27 In DIY projects

how to: a DIY cedar lined porch ceiling

There have been a lot of outdoor projects on our “to do” list this summer. After (more or less) completing the renovation/build on our home over the winter, once the snow melted, there were so many things in our front and backyard that needed addressing. Grass, for instance. A new driveway. A porch. You know, pretty crucial stuff. You can always close the door on an unfinished room inside your house, but when the exterior is in such rough shape, it is hard to hide!

When we were completing the reno of our house, we had our main contractor build the structure of the porch, lay composite decking, install railings, and the columns. I’ll get into more details about those choices in another post soon, but one of the elements of this porch that we DIY’d (that “we” is pretty liberal… it was all Dan and my Dad on this one) was the cedar lined porch ceiling.

Step by step tutorial on how to DIY a cedar lined porch ceiling

I have swooned for ages over those cedar ceilings that you see in porches and outdoor rooms. They smell and look amazing, right? With the dark gray siding that we chose for our home, plus the white accents, I knew that all the elements would work together and that the wood would add some warmth to the overall scheme. We really want to make the porch somewhere we actually sit and hang out and enjoy.

Here was our starting point: a freshly built, but still “naked” porch ceiling. We have been living with it like that since we moved back in in January (7 months and counting…)!


What we used:
>> 6 foot lengths of tongue and groove cedar (our area was roughly 5 x 20), purchased from Home Hardware
>> cedar cove moulding to wrap around the edges
>> 18 gauge two inch brad nails
>> 1×3 strapping
>> 2″ wood screws

Total cost was around $500 for all materials. We had been quoted $1000+taxes for materials and labour by a contractor, so we definitely saved on doing this ourselves.

Let’s break it down into steps.

Step 1 // Before you starting putting any boards up, you want to ensure that your strapping was all done correctly, that you have marked out where your lights are going to go, and all wiring is complete. For our porch, Dan needed to add some 1×3 strapping to bridge the gaps where the electrical cutouts were needed for potlights. He cut the strapping using this RYOBI cordless circular saw. This saw is great for quick rough cuts, very light and easy to use.


And then put it up using his RYOBI lithium drill.


Step 2 // Time for the fun part – actually putting the cedar up! First up is to cut the wood. You want to do this with the Ryobi circular saw, or even better, with a chop saw like this one from RYOBI’s One+ system (it’s on Dan’s wish list!!). Safety first, guys! Always make sure to wear your goggles and whatever other protective equipment you have.

Start at one end and nail gun in the first piece. We did this using our new RYOBI 18-gauge brad nailer. You want to nail angled into the tongue so that you don’t see the nails.


Step 3 // Continue by adding board after board until you have covered entire area. Dan and my Daddio were working on this project together, so my Dad cut and Dan nailed each piece in. It went SO QUICKLY! My Mum and I took Maya for a walk and coffee date, and then by the time we got home, they had finished putting up all the pieces! Couldn’t believe it.


For the very last piece, Dan found that he needed to cut it a bit shorter and then wedge it in. Overall, he left a 1/4 inch gap all the way around the ceiling for any potential expansion and contraction (don’t worry – this gap gets hidden in step 4).


Step 4 // Last step was to measure and cut the cedar cove moulding. The fellas used a chop saw for this, and and cut the moulding on a 45 degree angle on each end. It doesn’t particularly matter where you start with the moulding – long side, short side, no difference. Once they cut the piece to size, Dan again nailed it in with the same brad nailer, straight up.


It was amazing to see it go on so easily and quickly. Honestly having a nailer that doesn’t require a compression is a total godsend. No fiddling around with any cords … just charge the battery and go!


Cedar is a very soft wood, so you may need to adjust the brad nailer based on how far in it drives the nail. Instructions on how to do this come with the tool. You want to test this on a scrap piece of cedar.

Want to see the ceiling in all its’ glory? Ta-da!


We have put out our plastic Adirondack style chairs that we’ve had for years, and an outdoor throw rug my Mum gave us, but ultimately I’d like to be able to eventually invest in some better pieces for out here. My vision? Some red Adirondack chairs (actual wood ones or at least better hard plastic ones.. ours are the $20 kind that are now pretty worn!), an outdoor rug that looks like jute or sisal, some side tables, plants in big planters, and some throw pillows. All in good time!

Because it’s cedar and it’s not directly exposed to the elements, we have decided not to stain it or put any kind of sealant on it. Cedar ages beautifully and continues to give off that amazing smell. If you were worried or wanted a shine, you could of course use some kind of clear sealant – totally a personal preference! DSC_1518

We still have one thing to do which is to cut out the circles for the potlights. Dan needs to grab a special tool to do that and we just haven’t gotten to it quite yet — the “to do” list never really gets shorter, you know? Either way, it’s lovely to look up at this every time we leave the house.DSC_1519

All of the tools we used (aside from our chop saw) are part of the RYOBI 18V One+ system. You guys might have come across this snazzy looking neon green line of tools at the hardware store? Well, I can safely say that Dan is totally obsessed with all things RYOBI now. They are all cordless and have interchangeable battery and charger systems, so everything works in combination with everything else. Plus, the batteries are the latest technology in lithium-ion and basically run longer, have better power, and are lighter than anything else on the market. Win-win. My Dad was looking pretty longingly at Dan’s new collection of tools, and Dan is already trying to hint at the other RYOBI tools he “has to have”. Honestly though, they are perfect for the weekend DIYer. Keep your eyes peeled for the #RYOBIDays promo happening at Home Depots across the country.

And because they are such a sweet company, they offered to run a giveaway for a lucky reader!! The prize? A prize pack of tools including: Drill P818  ($129), Circular saw P506 ($89.99), Nailer P320 ($149), Trimmer P2210 ($139). Pretty amazing, huh?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A bunch of my blogger friends are also taking part in #RYOBIDays. Check out their unbelievable projects here. Seriously.. there is some good, good stuff in there! Go be inspired!!

AKA Design
DIY Passion
Fynes Designs
Satori Design For Living
Setting For Four

Have you guys had outdoor projects to tackle this summer? Done any building? Feeling incredibly thankful for a handy hubby/friend/Dad like I am? 

Disclosure: Thanks to RYOBI for partnering with us on this project! It was most definitely Dan’s favourite blogger collaboration since I started writing this blog 5 years ago. Ha! All opinions, as always, are totally our own.

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  • Magalie Bradley

    I live in a 1956 old house that needs a lot of work. We are starting bathroom reno’s soon and could certainly use some new tools to make the job easier!

  • ramblingrenovators

    Your porch ceiling looks amazing!! I need one of those cordless nailers. And I’m so glad you didn’t paint the ceiling – the cedar must smell wonderful.

  • Looks so great Gemma!!
    so…when you live in a 100 year old house you always need fabulous tools. We’re hoping on wainscotting our dining room so these tools would come in pretty handy!

  • Wow! We’d use these tools to work on some board and batten details in our home.

  • Jill Couling

    I have a headboard project that I’d love to tackle with the tools giveaway! The wood is from the last project I did with my Dad before he passed away, so it is quite sentimental. Would love to start building things and remembering my times with him!

  • Mary Beth Nikel

    Love the cedar ceiling! We are finishing our basement so that we can rent it out and earn some extra income. We would love to have some power tools to help us finish the job.

  • Kelly D

    This is the exact project we need to do next summer!

  • Karen

    Midway through fixing up my kitchen, I’d happily replace my off-brand drill with these beautiful toys…

  • Tara @ Surburble

    Gemma, this is beautiful! I wish I had a porch so that I could do this. It’s just lovely.

  • Megan

    My husband and I are always working on house projects, so some new tools would be so nice! We’d probably start (in the Spring) on fixing/updating our front porch. It was NOT well made and ends in the middle of a window, leans to the front, and is definitely looking it’s age of 23 years.

  • Setting for Four

    So beautiful Gemma!! What a great job and great makeover! I’m sure you are really enjoying it :)

  • Shauna Oberg

    This looks amazing! Love the scent of cedar. Finished your renovation? I like the sound of it. Can’t wait until I can finally speak those words (I’m sure you know what I’m talking about)!

    • Thanks Shauna. And “finished” is a loose term…. it’s live-able. Still A LOT to actual finish inside!! But that’s the fun, right? :)


  • Ronda

    Your ceiling is awesome! I need to build bookcases.

  • Sandy Roberts

    I love the warmth it adds! We are moving to a new house, so there is lots to do that new tools would help with!

  • Mercedes Taylor-Puckett

    Lovely! We so need to do this. Our farmhouse porch ceiling as a few patches that really stand out. And I’d love to add an additional rafter so I can hang a porch swing.

  • Evonne

    Looks great! I’m itching to do something very similar next summer once the new roof and upper storey are on our humble abode.

  • Sarah

    My hubby and I just purchased our dream home (well, it will be once we’re done with it!) and have SO many projects lined up! First on the list is building a mudroom/entrance from our garage! Our hand-me-down tools could definitely use an upgrade!

  • queenopearls .

    Wow, I found you through your post on HomeTalk…. what a beautiful project. I had to see about the trim and the lights. :) I can totally see you adding accent curtains …. so many great ideas. Plus Ryobi does make great tools. Love no cords or loud compressor. :) Sweet project and I really appreciate you showing all the steps. :) I’ve got to finish some projects which have been languishing. :) ~ Christina in FL

  • Ricki

    I love the cedar ceiling!!! They really do look lovely, and the smell. Oh how nice. Great job by the way.

  • Krystal S.

    Your “new” digs are coming along fabulously!! And congrats on baby #2!!! I am currently pregnant with our first (due March 5th) and my husband is refinishing our hardwood floors so we are currently living in the basement with all of our stuff, like hoarders. He LOVES Ryobi One+ tools! A cordless brad nailer would definitely help speed things along for him upstairs when he needs to put the cord-around back on (soon, hopefully really soon!), and I feel like I could find lots of projects for him to do with all the other tools too ;)

    • Congrats on your pregnancy, Krystal!! And good luck with all the projects. Man can I ever relate :)


  • Nicole

    I’ve got plans to build some new nightstands for our guest bedroom — these Ryobi tools would be handy!

  • CeCe Cullmer

    Love this Look!! Wanting to start on my long list of she-do’s. Glad to hear more RYOBI products are now cordless especially the nailer. I am getting ready to replace the trim around my doors and windows to give my home inside a new look! May even blog about my adventure! Thanks for sharing.

  • Valerie Hill

    such a beautiful job! i wish i was handy to do stuff like this. better get the hubby to work soon :p

  • Jo Eichelberger

    I would build a garden shed and do some nice finishing work on the interior of my turn-of-the-century home!!!!!! 💜💕