Monday, December 15, 2014

Whitewashing a barnwood ceiling

I think my neck and shoulders are finally back to normal after spending last week whitewashing a barnwood ceiling in our basement bar room. The ceiling isn't completely done so this is more of a sneak peek. I'm anxious to see it once the drywall is finished, flooring is installed and the room is decorated. Just keep that in mind if you look at these pics and wonder "what in the world was she thinking?!"

We were able to get the barnwood from an old shed that's being torn down on the acreage where I grew up. Free! Barnwood is a hot commodity these days so I'm thankful we didn't have to pay for it. We cleaned the boards up with a sander and a wet rag. Looking back, we should have power washed them. A power washer has now been added to our Christmas list!

We cut the barnwood with a combination of a circular saw, jig saw, table saw, and miter saw depending on the piece and where it was being hung. We fastened the pieces with a pneumatic finish nailer (worked great).

Our basement will be decorated with "cool colors" like greys, whites, and black so the natural barnwood color just didn't go. Plus, there aren't windows in this bar area so the barnwood made the room feel dark and small. I decided adding a whitewash would lighten the place up and still let the cool characteristics show through.

You can buy whitewash stains, but I just thinned down some white paint I already had on hand. I mixed two parts water to one part paint which worked really well.

Before whitewashing - we will have a six person high top table in this area.

Where the ductwork drops down is where the front part of the bar will be (four barstools). This room was tricky with all the ductwork in the way.

Under this area is the space between the front bar (barstools) and back bar (sink and fridge). As you can see it's not quite done.

Here are the items I used - bucket to mix the paint in (lined with a trash bag for easier clean up), pitcher for water, and a plastic container to measure two parts water to one part paint.

It should be pretty thin. It will make a mess so cover up anything you don't want splattered. I would not attempt this in a room that's already finished.


You have to go back and wipe off the excess. It's important to not let it sit too long before wiping. Work in small sections.

Again, work in small sections so that you have time to wipe off the excess paint before it dries. Wiping off the excess helps the characteristics in the wood show through.

If only my husband would spend less time photobombing and more time working...

That section is done. Eventually all of it will be whitewashed.

See the difference between whitewashing and leaving it plain?

Once it's completely done, I'll upload the final pictures of the entire ceiling. I'm pretty happy with it! It lightened up the space and made the ceilings seem higher. It also helped cover up some of the grossness of the old barnwood that we weren't able to clean off. More to come...

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