Veranda Ceiling Do-over

No, sadly, I don’t mean “makeover” – which usually means new & improved. I mean “do-over” as in doing it all over again…as in twice.

Less than 48 hours after my helpful nephew and I congratulated ourselves on the great job we did installing the beaded panel ceiling in the new veranda it looked like this.

Cause? Failure to do the research by yours truly.

Material: 5/16″ x 3 1/2″ Yukon Pine T&G beaded paneling
Finish: Water-based Varathane (1 coat – both sides)

So what went wrong? (just a few examples)

1. I Left the material in the package til I was ready to pre-finish with polyurethane
2. Installed the (nice dry) material in nice dry weather.
3. Installed the boards tightly together

Then the rain came. 2 inches in one day – 100% humidity…. Fail

Lessons Learned

(after doing the proper research)

1. Any material (especially wood products) should be “acclimatized” by placing it in the room it’s to be installed in for at least 48hrs before installation. This allows it to adapt to the temperature and humidity and shrink or swell accordingly. Although the veranda is in a highly variable outdoor environment I might have fared better if I’d taken it out of the packaging a couple of days before finishing it.

2. While installing in dry weather wasn’t by itself a bad thing, in combination with the other conditions it was catastrophic. Since the tongues were already “tight” in the grooves there was nowhere for it to go but down. Some of the boards cupped as they swelled while others released from the nails ready to fall. I was amazed at how much each board swelled in such a short time.


Assessing the Damage

After looking at it for a few days and coming to the conclusion it wasn’t going to go back to “normal” I knew I had to remove the entire ceiling and determine what material I could salvage. I carefully removed the boards in sequence and marked the row and position in the row on the back of each board (ie. 20-2 = marked_boardsrow 20 – 2nd board).
I set aside the badly cupped boards for replacement. Some boards with minor cupping at one end were slated to be recut to shorter pieces. In the end I was able to save or recut about 70% of the material.

Second Chance to Get it Right

I picked up a few more packages of the paneling and immediately unwrapped it and left it all in the garage for a couple of days (resisting the temptation to get on with cutting and finishing the new material). Fortunately, the humidity stayed fairly high (80-90%) during this period so I knew the material was at near maximum size. I measured and cut new boards to replace each of the badly damaged ones marking the replacement boards with the row and position followed by an “N” for “new” since these would need an additional finish coat. I used the same method to recut the partly damaged boards.

I put a coat of Varathane on the new boards including grooves and end cuts. I then put a second coat on everything to try to seal it as well as possible.

I was ready to re-install. Unfortunately my nephew had gone back home to Ontario….

Part 2 – Installing a T&G Ceiling by Yourself

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One thought on “Veranda Ceiling Do-over

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  2. Our veranda on the outside of my home is starting to look saggy and a little bit old. Me and my husband just barely installed our veranda two years ago. After reading this article, I now know what we did wrong. Thank you for sharing how to acclimatize our wood! We will make sure to never make that mistake again. Me and my husband our also considering getting help from a constructor who actually knows what she or he is doing.

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