How We Installed Barn Wood on Our Porch Ceiling

Porch with installed tile floor, barn wood ceiling, and diy home improvement outdoor fireplace

Neal’s friend tore down an old barn and gave Neal the opportunity to purchase this old pine wood. He jumped at the opportunity. We cleaned the wood, ripped each piece, painted the porch ceiling black, and started installing the wood one plank at a time. Hence, we will show you how to install a barn wood ceiling for a stunning result!

Note: We have two blog posts that describe the steps for installing barn wood on a ceiling. Both projects required some of the same steps but there are some differences due to the size of the porch ceilings. This blog post describes installing barn wood on a larger porch ceiling whereas the other blog post describes installing barn wood on a much smaller porch ceiling. We suggest you read both posts if you are considering a similar project.

Below is a picture of the porch ceiling before we added the old barn wood.

before picture of porch with random furniture and concrete floor

Here is an after picture of the barn wood ceiling

This is after we added the rock on the face of the house, built the fireplace, wrapped the columns, and tiled the floor. To see our total porch renovation from start to finish, click HERE.

porch outside fireplace, barn wood ceiling, white porch columns, and gray floor tile

Prep Work

First, Neal has to raise our ductwork. There was constant condensation collecting on the porch ceiling from the vent for our living room above the porch.

man cutting ceiling with circular saw

We raised the ductwork, added insulation, and then replaced the plywood. We also had to remove the pieces that covered the joints of the plywood so that the barn wood would lay flat on the ceiling.

HVAC duct work coming out of a ceiling and propped on a ladder on a porch

Painted the Ceiling Black

We started installing wood planks; however, because the wood was imperfect, we decided to paint the ceiling black so the gaps between the wood planks would not be obvious.

rustic barn wood being installed on a porch ceiling

Hence, we took down the few pieces we had already installed, rolled the ceiling with black paint, and started reinstalling the first few pieces…again. Sometimes, you learn as you go on DIY projects!

Installed the Boards

A few things we did when installing the boards…

Layed Out and Sorted All the Wood

As soon as we began installing the boards, we realized it would be easier to lay out all the boards, and measure the lengths and widths of each (I labeled each board with a sticky note). This enabled us to compare the width and length of each board.

As you can see below, Daisy helped us.

Sorted by Color

Each board was a different color – – gray, light brown, and dark brown. Hence, laying out the boards also helped us to see the colors and thus make sure the pattern had variation.

We favored the gray pieces but did not have enough for the entire ceiling, so we had to mix them among the brown pieces. Notice the variation of color in some of the final pictures in this post.

Ripped Each Row of Boards for Consistent Widths

We used a table saw to cut each board the same width in each row. Each row varied in width – – some were 10.25″ to 12″ in width. We just had to be sure that each board within a row was the same width.

Squared the Ends of Each Board

The boards were different widths and lengths and we wanted to vary the color throughout the ceiling. We were trying to maximize the length of each board while cutting each board so that the end would be on a joist for us to screw the end of the board.

Used Screws to Install Each Board

We used screws instead of nails so the boards would be more secure. Nails tend to work loose over time as the wood expands and contracts at different temperatures.

Screwed Each Board in the Joists

Neal made sure he screwed each board every 16″ in the joist so that the boards would hold securely in place. This also required us to stop and cut each board one at a time so that each end would be securely screwed in a joist.

rustic barn wood being installed on a porch ceiling

Notice that the ends actually tuck above the apron (the white board across the top on each end of the porch). It really gives the ceiling a finished look. Later, we will talk about installing crown moulding

rustic barn wood being installed on a black porch ceiling
rustic barn wood being installed on a porch ceiling

You can see that some of the pieces are a little short, but we knew we would add crown molding to cover this.

rustic barn wood being installed on a porch ceiling

We continued to add pieces. We did not have scaffolding; each of us stood on a ladder. I held one end while Neal screwed in the far end and worked his way toward me.

Cutting Holes for Canned Lights

We stopped along the way to cut holes for the canned lights (before we completely covered them). Neal used a jigsaw to cut the circles for the canned lights. We had the breaker off to be safe.

rustic barn wood being installed on a porch ceiling

Loving the Texture!

I love the texture of each board. Below is a close-up of some of the planks. Below is a close-up look of the finished ceiling.  We were so pleased with how this turned out. The variation of color, texture, and sizes of the boards made it beautiful!

rustic barn wood installed on a porch ceiling

Below is a picture of the finished barn wood ceiling before the tile floor.

porch outside fireplace and barn wood ceiling, and white porch columns

So you can really appreciate the transformation, this is a picture of the porch before we added the rock on the face of the house, before we built the fireplace, and before we wrapped the columns. Click here to see our outdoor fireplace project and click here to see how we built our porch columns.

Install Crown Moulding

Notice that we added crown molding around the fireplace and across the far left (lakeside). We did not add crown molding on the rock side (far right of the picture) because the rock is not a flat surface. Here is a closeup of the crown molding.

rustic barn wood installed on a porch ceiling with white columns

The Final Porch Renovation

We enjoy sitting on the porch watching the sunset with family and friends. On warm afternoons, Suzanne uses the porch as her office or to read a good book. We even enjoy the porch in the winter because of the fireplace. However, our favorite use of the porch is hanging out with family and friends catching up and telling stories.

night time porch outside fireplace, barn wood ceiling, white porch columns, and gray floor tile

To see Porch Renovation: A Step-by-Step Guide to a Stunning Transformation, click HERE.

Don’t forget to Pin this for future reference.

Pinterest Pin How to Install Barn Wood on a Porch Ceiling

Thanks for reading our blog! Tell us what you think about or if you have questions about how to install barn wood on a porch ceiling, comment below.


  1. Britney on 09/22/2018 at 2:26 PM

    This is one of my favorite projects in your blog! I read through the steps of this project and realized there was a lot more to it than just screwing the boards in! Great idea to add crown! Did you have to do anything special to it since it’s outside?

    • Suzanne on 09/23/2018 at 11:06 AM

      Thanks for reading my blog! We did not do anything special (not poly or any sealant) after installing. We have kept an eye on them and no change, so I think we are good! They are outside, but not get direct sun or rain. Thanks again for reading my blog!

      • Denise davis on 08/31/2019 at 9:08 AM

        We absolutely love this look… where did you find the wood for your ceiling?

        • Suzanne on 08/31/2019 at 10:59 AM

          Hey Denise,

          Thank you so much. We are pleased with the result too. Neal bought this from a friend who tore down an old barn in Beauregard, Alabama. However, we have also found reclaimed wood (for our heart pine floors) on Craig’s list or Facebook Market place.

          Thanks for asking a question on our blog. We appreciate it!


  2. Karen Potter on 10/27/2018 at 11:00 AM

    This wood is beautiful!

  3. Sannygeway on 12/11/2018 at 3:16 PM

    Nice posts! 🙂

  4. Roxanna on 04/04/2019 at 1:57 AM

    Hi there! Such a good article, thanks!

    • Suzanne on 04/04/2019 at 7:37 PM


      Thanks for the compliment and thanks for reading our blog.


  5. Cynthia on 04/27/2019 at 9:28 PM

    Beautiful. Do you have a deck above the porch? If so, what did you do to ensure rain doesn’t get on your ceiling ?

    • Suzanne on 04/30/2019 at 8:13 PM

      Hey Cynthia,

      Part of our living room is actually above our porch and we do have a deck that extends beyond (and above) our porch. Here is a link that shows you the lakeside of our house (showing the porch and deck).

      Thanks for reading our blog!


  6. Melissa on 08/09/2019 at 8:05 AM

    Y’all just have a knack for projects! This looks like it was so time consuming and back breaking! I love the attention to detail! I’m amazed that your Neal can run a gas line, power, and cable! He is super handy to have around! You should keep him! ? I can’t wait to see what’s next on your list of projects! Thanks so much for sharing. You made it look easy!

    • Suzanne on 08/09/2019 at 8:28 AM

      Thanks, Melissa for the affirmation! We love doing projects together. Neal is very talented, although we did pay a professional to install the gas line. I am just the helper! Stay tuned for more projects!

  7. Sharon on 08/16/2019 at 5:53 PM

    Whats up! I simply would like to give a huge thumbs up for the nice info you may have right here on this post. I will likely be coming back to your blog for extra soon.

  8. From Butcher Block to Farmhouse Table on 04/19/2020 at 1:51 PM

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  12. Mike on 04/29/2021 at 12:59 PM

    What wood/wood product is best for outdoor exposure like this?

    • Suzanne on 04/29/2021 at 1:51 PM

      Hey Mike,

      Good question! Reclaimed barn wood works great because it has already been in the weather for many years. As I travel across the south, I always notice (and covet) old barns in the middle of a field. We installed this several years ago and it has not changed color or appearance at all. Wood does expand and contract as the temperature changes which is why painting the ceiling black prior to installing is an essential step.

      If the ceiling is sheltered from the rain, snow, and sun, you have more options. Home Depot and Lowes also have options for reclaimed barn wood or vintage timber. HERE is an option from Home Depot and HERE is an option from Lowes. On either site, search “reclaimed wood planks” or “reclaimed wood” and several options will surface. Also, you can find reclaimed barn wood on Facebook Market and other sites where products are sold from individuals. We found our heartpine flooring on Craig’s list.

      I hope this helps! Thanks for reading my blog!


  13. Victoria on 03/05/2022 at 2:11 PM

    I love what you’ve done! We are currently building our forever home & I’m considering using the interior wood of an old tobacco barn as my ceiling but I’m concerned that it will blacken or, more concerning, mildew over time, so I’m curious to see if you’ve experienced any change of color since you’ve done the ceiling?


    • Suzanne on 03/05/2022 at 3:08 PM

      Hey Victoria,
      Great question. We installed this barn wood on both our lake-side porch and our front porch several years ago. Neither shows any sign of discoloration. It still looks as good as the day we installed it.
      Happy Building!

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