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Author Topic: Hemlock Shiplap Ceilings  (Read 667 times)

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Offline jcook

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Hemlock Shiplap Ceilings
« on: June 02, 2021, 09:50:04 PM »
Hello!

I have been a lurker here for awhile but this is my first time posting.  First of all thank you all for the plethora of information on this forum it has helped me immensely!!

As the title says we want to put some wood ceilings in our house and I have a source for extremely good priced Hemlock Shiplap.  Using what I have learned on this forum and through other research I have what I think is the best plan for this but was hoping some of you folks that are much smarter than I could give it a look over and point out any issues.

The Hemlock will be green rough cut and I would like to probably plane at least the outer side to make the surface a little smoother and then use a semi-transparent stain on lots of it and maybe white-wash on some of the rooms and then polyurethane over that to prevent discoloration over time.

I know it's easier to work green but figure it's best to let it dry some before planing and staining.  I was thinking of stacking it up and placing some 2x2's between layers and letting a fan just run and circulate air through them for a few weeks.  After that I could chop off any of the ends that split.  Then I would run them all through the planer and stain/whitewash and poly them.  Then I would just use a finish nailgun to nail em to the ceiling joists with a nail through where the shiplaps overlap each other (Or would I be better with a nail in the middle of each board in case of further shrinkage?).

Does that sound like a good plan?  See any problems or things I should do differently?

Thank you in advance for taking the time to help me out!
-Jarrod

Offline tacks Y

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Re: Hemlock Shiplap Ceilings
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2021, 08:12:19 AM »
A lot of the hemlock I see gets cracks as it dries. How wide of boards?

Online farmfromkansas

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Re: Hemlock Shiplap Ceilings
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2021, 09:29:53 AM »
  Would think twice about putting wood on walls and ceilings, eliminates the protection from fire you get with using drywall.  The old trailer houses that had paneling on walls and ceilings went up so quick from a accidental fire that people could not escape.    
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Offline jcook

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Re: Hemlock Shiplap Ceilings
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2021, 09:38:53 AM »
Yeah i have read on here that they do have a tendency to crack, that may not be too big a deal as they might still look nice to us with the cracking but i could also pick around the real bad ones.  They are 1x8 planks.

I could also hang it green, which was my original thought but i don't know how it'd take to planing green and also wasn't sure how the shrinkage would affect it once hung, if it'd pull through the nails or what.  Also i'd have to stain/poly it on the ceiling after it dried then instead of the ground which isn't a huge deal just a bit of a pain in the neck (literally haha).

The whole house won't be wood, all the walls are either plaster or drywall and some of the ceilings are still drywall as well, I also put insulation between floors.  We like the look of the wood and we will load this place up with smoke/fire detectors.  Also there are lots of exits in this house including 2 separate staircases and 2 porch roof exits.  I do understand the concern though and thanks for pointing it out, we will definitely weigh the risks and takes steps to mitigate things as much as possible.

Offline metalspinner

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Re: Hemlock Shiplap Ceilings
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2021, 11:44:34 AM »
The poly will yellow your whitewash. If you use a waterborne poly, it wont yellow. 

I wouldnt nail right on the lap, but an inch or two over from the joint.  The nail holds the top board down and the lap holds the bottom board. 

The wood has to be dry. Moisture trapped in the wall from green boards could mold. 
I do what the little voices in my wife's head tell me to do.

Offline jcook

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Re: Hemlock Shiplap Ceilings
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2021, 09:07:52 AM »
Thank you so much for the tips!  Alright so drying is definitely the way to go then, i'll get it stacked and drying : )

Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Hemlock Shiplap Ceilings
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2021, 10:26:28 AM »
Hemlock is an insidious species;  that is, it looks great when green, but has a lot of cracking when dried and planed.  The problem seems worse with trees over 75 years old.  Further, it often has wet pockets after drying; these are spots perhaps 18% MC in a piece of lumber that is 10% MC elsewhere.  The wet pockets dry months later and cause shrinkage in the dried product.  When cutting shiplap, cracks develop in the dried product as the wood seems brittle at times.

Shiplap is indeed the best choice.  It can accommodate shrinkage without looking bad, if you nail it properly.  In a heated room like a kitchen, the heat goes up and so the ceiling is warmer, which also means drier than other wood in the house in the winter.
Gene - Author of articles in Sawmill & Woodlot and books: Drying Hardwood Lumber; VA Tech Solar Kiln; Sawing Edging & Trimming Hardwood Lumber. And more

Offline jcook

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Re: Hemlock Shiplap Ceilings
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2021, 12:44:32 PM »
Thanks!  Yeah reading up on here I was seeing many talking about it's propensity for cracking : /.  Basically i can get this for a killer price from a local Amish mill so gonna see how it goes, not sure what age the trees are they are cutting.  Worst case it looks like trash and i have to put something else over it haha.  Going to make the attempt though and just want to give myself the best possible chance of it looking good : ).

I guess I'll slap some latex paint on the ends and dry it out and then after it's dry just play it by ear and see how it goes.  If planing tears it apart maybe I'll just hit it with a sander only.  And I'll watch my nailing to allow room for  more shrinkage, and hopefully running nails through doesn't split it too much haha.

Online Bruno of NH

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Re: Hemlock Shiplap Ceilings
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2021, 07:24:44 PM »
Plane it green then dry it.
Your planer won't like dry hemlock.
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Offline jcook

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Re: Hemlock Shiplap Ceilings
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2021, 09:49:46 AM »
Got it!  Thank you very much!  Should have all the wood in a week or 3 hopefully and I'll get it planed and stacked up to dry : )

Offline jcook

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Re: Hemlock Shiplap Ceilings
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2021, 02:36:28 PM »
Another query for you guys considering this project.  What if I was to nail the wood up green but leave the last board off to allow for the moisture to escape from the back side where the stud cavities are?  Would that then allow for nice drying in place setup and prevent the formation of mold between the first floor ceiling and second floor?  Also should be noted that right now there are no finished floors on the second story and it has plank flooring with some gaping.  And the second story ceilings just open to the vented attic with insulation but I could roll up that insulation to allow for better airflow there too.  And then of course keep my dehumidifiers running to keep the overall moisture level in the house down.

Not sure if I'd actually want to do this or not because the average 6.8% shrinkage I read about on another post.  Although it would be less than the width of the laps I don't know if I'll like that large of a gap being present.  But I have read hemlock works better green and just kind of curious to know if this was an option rather than stickering or maybe an option to sticker it for a shorter amount of time or if it was just a terrible idea haha.

Offline tacks Y

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Re: Hemlock Shiplap Ceilings
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2021, 08:32:17 PM »
Not sure where you are at (state)? In Pa I would not be afraid to do that with gaps on the floor above. I built my house all rough lumber 35 years ago, put 4 x 18 pine beams up pine boards on top pretty green. I then put black plastic over it and put 2 x 14 rafter over it 2 layers 6" fiberglass in between and then 1" hemlock and shingled. 

The pine dried fine left some gaps, but the plastic hides it. Should have shipped lapped or felt then plastic.

Offline jcook

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Re: Hemlock Shiplap Ceilings
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2021, 09:59:18 PM »
I am also in PA :).  I am pretty close to the Ohio border.  Thanks for the info!  That makes me not as nervous haha.  Hauling all the lumber on Thursday then I'll get it planed and stacked up for at least a few weeks while I finish up some other tasks then I'll go from there and consider nailing it up to dry the rest in place.


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