paint, drywall or plaster between exposed floor joists in ceiling

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Topic: paint, drywall or plaster between exposed floor joists in ceiling

Construction February 12, 2013 at 7:08 pm

paint, drywall or plaster between exposed floor joists in ceiling

I have an 1890s brownstone in bedstuy.  when we bought the house the previous owner had exposed the beams in the ceiling on the first floor and fitted plywood in between the beams and stained the plywood a similar color as the beams.  this is nice but makes the room dark.  would like to know if anyone has painted white between exposed joists?  or has hung drywall between joists.  I know that plaster probably looks best but i worry that its too expensive.  
any tips?

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if it was cheap plywood that did not have a smooth face surface, i would drywall.  another layer of drywall will also help to further damp footsteps above. i think in order to make it look good, you would have to do a decent caulk job where the drywall meets the joists.  as you can see, that’s a lot of work.  not as much as plaster though!  you could also try some creative choices, such as paintable wallpaper (for texture), architectural panels, tin ceiling material (if it fits), or even bleached white oak flooring.  depends on what kind of look you are going for and what works with the existing architecture of the space.  

sSopemope is probably right, but I’d suggest painting a section of the plywood first, over a good stain-killing primer, to see if that looks alright.

and “plaster” might not be expensive as you think. a skim coat over your new drywall might not break the bank…

If it is under another unit above then you no longer have a fire rated floor inbetween.

The look you are trying to achieve will make it a lot brighter.  I’d just paint the plywood in between first to see how that looks.  Besides, it shouldn’t really look perfect with plaster skim coat, it should look more “rustic” to the point of a rough coat of plaster or just paint the plywood.  Another look would be to put beadboard in between the joists and either stain that natural, very light or paint it.  It comes in 4 x 8 foot sheets and would be a much easier job.

We have drywall between our exposed joists. Looks fine. I don’t think that a plaster skim coat would make it look any better (even though our walls are plaster). And a thin strip of wood molding where the drywall meets the joists eliminates the need for caulking recommended above.

We have 3 rooms with exposed beams. We fit drywall between. It was laborious but looks great. Photos can be seen below. It will definitely brighten up the room dramatically — you can test it by painting the existing plywood white.


Drywall between the joists and use a tear off bead where the two meet. Trim tex makes such a product. When you are done tear off the leg. Very clean and no need to mess with caulk.

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