Instructions for Installing a Tongue & Groove Ceiling

Written by angela roe
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
Instructions for Installing a Tongue & Groove Ceiling
A nail gun will make the installation of the tongue and groove ceiling go quickly. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Tongue and groove ceilings provide a room with warmth and dimension that traditional ceilings lack. More commonly seen on walls and floors, tongue and groove boards can be used to make a design statement in the home while hiding less popular finishes like popcorn or stucco ceilings. Installing a tongue and groove ceiling does not take away space from the ceiling height the way a more traditional drop ceiling does, making it a popular choice for many.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Screwdriver
  • Tape measure
  • Paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Tongue and groove wood
  • Stud finder
  • Chalk line
  • Ladder
  • Nail gun
  • Nails
  • Nail set
  • Putty
  • Decorative trim moulding

Show MoreHide



  1. 1

    Remove all existing light fixtures from the existing ceiling.

  2. 2

    Measure the length and width of the space. Take the measurements along when purchasing the tongue and groove ceiling. Purchase slightly more than the measurements dictate to allow for any mistakes.

  3. 3

    Prime and paint the tongue and groove ceiling prior to the installation.


  1. 1

    Locate the joists using a stud finder.

  2. 2

    Use a hammer and nail to locate the centre of the joists.

  3. 3

    Snap a chalk line the length of the joist, marking the centre of the joist. Continue this process until all the joists are marked.

  4. 4

    Place the first board on the ceiling with the tongue against the wall perpendicular to the floor joists. Have an assistant measure the distance from the groove side of the board to the opposite wall at the top and the bottom. Adjust the board until the two measurements are the same.

  5. 5

    Nail the first board into place by nailing through the tongue and into the joists, and through the face of the board and into the joists.

  6. 6

    Install the second board by sliding the tongue of the second board into the groove of the first board, making sure the two sections are tight together. Continue this process until the final board has been installed. Nail the last board to the joists in the same way as the first board.

  7. 7

    Countersink the nails using a nail set. Fill the holes with putty and touch up with paint.

  8. 8

    Add decorative trim around the perimeter of the room for a finished look that also hides any gaps caused by expansion and contractions.

Tips and warnings

  • Use a rubber mallet and a scrap piece of tongue and groove to lightly tap the tongue and groove boards together if needed.
  • Use a saw to cut openings for lighting fixtures.
  • Nail only the first and last board into the joists.
  • Don't worry about gaps along the outer wall as the trim will cover them.
  • Ask a friend to help with the installation of the tongue and groove ceiling. This is not a job that can easily be done by one person.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.