Porch Ceiling Trim

This past weekend we got a project completed that had been in the works for over a year. We trimmed out the screen porch and adjacent outdoor porch ceilings. I actually had bought the material this time last year, and just now got around to installing it. The project took me the better part of a Saturday to complete.

Ceiling before installing trim. You can see seams between 4x8 sheets of ceiling plywood.

Ceiling before installing trim. You can see seams between 4×8 sheets of ceiling plywood.

The purpose of the trim is to cover up all the unsightly seams between the sheets of cedar plywood that make up the porch ceiling. I selected 1×4 cedar boards, approximate 12′ long for the project. I ripped each board in half creating a bunch of 1×2’s. I suppose you can purchase 1×2’s but they’re not always easy or economical to find, plus I think you get a straighter board by ripping down a 1×4 into two 1×2’s.

Last year I drew up a plan on the computer, so I used a print out of my plan as a guide. Originally I had planned to go 16″ on center with the strips, but we felt that would be overkill. By going 4′ on center we could cover up most of the seams. Any seams not covered would be inconspicuous once we stained the ceiling.

I trimmed out the entire perimeter of the ceiling first, nailing a 1×2 flat against the ceiling, and butting the side walls. I used galvanized finish nails, and a nail gun / compressor to make the job easier.

The first cross board in place.

The first cross board in place.

Next I measured out the major seams in the plywood and made marks for the boards that go all the way across the porch, width wise. Since the porch is around 12′ wide, I was able to use a solid board and not have to splice anything. I placed boards 4′ on center, covering up each seam in the plywood above. I also made sure to pound any drooping plywood back in place before nailing the trim boards home.

Detail of ceiling trim near chimney corner

Detail of ceiling trim near chimney corner

Once all the boards were up, going across the width of the porch, I infilled with short segments running the other direction until the grid pattern was complete.

Finished ceiling with trim. Large squares are 4' on center.

Finished ceiling with trim. Large squares are 4′ on center.

Trim carries over to the outside porch.

Trim carries over to the outside porch.

The trim adds a nice level of detail to the porch, making the it feel more room like. We’ll stain the ceiling either a reddish color to match the floor and walls, or we may go bold and stain it a charcoal color to match the center of the house exterior.

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