Best ceiling options?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Focus on the Workspace forum

Forum topic by totalrewind posted 04-16-2013 05:49 PM 1220 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View totalrewind's profile


39 posts in 2272 days

04-16-2013 05:49 PM

Hey all,

This summer (Lord willing) I’ll be building my first dedicated workshop. Hurray!

I was wondering about the best ceiling though. There will be a loft above. So the options would be to sheetrock and finish the thing or leave it open floor joists.

Thus far I’ve always had finished garage ceilings, but growing up, my dad’s tiny basement shop had open joists and I remember there was A TON of storage because of it!

Therefore, I’m leaning towards the open thing, but that leads to a second question. If I go that way I’d like to paint it to at least make it look somewhat presentable. Do you think I should go with white to maximize reflected light or go with black like many movie theaters / resturants do to provide an open, yet classy look? What would you do?


-- For more projects (not just woodworking) check out my project blog at

7 replies so far

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2675 days

#1 posted 04-16-2013 05:59 PM

I have open joists with no ceiling. The under side of the roof is white but it is the backing on my insulation. I have a metal building. This stays warmer than you would think. They put the insulation on the frame then covered it with metal. It has a tear resistant cover on it.

View Grumpymike's profile


2238 posts in 2315 days

#2 posted 04-16-2013 06:25 PM

WHITE … white … white.
Sheet rock or open framing paint them white to reflect the light … You need that as you grow older …
I even used white pegboard on my tool cabinet doors, makes a big difference.
It’s a psych thing, but you will work a bit cleaner and neater when your shop looks brite.
Watch C/L, I found two 5 gal buckets of off white (contractor white) for $30.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2970 days

#3 posted 04-16-2013 06:53 PM

I’m hoping to build a new shop this summer as well. A friend, whose shop I plan to copy, has a ceiling covered with that white (melamine?) coated masonite hard board. The stuff they used to make bathtub surrounds out of. It collects no dust and reflects most light. But, mainly, it’s just a matter of sticking it up there and screwing it in place; no filling, no sanding, no painting. It comes in 4’ x 8’ panels.

Blown or bat insulation goes on top of the ceiling in this case, or you could insulate between the rafters if you provide an air gap above the insulation to let the roof breath. I’m going to floor my attic for storage so I will probably insulate between the rafters with bat insulation.

My present shop is in a basement with open joists in the ceiling. It does provide for simple storage, but never looks neat and is not all that easy to access. At least not with 9’ ceiling. And all the nooks and crannies are hard to paint and collect cob webs and dust like crazy. I am looking forward to having a smooth white ceiling and having storage around the walls and in the attic.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2656 posts in 2921 days

#4 posted 04-17-2013 12:07 AM

Open attic or loft area is costly to heat and cool and tricky to insulate. I would install a drop in “T-Bar ceiling that you can lift out to access the storage above. White of coarse.

-- Website is No PHD just a DD214 and a GED

View OliverArts's profile


21 posts in 1866 days

#5 posted 04-17-2013 02:51 AM

Don’t recommend black…I did this once in the shop to get that industrial look. Two reasons. (1) It sucks up the light. I had about 25 halogen fixtures hanging and it was still dark. (2) even with great dust collection it was always dusty and dirty. Go with the white masonite panels. They finish great, are lighter and more durable than drywall and paint it bright gloss white. Lighting is everything in a shop…also consider maybe a couple of skylights. The brighter the shop with fewer shadows the better.

-- Travis Oliver - Luthier and Furniture builder...Thanks dad and grandpa for teaching me how to build it and fix it

View johnstoneb's profile


2915 posts in 2172 days

#6 posted 04-17-2013 02:57 AM

If you’re going to work in the winter it will need to be insulated so you can heat it. Sheetrock or something similar is needed to hold the insulation in place. Open joists suck up the light and are great traps for dust and dirt.
panel it and paint it white.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View runswithscissors's profile


2751 posts in 2025 days

#7 posted 04-17-2013 08:13 AM

Belt sand the joists and varnish them.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics