Tongue and groove ceilings are prone to discoloration, splitting, and moisture. Finishing a groove pine ceiling protects it from grime, moisture, and dirt, keeping it spectacular for decades.

It also prolongs the life of pine wood. The best finish for tongue and groove pine ceilings should protect the ceiling boards and preserve the natural beauty of pine.  

We are DIY devotees who became professional woodworkers and have spent countless hours researching and testing different finishes for wood suitable for pine ceilings.

We curated this detailed list of popular options to help you pick a stain ideal for groove ceilings.

Our Top Picks

Best Finish for Tongue and Groove Pine Ceiling

  1. 1/2 pt Minwax 25555 Clear PolycrylicBest Clear finish for Groove Pine Ceilings
  2. General Finishes Water Based Wood StainBest Finish for Hard to Stain Wood
  3. Hope’s Pure Tung Oil, Wood Finish and SealerBest Waterproof Natural Finish
  4. Watco Rust-Oleum A 65741 Danish Oil Wood FinishBest for Sealing pine ceiling
  5. Sunnyside Corporation 87232S Boiled Linseed OilBest for Unfinished Wood
  6. Varathane 200261H Water-Based PolyurethaneBest for scratch Protection
  7. Rust-Oleum Zinsser 304H 1-Quart Clear ShellacBest Clear Shellac for Pine
  8. Minwax 618604444 Color Wash TransparentBest for Weathered/ gray look
  9. Water-Base Wipe-On Polyurethane 16fl ozBest For minor Touch-ups

What is Tongue and Groove Pine?

Tongue and groove is a technique of fitting corresponding objects together, edge to edge. It is popularly used in flooring, paneling, parquetry, and similar structures.

Tongue and groove joints enable two flat pieces to be securely joined together to form one flat surface. In short, tongue and groove pine is a method of joining wood appropriately.

The paneling has one edge that protrudes on one side. The other edge has a big opening for another piece of paneling’s distended trim. Tongue and groove pine is suitable for use on walls and ceilings.

Pine tongue is used on roofs since it is simple to install, reasonably priced, and visually appealing once installed. Tongue and groove ceilings give the illusion of a uniformly aligned ceiling.

Furthermore, because all pieces fit together snugly, there is no risk of seeing through gaps between the panels.

Best Finish for Tongue and Groove Pine Ceiling Reviews

1. Best Clear finish for Groove Pine Ceilings – 1/2 pt Minwax 25555 Clear Polycrylic

1/2 pt Minwax 25555 Clear Polycrylic Water-Based Protective Finish Gloss
23,273 Reviews
1/2 pt Minwax 25555 Clear Polycrylic Water-Based Protective Finish Gloss
  • PROTECT WOOD SURFACES – Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish protects and adds beauty to your interior wood projects, including woodwork, furniture, doors and cabinets. The clear top coat protects against scratches, spills, dirt and more.
  • CRYSTAL CLEAR FINISH THAT LASTS – The crystal clear finished offered in this protective coating is ideal for use over all Minwax Oil-Based and Water-Based Stains and colors, as well as all wood species including light woods like maple, ash and birch.
  • GLOSS SHEEN – Give your wood projects a sleek finish with this gloss clear varnish. It not only protects the natural beauty of the wood, but offers a shiny, sleek sheen for a bright, modern look. It’s also non-yellowing, non-ambering and low odor.
  • ULTRA FAST DRYING – Get more done with this protective poly coating. It’s a fast-drying clear coat, which allows for quick recoats after 2 hours, letting you get projects done faster. Be sure to apply with a high-quality synthetic bristle brush.
  • EASY CLEAN UP – This water-based wood finish allows for easy soap and water clean-up, so you don’t have to stress about spills and big messes.

Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish is a crystal clear protective finish that protects and beautifies furniture, woodwork, and other surfaces. This clear top coat helps protect the wood surface from scratches, blemishes, and scuffs. 

The clear sealer dries and remains crystal clear, ideal for use over all Minwax Oil-Based and Water-Based Stains and Colors. It is also suitable for all wood species, including light woods such as maple, cedar, ash, and birch. 

With this protective polyacrylic finish, you can get more done. It’s a quick-drying clear coat that allows faster recoats after only 2 hours, allowing you to finish projects faster. Use a high-quality fiber brush to apply for the best results.

The transparent wood finish is also simple to wipe down using soap and water. This protective wood gloss finish protects the beautiful face of the wood.

It provides a shiny, stylish sheen for a brilliant, modern appearance. It is also non-ambering, non-yellowing, and odorless.

What We Liked Most

  • You can use it indoors because it does not have an overpowering odor.
  • It is thin and runny, so a little goes a long way.
  • Simple to apply and dries quickly
  • It is self-leveling as long as you are using a high-quality brush
  • It does not leave any streaks or blemishes after it dries up
  • It highlights beautiful woodgrain creating a glow from within
  • It does not yellow or change the color of your project
  • It will not remain tacky or sticky because it dries hard
  • Easy to clean, so you don’t have to worry about making a mess or spills

What Could Be Improved

  • It is expensive but worth every penny

2. Best Finish for Hard to Stain Wood – General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain

General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain, 1 Gallon, Walnut
  • Plastic Gallon Jug - due to an metal can shortage, product may come in a plastic jug instead of a metal container
  • Indoor use only; Formulated to provide workability similar to oil based stains
  • Low odor, low VOC, water cleanup and noncombustible
  • Create custom colors by intermixing GF Water Based Wood Stains or paints, or mix with any GF water based topcoat to tint and tone

General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain is a water-based wood stain designed to work the same way oil-based stains work. It blends easily and has a lot of open time, giving more room for manipulation before it dries up completely. 

This wood stains’ denser formula enables controlled permeation. Its high-quality pigments create rich, uniform, dark colors on difficult-to-stain woods such as pine and maple.

It is easy to clean and is non-flammable. So, you do not have to worry about the risk of fire after using the product. Its high-quality pigments generate colors that are rich, dark, and uniform.

Unlike oil-based stains, General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain does not pollute the environment. So it is safe for pets and kids. Even so, keep it out of their reach because they are unpredictable.

Also, it does not emit harmful or unpleasant fumes, So you do not have to smell upsetting paint odor for weeks or days after using the product.

Because the fumes and odors are low, you can complete work on-site without experiencing the headaches caused by solvents in other paints.

It is available in different colors, so you can easily find one that matches your home decor. Another beautiful aspect of this pet safe food finish is that you can combine water-based wood stains with any water-based topcoat to create your dream colors.

What We Liked Most

  • It’s safe for the environment, kids, and pets
  • It’s a low VOC or
  • It has high-quality pigment producing a rich, uniform, and dark color
  • Easily soap and water cleanup
  • It does not dry up quickly, giving you room to play around with it to your desired taste 23
  • It is non-flammable

What Could Be Improved

  • Ideal for interior use only

3. Best Waterproof Natural Finish – Hope’s Pure Tung Oil, Waterproof Natural Wood Finish and Sealer

HOPE'S 100% Pure Tung Oil, Waterproof Natural Wood Finish and Sealer, 16 Fl Oz
2,442 Reviews
HOPE'S 100% Pure Tung Oil, Waterproof Natural Wood Finish and Sealer, 16 Fl Oz
  • Easy to Use - Tung oil is a natural oil recognized by craftsmen to offer the ultimate hand-rubbed finish for all fine woods; just wipe on and allow the oil to cure at room temperature
  • Permeates - Unlike other finishes that form a film on the wood’s surface, tung oil penetrates deep into the wood fibers, cures to a flexible non-oily solid, and becomes part of the wood itself
  • Protects - Resistant to moisture, alcohol, oil, and everyday wear for lasting beauty and protection; lasts many times longer than mineral oil and wax based products
  • Multi Use - Amazing results on almost any surface that will allow the oil to penetrate - new unfinished wood, weathered wood, stripped wood, concrete floors and countertops, even brick, stone, and cast iron
  • Great for Food Contact Surfaces - Since tung oil is considered non-toxic when dry, it is great for cutting boards, butcher blocks, countertops, wooden bowls, wooden utensils, and more

For hundreds of years, woodworkers have used Hope’s Pure Tongue oil to improve the color of pinewood and provide additional protection.

Hope’s Pure Tung Oil is straightforward to use. Unlike some wood stains, there is no need for a unique brush or a paint pad.

You wipe it on your pine groove ceilings or boards with your bare hands without worrying about skin irritation or any damage to your hand.

It provides a hand-rubbed plain low gloss finish to your tongue and groove pine ceiling, making it look brand new even if you’ve had it for years.

The product creates a low gloss textured finish that is stunning and incredibly durable. The resistance to humidity and alcoholic beverages is genuinely astounding. Tung oil is an all-natural oil and does not contain harmful chemicals. 

Unlike other finishes, which form a surface film of the wood, tung oil goes deep into the wood fibers, curing to a flexible non-oily substance, therefore, protecting the wood from the inside out.

It becomes part of the wood to protect it from inside. Apart from using it on tongue and groove pine, you can use it on other surfaces as it excellently repels alcohol, moisture, and everyday wear and tear.

Your ceilings will stay beautiful even if they’ve seen a couple of cookouts and barbeques. It outlives all wax-based products and mineral oil.

You get phenomenal results on nearly any surface that allows the oil to penetrate. Use it on new, unpolished wood, stripped wood, weathered wood, concrete floors, and countertops. It also does wonders on brick, stone, and cast iron.

What We Liked Most

  • Easy to use
  • Applicable to multiple surfaces
  • Ecofriendly 
  • It has a matte finish that enhances wood grain nicely.  
  • It offers optimal protection from the inside out 
  • It gives you long-lasting beauty and protection

What Could Be Improved

  • It takes longer to dry based on weather conditions

4. Best for Sealing pine ceiling – Watco Rust-Oleum A65741 Danish Oil Wood Finish

Watco Rust-Oleum A65741 Danish Oil Wood Finish, Quart, Natural, 32 Fl Oz
528 Reviews
Watco Rust-Oleum A65741 Danish Oil Wood Finish, Quart, Natural, 32 Fl Oz
  • Ideal for use on a variety of indoor wood surfaces including bare, stripped or sanded; not recommended for floors
  • Oil-based formula of blended oil & varnish penetrates deeply into wood pores for ultimate protection
  • Dries to the touch in 6 hours and covers up to 170 sq ft
  • Easy application and protects against spills, abrasion, chipping and peeling; many projects can be completed in less than an hour
  • Creates rich, warm glow that enhances the natural look and feel of the wood

Rust-Oleum Watco Danish made it to our list of the best finish for groove and pine ceilings because it exceeded our expectations in performance.

This oil-based formula is an incredible mix of oil and varnish. As a result, it permeates pine wood just like ordinary oil. However, it leaves a tough coat when it dries, similar to varnish.

It stains seals and protects groove pine ceiling in a single step, resulting in a pleasant, natural hand-rubbed look. If you’ve ever worked with varnish, you’ll know that some varnishes flake, crack, or peel off after they dry.

Watco Rust-Oleum Danish Oil, on the other hand, is unique. Rather than cracking, it gives tongue and groove wood a warm natural glow.

And the natural finish restores the appearance of your tongue and groove pine wood ceiling, making it look like you breathed a fresh breath of life into it.

It’s one of the best oil finishes that gives Minwax finish a run for its money when giving wood a natural finish. If you need to stain your tongue, try this product, and the results will thrill you.

Apply this oil to surfaces and let it penetrate the wood. Let the first coat dry completely. Wipe excess oil after fifteen minutes and reapply coats as needed.

Ensure proper drying by leaving it to dry overnight. You can complete your project in under an hour. It produces a rich, soft glow that amplifies the natural appearance and feel of the wood.

What We Liked Most

  • It thoroughly penetrates the wood
  • It makes the wood look and feels natural
  • It dries faster compared to raw linseed oil

What Could Be Improved

  • Unsuitable for high traffic areas

5. Best for Unfinished Wood – Sunnyside Corporation 87232S Boiled Linseed Oil

Sunnyside Corporation 87232S Boiled Linseed Oil, Quart
4,203 Reviews
Sunnyside Corporation 87232S Boiled Linseed Oil, Quart
  • Penetrates and protects wood creating a quality finish for wood furniture and antiques
  • Enhances natural wood tones and grain patterns of wood
  • Extends and fortifies oil-based paints and coatings
  • Apply to unfinished wood only
  • Fast drying, usually within 12-18 hours depending on conditions

If you are searching for a wood stain suitable for unfinished wood, your search ends with this product. It enhances the natural wood grain and gives pine wood a rustic feel.

It deeply penetrates the wood to protect it from moisture damage and results in a high-quality finish on groove pine paneling and vintage items.

You can also use it on oil-based coatings to strengthen them and make them more durable. Please note this product emits odors when used. So, please work in a well-ventilated area and wear protective clothing.

Also, keep the pets away from the finished surface for a while. Depending on weather conditions, it may take a couple of hours or days to dry completely.

Keep the rags or cloths soaked in this product from fire as they may catch fire under certain conditions. Better still, dip the used rags in water before disposing of them. Avoid using it on food preparation items such as a butcher’s board.

Remember, boiled linseed oil is poisonous for humans and pet consumption. This product may or may not change the color of groove wood depending on factors such as wood species etc.

To be sure whether you will like the color of the finished product, test it out on a scrap piece to help you make an informed decision. The wood will slightly change to a golden shade.

What We Liked Most

  • Ease of use
  • A durable finish
  • Suitable for indoor $ outdoor use

What Could Be Improved

  • Produces strong odors

6. Best for scratch Protection – Varathane 200261H Water-Based Ultimate Polyurethane

Varathane 200261H Water-Based Ultimate Polyurethane, Half Pint, Satin Finish
  • Protects indoor wood surfaces such as furniture, windows, cabinets, trim and more
  • Water based formula dries fast and cleans up with soap and water
  • Dries to the touch in 30 minutes with coverage up to 31.25 sq. ft., recoat after 2 hours
  • Durable formula provides outstanding stain and scratch resistance with excellent clarity
  • Satin finish provides a classic and natural look

This water-based polyurethane offers indoor surfaces such as furniture, tongue and groove ceilings, doors, and trims unmatched protection from scratches.

It is a water-based formula, so it dries in thirty minutes, letting you apply subsequent coats in just two hours. This allows you to use the finished products sooner. It cleans effortlessly with just soap and water.

So, you do not have to buy mineral spirits for clean up if you use them. It is a durable formula that resists abrasions from all quarters to keep the surfaces looking fantastic for years. 

The simplest and most effective way of using this product is to dab a paper towel into your can and gently rub it onto the pine ceiling. Apply several thin coats instead of one thick coat.

Let the first coat dry for two hours before applying a second coat. Be sure not to leave strokes or lines as they’ll affect the results. This acrylic latex polyurethane is water-based.

It is simple to clean your expensive brushes and save them for later use. Apply the polyurethane evenly to ensure complete coverage.

Since it is a low odor, you do not have to endure the trouble of taking your furniture out to coat them. You paint them indoors, and life goes on as usual.

It goes on well and starts a bit cloudy but becomes clear within no time. A little goes a long way, so you do not worry about the container size. It’s incredible to get that satin finish level from an odorless brand with simple water cleanup.

What We Liked Most

  • Works magic on interior furniture
  • Superb coverage
  • Effortless to use

What Could Be Improved

  • It’s pricey

7. Best Clear Shellac for Pine – Rust-Oleum Zinsser 304H 1-Quart Bulls Eye Clear Shellac

Rust-Oleum Zinsser 304H 1-Quart Bulls Eye Clear Shellac
960 Reviews
Rust-Oleum Zinsser 304H 1-Quart Bulls Eye Clear Shellac
  • This product adds a great value
  • 1 quart
  • Seals, preserves wood, art, Statuary & metal
  • Traditional finish and sealer
  • All-Natural, non-toxic, easy to use

Rust-Oleum Zinsser Bulls Shellac is derived from a lac bug’s secretion. As a result, it is a non-toxic substance you can comfortably use around the house.

If you have some experience in woodworking, you understand that some varnishes take forever to dry. It can be frustrating to wait for the varnish to dry, especially if you need to finish your project first due to time constraints.

That’s not the case with this product, as it dries in a record time of forty minutes to an hour. You can apply a second coat if you need to and finish your ceiling project in a day.

Furthermore, you don’t need to apply multiple coats to achieve a high gloss finish. This product only requires two coats, and leave it at that. You may notice a subtle yellow tint and not a clear finish specified in the instructions. 

If you don’t like that, you might not appreciate this product. However, if you don’t mind a faint tint in exchange for a durable and low-cost product, grab it, and you’ll be happy with your decision.

Remember to buy the size you need because purchasing in large quantities for later use may not do you any good. It penetrates ceiling boards, is odorless and is gorgeous. Even so, avoid using it on hardwood floors.

What We Liked Most

  • Quick-drying time
  • It’s a non-toxic formula
  • You only need two coats for professional results

What Could Be Improved

  • It may yellow your project- work on a scrap piece first

8. Best for Weathered/ gray look – Minwax 618604444 Color Wash Transparent Layering Color

Minwax 618604444 Color Wash Transparent Layering Color, White Wash, 1 Quart
  • Adds a touch or age & character to bare or already stained wood
  • Apply over oil or water-based stain with a synthetic or foam brush, stain pad or rag.
  • Dries in 1 hour. Endless coats in just one coat.
  • Water based formula cleans up with soap and water
  • Available in 3 beautiful colors.

This is your product if you need to give your groove pine a weathered or aged look. Use a paint pad, a clean rag, or a synthetic form brush to apply the stain.

Use it to finish tongue and on unfinished wood. If you wonder how many coats you need to apply, we can confirm with one coat that you can do countless coats and do the trick.

The finish dries in just an hour, and you clean up with soap and water. Use this product to add a faint white shade to groove panels and pine paneling, and it lets the natural wood grain shine through.

Surface preparation is crucial for great results. Ensure the bare wood is clean and dry before beginning. Start sanding with medium-grit sandpaper and gradually increase the grit until you finish with a 220 grit.

Remove the sanding dust. If you are working on stained wood, remove the stain with mineral spirits and make sure the surface is dry before applying this product. 

It’s recommended you work on a hidden section f the wood or a scrap piece to see if you like the color. Mix the stain extensively before and during application.

You can just thin or shake the stain. Apply this stain against the natural wood grain and wipe off any excess stain in under two minutes. Wipe against the grain of the wood for pro results.

Let the stain dry completely, and apply your favorite protective topcoat if you are satisfied with the color. Avoid sanding between coats.

What We Liked Most

  • Covers excellently
  • Super easy to use
  • One coat is enough for incredible results

What Could Be Improved

  • It dries lightning fast, so you need to work faster

9. Best For minor Touch-ups – Water-Base Wipe-On Polyurethane 16fl oz

Water-Base Wipe-On Polyurethane 16fl oz
  • Excellent Durability
  • Ultra Fast-Drying
  • Low Odor
  • Easy Water Clean-Up

Minwax Water Based Wipe-On Poly is a long-lasting, clear finish that integrates polyurethane protection with classic hand-rubbed beauty.

You do not have to worry about ugly brush or streaks that could water down your efforts to keep your groove pine ceiling at its best.

Also, you do not need to use mineral spirits for cleanup because water and soap will do the trick. Use it indoors as it will not emit pungent odors that could linger for weeks or months after use.

The product is so simple that even a complete novice can handle it and come off as an expert. It is ideal for furniture, interior doors, tongue and groove, trim, and other wood.

Use it to renovate small areas to give them a durable layer of topcoat protection. This product is thinner than standard polyurethanes. You may need more coats. 

Please know that once the product hits the wood, you only have thirty seconds before it becomes tacky. You must work quickly to maintain a wet working surface so that your strokes merge beautifully together.

If a blemish appears, look the other way and sand it out later. Apply multiple coats and then buff the surface smooth with very fine sandpaper. 

You must create a thick enough layer so that you can sand out all of the imperfections without hitting bare wood. Polish it further or apply a paste wax on top. Use a foam brush to apply uniform coats.

What We Liked Most

  • It’s odorless
  • Phenomenal results
  • Dries fast; you finish your project in a few hours

What Could Be Improved

  • Not great for massive areas

Best Finish for Tongue and Groove Pine Ceiling Comparison Table

Factors to Consider Before Buying the Best Finish for Tongue and Groove Pine Ceiling

Before spending any money on a finish for pine and groove ceilings, it’s essential to get a few things right so that your efforts will be worthwhile. Here are the critical things to consider before settling on any finish. 


You can’t just pick any finish color that pleases you when you need to finish tongue. Pick a color that compliments your taste and style and blends excellently with your home decor items.

Also, go for a color that sends the right first impression to anyone who walks through your doors. You can borrow ideas from home decor magazines or home contractors to help you pick the appropriate color palette.

Understand your project and determine whether you need to preserve the natural beauty of wood or if you need to conceal it, and then pick a color that suits your preferences. 

Drying time

Consider its dry time and cure time before spending a dime on any finish when installing pine. Drying time is the amount of time prescribed between product coats.

It is also known as recoat time. Cure time is the amount of time recommended before exposing your finished projects to routine use.

Understand that drying time will differ based on temperature and humidity, application method and whether you are working bare wood or stained surfaces.

A finish’s drying time determines how fast or slows you can complete your project and move on to something else. Water-based products dry faster than oil-based products.


It refers to how long the finish will last before applying a maintenance coat. Generally,oil-based products are more durable than their water-based counterparts.

However, high-quality water-based products in the market offer unparalleled durability. They may be pricey, but they are eco-friendly, odorless, and dry faster.

Do You Need to Finish Pine Tongue and Groove Ceiling?

Yes, you have to finish a tongue and groove ceiling to give it a fighting chance against unforgiving elements. Unfinished or natural pine is prone to fading, discoloration, clamping, and moisture damage.

A high-quality finish will protect the pine wood grime, dirt, abrasion, and moisture and keep it elegant for decades.

Remember to prep the surface well before applying the finish of your choice. Understand your project well to pick a finish that will give you the dream results.

How to Finish Tongue and Groove Pine Ceiling 

You are overjoyed because you have finished installing a tongue and groove pine ceiling in your dream home or porch. It has created a rustic feel and looks, and you couldn’t be happier.

Pinewood is such a gorgeous natural wood, and it may feel like you are making a massive mistake by wanting to cover it up with a finish or paint. However, instead of leaving your pine in its natural state, it is a brilliant idea to finish it.

When it comes to finishing a tongue and groove pine ceiling, you must first decide whether you need a surface finish or a deep penetrating finish. A surface finish is just about any finish that sits on top of your wood, such as paint.

A penetrating finish permeates the wood’s surface to produce a more natural appearance. Surface finishes last longer than penetrating finishes, but they do not appear very natural.

Tongue-and-groove ceilings are made up of interlocking lips designed to conceal nails. When finishing a tongue-and-groove ceiling, the procedure is more important than style.

Portions of the tongue may be exposed over time due to periodic movements in your wood. It is essential to stain the wood of a tongue-and-groove ceiling before installation.

Contrarily Oth, the unstained sections of the tongue will finally become exposed, resulting in lines of bare timber that diminish the overall appearance.

Here’s how you go about it.

What you’ll need

  • Tack cloth
  • Plastic drop cloths
  • Wood stain
  • Mineral spirits
  • Step ladder
  • Heavy-duty fabric drop cloths
  • 4-inch-wide paintbrush

Step by step procedure

Step 1: Spread your sizable plastic

Spread your sizable plastic drop cloth on the floor. Place a fabric drop cloth on top of it. Note. The stain will bleed through fabric drop cloths and pool on top of the plastic drop cloths. To avoid messes when staining, simply use these two types of drop cloths in tandem.

Step 2: lay groove boards

Place the tongue and groove panels on top of drop cloths. Be keen to decide which side of the groove panels will be exposed once you install and place that side facing upwards.

Step 3: Clean the wood

Wipe down the wood’s surface with a clean tack cloth to remove dirt.

Step 4: Apply the finish

Using a 4-inch paintbrush, apply your favorite finish strictly following the manufacturer’s instructions or based on other people’s experiences from your in-depth research.

Apply thin layers instead of thick layers. Allow the finish to dry and cure appropriately. The dry time differs from product to product. 

Step 5: Cleanup after work

If you use a water-based stain, clean your brushes with a soapy solution. If you use oil-based products, clean the recommended tool with mineral spirits. 

If you are refinishing an already installed tongue and groove ceiling, spread a plastic drop cloth on the ground and overlay it with a fabric drop cloth. Use a step ladder to get to the ceiling and apply a new finish described above.

Which Way Should Tongue and Groove Ceiling be Installed?

 Installing tongue and groove ceilings over bare framing or drywall is an excellent cover-up for an unsightly ceiling or for creating a rustic feel. Start by removing the old ceiling, if any.

Measure the size of your roof before heading over to your local hardware store to buy tongue and groove boards. Grove pine ceilings are pricey, so it helps to correct the measurement.

You’ll need a wood filler, caulk, wood adhesive, 16 gauge nails, and the boards. Stain the board before installation. Cut the boards to fit your roof and ensure you fix the first board correctly because it’ll determine the results.

Install the remaining panels and cut the boards with a jigsaw if you need to create room for lights. 

How Do You Keep Pine Tongue and Grooves from Turning Yellow?

Use water-based polyurethane or penetrating finishes since they do not have a yellow hue. Penetrating finishes include; tung oil, linseed oil, cedar oil, mineral oil, teak oil, paste wax, tinted washes, etc., if you want to retain the natural look of pine.

Note that pine is difficult to stain because it absorbs stain unevenly. So, test the stain on a scrap board to see if you like the final look. 

Do You Need to Stain Both Sides of Tongue and Groove?

When using a water-based polyurethane or sealant, it is sufficient to apply it only to the groove board’s edge. Nevertheless, if you use an oil-based product, you must apply the stain to both sides of the joint for it to be impactful.

Let the stain completely dry before using the ceiling boards. For best results, tongue-and-groove ceilings should be stained before installation.

On the other hand, if the builder hung the roof without first staining it, finish the ceiling using the method we discussed here. Then, as time goes by, touch up the unstained areas of the tongue that have become exposed.


Should I stain my tongue and groove ceiling?

Yes. Stain your tongue and groove ceiling before installation for superb results. Pinewood is susceptible to cracking, discoloration, mold and mildew, and anything else that wreaks havoc on wood. Staining or painting helps preserve its natural look and allows its beauty to last for years.

What do you put on tongue and groove pine?

You thin a small amount of polyurethane with mineral spirits in a ratio of 2:1. Dip a good quality paintbrush in the sealant and put it on the surface of your object in long even strokes. The sealant makes the finish adhere to the pine effectively and last longer.

How do you apply polyurethane to a tongue and groove ceiling?

Cover the floor with a drop cloth and use painter’s tape to protect the areas you do not need stained. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the ideal nozzle size and sprayer pressure settings. Test on a drop cloth first to ensure that the layers are uniform. Increase the pressure if you don’t get a coherent spray. You spray uniform strokes across the entire surface of the ceiling.


We’ve included everything you’ll need to help you pick the best finish for a tongue and groove pine ceiling. We hope that the in-depth information we provided in this guide will clear any confusion you may have.

The best finish for tongue and groove pine should be easy to use, durable, and should complement your style and home decor.

Our top pick is 1/2 pt Minwax 25555 Clear Polycrylic. It checks all the boxes in effectiveness, ease of use, durability, color, and affordability.