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How To Install A Shiplap Ceiling

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Today I am showing you how to install a shiplap ceiling in a kitchen we recently renovated. If you’re looking to add a unique, cozy touch to your home, shiplap ceilings are the perfect way to do it.

I will break down the steps you need to take to install a shiplap ceiling, as well as discuss the different materials, tools and techniques needed to get the job done. Installing shiplap ceilings can seem intimidating but with the right tools and some patience, anyone can do it.

As popularized by shows like Fixer Upper with Joanna Gaines, a white kitchen with shiplap has become a hot kitchen design trend and an easy way to elevate the style of any room.

split level kitchen and living room open wall remodel before and after

We partnered with Armstrong Ceilings and used their Country Classic Planks for our shiplap ceiling and your mind is about to blown when you see the kitchen transformation below.

FAQs about Shiplap Ceilings

Yes, depending on what type of material used will determine the installation method. If you are using pine wood cut to strips, you will use screws to fasten to the studs. In our case, we used faux shiplap tongue and groove that attached to clips and ceiling strapping.

You will need to weigh the cost difference of a sheetrock ceiling vs a shiplap ceiling. In most cases, sheetrock will be cheaper. However, if you are planning to cut inexpensive pine wood and install on the ceiling yourself with a finish nailer/nail gun, the cost difference may be minimal. It all depends on the scope and type of materials used.

split level kitchen remodel open to living room with island

What Is Shiplap

Shiplap wood is long and narrow separated by grooves which can be painted, stained or left natural (cutting strips of pine wood is an inexpensive shiplap option). Shiplap has traditionally been used outdoors and made from wood. Over the years, shiplap ceiling products have evolved to a lighter faux wood product. These products are durable, easy to install and perfect for indoor ceiling projects.

Shiplap Ceiling Ideas

Many are installing shiplap ceiling products over popcorn ceilings in basements or simply to add a farmhouse style to vaulted or cathedral ceilings. If you are looking for a shiplap ceiling with beams, check out our lake house living room and 10 shiplap ideas and our pool house ceiling with gray beams and white shiplap.

1. White Shiplap Ceiling

If you have been following along on our split level home renovation, the newly vaulted kitchen and living room shiplap ceiling is gorgeous! The white shiplap ceiling planks are stylish, lightweight and can be installed using the Armstrong Easy Up Track Clip System or with adhesive (see instructions for best installation method based on your project).

Shiplap on a ceiling offers a variety of styles depending on the material used. If you are looking for a modern farmhouse look, this is DIY project is for you!

Looking for shiplap wall installation ideas? Read this post, white shiplap walls in our basement featuring a beautiful accent wall.

Looking for basement shiplap ceiling ideas? Read this post, our basement ceiling installation vs drop down ceiling.  

2. Shiplap Vaulted Ceiling

white shiplap installation armstrong ceilings screwing easy up track to ceiling joist

The first part of the ceiling makeover involved removing the kitchen wall and adding a new load bearing / support beam as we wanted an open kitchen and living room space. 

Here is a kitchen image below when we started to remove the wall and before we removed the ceiling. As you can see below, the kitchen was typical of a 1970’s kitchen with low ceilings and a wall that boxed off the eating area and living room. 

1970's kitchen wall being torn down

Here is the kitchen with the walls and ceiling removed below.

LVL load bearing beam, open ceiling with strapping, cathedral kitchen, living room

The walls and ceiling of the two rooms were removed, revealing an attic space which was then transformed into a stunning kitchen and living room with a vaulted ceiling finished in white shiplap.

Shiplap Ceiling Installation Tip

Something to be mindful of if you are installing on a sloped ceiling, the Armstrong Easy Up® Installation System is intended for ceilings with a slope of less than 10 degrees.


Materials needed for this shiplap ceiling installation:

*Order online and have everything ready for curbside pickup or have it shipped

Depending on your installation method, your tools necessary will vary (see instructions for specific method tools).

Tools you’ll need

See our Amazon Storefront for our favorite tools and items below

  • tape measure
  • saw
  • chalk line
  • utility knife
  • drill
  • drywall screws
  • hammer
  • level

First Step: Install Ceiling Tracks

  1. The first step of the shiplap ceiling installation is to install your Armstrong Ceilings Easy Up Track System by screwing the tracks to the strapping.  We installed our tracks so they ran in the opposite direction of the strapping.
screwing Armstrong Easy Track to ceiling strapping

Normally you would install drywall to the ceiling strapping but in our case, we installed the shiplap ceiling planks.

The blown in insulation is what you see under the strapping.

screwing Armstrong Easy Track to ceiling strapping

The ceiling track installation took about 1 hour and was easy to install. The directions are very self explanatory as well.

Armstrong Ceilings also has a customer service hotline that you can call with questions.

Recessed Light Tip

If you have recessed lights, you will need to add a track on either side of the light and cut a hole in the shiplap ceiling plank around the light.

screwing Armstrong Easy Track to ceiling strapping with recessed light

Second Step: Mark Starting Point

2. The second step of the ceiling installation is to make a chalk line (see image above) to create your straight starting point.

Add your first ceiling plank (we started in the middle of the wall) using the clips to fasten the plank to the track.

Work your way to the end of wall and cut a smaller piece to fit at the end. 

Be sure to stagger your ceiling plank seams as shown below.

Third Step: How to Cut Ceiling Plank Recessed Light Holes

3. The third Step involves cutting around recessed lights or along the edges near the wall.

cutting around recessed lights ceiling planks

The process of cutting out the holes for the recessed lights is a little time consuming so depending on how many recessed lights you have, the installation may be quicker.

We used a utility knife and hand saw blade to cut the ceiling planks and staggered the seams to create the shiplap look we were going after. 

white ceiling plank cut with a utility knife

This tongue and groove ceiling is lightweight and they are fastened to the tracks with a clip. 

white shiplap ceiling planks Armstrong easy track and clips

As you can see above the planks fit into each other (tongue and groove) and the clip slides over the edge of the plank to hold it in place. Easy peasy!

white shiplap ceiling planks Armstrong easy track and clips
white tongue and groove ceiling planks installed on vaulted ceiling by man in blue shirt

Our ceiling space was about 900 square feet which encompasses both the kitchen and living room. 

The entire kitchen shiplap ceiling installation took about 6 hours with two people.

Jessica Bruno installing ceiling planks

How much does a shiplap ceiling cost?

A shiplap ceiling cost depends on the type of product or material you buy plus installation cost. For a faux wood product like this, you will pay between $4 and $7.50 a square foot plus labor costs to install. You can also save on the labor if you install yourself. 

white shiplap ceiling planks Armstrong easy track and clips

These ceiling planks would also be great installed over a popcorn ceiling, drywall and even a new construction ceiling. Ceiling planks are also perfect for older homes as you can hide any imperfections in the existing ceiling or wall.

Here is a look below at the final vaulted kitchen remodel (click here) and living room shiplap ceiling and white cabinets.

split level kitchen remodel with island and vaulted ceiling

Take A House Tour

If you would like to see more of this home, click through to this page, split level renovation to see all of the home improvement projects completed.

split level kitchen living room layout, platinum wall color by Behr, natural oak flooring, vaulted ceiling with recessed lights

A wood floor and shiplap kitchen ceiling that ties in with an adjoining living room creates a cohesive feel and helps the rooms flow together.

A shiplap bathroom ceiling is also a great way to add character and charm, similar to our small bath at our lake house. When adding shiplap in a bathroom, make sure it’s moisture resistant.

bathroom shiplap ceiling with glass shower doors
Shiplap bathroom ceiling

Our lake house features painted shiplap walls and vaulted shiplap ceilings which are beautiful. The shiplap at our lake house is traditional solid wood tongue and groove and I am curious what you think about our idea to paint it all white! Click over to our painted shiplap walls and let me know what you think!

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Armstrong Ceilings. All opinions and words are 100% my own.

About The Author

What started as a hobby, Jessica’s blog now has millions of people visit yearly and while many of the projects and posts look and sound perfect, life hasn’t always been easy. Read Jessica’s story and how overcoming death, divorce and dementia was one of her biggest life lessons to date.

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  1. What brand of flooring do you use?

    1. Are you talking about these floors in this blog post? These are existing floors that we are having refinished to a white/gray finish.

  2. Ariana Curiel says:

    I live in a traditional split level home with the entrance, kitchen, living room and dining room on the main level. I like the idea of vaulted ceiling in the kitchen and dining room but am concerned about losing attic space. At 1600 sq ft my house does not have enough storage space. Would I lose storage space by installing a vaulted ceiling?

    Thank you for your blog. I am on the lookout for anything that would improve my 1962 split-level!

    1. we still had storage on the other half of the house (the hallway/bedrooms/bathroom) end. we only vaulted the kitchen/dining/living room area.

  3. Hello, beautiful renovation! We are trying to figure out what trim color to use. What is the trim paint color that you guys are using in the house? Thank you!!