches and draw lines, so I would know where to nail the planks.

Then I needed to decide where my faux beams would go. I wanted the seams where the planks met to go under the nailer board. I also couldn't have the beams be too close to the fans on either side, but didn't want them too close to my bookcases or tv on either end. I decided to only have three beams. I put one in the middle and then tried to space the other two evenly on either side.

I used these EverTrue Pine tongue and groove planks from Lowes.

My planks were 8' long, so it helped to have them go from beam to beam in the middle and then cut them shorter on the outsides. I used Liquid Nails on the back and then used 1 1/4" finish nails in my nail gun (affiliate link).

Thus began my "Season of Plank Painting." I started out strong with these shorter ones, but eventually discovered I really only had space and time to paint 6 long planks a day (two coats of primer, two coats of paint, sanding in between each coat). The next day I would nail in place the planks I had painted the previous day.

Here are some longer planks next to the shorter one.

I started planking up the other side of the ceiling to the top of the slant.

Once I got to the top of the slant, I needed to go straight across the flat part of the ceiling. This was tricky because the line of the ceiling was not even at all! I had to rip and put some filler pieces in some places. I started left to right and met up with the other side of planking.

I also decided to trade out the fans for some more flushmount fans (affiliate link) to help make the ceiling appear higher. The blades are smaller, but it doesn't seem to impact the efficiency of the fans in doing their job.

It turns out the base of the fan was a lot wider than the previous one, so I didn't need to be too exact with the cuts.

Using a scrap 1x4 and a level, I marked where to put my nailer piece for the beam to fit on top.

Then I screwed my 1x4s into the ceiling joists using long deck screws.

Next, I needed to figure out those tricky angles and make some beams. I measured it to be 41 degrees where the slope begins, but I knew it would fit better if I just traced it by hand. I held a scrap piece of paper up to the wall and traced a piece of wood that was flush with the slope of the ceiling.

Then I used a straight edge to extend the line to where it would meet the wall.

Match the bottom line up to the bottom of the wood.

I cut this angle on two 1x4s with a jigsaw. Then I cut the end of a third piece on the table saw with the blade turned to a 41 degree. I chose to use 1x4s for all sides (rather than 1x6s on the sides that would make it more square) to keep them smaller and not add to the low ceiling problem.

I nailed the two outside pieces to the middle one using my finishing nail gun.

I sanded and painted the beam in the garage before attaching it to the nailer piece on the ceiling. I put a screw into both sides to hold it in place temporarily, so I could figure out the angle to cut for the ends on the middle beam.

I made another beam for the other side and screwed it in temporarily too.

Then, I held up a piece of wood the length of the flat part of the ceiling. I drew a line where the two beams would meet.

I carried this line around the beam.

Repeated on the other side.

I removed the beams from both sides and trimmed these angles off with the help of a jig saw. Then I put them back up. Because of the way the angle is on the middle beam, you can't fully assemble the beam and attach it altogether (I learned this the hard way). So, I attached the front and bottom, screwed that into the ceiling piece, and then attached the back piece to the top and bottom.

Once it was all in place, I added finishing nails to the top of the beam going into the nailer piece all along.

The corners didn't meet up too bad. Some filler and caulking could fix them up. But once I got all my beams up, I decided some faux brackets might be a better solution.

I found this thin metal at Lowes that I could bend with a rubber mallet.

I cut it with my multi-tool (affiliate link) since my hacksaw is missing.

They fit pretty snuggly without using any adhesive.

I took them down and painted them white too. 

Then I had to address the problem of the uneven ceiling line. This made some interesting pile up in certain area.

It wouldn't be a problem if it didn't make it impossible for the top beam to be flush against the ceiling all the way across. See the gap in the middle.

My dad recommended using some cove molding to cover the gap. I used a piece I cut off from the beam to trace the angle on the cove molding.

I just cut it by hand with a coping saw (affiliate link), making sure to angle it back for it to fit with the wall (it's similar to crown molding when cutting it).

I taped the two outside pieces so I could figure out where to cut the inside cut.

I nailed them in place with short finishing nails and then started taping it off for caulking.

Looks pretty good! I've been filling the nail holes with drywall filler (since it's already white) and been filling some irregularities with caulking. Once that's all finished, I'll probably go over the whole thing one more time with paint. But, for now, I'm happy.



Linking to: Remodelaholic June Link Party, YTTS #36, Catch As Can #218, Link Party Palooza,Merry Monday #59,The Scoop 176, 273 Inspire Me Tuesday, Inspire Me Monday 65,You're Gonna Love it Party, From Dream to Reality 173, Wake Up Wednesday 74, Wow Us Wednesday 227, Fabulous Friday 32,   


  1. Your planked ceiling is amazing. Great job!

  2. Whoa! this looks great.
    I want to do something similar to my kitchen... I wonder if they call it "Bonus Room Ceiling" MY KITCHEN?!

    1. Hahaha! If you figure out another name for it, I'd love to know :)

  3. Gee Emily it looks great! I really like what you did with the metal brackets and the cove finishes off the job just right. I don't know how you can fit this in with three young boys to tend. Another good job!


  4. I love, love, love this. I was just outside not 20 minutes ago telling my friend this was what I wanted to do to my ceilings.

  5. I love this! I want to do something similar in my office. Thank you for linking up to the Merry Monday link party!

  6. Thank you so much for linking up to Merry Monday this week! I am sharing your post today on my FB page! We hope to see you next week for another great party! Have a great week!

  7. Absolutely amazing! You did a fantastic job! and what a big job!
    Great work!

  8. Love the blog,great work!on the beams! love if you stop by Fabulous Friday to share your posts, I party every two weeks, so it be great if you have a few minutes! Here is the link, Thanks Maria