Do it yourself: ceiling beams

Written by denise brown | 13/05/2017
Do it yourself: ceiling beams
Add architectural interest to your ceiling with wooden beams. (beam image by jbattx from Fotolia.com)

When you enter homes that have wood ceiling beams, these architectural features draw your eye upward to the ceiling. While some homes do have authentic wood ceiling beams, a great many homes substitute faux wood beams for real ones. These lightweight wood beams are easy for a do-it-yourselfer to install, and they can dramatically change the appearance of any room.

Options

Faux wood beams have three sides made of hard polyurethane. The U-shape of these beams makes them easy to fit against almost any ceiling. You can order beams in a variety of colours, or you can purchase them with just a base coat that you finish with whatever stain or paint you want. Beams come with a smooth finish, or you can choose from a variety of finishes ranging from hand-hewn to raised grain. If you contact retail outlets that sell wood ceiling beams, they can often provide you with samples of the products so you can find exactly what you want.

Hollowed-out wood ceiling beams also allow you to hide wiring in your ceiling. If you want, you can easily install lighting directly into the faux wood beams.

Preparation

As you measure for the ceiling beams, allow extra for errors. You also need to have some blocks of wood on hand as well as basic carpentry supplies such as screws, nails and carpenter's adhesive.

To help you get the beams in the exact location, mark the area on the ceiling where you plan to install the faux wood beams with two parallel rows of painter's tape.

Installation

Cut several wooden blocks the width of the opening on the underside of the faux wood beam. These blocks become the means by which you connect the beams to the ceiling.

Find the closest ceiling joist or stud within 2 feet of the wall. Attach a block with screws within the lines set down by your painter's tape. If you can't find a solid wood connection within that distance from the wall, use an anchor to secure the block. Continue attaching blocks to the ceiling every 3 to 6 feet.

For best results, allow the beams to come to room temperature for at least a day before you cut them. Also try to cut the beams as tight as possible so there aren't any gaps at the wall.

Slip the faux wood beam over the blocks on the ceiling to dry-fit them. Even though the beams are lightweight, you probably should have help with this phase of the project to help you hold the beams in place. If the beams fit, take them back down and run a bead of carpenter's adhesive on the beam where it comes in contact with the ceiling. Slide the beam back into position.

Put screws through the outside of the beam into both sides of the wooden blocks. If you want to hide the screw holes, you can fill them with matching wood filler.

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