A New Approach to Coffered Ceilings
Foam-core beams and moldings make for an attractive, easy-to-install ceiling.
Synopsis: A coffered ceiling can take a room from ordinary to impressive, but a conventional coffered ceiling is expensive and tricky to install. Drywall experts Brian Kitchin and Nick Aitchison have developed a technique for creating a coffered ceiling from EPS moldings and trim that are covered at the factory with a layer of joint compound. These pieces are easy to cut, are far lighter than wood, and don’t move with changes in humidity and temperature.
Click here to see a video of the Drywall Nation guys in action adding coffers to a flat ceiling.
As drywallers, we’re used to most of our work being the backdrop for other finishes. Increasingly, however, we’re adding those details that make a home’s interior stand out, such as the coffered ceiling shown here. Several manufacturers make EPS polystyrene moldings and trim for exterior and interior use. (Foamcore Architectural Mouldings, Toronto; foamcoremouldings.com.) These moldings are more commonly used for synthetic-stucco exteriors, sometimes called EIFS (exterior insulation and finish system). Recently, they have been adapted for interiors by applying a smooth coat of joint compound to the high-density EPS substrate. The visible surfaces are caulked and painted later.
We glue the moldings — which come in many profiles — to the ceiling and walls with polyurethane drywall adhesive, clamping them temporarily with coarse-thread drywall screws. Once the glue is dry, the bond is tenacious. We’ve had to scrape away misplaced moldings only a few hours later.
Once the pieces are hung, we fill any gaps that are larger than 3⁄8 in. with a squirt of the adhesive to act as a backer for the lightweight joint compound we apply to the seams and gaps. The moldings come with all of the visible surfaces coated with compound, and they accept paint like…