Curved Ceiling? No Problem.
Bend 1x4s between the walls to get an expensive look without a lot of extra work.
Synopsis: A cathedral ceiling can bring a great sense of openness and space to a room, but with a small investment of time and money, you can add some drama by arcing a curved ceiling across the room. Builder Michael Chandler describes using furring and backing boards to build this economical upgrade.
A cathedral ceiling can open up a room dramatically, but if the ceiling is framed with a massive structural ridge beam, the beam will be a challenge to hide. An obvious solution is either to use bigger rafters or to fur down the ceiling to hide the ridge. Oversize rafters are a waste of wood, so my three-person crew opts for furring. As long as we’re installing furring, why not have fun and curve the ceiling?
The furring turns a chore into a delightful, economical upgrade. Adding 1×4 furring to the framing package costs less than increasing the rafters to 2x12s or I-joists. We can install the backing and the curved furring on a 27-ft. by 27-ft. ceiling in about three hours.
Strike a curve, and locate backing
We use 1×4 #2 spruce furring. It’s available in lengths up to only 16 ft., so most jobs require more than one piece to span the ceiling. To control the curve of the 1x4s and to support the ceiling, we fasten backing boards across the rafters, spacing them 3 ft. to 4 ft. apart. Just as when installing strong backs, different combinations of dimensional lumber can be used for backing, depending on the offset required from the bottom edge of the rafter to back up the 1×4 curve.
On the project shown here, we bent a 16-ft. 1×4 between the end wall and the ridge beam, and simply traced the resulting curve on the gable-end drywall. Measuring down from the rafter to the…