flat or semi-gloss for wood ceilings?

stromJune 16, 2013

I am a novice renovator who has just moved into a 100-year-old southern farm house. I've got tongue-and-groove walls and ceilings and I think I've figured out how to get them properly primed and painted (any tips would be appreciated though).

Can't figure out whether I should be doing flat, satin, or semi-gloss on the ceilings though. I know you do flat paint on sheet rock, but I am seeing lots of photos of semi-gloss lapboard ceilings. What are the rules of thumb for deciding such things?

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I do not do flat for ceilings anymore, because if I do semi gloss or satin I can wash them!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 2:22AM
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On wood ceilings I would prefer satin or semigloss.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 2:28PM
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We did satin on the ceiling boards. It could have easily handled the semi gloss. What look do you like?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 2:30PM
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i do like the look of the non-flat finishes. but i read that shinier paints don't do as good a job at hiding defects, and lord knows my old wood panels have plenty of defects... but i guess therein lies their charm (?). i also do like the idea of being able to wash them -- thanks Calliope for bringing that perspective.

i'm also trying to decide whether to do the walls and ceilings the same color white or not. again, have seen photos of that and also photos of different whites on the walls VS the ceiling.

it's obvious from the original paint in this house that they were all the same color back in the day, so maybe i should roll with that. i just have a hard time trusting my own sense of aesthetics sometimes!

i do appreciate the tips y'all!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 8:57PM
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Just got an answer from my expert sister: eggshell finish on the ceiling, painted with a half-tint of whatever type of white i choose for the walls. that sounds pretty good to me!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 11:44PM
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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

Let me ask this. When was the last time you washed the ceiling?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 5:14AM
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Whatever you choose, brush it out after rolling, because the roller texture will look like h3II, even from my house.
I'd do enough prep work to be able to use semigloss.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 10:04AM
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Once every quarter century works for me!

I think part of it is esthetic too - wood just looks nice with a sheen. (what is lapboard- is that like bead board or something else?)

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 10:05AM
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My kitchen ceilings get a scrub once a year. Before I started washing them, I used to repaint them about every other year. Maybe not necessary in a brand spanking new house, but mine is two centuries old, and has been heated with wood or coal for that duration. Clapboard and around window and door jambs leak coal dust and ash dust. You'd never notice it from day to day, but over a year you would. Spider webs, greasy film lain down by cooking and a gas grate in the hearth, and black soot from oil lamps during power failures. I just put a strong solution of soapy water (laundry power works amazingly well for this) in a paint pan, and get a big, fluffy paint roller and roll it along the ceiling....let it do its thing for about fifteen minutes (you can see the grime letting loose). Follow that with a sponge cloth I rinse out often in clear water and you gotcha the cleanest, brightest nicest smelling kitchen you want. I can't believe people don't address this in an old house. The kitchen brightens up like someone turned on a light or opened the curtains. I don't do this in every room, but by gummy my kitchen is the heart of this home and gets heavy use and I want it pleasant.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 2:02PM
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good advice RE painting with a brush - i had read that you do need to do that with wood. also Calliope, good advice on cleaning the ceilings -- i agree it is necessary in older homes! thanks for sharing your technique! our kitchen is also heavily used.
as for the question about lapboard, i believe it is just a term used interchangeably with tongue-and-groove but probably refers to any wood plank-type of wall covering. at least, that is how my sister uses it!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 5:17AM
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