Nuances of screened porch ceilings: Which design, and why?

When it comes to customizing your new screened porch, one of the most essential refinements is in the ceiling design.

Exposed beam porch ceiling – hip roof design

Exposed beam porch ceiling – hip roof design

Many clients have an idea of the ceiling finish and style, but what dictates the shape of your screened porch ceiling?  The first consideration is in your choice of a porch roof.  Though, roofs are not always a design choice.  For instance, your home’s second-story windows might require that your new screened porch has a flat roof, as to not obstruct those windows.  For those, who have a choice, often the grandest or decorative roofline is preferred.  Gable and hip porch roofs are stellar choices for achieving an air of grandeur.  Flat porch roofs bring a more traditional flair.

Your screened porch ceiling doesn’t have to match your roofline

Painted plywood flat screened porch ceiling

Painted plywood flat screened porch ceiling

The exterior roof often determines the shape of the ceiling inside, but it doesn’t have to.  For instance, most clients feel that there is no such thing as a too-grand porch ceiling.  The more height, the better for most.  Large gable roofs will give you the ability to create a grand cathedral porch ceiling, which will allow more natural light from outside, and will help with essential ventilation.  Tall ceilings are often preferred by clients, who wish to install lighting and ceiling fans on their screened porches.  However, a gable roof or hip roof can accommodate a flat porch ceiling.  Flat ceilings will not be as tall as the roofline will allow, but it does allow for a cavity above for electrical wiring and recessed lighting.  Flat porch ceilings are also sometimes preferred simply for their more formal or traditional aesthetic.

Let’s take a look at some fantastic porch ceiling designs:

Vaulted barrel beadboard screened porch ceiling

Vaulted barrel beadboard screened porch ceiling

This fabulous ceiling provides an air of elegance with a rustic feel at the same time.  The high ceiling allows for natural light to wash throughout the porch.  The white trim works in contrast with the wood ceiling finish in both color and style.  The white trim adds refinement to the wood beadboard.  Notice the flat ceiling application to the side, which includes recessed porch lighting.  Beadboard is a choice material for finishing a barrel ceiling, because the slats are very slender, and can be oriented to fit a radius surface with a smooth finish.

Flat stained beadboard porch ceiling under a flat roof

Flat stained beadboard porch ceiling under flat roof

The rafters of this flat roof are hidden above the stained beadboard finish.  This is one scenario, where the client wished for recessed lighting and chose to enclose the rafters, which gives the space a formal, classic design aesthetic.

Flat painted beadboard porch ceiling under hip roof

Flat painted beadboard porch ceiling under hip roof

This homeowner also wished for recessed lighting and a finish that enclosed his rafters.  The large size of this porch allowed for a flat ceiling installation, where the client didn’t feel like they were losing the open, spacious feel inside the porch, which can be furthered by having a taller ceiling.  At The Porch Company, we choose to install our beadboard ceilings in individual tongue and groove slats, because the optional sheets of beadboard will have slightly visible seams after installation.

Exposed Beam Cathedral Porch Ceiling with Gable Roof

Exposed Beam Cathedral Porch Ceiling with Gable Roof

This ceiling follows the roofline exactly.  When we build porch ceilings with exposed rafters, the typical specifications are 2”x 8” rafters, every two feet on center.  We would call this an exposed beam ceiling, because these are larger than our typical rafters, at 4”x 8” every three feet on center.  Over the rafters, you will notice a custom v-groove wood ceiling finish.  This custom ceiling includes electrical hook-ups for a ceiling fan, as well as radiant heating, and offers a grand rustic aesthetic.

Exposed Beam Flat Porch Ceiling Inside Flat Roof

beamed ceiling v-groove skylight recessed can lights

This custom flat roof and porch ceiling features large exposed beams with skylights.  To deter from the weightiness of the large horizontal beams, we dropped the flat ceiling about halfway down the exposed beam.  Dropping this ceiling also allowed for recessed lighting installation.  To create a coffered ceiling aesthetic, we chose to install false beams perpendicularly to the structural roof beams.  This porch ceiling also has a wood tongue and groove finish.

Porch with Gable Roof and Stained Exposed Rafter Ceiling

Porch with Gable Roof and Stained Exposed Rafter Ceiling

This custom porch ceiling features richly-stained exposed 2”x 8” rafters and 1”x 8” ceiling finish on top of the beams.  This particular roof calls to mind porches of yesteryear, with the lap-style board installation, rather than new plywood roof installations used in today’s construction.  Porches like these offer a feeling of unmatched comfort.  The feeling of tradition and contentment this type of porch ceiling provides is the reason that this is the most requested ceiling finish at The Porch Company.

Stained Exposed Rafter Porch Ceiling Inside Hip Roof

Stained Exposed Rafter Porch Ceiling Inside Hip Roof

This porch is another that offers a feeling of rich comfort by way of the ceiling design.  What distinguishes this porch ceiling, even more, is in the stained finishes.  Notice that the stain on the rafters is a shade darker than the tongue and groove finish behind it.  This creates the slightest contrast, which gives more depth and definition between the wood finishes.

Hip Roof Vaulted Porch Ceiling with Exposed Rafters

Hip Roof Vaulted Porch Ceiling with Exposed Rafters

This custom hip porch roof and ceiling includes an open rafter design, which is painted, rather than stained.  You will also notice in the foreground of this photo, there is a flat painted beadboard ceiling.  This ceiling is atop the breezeway, which leads to the main porch area.  The perpendicular beam features track lighting, which adds to the dimension of this custom ceiling design.

Flat Porch Ceiling with Fabric and Lath Strips

Flat Porch Ceiling with Fabric and Lath Strips

This porch ceiling is engineering for a particular purpose.  This porch has a porch over top, and since the porch above could get small amounts of rainwater blowing in, we needed to design a porch ceiling below that would facilitate.  Using a finished, enclosed wood ceiling for this porch would mean a potential for trapping that excess water and eventually causing wood rot.  We stretched an outdoor fabric across the floor joists of the porch above and covered the seams with lath strips.

Flat Porch Ceiling Under Flat Roof

Flat Porch Ceiling Under Flat Roof

This flat porch ceiling features painted wood beams, and a painted tongue and groove ceiling finish above the beams.  The slight contrast between the white and light blue adds visual interest and keeps the porch bright and airy.  Since this porch ceiling was not enclosed, we installed lighting on the screened porch framing and installed radiant heaters on the side of the home and on the porch framing.

Flat Ceiling and Porch Roof with Plywood Finish

Flat Painted Plywood Ceiling with Skylight

This custom porch ceiling features a simple plywood finish, and lath strips to cover the seams.  Similarly, if we had applied a beadboard plywood to this ceiling, the same lath strip application would have been necessary to accommodate the seams.  The lath strips, though installed for a tidy finish, also offer a custom grid aesthetic that gives a simple ceiling a little design punch.

Are you ready to enjoy a new screened porch addition? Let The Porch Company design and build the perfect screened porch for your home! Call us at 615-663-2886 or visit our design studio. We would love to meet with you to discuss your porch needs!

The Porch Company

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