How to Replace a Drop Ceiling With Beadboard Paneling

Drop that drop ceiling and give your space a major style upgrade with beadboard paneling and new lighting.

Photo by: Shain Rievley

Shain Rievley

Upgrading a Drop Ceiling 01:35

Replace unsightly drop ceiling panels with beadboard for a fresh look.

Materials Needed

  • (1) pair of safety glasses
  • (1) disposable mask
  • (1) pair of work gloves
  • (3) tubes of white interior fast drying paintable caulk
  • (1) caulk gun
  • (1) damp cloth
  • (1) steel molding pry bar
  • (1) nail compressor
  • (1) 1 1/4” (32mm) 18 gauge finish nails (brads)
  • (1) chop saw
  • (1) jigsaw
  • (1) 8 fl oz container of fast drying lightweight spackling
  • (1) 2" metal putty knife
  • (1) gallon of interior paint
  • (1) gallon of interior paint - finish of your choice
  • tarps
  • (1) paint roller
  • (1) paint pole extender
  • (2) 12 ft primed crown molding pieces
  • (1) rubber mallet
  • (15) packages of beadboard planks
  • (1) sputnik brass chandelier light fixture

Remove Old Ceiling

Wearing a mask, work gloves and safety glasses, use pry bar to remove drop ceiling tiles. Old tiles may break apart as you are taking them down. TIP: Place a large disposable tarp on the floor to catch all of the debris for an easy clean-up.

Prep Ceiling Trusses

Repair any damaged trusses. For this how-to, 8-foot x 7-inch beadboard planks were being installed, so a few 1x3 planks had to be added to ensure there was something to nail the planks to. TIP: This is a great time to update the look with some modern can lights. Installation is easier and more efficient with the ceiling out.

Install Planks

Start from one end of the room and work your way to the other. Cut planks to size with chop saw. Use a rubber mallet to help you lock in the tongue and groove. Secure with nail gun to ceiling trusses, shooting about every 18 inches. Use a jigsaw on planks to cut around can lights and ceiling fixture. When you get to the edge of the wall, you can use a pry bar to push into place. TIP: The planks were much more manageable versus cutting down 4x8-foot sheets of beadboard. Most of the time, it only required one person for installation.

Attach Molding

Install crown molding using nail gun. Cut corner pieces to meet at a 45-degree angle. TIP: If you have to be on the countertop to install the molding, place a gardener’s mat under your knees.

Smooth Seams

Run a thin bead of caulk over seams where planks meet. Immediately smooth with damp rag. Do the same where the trim pieces meet. Use spackle to fill in nail holes. Sand after it has dried and wipe with a damp cloth.


Paint entire ceiling with flat paint. Paint trim in satin finish interior paint. It will take two coats for both.

Add New Light Fixture

Photo by: Shain Rievley

Shain Rievley

Replace outdated light with a new modern light fixture.

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