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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I had someone message asking for more details regarding how I did the ceiling in my van so I thought I'd post that here for others.

I bought this wood planking (Pine Ridge v-groove) from Home Depot. http://www.homedepot.com/p/8-ft-x-4...-6-Piece-VSV7-88-6-244-ST-HOMEDEPOT/202535999 I primed and painted prior to cutting and installing. Priming and painting is very quick when it isn't already in the van. I used a 4" foam roller. Make sure you get the edges that connect really good. Sometimes the fit isn't really tight so if you don't paint an edge that goes in the groove it can be exposed. I'll have to touch up a few of these edges.

At the beginning I was struggling a little with figuring out how this was going to go. I didn't put runners running parallel to the van and I didn't fur out the ribs either. I didn't want to lose any headspace. I was concerned with all the holes in the ribs and whether I'd have trouble screwing into them at some point. I also didn't want a solid row of screws across the ceiling nor did I want all the pieces of wood to come to an end at the same place. I wanted to lay it like you would a hardwood floor. Honestly I got lucky and it went very well. I went slow but it was a pretty easy process. I think I painted 24-26 boards just to make sure I had plenty. I messed up 1 or 2 and still had 3 boards left over. Also I wasn't for sure about connecting the boards to each end of the cargo area. There was nothing to screw to at the back and I really didn't know if screwing into the rib with the headliner would work.

First I cut a 2x1 down to fit the few raised spots and tabs on the rear ceiling so it would lay flush. Then I cut little slits in the back (the part that would be facing the floor) so that it would easily bend with the curve in the ceiling. I used Loctite PL to attach this to the ceiling. To insure a good bond I left it braced for 24 hours. This gave me something to attach the ceiling to in the rear of the van.



I stuck to a 4 run pattern when installing the ceiling boards. Also I marked the center of the ceiling ribs all the way across so I would know exactly where to measure.



I started on the driver's side and the first row met at the rib closest to the middle. Both boards were almost the same size (it isn't exactly center). Then I would do another row with a long board and a really short one. Flip that and do a long board and short board on the opposite end. Then again have two boards that were almost the same size meeting in the middle. I never screwed the boards to the ribs where two boards met (except on the first row where a cabinet would hide it). That would make for an ugly joint.



Also I would use loctite pl between a board and rib sometimes just to help keep it on the ceiling. I didn't do this all the time just randomly to hold the board a little tighter to the ceiling in a place where it was a little far from a screw. I used stainless sheet metal #8 screws with finish washers behind them. I would drill the hole first then insert the screw. As you can see in the pictures I didn't use a lot of screws. I may go back and add one or two in the rows in the middle. Not for any major reason, just to tighten it up a bit. The boards actually hold together really well.

I had to cut around the fan and AC. Make sure the brace around the fan is built up enough (thick enough) so that the boards lay flush on it. I never put a screw in any boards on the front end where they went over the edge of the headliner. I may do something with this later to finish it out more but for now it's good. The AC is holding all the little boards in the middle in. If you don't have an AC in the front you may have to screw in here. That's about it. I've already had to take a few boards on the driver's side down once to change out my solar cables coming in the roof. The first I bought were one size too small. It wasn't a big deal. about 30 minutes and everything was back in place. Hope this helps.

Here are a few more pictures of the install

 

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Thanks for this Josh. I'm expecting a shipment of beetle kill 'blue' pine tongue and groove any day now and will finally be able to begin substantial work on my van after what seems like a long winter off. I'm pretty excited about working with this wood. Unfortunately, it'll be twice as thick as your planks at 5/8", but that's how it goes. I gather you were able to screw into the ceiling ribs without hitting any of the holes? I'll need a photographic memory, but I will attempt to do the same. Any tips? In addition I'm considering running a strip of double sided VHB tape along each rib to a) help hold everything up and b) limit squeaks and noise if there's any movement between wood and metal.
That's some clever engineering in the furring strip on the back of the van. Would you do it that way again? I'm wondering if I can do without that strip and instead bring support in from underneath in the form of a panel that covers the vertical section with all the holes in it above the rear doors.
 

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I almost went with the beetle kill blue but ended up with the clear pine, both were 12 foot so no seams. You can do T&G and it is best to start in the center and work out, use the small head SS trim screws and most are hidden. You will need to get some extra tongue splins to enable starting in the center, try shaving them down a little or have 5 friends help you start the first one. Have lots of details on Instagram on it, here is a screen shot.
 

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Josh, as I'm contemplating what / how I will be doing the ceiling, I'm wondering now that you've had some time with yours if you would do anything different. I located some wood planks that I really like -- unfortunately, they are a little thick at 3/4" but the good news is they are 12-footers.

Was the loctite PL good enough for squeaking, etc. or would you recommend some thin foam tape between the boards and the metal? Sheet metal screws worked well?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for this Josh. I'm expecting a shipment of beetle kill 'blue' pine tongue and groove any day now and will finally be able to begin substantial work on my van after what seems like a long winter off. I'm pretty excited about working with this wood. Unfortunately, it'll be twice as thick as your planks at 5/8", but that's how it goes. I gather you were able to screw into the ceiling ribs without hitting any of the holes? I'll need a photographic memory, but I will attempt to do the same. Any tips? In addition I'm considering running a strip of double sided VHB tape along each rib to a) help hold everything up and b) limit squeaks and noise if there's any movement between wood and metal.
That's some clever engineering in the furring strip on the back of the van. Would you do it that way again? I'm wondering if I can do without that strip and instead bring support in from underneath in the form of a panel that covers the vertical section with all the holes in it above the rear doors.
Sorry didn't see this post. Yes I would do that fur strip again. Your idea of VHB tape is a good one.

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Discussion Starter #7
Josh, as I'm contemplating what / how I will be doing the ceiling, I'm wondering now that you've had some time with yours if you would do anything different. I located some wood planks that I really like -- unfortunately, they are a little thick at 3/4" but the good news is they are 12-footers.

Was the loctite PL good enough for squeaking, etc. or would you recommend some thin foam tape between the boards and the metal? Sheet metal screws worked well?
So far so good. I have a squeak that I can't find at the moment. Don't know if it's my ceiling or not. I think I'd do it the same. Right now I've had to remove parts of the ceiling a time or two so it's nice that I can remove a few screws and take it down if needed.

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Great tip! I realize now there's just enough room on either side of the holes to fit a screw in so if I'm putting in one board at a time I think I'll be ok.

Emat, instead of a photographic memory, mark the hole locations on a thin stick you can hold up for reference. Make it half the ceiling width--the ceiling is symmetrical.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I just realized a created an issue for myself as I ran electrical wiring through my ceiling ribs so I won't be able to screw into them unless I pull it all and run it as you did.....

OPINION: Ceiling before upper cabinets or vice versa?
Yep that'd be a problem. I ran a few wires down the side of a rib to the other side of the van.

I would go with the ceiling first then upper cabinets

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Discussion Starter #13
Do you think using boards for the ceiling that are not tongue and groove would reduce the chances of squeaking?
I think not using tongue and groove wood require a fur strip on each rib and a screw on each board at every rib. I really don't think the squeak I have is from the ceiling.

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John, About three and a half years now. I know heat can be a problem for many adhesives. How has the Loctite PL held up?

BTW, the trick with the multiple saw cuts across the “back“ of firring strips is called kerfing. (I think)
 

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I’m not Jon, but the front ceiling rib I installed with Loctite PL in February 2015 is still holding strong. It is the only item I attached permanently to the van.
 
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