View Full Version : what is a ceiling?

01-25-2017, 03:52 PM
So I'm a fan of Rhode Island Louis of "Ask a Shipwright" the popular youtube series. He calls the vertical siding that goes from the deck to the gunwhale "ceiling". A google search brings up threads that are like a ceiling in a house, the horizontal thing that Michelangelo was fond of painting upon. So I put a new aft deck on sailboat and would like to know a good wood species the connect fasten to the frames and butt up against the new deck.

01-25-2017, 04:27 PM
This is the "ceiling" in a boat...

This is the "overhead"...

01-25-2017, 04:28 PM
Yes the ceiling is the planking inside the frames. The thing that Michaelangelo painted is called the deckhead or the overhead.

As for wood..... it depends, but you won't go wrong with mahogany.

01-25-2017, 04:30 PM

"Ceiling" is the long horizontal planks you see being applied the the inner face of the frames.

Ian McColgin
01-25-2017, 05:14 PM
In fairness to benighted farmers and landsmen who ape nautical terms, in a house the overhead 'ceiling' is functionally a ceiling. There is no ceiling when there are exposed overhead rafters and the downside of the roof or floor above.

01-25-2017, 06:09 PM
How about Cedar? rot resistant and easy to work with?

01-25-2017, 07:01 PM
How about Cedar? rot resistant and easy to work with?

cedar would be ideal

Rich Jones
01-25-2017, 07:14 PM
How about Cedar? rot resistant and easy to work with? Perfect. I used cedar for the ceilings on two boats.

Ian McColgin
01-25-2017, 07:37 PM
Meg's ceiling in cedar.

Sometimes ceiling is seriously structural, as found in wooden ships even today. The ceiling makes for essentially a double hull.

On smaller boats and yachts, ceiling has some structural impact but is mostly about comfort below. It keeps any damp from the planking from getting at stuff inside - bedding, stuff in lockers, et cetera. It also makes natural air risers as the topsides warm in the day, drawing air up and out of the bilge. Makes for a fresher boat all around. The air space is dead enough that it's insulating against heat and cold, mobile enough for freshness.

Sometimes you see ceiling that has gaps between the strakes. This pretty much ends the bilge freshening ability of the ceiling along with any insulation. It still keeps gear away from the damp of the inside of the hull. I personally dislike this sort of ceiling.

01-25-2017, 07:50 PM
Be sure to leave space between the top of the frames and deckbeams/deck for air to circulate freely.

01-25-2017, 07:53 PM
Phil Bolger made the point that ceiling would cause the air on the sunny side of the boat to rise and that would suck air down into the bilge on the cooler side of the boat, causing convective ventilation moving air constantly through the hull

01-25-2017, 08:38 PM
And sometimes it's seriously structural. The ceiling of the USS Constitution is, IIRC, 8" live oak.