Tongue-and-groove paneling is a pleasing alternative to a wallboard ceiling, particularly in a knee-wall attic Pine paneling is most common, but any tongue-and-groove material can be used, these materials are typically X to Jf thick and are attached directly to ceiling joists and rafters (over faced insulation, when required) Most codes require you to install %% wallboard as a fire stop under ceiling material thinner than y/.
Allow for waste by purchasing 15% more material than the square footage of the ceiling, add more for waste if the ceiling requires many angled cuts. Since the tongue portion on most pieces slips into the groove on an adjacent piece, square footage is based on the exposed face (called the revest) once the boards are installed. A compound miter saw is the best tool for ensuring clean cuts. This is especially important if the ceiling includes non-90° angles.
Tongue-and-groove boards are attached with flooring nails driven through the shoulder of the tongue r to each rafter (called blindnailing because the nail • eads are covered by the next boa'd) Naiiing through the board face is only necessary on "the first and :ast course and on scarf joints.
Layout is very important to the success of a paneled surface, because the lines clearly reveal flaws such as pattern deviations, misaligned walls, and installation mistakes Before beginning the installation, measure to see how many boards will be installed (using the reveal measurement). If the final board will be less than 2 inches wide, trim the first, or starter, board by trimming the long edge that abuts the wall.
If the angle of the ceiling peak is not parallel to the wall, you must compensate for the difference by ripping the starter piece at an angle so that the leading edge, and every piece thereafter, is parallel to the peak.
How to Panel an Attic Ceiling
2 Use the measurement from step 1 to snap a line marking the top of the first row: at both ends of the ceiling, measure down from the peak an equal distance, and make a mark to represent the tongue (top) edges of the starter boards. Keep in mind that the bottom edges must be bevel-cut to fit flush against the waif (see step 4). Snap a chalk line through the marks
4 Rip the first starter board to width by beve*-cut-tmg the bottom (grooved) edge with a circular saw. If the starter row will have seams, cut the board to length using a 30° bevel cut on the seam-end only Two beveled ends joined together form a scarf joint (inset), which is less noticeable than a butt joint If the board spans the ceiling, square-cut both ends
ITo plan your layout, first measure the reveal ol the boards—the exposed surface when they are installed Fit two pieces together and measure from the bottom edge of the upper board to the bottom edge of the tower board. Calculate the number of boards needed to cover one side of the ceiling by diwding the reveal dimension into the overall distance between the top of one wall and the peak.
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3 If the boards aren't long enough to span the entire ceding, plan the locations of the seams Staggering the locations of the seams in a three-step pattern will help hide the seams Note that each seam must fall in the middle of a rafter
How to Panel an Attic Ceiling (continued)
6 Cut and install any remaining boards in the starter row one at a time making sure the scarl-joint seams fit together tightly For best appearance, select boards of similar coloring and grain for each row
How to Panel an Attic Ceiling (continued)
5Pos*txxi the starter board so the grooved (or cut) edge butts against the side wall and the tongue is aligned with the control line Leave a !4* gap between the square board end and the wall Fasten the board by nailing through its face about V from the grooved edge, »nto the rafters. Then, blindnail through the base of the tongue into each rafter angling the nail backwards at 45c. Drive the nail heads beneath the wood surface, using a nail set
7 Cut the first ooard for the next row. then fit its grooved edge over the tongue of the boaro m the starter row Use a hammer and a scrap p ece of paneling to tap along the tongue edge, seating the grooved edge over the tongue of the starter tx>ard Fasten the second row ot board with blindnails only
8 As you install successive rows, measure down from the peak to make su'e the boards are para« 'el to the peak. Correct any misalignment by adjusting the tongue-and-groove joint sightly with each row. You can also snap additional control lines to help align the rows.
9 Rip ttie boards for the last row to width, beveling the top edges so they fit flush against the ridge board Facenail the boards in place. Install paneling on the other side of the ceiling, then custom-cut the final row of panels to form a closed joint at the peak (inset).
Install trim molding atong walls, at seams, around obstacles, and along inside and outside corners, if desired (Select-grade 1 x 2s work well as tnm along walls.) For trim along the bottom edge, bevel the back of the trim to match the slope of the ceiling.
Tips for Paneling an Attic Ceiling
Install trim molding to hide the joints where panels meet at opposing angles, such as on the comers of a dormer. Miter-cut the moldings and install them over the butt joint of the corners to hide the seam Moldings can also be cut from paneling boards and given a decorative edge with a router and bit
Wrap collar ties or exposed beams with custom-cut panels Use a T-bevel to determine the angle for metering the board ends where they meet the ceiling surface. Mitered joints are best when wrapping a collar tie. but if boards are installed with butt joints, make the bottom piece wide enough so that the side moro^ •/.-ill hi iff anairwf if
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