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Old 12-27-2013, 01:02 PM   #1
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How to Prep/Paint Wood Ceilings


My wife and I have started prepping our wooden T&G ceiling to paint it white. I've been searching non-stop for tips on how to paint it properly to make it look smooth when finished. The ceiling planks have a lot of knots so I would like to know what you guys recommend using to get this done correctly.

So far I've read that I need to paint the knots with shellac primer to prevent bleed through. Would you recommend painting the whole ceiling with shellac or just spot treat? Also I've read that it should be primed with an oil based primer since it is wood.

Do we need to go over all the knots with wood putty to cover them up? Right now I'm trying to fill all the large holes with putty since there are areas where the knot was missing. After that I will give it a quick sand with 100 grit paper to smooth it up a bit. Then I plan on washing the whole ceiling with TSP to clean it up before starting the shellac and prime. Am I on the right track?

Here is what the ceiling looks like:
http://someimage.com/S8tfnAW - Before stripping
http://someimage.com/OsQwidZ - Before we sanded the paint remanants

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Old 12-27-2013, 02:26 PM   #2
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Certainly prime the knots with white pigmented shellac. That will seal the knots and keep the tannins from bleeding into the finish coats. If the wood is indeed bare without any remnants of a clear finish, etc, you could prime with a bare wood primer (oil). It will soak nicely into the wood and provide some "bite" for the topcoats. After that, two or three coats of your favorite latex paint and your job is complete.

You are on the right track with the sanding as well. As for TSP for cleaning, I am always a bit leary of the residue left after the cleaning. After sanding, if you can remove as much dust as possible with tack cloths or vacuuming or even just plain water, well, to me, that would be enough cleaning as prep for the primer and topcoats. After the primer is dry you really should sand with some 220 grit and remove dust again to get that "baby-butt" smooth look you are seeking.

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Old 12-27-2013, 05:02 PM   #3
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How to Prep/Paint Wood Ceilings


yes ^^^
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Old 12-27-2013, 05:23 PM   #4
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How to Prep/Paint Wood Ceilings


Another beautiful ceiling bites the dust. If by smooth you mean you don' want to see the grooves cover with beautiful drywall.
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Old 12-27-2013, 08:44 PM   #5
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Certainly prime the knots with white pigmented shellac. That will seal the knots and keep the tannins from bleeding into the finish coats. If the wood is indeed bare without any remnants of a clear finish, etc, you could prime with a bare wood primer (oil). It will soak nicely into the wood and provide some "bite" for the topcoats. After that, two or three coats of your favorite latex paint and your job is complete.

You are on the right track with the sanding as well. As for TSP for cleaning, I am always a bit leary of the residue left after the cleaning. After sanding, if you can remove as much dust as possible with tack cloths or vacuuming or even just plain water, well, to me, that would be enough cleaning as prep for the primer and topcoats. After the primer is dry you really should sand with some 220 grit and remove dust again to get that "baby-butt" smooth look you are seeking.
Thanks for the info Gymschu. The ceiling planks are currently white washed so its not really bare. We did lightly sand it with 100 grit paper to smooth it out. Today I finished filling the knots that had holes with wood putty to cover them up. I'll sand them down tomorrow to smooth it out again and start applying white shellac as you stated. Should I brush it on only the knots or spray it on the whole ceiling? We have an airless sprayer we can use. Which brand do you recommend? How is the Zinsser BIN Advanced Synthetic Shellac Primer?

I'll skip the TSP as you recommended and just clean it with water then let it dry over night before priming. What is a good primer you recommend? Should I go with Zinsser Cover Stain?
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Old 12-27-2013, 08:45 PM   #6
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Another beautiful ceiling bites the dust. If by smooth you mean you don' want to see the grooves cover with beautiful drywall.
No, I want the grooves. I just don't want the imperfections of the wood. There were some area's where the wood had split or the knots had holes that I patched up.
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Old 12-27-2013, 09:49 PM   #7
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How to Prep/Paint Wood Ceilings


Just brush the shellac on the knots. As for an overall primer, the more I think about it, the more I think an interior latex wood primer would work best. Cover Stain is great stuff but dries quickly unlike a slow dry oil that most pros use for wood. Something like this would work well:
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Old 12-27-2013, 10:09 PM   #8
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That primer you mentioned has pretty good reviews. How many coats would you recommend?

Last edited by Kaveman42; 12-28-2013 at 01:20 AM.
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Old 12-28-2013, 03:13 AM   #9
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How to Prep/Paint Wood Ceilings


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That primer you mentioned has pretty good reviews. How many coats would you recommend?
one coat primer. 2 finish coats
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Old 12-28-2013, 04:07 AM   #10
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How to Prep/Paint Wood Ceilings


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What is a good primer you recommend? Should I go with Zinsser Cover Stain?
He was originally talking about Zinsser BIN.
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Old 03-21-2014, 04:46 PM   #11
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Project Update:

Just wanted to share with you guys how everything turned out. I ended up spraying the whole ceiling with Zinsser BIN Shellac primer because I was afraid of flashing that others were complaining about. After the primer I only needed to sand the beams since they were a little rough with 220 grit. We then finished it off with two coats of BM Advance Satin paint sprayed.

As far as caulking goes, we only caulked the cracks in the wood and gaps where the plank and beams meet. My wife and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. It's a shame that the ceiling is so high, because the Satin paint feels amazing to the touch. With the left over paint we decided to spray a couple of our built-in cabinets.

Enjoy the before and after pics below. Thank you all for helping me!
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How to Prep/Paint Wood Ceilings-20140209_125310.jpg   How to Prep/Paint Wood Ceilings-20140224_141843.jpg  
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Old 03-26-2014, 08:21 AM   #12
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How to Prep/Paint Wood Ceilings


Perfecto...
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Old 03-26-2014, 08:43 PM   #13
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All the rooms in my house, are off-white cream with black ceilings.
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Old 03-27-2014, 02:47 PM   #14
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Hi Kaveman42
The ceiling looks GREAT! Congrats. Question--I have almost the exact same ceiling (ugh) and want to do the same thing, but am dreading the work it's going to take. Looks like you sanded the planks as well as the beams, is that right? If so, how did you manage the grooves? Thanks!
~NutsandBark
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Old 03-27-2014, 03:43 PM   #15
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Yes, I sanded both the planks and beams. The grooves were only sanded by hand when it looked like it needed it. Since most of the roof is around 8ft high and rising you wont be able to notice a thing unless your Manute Bol. After it is painted white, your eyes blur everything out when you look up because of the reflection. It was a lot of work but it came out great. Just take your time and do it right because you don't want to do this all over again.

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