How to Install Fake Ceiling Beams

Written by denise brown
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A wood beam installed on the ceiling adds architectural interest to a room. A fake ceiling beam adds this detail at a fraction of the cost of a real, hand-hewn wood beam. Faux wood beams come in a variety of wood-look choices. You can find beams with smooth surfaces, as well as beams that look like they are hand-cut. A faux wood beam is much lighter than its wood counterpart because it is made of high-density polyurethane, surfaced on three sides with wood veneer. One person can install a 20-foot beam by himself, but a helper makes the job easier.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Scrap 2-by-4-inch lumber
  • Circular saw
  • Carpenter's square
  • Chalk line or painter's tape
  • Stud finder
  • Pencil
  • Drill with screwdriver bit
  • Screws
  • Construction adhesive
  • Caulk gun
  • Knife
  • Wood filler

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Measure the width of the inside portion of the faux wood beam. Cut several blocks of scrap 2-by-4-inch lumber to this measurement with a circular saw.

  2. 2

    Locate where you plan to hang the fake ceiling beam. Ensure the location runs at a right angle to the walls by checking the angle with a carpenter's square. Mark both sides of the location of the wood beam installation area by snapping parallel chalk lines or placing two rows of painter's tape on the ceiling.

  3. 3

    Find the ceiling joists by running a stud finder along the ceiling surface. Mark the joist locations with a light pencil mark inside your parallel lines.

  4. 4

    Measure two feet from the side wall on one side. Position one block of scrap wood on the joist closest to the two-foot mark. Keep the block inside the parallel lines you marked on the ceiling. Drive two screws through the block and into the joist. Repeat the process from the other side wall.

  5. 5

    Add more wood blocks to the ceiling joists along your wood beam installation lines. Place them approximately three to six feet apart.

  6. 6

    Measure how long the fake ceiling beam needs to be to fit between the walls. Cut the beam using a circular saw so that it's a tight fit.

  7. 7

    Slide the beam over the blocks in the ceiling to ensure it's the right length. Trim any excess off the beam with the circular saw.

  8. 8

    Insert a tube of construction adhesive into a caulk gun. Cut the tip with a knife at an angle to open the tube.

  9. 9

    Press the caulk gun's trigger to spread the adhesive along the edge of the beam that goes against the ceiling. Firmly press the faux wood beam in place against the ceiling. Wipe off any adhesive that oozes out.

  10. 10

    Attach the fake ceiling beam to the wood blocks, driving screws on both sides of each block you attached to the ceiling. Cover the screws with wood filler that matches the colour of the faux wood beam.

Tips and warnings

  • Bring the faux wood beam inside at least 24 hours before you plan to hang it to acclimate it to the room's temperature and humidity.
  • Fill any gaps between the walls and the ends of the beam with silicone caulk. Fill any gaps between the beam and the ceiling with the caulk.
  • Even though a faux wood beam is lightweight, it is helpful to have an assistant aid you in holding the beam in position as you work with it.

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