Installation of Shadowline Ceiling

The beauty of shadowline ceiling detail comes from its ability to bring an air of sophistication and class to a contemporary interior. For this design, the ceiling appears to be floating separately from the walls, with a shadow casted around the perimeter of the ceiling. It is best installed when you are at the construction stage of building to minimise error and to get the exact style you want from the very start. However, if you are renovating and decide to upgrade your ceiling to a shadowline style, you could opt for a shadowline cornice to be installed instead. This option would take less time to install and is more forgiving if there are imperfect corners and cracks in the plaster you want to hide.

Many tutorials found online on installing shadowline ceilings will no doubt present you with some confusing terminology. This is because unless you are trained in ceiling installation, it is a job best left to a professional contractor. Improper installation can lead to damages and leave unsightly cracks and rough edges in the ceiling that can’t really be hidden using paint. In a worst case scenario, you could compromise the overall structural integrity of the room. However, if you do decide to tackle the task yourself, read on for a guide to installing a shadowline style of ceiling.

Getting Started: Do You Know Your Tools?

Unless you work in construction, you may need to go out and purchase some tools and materials specifically for the task of installing a shadowline ceiling. You will need a heavy duty stapler, a broad knife, a trowel, a tool for sanding (like a sanding mesh or 150–220 grit paper), an appropriate compound, and some paint. A trusted supplier like USG Boral offers a wide range of compounds suitable for a range of application techniques, while Bunnings should provide you with most common tools.

Installing shadowline ceiling detail requires you to pay close attention to detail and be precise with your measurements to get the clean, sleek look it is known for. Therefore, you also need the appropriate tools to cut each piece to the exact measurements. A handy tip is to clean all your tools in water before compounds have fully set, and give stainless steel tools a light rub with an oiled cloth to prevent rusting. Speak to a supplier to get your hands on the right materials and tools needed before setting out on your installation job. They may even have plastic tool options that come at a lower cost if you are on a budget.

How to Install a Shadowline Ceiling

A shadowline style of ceiling is achieved by using a specific metal angle as the junction between a wall and ceiling. These metal angles come in a variety of sizes, thicknesses, and lengths. Once you decide on the right size angle for your design, you can follow these steps to create shadowline ceiling detail.

  1. Before you begin, make sure there is a large enough gap between the wall and ceiling plasterboard. A minimum of 12mm of space should be allowed. The plasterboard thickness should be no less than 10mm.
  2. Cut the metal angle to length and line it up against the recessed edge that is part of the shadowline, ensuring it is aligned with the wall surfaces. Using the stapler, secure the angle at maximum 300mm centres along each face with nails opposite each other.
  3. Finish off with three coats of compound as per the method below, using the nib as a guide to controlling the thickness of the compound:

Coat 1: cover approximately 150mm of angle faces and force it through the perforations.

Coat 2: extend this approximately 200mm from the corner.

Coat 3: extend this approximately 280mm from the corner with the edges feathered out.

  1. Allow a minimum of 24 hours to dry (or longer in cold, wet weather conditions).
  2. When the finishing compound is completely dry, lightly sand it to a smooth finish with sanding mesh or 150–220 grit paper, depending on the sanding hardness of the finishing compound used.
  3. Paint over it to match the rest of the room.

Get it Right the First Time Around

While it may seem like a good idea to install your own shadowline ceiling, a lot can go awry without proper experience and training in ceiling installation. You don’t want to have to spend more time and money fixing a problem that could have been easily avoided. To save you from the stress of fumbling about with tools and worrying about hiding cracks in the plaster, get a quote from a local professional ceiling contractor such as Heron Ceilings instead. Hiring an experienced contractor means getting the job done to a high standard while making sure that the structural integrity of your residential or commercial building is not compromised.