How to Construct a Tray Ceiling

Written by lacy enderson
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Elevated tray ceilings add beauty and style to an ordinary flat ceiling. They also make a room appear larger and roomier. Constructing a tray ceiling comes with a normal level of difficulty, but with any amount of construction knowledge and a few pointers, you too can add architectural interest to your home.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • 2 by 4s
  • 1 by 3s
  • Adhesive
  • Screws
  • Screw Gun
  • Sheetrock
  • Mud
  • Paint
  • Tile (optional)

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    Construct a Tray Ceiling

  1. 1

    Construct your tray ceiling by first building 2 by 6 soffits using 2 by 4 and 1 by 3 material. Use the 1 by 3s as a flange for attaching the soffits to the ceiling trusses.

  2. 2

    Choose the shape of your tray ceiling. Some are rectangular and others are square. It will depend on the size and shape of the room you are constructing your tray ceiling in. This will also determine the length you will cut your boards.

  3. 3

    Cut your 2 by 4s and 1 by 3s the proper lengths by first measuring the span between walls. Snapping a line between pencil marks on the walls will guarantee your ceiling will be straight.

  4. 4

    Use construction adhesive and 2-1/2 in. screws to attach the soffits together. Glue and nail the soffits to the ceiling. The ceiling tray will actually appear like a type of box style flowerbed that goes all around your ceiling.

  5. 5

    Apply sheetrock to finish off the project. Cover all the 2 by 4s and other board material with sheets of sheetrock. You now have a nicely constructed tray ceiling. Next is to add mud, texture, and paint.

  6. 6

    Some people choose to tile the entire ceiling. Whatever decor you are looking to achieve, you are now ready to create.

Tips and warnings

  • Adding additional style to your tray ceiling is as easy as installing a crown mould trim or a nice subtle shade of paint.
  • Adding a lighting structure such as a ceiling fan or a chandelier can also enhance the beauty of a tray ceiling.
  • Painting the inside of your ceiling tray a few shades darker than the ceiling colour adds dimension and perks up a room.
  • Connecting the 2 by 4s at the corners can be tricky. If you find the corners to be far to difficult for your minor expertise, call in a professional for just the corner work.

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