You Can DIY Your Own Stunning Coffered Ceilings
Coffered ceilings are a great way to add character, pattern, and depth to your ceiling. If you have high ceilings, they also can make your room look cozier--but the price to have them custom-built is also steep. Luckily, the basic square pattern of a coffered ceiling isn't too hard to make yourself, and it only requires some basic carpentry skills. You can get the high-end feel of a coffered ceiling for a fraction of the price if you build them yourself.OffEnglish
How to DIY a coffered ceiling
This is an intermediate level project, so you'll need a miter saw and a brad nailer to do the work yourself. Other tools you'll need include a square, a level, a stud finder, tape measure, and a pencil. Materials that you'll need are 1" x 3" and 1" x 4" boards, some 1" x 6" MDF boards, and some baseboard molding, as well as 2" brad nails and 1- 1/2 " brad nails. To finish and paint your ceiling, you'll also need paintable caulk and some 180-grit sandpaper.
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Start by marking your grid
Begin by marking out the ceiling joists with your stud finder and pencil, and then draw out the lines for your grid using a level or other straight edge. For a coffered ceiling look, the grid should be based on the distance between every other stud. So if your floor joists are 16 inches apart, your grid will be 32" x 32;" if they're 24 inches apart, your grid will be 48" by 48".
Build your brackets
Once your grid is marked out, you'll need to build a bracket for each intersection of the grid in an "X" shape.
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Attach the brackets
Center your "X" brackets on each grid intersection and attach them using your longer 2" brad nails into the ceiling joists. Then, center your 8" brackets in the spaces between "X" brackets and nail those into the studs as well. Use your level to make sure that everything is lined up well before moving on to the next step.
Attach your facings
Center your 1" x 6" MDF molding pieces on the brackets and nail them in place horizontally using the 1- 1/2 " nails. You'll need to custom cut these to fit your particular room, so measure the total width and length of the ceiling first and then cut your pieces to fit your space.
Once the boards are attached going in one direction, measure the space between the MDF boards and cut one piece of MDF molding for each space going in the opposite direction. If you have a seam between pieces of MDF, you can push some caulk into the seams with the tip of your finger before moving on. This will allow for a little extra dry-time.
Attach your sides and finish
Next, measure the distance from corner to corner of the inside edge of the squares on your grid. Use this measurement as a guide to cut your baseboard pieces with 45-degree angles at each end like a picture frame. The longest side of your board, from the tip of one 45 degree angle to the other should be the same as the interior measurement of your ceiling grid.
While "measuring twice and cutting once" is usually the best way to go, measuring twice and then cutting your boards just a hair long can help with this part. Getting the angles to line up perfectly can be tricky, so cutting them just a little long and then trimming to fit is helpful.
Once they are all cut and fit snugly together in a square, you can nail them to the sides of your brackets using the 1- 1/2 " brad nails. And if the angle isn't perfect, use some caulk to hide your flaws. Once that's done, fill any visible nail holes with caulk, let it dry, and sand it down to get it ready for paint.
A visual always helps for projects like these, so before you dive in, watch these helpful Part 1 and Part 2 videos from Spencer Lewis at Insider Carpentry.