Oct 08 , 2018
Paneling a ceiling is a great way to add character to a plain room. And if the existing ceiling is cracked or water-stained and in need of a makeover, all the better. Covering it with panels and beams is more elegant and less expensive than hiring a pro to restore a damaged ceiling to its original condition.
A paneled ceiling like this normally calls for expensive tools and lots of carpentry skill, but we designed this project to be DIY-friendly. It’s made easy by a homemade circular saw ripping jig, the installation of a simple 2×4 framework and miter-free joinery (Figure A). The visible finished material over the framework is MDF. It’s inexpensive, readily available at home centers, and smooth and easy to work with. However, cutting, sanding and routing MDF is extremely dusty, so do all your power tool work outside or at least in the garage with the overhead door open, and be sure to wear a dust mask.
While the ease of construction is a big plus, the real beauty of this project is its low cost. The materials for this 12 x 12-ft. ceiling cost less than $350, including the paint.
Three Shortcuts Make This Project DIY-Friendly
1. Miter-free joints: There is no such thing as a miter on this project. Every end joint is a straightforward square cut. Just get the length right, cut at 90 degrees on your miter saw, and all the joints will look like a million bucks.
2. Chamfered edges: Small 45-degree chamfers routed on the edges of all the exposed trim hide all but the worst imperfections.
3. Overhangs: The vertical side trim overhangs the ceiling panels to hide any sloppy cuts. And the caps overhang the side trim, so small gaps there will be hidden as well.