Workshop – OSB Ceiling Installation

4 min read

While creating my first BXProject YouTube videos, I found managing light levels to be a little challenging. The garage had no real ceiling. Various storage boards in the trusses reflected light at different rates and gave a patchy feeling. I needed a ceiling installation, but what type and how?

Choosing a ceiling material

To improve the downward reflection of the LED lights I wanted to install a ceiling. When I first started planning the job I thought it would be quite simple, just grab some sheet material, screw it to the joists and off I’d go. I quickly realised this wouldn’t be the reality.

The garage is detached and of a relatively recent build. This means the roof is built of fairly lightweight preformed trusses which are not designed to be a ‘floor’. To minimise the impact of the ceiling weight, I want something relatively light. I’m pretty much dead against plasterboard if it can be avoided, which is handy as its heavy.

For a long time, I expected to install a 3mm galvanised steel sheet ceiling.
The problem with a steel sheet ceiling is it is surprisingly difficult to install on your own, being as it’s so floppy and gives no insulation.

Sterling 9mm OSB
Sterling 9mm OSB

Ultimately I opted for 9mm Oriented Strand Board (OSB) from Wickes. Its light enough for the ceiling joists and I can manhandle a whole sheet. Being highly water-resistant it’s not going to delaminate or swell if it gets wet in the way ply or MDF would. OSB is easy to work, reasonably easy to paint and has some insulation effect.

Painting OSB

While researching OSB, I noticed ‘How do I paint OSB?’ questions coming up time and time again, which had me a little worried! Lots of suggestions for priming then undercoating and top coating. I’ve worked with OSB before ance don’t recall ever having to prime it to paint it.

I had a ‘contaminated’ can of ‘Dulux Trade Vinyl Matt White‘ paint with more than an acceptable amount of grit in it. Must remember to close the can before cutting wood above it next time! It was a perfect test paint to see if I really needed a primer.

Dulux Trade Vinyl Matt White
Single coat of Dulux Trade Vinyl Matt White

Well, it worked really well, the only prep was to run 80grit sandpaper over the whole surface to key the resin layer. In the end, I went for two layers of paint. The first base layer was some old magnolia which had been left behind by previous owners. It was no good for in the house, but perfect for garage walls and garage ceilings!

OSB Ceiling Installation

First panels easy to install
First panels easy to install

Unfortunately, the spanning of the roof trusses didn’t accommodate the 8’x4′ boards well in any orientation. The ceiling installation area is also about 5.5m x 5m meaning that it was not possible to use only whole boards! This meant putting in some extra noggins to help align board edges. Some noggins are also used to hold eyelets for suspending parts/projects while painting.

No idea why I jump between imperial and metric so much when ‘building’.

Slowly and Carefully

A few panels at a time I slowly completed the ceiling installation of all eight sheets over a week of evenings. I found standing on a ladder holding a whole sheet and twisting the board into place developed muscles in areas I had no idea held muscles!

Half way (ish) through the ceiling installation
Half way (ish) through the ceiling installation

After nearly every sheet I had to move light fittings and add, or remove, noggins between the joists. You’ll notice some Celotex insulation between some of the joists. These where panels leftover from another project and sit under where the heater usually lives. One of the benefits of using OSB is that if I want to complete the insulation layer the boards, it’s quite painless to drop the boards back down.

The Final Result

I mentioned installing eight boards, and the more mathematical might notice, that is not enough to do the whole ceiling! Well, I forgot I needed nine sheets in order to do the edges. But this has now given me an excuse to extend the climbing wall across the ceiling a little. Including paint and screws, the whole ceiling has cost less than £150.

Ceiling Installation Complete, almost
Ceiling Installation Complete, almost

It’s not easy to see in the picture but the loft hatch ‘lip’ has a radius on it to save me cutting myself on the jagged edges. The random socket in the middle of the ceiling was for the old garage door opener, but I find the socket oddly useful for some corded power tools.

The overall difference is HUGE, it is honestly like having a third set of strip lights. Beyond forcing me to remove all the clutter tied to the ceiling, the light across the whole garage is far more even. I took the time to reposition the strip lights to be a little more above the work areas which has really helped.

I’m so glad I’ve completed this OSB ceiling installation, the impact on the space is so satisfying, I just need to free up some time to get out there now!

M

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