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Is there any drawback to leaving 6-inch-wide white pine covering a catheral ceiling unfinished?

JOSEPH POLAND | Posted in General Questions on

For aesthetic reasons I am using 6″ wide 3/4 ” thick, white pine boards to cover my catherdral ceiling. The unvented cathedral ceiling has 4 ” of closed closed cell foam, followed by 6″ of open cell foam 0.8lbs/cuft, followed by 1 1/2′ XPS over the rafter cavity for reduction of thermal bridging. The 5/8″ plywood roof deck is covered with #30 felt paper and Certain Teed Energy Star certified asphalt shingles of high reflectance.

My question is: are there any drawbacks to leaving the white pine boards unfinished? I want the pine boards to be left as natural as possible, but all finishes which I have seen eventually darken or yellow the wood. I DO NOT WANT THIS TO HAPPEN IN MY HOUSE!!!

If there are any significant reasons why I should finish these beautiful natural pine boards, the finish must be low VOC and keep from darkening or yellowing the natural wood. This new home will be Energy Star certified and also air PLUS certified and must have low VOC finishes if I choose to use them. Thank You!!

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    You don't have to finish the wood if you don't want to. Many summer camps use this approach -- covering interior walls or ceilings with unfinished pine boards.

    However, there is no way to prevent yellowing or darkening of the wood. It's going to happen, whether you like it or not. If that idea bothers you, paint the boards white.

  2. Ron Keagle | | #2

    I have ponderosa pine on a vaulted ceiling and southern yellow pine on a flat ceiling with timber framing. I have never found any good reason to apply a finish to this material. It never gets dirty because nobody touches it and no dust settles on it.

  3. Aj Builder, Upstate NY Zone 6a | | #3

    Fingerprints may or may not show up months later like the FBI dusted for them with no coating. It did on a porch that looked perfect at install. Customer said leave it. A year later the places we touched to install the boards all showed up.

    A light coat of water based Minwax is the way to go for the look you desire. It does not change the color of the pine.

    One sealer coat is worth doing.

  4. Keith Gustafson | | #4

    Knotty pine you tend not to see the fingerprints unless you are looking.

    The wood will get darker with no finish over time.

    It can also get dirty even upside down, dust, smoke cooking oil etc.

    I found that wiping on clear poly is the least darkening to start. Labor intensive tho, wipe one, wipe off etc.

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