Building a Plywood Ceiling for the Porch

Looking down a long front porch on a cloudy day in the country.
  • 5-10 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 100-1,000
What You'll Need
Tape measure
Carpenter’s square
Carpenter’s knife
Phillips-head bit
Phillips-head decking screws
Two stepladders or scaffolding
Circular saw
Caulking gun

Theres nothing like rocking back and forth on your front porch, taking in a summer day, knocking back some lemonade, looking up at the stained, leaky ceilingwait, what? If youre a capable handyman with the proper tools, you can repair or just enhance your porch roof without having to pay someone else to do it for you.

Plywood is a convenient and inexpensive material that you can put right over the old ceiling. Use an exterior grade. Otherwise, the plywood could draw in moisture and separate over time. Using large boards will mean fewer joins in the ceiling, making for a neater job. The downside of this approach, though, is that the sheets will be heavier and more cumbersome, so you will probably need a helper to install them.

Step 1 - Take Measurements

Use a ruler to measure the area of your porch ceiling and a carpenters square to make sure the corners are indeed square.

Step 2 - Attach the First Panel

Start attaching the plywood at the highest point of the ceiling using Phillips-head decking screws. This is where you'll need an assistant to help hold the board while you drill.

Step 3 - Attach the Remaining Panels

Attach the other panels adjacent to the first one and fit them snugly against each other all the way around the porch.

Step 4 - Fill the Gaps

For those areas not requiring a full sheet of plywood, cut sheets to the appropriate size and attach them the same way as the full sheets. Once again, youll need help.

Step 5 - Caulk the Edges

Squeeze the caulking paste into the gun until it is full. Fill in all the seams between the plywood sheets and smooth them over with a trowel. If its still bumpy, you can go over it with medium-grade sandpaper. Once the gaps are filled, you can prime and paint your new ceiling. As youre painting, pay special attention to the edges of the boards, as these often serve as the entrance for moisture.

This paneling will add value to your home, and youll feel more comfortable knowing the first thing your guests see as they enter your home wont be an ugly, old, or damaged porch ceiling.