Wood beams could add drama and appeal to any architectural style.
Today we’re going to demonstrate how faux or fake beams can easily be installed with just a minimum amount of tools, effort or skill. The faux beams can be installed by just two people because they are made out of lightweight material of polyurethane.
But, before we start the install, perhaps this would be a good time to comment on the overall project of faux beams for your house. Before you order the beams, you should consider what aesthetic effect you are trying to achieve in your house. The higher the ceiling, the larger you would probably want to size the beams. Here we have a ten-foot ceiling height in the dining room and we’re installing six by eight inch beams. In the great room where we have a twenty-one foot ceiling height, we’re going to install eight by ten inch beams.
Spacing the Beams
Spacing the beams is the biggest consideration when planning how many beams you will need and how they will be installed. You must examine your ceiling for obstacles that will dictate or limit where you can install the beams. Almost all ceilings will have some type of obstacle…. vents, light fixtures, pipes or any number of structural features that must be considered.
This house has a large air return vent that will dictate the spacing for our beams. Since we cannot move the outlet, you really want to have the beam overlaying the vent. So, we have taken the measurement of this vent and we use that as our guide across the ceiling. We also have several other obstacles where we might have to slightly adjust our spacing. But, moving a beam several inches will not adversely affect aesthetic appeal.
So, here we are, our unfinished beams have arrived. We’ve stained them, which is a really easy process to do, and now we’re ready to install.
Installing the Beams
First, we measure the distances where anchoring blocks will be placed. Next, we will precut these blocks with the beveled edge to accommodate the shape inside the beams.
We lay out the beam placement from our pre-planned design. Then we snap a chalk line or use a laser level as our guide. We space the anchor blocks every three to four feet, depending on the size of the beams.
Next, we drill starter holes in the blocks to prevent the wood from splitting. For intending to screw the blocks to the ceiling joints, we use four-inch deck screws or you can simply nail the blocks. Sometimes you’ll have to attach the blocks directly to the sheetrock if there’s no ceiling joist where you want to place the beam. We snugly tie in three sixteenth by four inch toggle bolts. This method will be okay since the polyurethane beams are so lightweight.
Here’s a tip: We indicate with masking tape the location of the blocks so that we can easily locate them when we are attaching the beams to the blocks.
Measuring and Cutting
We are now ready to measure and cut the beams. The polyurethane is so pliable that any fine-tooth saw will work. Light sanding will help for a snug fit.
Securing the Beams
Place the beams over the anchor blocks and nail two- or three-inch finishing nails into the blocks, two nails per side. You could also use wood screws. Counter sink the screw heads and fill the holes at any gaps with painter’s caulk stained to match the beams. For added security, you could use construction glue along the top edges of the beam.
And here we have it. With just a small investment in time, money and effort, we have easily enhanced the aesthetic value and feel of this room.