Introduction: Plywood Ceiling; Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts!

About: Technical Editor for two magazines. Software tester for the computer controlled electronic brakes of Locomotives.

We needed to remove the acoustic ceiling tiles in our Livingroom and replace them with ANYTHING that didn't scream 1960's! Here is what we came up with.


While not necessary, the Ryobi Power Caulk and Adhesive Gun really speeded up the glue up process.

And the Paslode Eagle Claw Nail Extractor for pulling the million staples holding the ceiling tiles to the nailers. (If you can still find one!)

We used the Pasload 16ga finish nailer for the plywood sheets, and the 18 ga, Brad nailer for the lattice.

Note: other guns could be used, including the newer Ryobi Air-Strike guns but we have had these Pasloads for a decade before Ryobi came out with theirs.

Step 1: Destruct Before You Can Construct

With those tiles being of the 1960 vintage we were concerned with asbestos content. We picked up a test kit and sent off a sample. It came back negative. So we started removing the tiles, row by row.

Step 2: And While We Were at It.....

We needed extra ceiling lights, so now is the perfect time to wire in new ones.

Step 3: Installing the Plywood Sheets

After a few rows of the tiles were removed and 6000 staples pulled and the new electric run, we started putting up the 1/4" Luan plywood sheets that we had pre-painted.

We primed the sheets, then finished them with the Rug texture roller which removed the plywoody look and gives the Luan a mild texture. Each sheet was glued in the center where you would see nails and 16 ga. nailed around the perimeter (which would eventually be covered with 1-1/2" Lattice strips.) And as you can see, the original installer had his nailers run a bit, so in the center of the room we did a 3/4" open area to get back into the center of the next nailer.

Step 4: Installing the Lattice Strips

The pre-primed Lattice strips were also painted with the Rug texture roller and nailed onto the ceiling with 18 ga. Brad nails, covering the plywood ends.

Step 5: Resurrecting the Past

With the new ceiling, we decided to put back up the vintage 1942 light that was in the Livingroom when I was growing up. I found the glass shade but not the base. Luckily I found someone on Ebay who was making period reproductions and, most importantly, the adapter to fit a modern 4" ceiling box. (They don't make the 4-1/2" boxes anymore.) With three of those reproduction bases in hand and a lot of searching on Ebay, I found 2 more original globes.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

With the three 1" ceiling boxes constructed, and the reproduction bases wired up and installed, all that was needed was to install 40W Cree LED light bulbs in 2700K (so they would look like an original incandescent light bulb) and fit the shades.

Then sit back and admire our handiwork!