Coffered Ceiling Advice

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max_in_graham

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Max
I'm thinking of building a coffered ceiling in one of my rooms, but I've never built one, or seen one done.

My guess is that I should screw something like a 1x to the ceiling, and then build the boxing. Once the boxing is in place, then add any finish trim. [edit] I forgot the minor detail, that the ceiling is a layer of 3/4" OSB attached to the joists, followed by a layer of 5/8" gypsums... so I don't have to worry about using toggle bolts, etc)

I was thinking it would be best to screw the boxing to the 1x mounting plate, but would prefer to nail it because of dealing with plugs vs filling nail holes. Then too, I will be adding some trim molding... so does it matter?

Anyone have any advice or tips?

I'm thinking about something like this: (But not nearly as ornate)
coffered-ceiling4.jpg


Thanks for anything you can suggest!!
 
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russellellis

New User
Russell
Max, the way you are describing is exactly how ive seen countless coffered ceilings built before. The one i just refinished in the 1925 brick victorian is the same way minus the osb. This has plaster over wood lath behind it. Its just nailed thru the plaster/lath into every single joist it could hit. The plaster and coffered ceiling are still structurally sound after all this time.
Thats the same way ive built two before as well. I would use nails and not screws.
 

DaveD

New User
Dave
Finish Carpentry (Effecient techniques for custom interiors) by Gary Katz describes how he builds coffered ceilings (in a little more detail than the previous link). Gary is a production trim carpenter that has a good reputation in the professional ranks of finish carpenters. I have his various books (another one is installing and hanging doors) and a couple of his DVDs.

The technique he describes uses short hollow 'U' shaped backing installed periodically in both the field and along the walls. Then he installs the 'beam bottom' across all the backing blocks.

Next the base molding is installed. He preassembles the boxes on the ground. The crown molding boxes are also preassembled on the ground. All joints are nailed from behind. He does one 'coffer' at a time (both base and crown) and then moves on to the next coffer.

The writeup in the book takes up about 7 pages (including pictures). Precise measuring is essential.

If you periodically do finish carpentry I'd highly recommend you consider buying his variousbooks and also his DVDs on mastering the miter saw.
 

FredP

Fred
Corporate Member
your plan is ok but....[there is always a but isnt there.] use 2x material on the ceiling. this helps in a few areas. chances are the ceiling isnt all that flat. DAMHIKT. and when you attach the 1x sides you will be nailing a little further down.[less chance of the 1x spliting close to the edge.] and you wont have to scribe the sides to the ceiling to get em close enough to nail. it also gives you a little backing for nailing the crown molding up. you may find that useing a 16D finnish nail every so often will help pull the crown up tight and the 2x give a little more meat to hold those. the worst thing you can do to coffered ceilings is under build. I would also screw the 2x's to the ceiling. the fact that you have osb up there is good.:icon_thum you are adding significant weight and the OSB will help distribute it better. I also use construction adhesive when doing this. it cant hurt.:gar-Bi
 

max_in_graham

New User
Max
Whoa.... I thought the process was a bit more than simply tackin' a coupla pieces of 1x4 up.... but, wow!!... it can be some serious bidness, huh?

ok, gonna take Fred's tip to heart and if I do the coffering the way I thought it should be done, I'll definitely do it with 2x and adhesive!

I would guess that the "traditional" method would be "better" for older style construction of lath over plaster, and in situations where you don't have a solid wood base (e.g. the OSB) to directly attach to... but I'm pretty green when it comes to this level of finish carpentry.

DaveD, I'll definitely check out getting some of Katz's books... thanks for the headsup!


So, the question I'd ask is this; Is there any clear advantage of one method over the other?
 

FredP

Fred
Corporate Member
with the method dave d mentioned you get a first class stained grade job.:icon_thum in the average home done by average carpenters your method is prolly the most used as its usually painted and ...... either method will work with some thought given to the process. if you glue you dont need as many nails and that means less putty.:gar-Bi make sure to keep the sides of the fake beams parallel to each other and strait. the crown can be manipulated to hide cieling defects somewhat. useing spacer blocks every so often makes it easier to stay square. I've always prefered to build in place.:gar-Bi I am sure you can do this. If you can run crown the coffers should be a piece of cake.:icon_thum
 

max_in_graham

New User
Max
While I'd like to do a stain grade job, I'm thinkin' that with all the other red oak, ERC and cherry in the studio, that paint grade would be a better "look"... especially since this is in the lounge area... and what you'll see when you first walk in the building.
 

FredP

Fred
Corporate Member
when I do stain grade work I dont like seeing nails.:nah: they will always show.:BangHead:
 
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