carriage house tongue and groove ceiling
colonial farmhouse

Why We Installed a Tongue and Groove Ceiling In Our Carriage House

We have been installing a tongue and groove ceiling in our Carriage House.

I’m excited about a tongue and groove ceiling not because it looks good but because it is helping us insulate the building.

Insulating the building means a lower electric bill.

A lower electric bill means I’ve reached peak adulting.

Yep. This is what gets me excited these days.

If you’re new here, let me give you the rundown of our Carriage House. It’s a 2-story stone building that’s well over 200 years old.

carriage house white with black metal roof

It was originally used to store a horse-drawn carriage and the related tack that is needed when a carriage is your primary mode of transportation.

If you think it’s inconvenient to fill up your car with gas, get an oil change, or wait for your electric car to charge, imagine having to unhook your horse(s) from the carriage every time you came home. Then you’d have to brush the horses down, feed them, put away all the tack, and then you’d still have to haul all your purchases inside the house. Of course, you might have 8 or 9 kids to help with all of that, so it might not be all bad.

I’m sure the Carriage House has been used for a variety of things over the centuries, but in the 1980s the top floor of the building was turned into a living space. We now use that space for a home office and a guest room.

The bottom floor of the Carriage House remains more or less in what we assume is its nearly original state complete with stone walls, dutch doors, and a large fireplace. (The stove was a more recent addition.)

carriage house tongue and groove ceiling BEFORE

The bottom floor is the setting for today’s tongue and groove ceiling project. That bottom floor, while it does have 18-inch thick stone walls, is not insulated. This isn’t a problem if we are using it as a shed or for storage.

It is a problem when we are using the top floor regularly as an office.

All the cold or hot air circulating in the bottom of the Carriage House makes it difficult to control the temperature on the top floor, which we are using full-time now as a home office. That meant we needed to insulate the ceiling of the first floor, which is really the floor of the top floor.

Are you still with me? That was a lot of floors in one sentence.

We first installed insulation between the joists and then started work on the tongue and groove ceiling.

This was one of those projects where Handy Husband and I didn’t really discuss all the practicalities of the project before he started installing the boards on the ceiling.

Sure, we are together 24/7 these days, but that doesn’t mean that time is all spent talking. Clearly. Ha!

carriage house tongue and groove ceiling

When I realized that those unfinished boards ON THE CEILING were still going to have to be finished in some way, shape, or form, I yelled, “Abort! Abort!”

Then I kindly asked Handy Husband to halt everything so that I could stain the rest of the boards PRIOR to him installing them on the ceiling. At least, that’s how I remember it happening.

If these boards were going on the wall, I wouldn’t have cared about staining them prior to installation. But on the ceiling? Oy. That’s an arm workout I just don’t need or want.

carriage house tongue and groove ceiling staining boards

I chose to stain the boards with an exterior stain and sealer. The bottom of the Carriage House is not climate controlled. I noticed some moss growing on the floor. It’s as close as you can get to being outside without actually being outside.

I figured these boards would need the protection from variations in humidity and temperature that an exterior stain and sealer could offer.

I also stained both sides of the boards to really discourage any insects from chewing on them. Overkill? Maybe. But you really can’t get enough peace of mind when living in and with buildings this old.

carriage house tongue and groove ceiling

Already, this ceiling has made the upstairs floor of the Carriage House feel slightly less like an ice cube in the winter. We still have more work to do to insulate, heat, and cool this building, but we are making progress a little bit at a time.

Besides the practical nature of this tongue and groove ceiling, I’m so happy with how it looks in this space.

Admittedly, it looks a little fancier than the rest of the space right now. But give it time. When it ages and when we fix up the walls in here, it will eventually look as if this ceiling could always have been here.

Have you worked on insulating and weatherproofing an old building? I’d love to hear about it. You can always email me here or reach out via Instagram or Facebook.

Thanks for being here today. I enjoy sharing the things we are doing to fix up these old buildings of ours. If you’d like another post to read, I’ve got you covered. 

All About Our 240-year-old Pumpkin Pine Floors

Refinishing Tongue-And-Groove Doors

One Year With An Electronic Doo Lock. Do We Like It?


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