Ever since tearing out the layers of drop ceilings in our 1800s Farmhouse I’ve received a lot of questions about our exposed wood beam ceilings. I will be answering the most frequently asked questions about our exposed wood beam ceilings.
Exposed Wood Beam Ceilings FAQs
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Why did you tear out and expose your ceilings?
When I first started working on our (then) dining room there was a sign of water damage on the drywall ceiling. My plan was to poke a small hole to assess whether the damage was old or current. If there wasn’t a current leak, I planned to cover the ceiling with tongue and groove boards. Well, my curiosity got the best of me and the small hole tuned into a large one. Next thing I knew we were in full renovation mode! We removed several layers of drop ceilings that had been added over the years until we reached the original tin ceiling. Unfortunately they were destroyed when the first drop ceiling was installed and couldn’t be salvaged like the original tin ceiling in our master bedroom. Once we removed all the debris we were left with the beautiful original 1800s hand hewn ceiling beams/ floor joists.
Is it hard/ messy to tear out a ceiling?
Yes, but it’s also fun! We had four layers of ceiling to remove so it wasn’t easy and made a huge mess. BUT the results were soo worth it in my opinion! If you want to remove a ceiling be sure to do your research and have all the proper equipment (like ways to contain the mess and good face masks for example).
Are you leaving your ceilings exposed?
Yes! Once we discovered what had been hidden under layers of drop ceiling we couldn’t imagine covering it back up! Sometimes when restoring an old home less is more. That was the case for our ceilings. We had to peel away the layers of newer ceiling to reveal the authentic beams that help to tell the story of our 1800s farmhouse.
What are the advantages of exposed ceilings?
Although exposed wood beam ceilings aren’t for everyone, I find several advantages to them. We gained an extra foot of ceiling height by removing all of the drop ceilings. It made the rooms feel much larger and added a cozy vibe with the warm wood tones. I also love all the character that the exposed hand hewn beams add to our home. Exposing the workmanship that went into building our 1800s farmhouse not only sheds light on it’s history but is a great conversation starter when guests visit.
How do you know what the exposed ceiling will look like before tearing the ceiling out?
You don’t! This is one of the scariest but most exciting parts. Before fully committing to tearing out a ceiling look for clues as to what you might find. Our floors upstairs are the original wide plank wood flooring. Before we tore out the ceilings I assessed the floor boards and any cuts that had been made first. I was also able to pry up a loose floor board to get an idea of what the floor joists would look like. You never know the full picture until you fully commit, but sometimes these early clues can help you decide if it’s the right decision for your house.
Does the first floor get cold and lose heat with exposed ceilings?
One of the disadvantages of an exposed ceiling is there is technically more space to heat. However, we haven’t noticed a significant difference in our heat bill or in the temperatures between rooms. Every house is different though, so it might be something to consider if you want to expose beams in your house.
Is an exposed ceiling soundproof?
Our house isn’t soundproof. Exposing our ceilings definitely didn’t make our house more soundproof, but I’m not sure if it made it any worse. I have been in the basements of new builds and could hear a conversation upstairs clear as day. I’m not sure of the logistics that go into sound travel, but I think both new and old homes can struggle in this area. I like being able to hear what is happening throughout our home, so this hasn’t been a concern for me.
How do you hide wires in an exposed ceiling?
There isn’t a way to hide wires and piping when you totally expose floor joists, but they can easily be disguised with paint. I used black chalkboard paint to disguise electrical wires and dark stain to blend newer patched wood. If you have a lot you want to hide, you could consider a DIY like this one to leave part of the beams exposed but cover what is in between them.
How do you clean exposed ceilings?
When we first exposed our ceiling I used a mixture of warm water, vinegar, and dish soap with a rag to scrub every inch of the exposed beams and ceiling/ floor boards. They were very dirty and I had to change the water often. After than initial cleaning, I just use a duster to maintain them and remove cobwebs.
Do things fall through the ceiling cracks?
No, but they could. Over the years some of the tongue and groove floor boards have been cut/ lifted for repairs. After exposing the ceiling, light shines through these cracks in the floor upstairs. I personally like this quirky feature of our home. Things are not just randomly falling from our ceiling downstairs, but I don’t doubt that one day my little boys will find it amusing to drop pieces of paper down the biggest crack they can find in the floor.
How to paint an exposed ceiling?
We decided to leave our exposed ceiling the original wood so I don’t have experience or examples of a painted exposed ceiling. However, if I was working with a previously painted ceiling or a newer exposed wood ceiling, I would first prime the wood with my go to primer and then paint it with a matte paint. You can find all my favorite white paint colors HERE.
Thank you so much for stopping by the blog. I hope I answered any questions you had about our exposed wood beam ceilings in our farmhouse. If you still have questions leave me a comment so I can answer them!