How We Installed Barn Wood on Our Porch Ceiling

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

Below is an after picture of the barn wood ceiling (also after we added the rock on the face of the house, built the fireplace, and wrapped the columns). The floor is our next project!

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 build 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.

Below is another before picture.

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

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.

We started adding wood planks; however, because the wood was imperfect, we decided to paint the ceiling black. So, we took down the few pieces we had already installed. We also laid out all the wood planks and realized that we needed to artistically lay out the wood to make sure the pattern had variation. In other words, we wanted to spread out the gray pieces among the different shades of brown pieces.

We painted the ceiling black.

And then started over one plank at a time . . .

Notice that we were mixing in the gray pieces. We favored the gray but did not have enough for the entire ceiling, so had to mix among the brown pieces.

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. Notice that we were mixing in the gray pieces among the brown pieces. It was almost like putting a puzzle together.

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. 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.

So, we then realized it would be easier to lay out all the planks of wood, measure the lengths and widths of each (I labeled each board with a sticky note). We used a table saw to even the width of each board. Each row varied in width – – some were 10.25″ to 12″ in width. We just had to be sure that each row was the same width.

Below is where we laid out our pattern.

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. Neal made sure he screwed each board every 16″ in the joist so that the boards would hold securely in place.

I love the texture of each board.

Here is a close up of some of the planks.

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.

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

Below is a closeup 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 really beautiful!

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.

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, usually with Ladybug by her side. 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.

Click HERE to learn how we built our porch fireplace.

Click HERE to learn how we built our porch columns.

Click HERE to learn how we installed our simulated stone.

Click HERE to learn how we installed our tile floor on our porch.

Click HERE to learn how we totally transformed our Porch.

Our next project is the porch floor and then finishing the bottom of the columns. Stay tuned . . .

Thanks for reading our blog!

Tell us what you think about our project and/or ask questions by posting a comment below.

Author: Suzanne

Blogger and DIYer with my talented husband Neal. I share about our projects and life lessons following Christ.

21 thoughts on “How We Installed Barn Wood on Our Porch Ceiling”

  1. 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?

    1. 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!

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

    1. 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!


  3. 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!

    1. 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!

  4. 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.

    1. 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!


  5. 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?


    1. 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!

Comments are closed.