Installing a Plywood Ceiling in the Garage

plywood ceiling
  • 6-9 hours
  • Beginner
  • 60-300
What You'll Need
4 by 8 foot sheets of plywood (1/2 inch thick)
Tape measure
Circular saw
Power screwdriver
Wood screws
Safety glasses

Adding a plywood ceiling to your garage can make the space more appealing. It’s a good project to undertake, especially if you plan on using the garage for more than just storing the car. It’s not difficult, but it’s not a job you can do without a little help since plywood is difficult to maneuver above your head. You also need to have joists of sufficient sizes framed to hold the plywood securely. With that as a starting point, follow these easy steps to install your plywood ceiling.

Step 1 - Measure

Start by measuring the length and width of your garage. Doing so will give you a rough guide as to how many sheets of plywood you’ll need to buy. Select sheets that are straight. Disregard any warped pieces.

Ascend the stepladder and measure the distance between the joists, working from center to center. When you’re attaching plywood to make the ceiling, both ends of the plywood will need to be screwed to the joists. Measure your plywood so that one edge fits on the joist above the garage door and extends to the furthest possible joist without running beyond the center of it. Mark the plywood to the correct size. You will need to cut the sheets accordingly to make a plywood ceiling.

Step 2 - Cut

circular saw cutting through plywood

Cut the plywood sheet to the correct size using your circular saw or table saw. It’s advisable to complete the cutting and hanging one piece at a time rather than cutting everything first. Doing so not only allows you to make adjustments as you go, but it also lets you grant allowances for any mistakes made while measuring for your plywood ceiling.

Step 3 - Hang the Plywood

The difficult part of installing a plywood ceiling is hanging the plywood. For this task, you need help. Ideally, it will take two ladders and two people using power screwdrivers simultaneously because of the size of the plywood.

Both people should hold one end of the plywood as they climb up the ladders. Push the plywood sheet into position so it’s exactly where you want it and make sure the far end is centered on the joist. Have your helper hold the plywood in position and use your power screwdriver to put in two screws that will initially secure the plywood. Hold the plywood while your helper does the same thing at the other end.

This step will secure the plywood so that you’ll both be able to put in more screws at each end. Screws should be spaced six inches apart. Once you’ve put the screws in at each end, add screws to secure the plywood to all the joists in between.

Step 4 - Complete the Ceiling

man painting a ceiling

Continue to cut and install more plywood sheets. As you reach the edges, you’ll probably need to cut smaller pieces. Make sure the plywood is attached to the joists at both ends. Screwing down the plywood to the joists will prevent your plywood ceiling from sagging and offer a professional looking surface to paint or texture if you like.