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Old 10-11-2017, 06:44 AM
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OT: Tips for staining a wood ceiling?

I'm in the process of installing a tongue & groove plank ceiling in our bedroom and I'm planning on staining it. Does anyone have any good tips for staining a wood ceiling? I can see where this could get messy if you aren't careful.






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Old 10-11-2017, 07:13 AM
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Stain it before you put it up. Set up sawhorses in the garage, and stain the faces first for the whole room. The stain will also raise grain, so plan for a light sanding and then a light recoating. You also may want to consider a sealer, as the ceiling will be hard to keep clean... dust, cobwebs etc.

Just some thoughts.... good luck. What kind of wood? If you are interested in a somewhat obscure and time consuming but fabulous old fashioned finish, drop me a line.
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Old 10-11-2017, 07:36 AM
Tandem Rider Tandem Rider is offline
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I put up a ton of it in our last house, t&g cedar. I finished both sides and edges before beginning to install it. I also put clear sealer on each end after cutting and before installing, this was to slow down moisture changes in the wood, preventing cupping and splitting. Looked fantastic and worked great, no cups or splits years later, and no "little lines" in the winter after the wood shrunk a little from dryness.

Have fun with it, it's a pretty quick and satisfying project.
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:07 AM
Birddog Birddog is offline
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I hope it is a light stain, a dark stain will make the room look like a dungeon. Do what Tandemrider did or it will shrink and cup. Very important to seal all sides and I'm assuming the material is KD.
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:16 AM
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The t&g will be filling the recessed space between dark exposed timbers. I was thinking of going just a few shades lighter than the beams themselves. That said it would be on the dark side.






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Old 10-11-2017, 11:25 AM
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Btw, I just wanted to mention that the house was built in 1780 and nothing is uniform and straight. That means precutting and pre-staining will be a major pita. I've encountered spots were measurements can fluctuate + or - .25 in less than a foot. Beams are rough cut and have slight twists running over their length.








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Old 10-11-2017, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
The house was built in 1780 and nothing is uniform and straight... measurements can fluctuate + or - .25 in less than a foot.

What's 1780 got to do with it? I see new construction like that all the time!

You have this advantage: you *know* your house can last 200+ years; somebody buying new now may have their place fall down around them in a year or three.

But the thing about the ceiling -- would it fit the look you want if you outlined the sections of T&G with a small moulding? You could cut everything square and straight, nail it up, and cover the places where things don't meet with a quarter-round or shoe moulding, same as you do with a floor. To some extent, a small moulding can bend to conform to the beams' irregularities, and where it can't -- I know this sounds horrible, but: color-matched caulk.
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Old 10-11-2017, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William View Post
Btw, I just wanted to mention that the house was built in 1780 and nothing is uniform and straight. That means precutting and pre-staining will be a major pita. I've encountered spots were measurements can fluctuate + or - .25 in less than a foot. Beams are rough cut and have slight twists running over their length.
William
Despite these issues (even new construction isn't always straight, plumb, etc.), I think that 1) creating templates; 2) cutting; 3) staining and finishing; 4) installing will be much easier than trying to stain/finish when the boards are already up in the air, between the beams.

That sounds like a nightmare scenario to me. You will achieve far better, longer-lasting results if, as others have already said, you can do the bulk of the finish work down on the ground.

1/8" ply/masonite/etc. templates are fast, cheap, easy.
Even Bontrager swears by them.
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Old 10-11-2017, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William View Post
Btw, I just wanted to mention that the house was built in 1780 and nothing is uniform and straight. That means precutting and pre-staining will be a major pita. I've encountered spots were measurements can fluctuate + or - .25 in less than a foot. Beams are rough cut and have slight twists running over their length.








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Measure and cut the pieces for each section and mark them to where they go. Use a small quarter round to finish the edges.
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Old 10-11-2017, 01:00 PM
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Measure and cut the pieces for each section and mark them to where they go. Use a small quarter round to finish the edges.
Or just template accurately, and then either precisely merge new ceiling "panels" to the existing joists (more of a pita), or set the new work off by a consistent 1/4"-1/2" reveal, painted black before tg ceiling install if desired.

This is all happening 8'+ up in the air, though, and gaps that size will not be readily noticeable or disturbing given the non-orthogonality of joists, etc. anyway.

To my eye, quarter-round, etc. "finishing elements" always look clumsy, cheap, and advertise that they are hiding something. William's house is from 1780 ( I would love to see some photos). Part of the allure is that in fact joints are not perfect. Quarter-round, etc. "finishing" will look like a cheap "wood-grain" Formica-paneled den from the '60's.
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Old 10-11-2017, 01:05 PM
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Quarter-round, etc. "finishing" will look like a cheap "wood-grain" Formica-paneled den from the '60's.
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Maybe, it depends on the surround. My mind assumed that we're talking about a coved ceiling in which the quarter might add to an already detailed ceiling. In which case it would not look so cheap.

We need pictures William, and, what style of architecture is it?

BTW, I meant to post earlier. Use a dip trough to stain the wood. It coats the whole product evenly and allows great penetration.
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Last edited by BobO; 10-11-2017 at 01:09 PM.
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Old 10-11-2017, 01:08 PM
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You could stain in place using a gel stain, but the problem will be edges if there are any gaps.

My suggestion--prestain. Then work section by section. Cut and fit, touch up stain on ends and cuts. Nail up. You can work with the stained material while it is still damp. (This is what we would do with wood siding, touching up especially the ends as we go--if it is paint, they even make a cool roller device that is like a glue stick that lets you roll the ends after you cut.)

If you see unevenness or problems, touch up once in place.

The only thing about stain--multiple coats will take you darker, and it is hard to go the other way, so you need to be a little careful when you are touching up, not to get too much on the faces.
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Old 10-11-2017, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by BobO View Post
Maybe, it depends on the surround. My mind assumed that we're talking about a coved ceiling in which the quarter might add to an already detailed ceiling. In which case it would not look so cheap.

We need pictures William, and, what style of architecture is it?

BTW, I meant to post earlier. Use a dip trough to stain the wood. It coats the whole product evenly and allows great penetration.
Again (from the fire thread) also all good points.

I assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that the finishing details in this home are fairly rustic, and that the relative delicacy of quarter-round pieces might look out of place. But, not having photos we can't really know.

One known issue, though, is that staining different species of wood (in this case planks versus 1/4 rounds, for example) can look really bad, and is best avoided if possible.
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Old 10-11-2017, 01:34 PM
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Thank you for the tips folks!

It is an old Gambrel farmhouse.

This room appears to have been an add on at some point in time. There are two beams next to each other and you can see where the 1x13" oak siding planks had been cut off in between them. All the main timbers are rough hewn with axe marks where they were hewn to roughly flat sides.

The main reason for doing this is that the current rough hewn planks that are up there now between the timbers have large gaps that allow stuff to drop down in between them. Not good finding dust and mouse droppings coming down into your bedroom. There is a space between the floors and occasionally when the weather starts getting cold a few will try coming into the house. Between bait, traps, and the cat it usually gets taken care of fairly quickly but still... Those planks were painted a milky white color at some point in time. Too much work to sand them down and refinish, thought about plastering, but finally decided T&G might be a better look with the wood finish. I was thinking about molding but keeping it fairly basic. Being an old farmhouse it might look a bit out of place if I went with to detailed/fancy moldings.







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Old 10-11-2017, 01:40 PM
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Ya, in that case there's no reliably clean way to tie the new product in without intricately scribing each board. I would put up a sheet of 1/2" plywood or osb, painted black (someone suggested this earlier.) Then put up your T&G loose(ish) and rustic looking.
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