Monday, July 13, 2015

Sleeping Porch: Restoring beadboard ceiling

Paint is a magical thing. It can transform a room with the right touch. Back in college I used to make extra cash painting people's houses. Needless to say, I learned a lot of pro tips and tricks along the way, and they all came in handy working on this room.

The beadboard ceiling was in pretty rough shape.
There were large gaps in it that were open to the attic.
The beadboard was sagging in places.
Roaches used to crawl through it.
And worst of all, it was barbie doll pink:

Before: Shown after insulating the cracks in the shiplap and first coat of primer
Something had to be done, so...
3 bottles of caulk and several layers of paint later...

I tried using a paint roller but found that it tended to miss spots in between the beadboard. So I brushed the ceiling paint on instead and utilized the magic of paint conditioner to avoid brush strokes. 

The room is still hot since the windows aren't yet weathersealed, but the temperature has been noticeably more stable since closing the gaps in the ceiling. It feels good to no longer pay to air condition the attic.

It took weeks of caulking and priming to get it to look like this. I say 'weeks' but really it was just small batches of work over the course of 2 weeks. It's Houston. It's summer. It's a room with 9, 6-foot tall windows that don't close all the way. And the ceiling is 10' high. It was hot as hell up there.

Then I moved on to caulking the gaps between the edges of every clapboard to give the room that smooth, finished look. 
No idea what genius decided to put an air vent under the ceiling fan
...and the room has a lot of clapboards:

Usually you leave the bottoms of the clapboards open to allow for moisture to escape, like if the rain were to get in, but since this is an interior room I determined that rule could be disregarded in favor of more aesthetic goals:

                                              Before                                       After

Ceiling: Benjamin Moore's Decorator's White, eggshell
Walls: Just latex primer for now
Door casings and window trim: In progress. Will use Benjamin Moore's White Dove, oil-based, satin finish


  1. Hi, I have a similar sleeping porch (now an climate-controlled hallyway). I want to focus on the ceiling but some of my beadboard is sagging. Do you have any advice for correcting that? I will definitely paint and caulk once I have everything as straight as possible. And I will be caulking my clapboard as well.

    1. That's a good question. It would depend upon the type of beadboard, (amongst other things). Two options come to mind:

      a) If it is the newer, thin, 1/4" beadboard that flexes when you press on it ----> you can probably just use a 16 gauge nailer to tack it back onto the joists. Then cover the holes with a dap of caulk. Wipe the caulk smooth with a fresh sponge and it should be ready to paint.

      b) If it is the original 3/4"+ thick beadboard-----> then you'll need to go with something more heavy-duty than a 16g nailer to secure the boards since they are so heavy. I'd start at the middle, where the worst part of the sag is and drill a hole with a 1/4" bit, then secure it with some heavy-duty screws or possibly even with a lag bolt that is recessed into the wood. In other words, I'd screw it in starting from the center/worst part of the sag and work my way out. There is a potential that the beadboard may have shifted slightly, so by starting at the center you can make adjustments if it doesn't have enough room to fit (e.g., there's probably an inch or so of wiggle room for the vertical length of the board to fit, so if it's shifted one way or another, then it's possible that you might have to realign it). Then fill in the holes, caulk and paint.