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Caulking ceilings

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Joined: May 8 2004

Is there a reason to NOT caulk ceilings in an Eichler? It's a lot of work, but it sure looks better, and it just might protect us from whatever may be coming down from the two roofs we have.

(Hope this subject hasn't been hammered. I searched but found nothing.)

One issue is that the home wouldn't breathe. I was thinking of starting in the bathroom, which would act to seal the ceiling against moisture from below.

Any thoughts appreciated.


Joined: Mar 25 2003

One reason not to might be the fact that the value of a redwood ceiling is upwards of $50,000. But if you want to make yours look like a $10 sheet of drywall from Home Depot, go ahead. I'm sure it wouldn't effect resale value (much).

If you're getting debris falling down from the cracks, you've probably got carpenter ants. If not, try vacuuming, it's only 45 years of dust.

Joined: May 8 2004

Redwood ceilings? Our ceiling had been painted long before we moved in. Or are you suggesting stripping the paint? Come to think of it, I've seen many Eichler interiors, but never one that had original ceilings, or original beams, for that matter. But I have seen several white Eichler ceilings with sealed ceilings and the homeowners sure had no regrets. It sure didn't look like drywall -- the idea isn't to eliminate the beveled style, but just to fill the gap between the boards. I guess my point is, if the rustic look is gone, the home is updated in every other way, and you're not bent on recreating the old look, etc...

Joined: Mar 24 2003

I've caulked some of the ceilings in my Eichler where the ceilings had already been painted. It most definitely does not look like a $10 piece of drywall, in fact it looks great. If the ceiling is original redwood, leave it alone. But if it's already been painted, I think the caulked look is much nicer than just painting the beams. As you say, the object is not to destroy the bevel, but to fill the deeper cracks.

One tool that is indensible for this job is a "power caulker". There are battery powered versions and compressed air powered versions, I used the air powered one. It allows you to run many long, uniform lines of caulk without cramping your finger. With the power caulker I can do an Eichler size bedroom in a morning.


Joined: Apr 2 2003

The best reason I've heard not to caulk interior plank ceilings (given by a drywaller, go figure) was that it means the inevitable roof leak goes undetected longer and its source is harder to find. Alternatively, If you leave the cracks open, you know almost immediately that you have a problem and it's usually straight forward to locate its source.

Having said that, I am weighing the pros and cons of caulking the outside eaves (which are already painted). I don't know that I'd do it at the front of the house or the atrium but am considering it for the sideyards (not visible from street, backyard, or from inside the house). The reason is that our ongoing problem with carpenter bees (generations keep returning) has been augmented by the sighting of a wasp entering between two eave planks. *For the exterior*, I think caulking of painted eaves in inconspicuous places might be argued to lessen the chance of drywood termites and that holes in the caulking would help identify wasp or bee penetration. Still thinking on this.

Any thoughts from others would be muc appreciated. Also, the chap that mentioned the powered caulking gun--can you give me the brand/model and where you rented/bought it?


eichfan at rawbw dot com

Joined: Mar 24 2003

I used this caulk gun, which I bought through amazon. I make no claim that it's the best but it is simple and been reliable through several jobs. You do need a compressor to go with it.

Caulk Gun at Amazon

On the issue of caulking to prevent carpenter bee penetration. (We've also got a huge problem with bees and wasps living in the cracks in the eave boards.) Our bug guy suggested stuffing the larger cracks with steel wool before caulking. The bees seem to be perfectly happy eating though caulk but he claims they'll balk when they get to the steel wool. I'm going to try that this fall and I'll report the results.

Joined: Mar 25 2005

we have the same problem
our bug guy said the bees will eat the steel wool - and then expire

Joined: Jul 28 2004

After living through one re-roofing without caulking, I can categorically state that caulking will save your sanity! Never, ever have I experienced such a mess as the one that occurred when all that dirt sifted through the ceiling cracks onto every inch of the house, including inside the closets! I still have nightmares over it.

So the next time we needed a roof, I had all the ceilings caulked first. We were doing a general freshening up of the house so the painters did the caulking and it was well worth every extra nickel.

Joined: Dec 20 2004


I caulked my ceiling, repainted and it looks great. I have not done the whole house yet but have done the whole outside to keep most of the bugs out. I'll let you know about the carpender bees next year.

My roof did leak on a sloped section that I had not caulked yet and it ran down about 10 ft before coming into the house, so I'm not sure how much harder it will be to find once I caulk. Better idea is to take care of the roof :-)

A small room can be done by hand but with a larger area a battery powered Robi Caulker will work nice. Don't forget wet rags to wipe the excess.


-- Ralph

Joined: Mar 24 2003

I have caulked my entire house and exterior. It is an enormous job but the results are well worth it! It has a very nice clean , finished look.

Make sure to use Dynaflex 230! I think I've gone through maybe 15 cases of it. OUtside of a horrible neck pain (from looking up for days on end) and a very sore hand from working the gun, I would do it again in a second)

Another benefit is that you dont get the spiders dropping out of your spaces between the grooves and onto you! That was a nightmare.


Joined: Aug 12 2004

Just wondering about vapor control with a vapor proof roof right on top of the wood. Maybe some tar paper between them.

I thought about that when remodeling both bathrooms. Decided okay for these two and made sure the rest of the master bathroom was left alone.

Solved "most" of the spider/bug problem by chaulking the "V" opening along the outer walls that are 90* to the roof rafter.

Eichler did put a "small" bead of chaulking, but it's pretty much gone on most homes.

This also solved heating/cooling losses via those little holes.

I had noticed the amount of smoke and fire coming out of an Eichler burning when I was a kid. Remembered that when I bought one and did the above fix.

I've also painted all of the grooves with spray paint. Mine was already painted when I bought it and it doesn't look very good when the paint didn't get into the full depth of the groove.

Joined: Aug 16 2005

I caulked the ceiling at my house, my ceiling was also already painted. Not really sure where the drywall comparison comes in. We are not talking about filing in the joint completely so that it is a completely smooth surface. The joint is still very visible, it just looks a little more... uniform. It does not take away from the look of the ceiling, it just looks a little more tidy ESPECIALY for painted ceilings. Yes it is a pain, but the finished product looks great. Again for ceilings that have already been painted, caulking the joints will give them that clean finished look.

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