I’m Board

We have made quite a bit of progress on our quest for a white washed wood plank ceiling in our living room. Holy moly, it has been a lot of work. The prep work these recycled boards needed was UNREAL and very time consuming. We did all of the prep work over a month and..we kinda still aren’t done. We have bills to pay, ya’ll.

Here is a brief rundown on what we’ve been up to:

1. Rip cut the boards using a table saw to remove any damage that was done to the tongues and grooves while removing them from the room.

Rip Cut Boards

2. Wash the boards down with TSP and water mixture then let dry.


3. Sand. Sand. Sand.

4. Wipe down boards with clean water and let dry.


5. Whitewash the boards using Minwax Whitewash Pickling Stain. Let sit for 1-2 minutes, then wipe with a clean lint-free cloth. Let dry for three hours or more.

White Washing Wood

  • Side note: Many people (including the instructions on the stain) suggest using a wood conditioner in order to allow the stain to soak in more evenly, prevent blotchiness, etc. We tried using it on these boards and we did not see a difference with this type of stain on this wood, other than it added more drying/sanding/wiping time. I think on newer wood that hasn’t been hanging in a house for over 50 years it DOES make a difference, but in this case, we skipped that step.


6. Finish boards with Paste Finishing Wax. Wax on, wax off. Literally.

  • We debated about using a Polycrylic, but decided against it since we wanted a matte finish. (And again, it added more drying/sanding/wiping time since the instructions suggest putting three coats on. Plus, it is on a ceiling so it doesn’t need as much protection as a piece of furniture or a floor..)

Minwax Finishing Paste Wax

7. Place boards in designated staging position based on width. We have 4″, 6″, 8″, and 10″ boards that we will mix in throughout the ceiling.


8. Measure the center of the room and start hanging boards! (YA’LL-I MADE A GIF! Next time I’ll try to take them all at the same angle and in more similar lighting so you don’t get motion sickness…sorry ’bout that.)

Ceiling Installation GIF


YAY for progress! We are still working on this and hope to finish eventually. We’ve found that our house is built unevenly (surprise, surprise!) so that has thrown us a little curveball in the planning/installation process..I’ll check back in soon!

Oh, and just for reassurance that all of this work was worth it…The first photo is the board that was visible previously and the second is the whitewashed version..



5 thoughts on “I’m Board

  1. Stunning, Alison. I love the look of whitewashed wood. I’m trying to find a bathroom vanity with a wash like that, but so far no luck. (I mean, I know they’re out there – just haven’t found one I liked yet.) Keep up the good job, chica!

    1. thank you so much! It is definitely slow moving but it will be worth it once it is done. We were naive in thinking we would be done by the end of June. I think I saw some unfinished cabinets at Home Depot that you might be able to whitewash with the same treatment?

  2. You forgot to mention the part where you sanded the boards for 4 hours with the wrong side of the sand paper!

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