Mar 152019

A homeowner’s new stone fireplace was beautifully finished with a Custom Rough Hewn mantel — demonstrating how realistic our faux wood products look, even when paired with natural materials.

‘Going faux’ is an increasingly popular design decision, both for customers of and our sister site, Technology and innovation continues to make our faux wood and stone products more and more realistic – and our recent decision to bring production right back home to America means that we have even more control over every part of the process.

Stone fireplace with Custom Rough Hewn mantel.
AFTER: Real stone fireplace with a Custom Rough Hewn Mantel.

The ultimate test, of course, is seeing our products in action – and these photos sent to us by the customer they demonstrate exactly what we’re talking about.

In this example, the homeowner wanted to renovate their living room fireplace – and used natural stone to cover the entire wall.

When it came to adding a mantel, though, it wasn’t going to be possible to use a solid wood beam; as it would have been too prohibitively heavy to be supported by the framed wall. A box beam – made from planks of wood assembled into a beam-shape – wouldn’t have provided the look that the homeowner was going for.

The homeowner discovered and purchased one of our Custom Rough Hewn Mantels in a beautiful shade of Walnut. Manufactured from lightweight and durable polyurethane foam, the mantel perfectly recreates the texture of authentic rough hewn wood – and our industry-leading painting process ensures that the finished product is practically indistinguishable from the real thing.

Fireplace before photo.

The best part is that all it takes to install the mantel is to secure mounting blocks on the studs beneath the drywall, and attach the three-sided mantel with regular wood screws. The finished product looks great and is even functional when it comes to supporting lightweight items.

And if you want to know how great the mantel looks – the proof is how well it holds its own in comparison to the fireplace’s real stone surface.

In terms of cost, ease of installation and practicality, our Custom Rough Hewn Mantel offers significant advantages over real wood – and yet the homeowner didn’t need to compromise on looks or functionality; which demonstrates why more and more people are choosing to ‘go faux’ rather than deal with the headache and hassle of trying to use natural materials in applications for which they’re clearly not suited.

We thought this project was beautiful in its simplicity and elegance, and we’re thrilled to feature it here – but what do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.

Jul 132018

A customer opened up her living room space, making room for her gorgeous new faux Reclaimed beams in Walnut.

Out of all the wonderful things popularized in the 1990s, media centers are not amongst them. The huge, oversized furniture units that housed VCRs, stereos, cathode-ray TVs and a host of other bulky media equipment (not to mention the stacks of VCR cassettes and CDs that you played on them) are now as much a cringeworthy part of that decade’s history as Dharma & Greg and Pogs.

Reclaimed beams add a beautiful framework to the more open living room space.

Reclaimed beams add a beautiful framework to the more open living room space.

One reason for this is the evolution of electronics. Today a smart, wifi-enabled flat-screen TV has access to everything several bulky electronic units used to provide – and that means a ‘media center’ can discreetly be installed onto a single wall surface, instead of taking up a huge unit of furniture.

This reality is something that our customer recently came face-to-face with, when they decided to follow through with a long-overdue renovation of their living room. At the center of the room was a massive media unit, with shelves and cupboards and space for a multitude of electronic units – all of which the proceeding decade or two had rendered obsolete.


The media unit was immense and filled almost a quarter of the entire room. Getting rid of it was an obvious decision – and promised to make the room seem immensely larger and more spacious as a result. However, taking all that sleek, brown wood from the room also made the space appear very white, empty, and hollow.

As we wrote about in June, sometimes it’s important to have dark wood contrast in a room to ‘frame’ it and as ironic as it sounds, the media unit helped provide that. This is why the homeowner needed to come up with some other contrasting wood elements to provide that sense of scale and depth. What they didn’t want to do, however, was fill the space with another large furniture unit and lose the advantage they gained from ditching the old one.

The solution they came up with was provided by The homeowners ordered our Custom Reclaimed Beams in dark Walnut color and installed them on the ceiling of the room – providing a very elegant dark contrast to the open space and white walls, while retaining all the extra space they’d freed up.

The installation was very straightforward, and almost a textbook demonstration of how to install beams correctly. The homeowners did some research into where real wooden beams would have been used to support a ceiling like theirs, and then measured and installed the faux wood to mimic that configuration.

Mounting blocks were discreetly installed into the studs in the ceiling, and then the beams were slotted over them and secured with screws. The only additional step was to trim the ends of the beams to fit flush with the existing crown molding – giving the illusion that the beams extended from the walls themselves and the molding was installed around them, rather than the other way around.

It’s a project that’s elegant in its simplicity – and as you can see from the pictures, the result is clean, stylish and perfectly in keeping with the color scheme and furnishings of the renovated room.

Eliminating the media center (and the ceiling fan) totally transformed this room – making it feel twice as big. The dark leather sofa, wooden electric fireplace and dark window shutters pair perfectly with the Walnut-stained beams, and the end result is a room that’s as timeless and classic as the original had been dated and cluttered.

Sep 292017

Our custom beams are available up to 30 feet long, but what happens when your project requires a super large beam?

We’ve often mentioned how our beams are actually superior to their real wood counterparts. There are a variety of reasons why – affordability, easy installation and their incredible versatility thanks to their lightweight, customizable design. But today we got sent a project photo that identified one of the other key reasons why ‘going faux’ is the best option for installing a faux beam in your home – and it’s all about size.

This large beam installed on a kitchen ceiling is actually two lengths of faux beams joined to span its over 30 foot length.

Joe and Kasey had a full-length ceiling to span in their kitchen

Joe and Kasey, from Newport, California, had an open-plan kitchen and living room they wanted to update – and they identified our Custom Beachwood beams as the perfect accent for the apex of its ceiling. However, the room’s length is more than 30 feet – the maximum beam length we can produce.

Now, that might sound like an obstacle – but it’s actually one of the many opportunities in which ‘going faux’ accomplishes what using a real wood beam couldn’t.

Remember, to create a real timber beam, you have to take a length of wood from an actual tree. To cut a thirty-feet long length requires a tree trunk nearly double that size – and it takes no less than 30 years to grow a 60′ tall tree of even a fast-growing variety like cypress. The price of wood multiplies exponentially depending on its length – not to mention its weight does, too. A 30′ beam easily weighs upwards of 500 lbs and would take a professional crew and some serious structural supports to install.

Beachwood beam installed in a kitchen

For Joe and Kasey to span the length of their ceiling with real wood would be functionally impossible. You’d have to spend a fortune on materials and labor, and the ceiling of almost any normal home would struggle to hold that weight. In contrast, faux beams weigh a fraction of real beams, and you could easily install 30′ of them across the length of the ceiling with nothing more involved than mounting blocks screwed into the ceiling studs.

But how to overcome the challenge of the 30+ foot ceiling span. Fortunately, our beam straps do exactly that.

If you’ve ever seen pictures from real timber-framed homes, you’ll often see ‘beam straps.’ These are iron bands that are folded over the beams to reinforce them.

The subtle application of a beam strap helps hide the seam, and create the impression of a single length of solid timber.

The subtle application of a beam strap helps hide the seam, and create the impression of a single length of solid timber.

We offer a stunningly realistic alternative – rubber straps that attach directly to our beams with construction adhesive. Without actually reaching up and touching them, you’d never know they weren’t the real thing. The benefit is that these 1.5 inch straps can completely cover the seam where you place one length of beam against the other, to give the illusion of a single seamless beam stretching more than thirty feet.

Now here’s the clever thing. You could theoretically do the same with real wood – if you could stomach the cost, and support the weight – but the problem with lengths of real timber is that they’re notoriously irregular in size. If you line up one timber beam with another, it’ll often be a half inch or more wider.

Faux beams, in contrast, remain exactly the same width no matter what. As long as you cover the seam with a beam strap, it’s almost impossible to tell it’s not one long, solid piece.

Subtle details like that allowed Kasey and Joe to align two separate beams and cover the seam, for a brilliant final result. We love it – and it just goes to show that with faux , you can achieve an authentic look that’s inherently more practical.

Jul 212017

Creating beamed ceilings that blend with the existing decor was the secret to this seamless installation, resulting in a beautiful and luxurious new living room.

We love sharing pictures of customer installs – and these ones are particularly impressive. They show how Custom Driftwood Beams in Burnt Mocha color blended faultlessly with this stunning Illinois home – perfectly matching the hardwood floors, dark wood furniture and understated natural color scheme.

New beamed ceilings in a living room created with Custom Driftwood beams.

This beautiful living room looks great with its new beamed ceilings

There are a ton of really nice, subtle details that really make this project work, and I think it’s worth paying attention to several of them.

First off, the large open-plan design of this room featured a structural beam and supports that run right across the center of the room. These contain important electrical and venting components, and couldn’t be removed or changed. Fortunately, though, the homeowners decided to use these features to compliment our beams, by building boxed-in sections with a border and cross members made from the Driftwood beams.

Driftwood beams installed in a recessed ceiling above the dining area.

The central structural beam was turned into a clever element that highlighted the beams.

The really clever part of this is the way in which the homeowners used L-Headers to create the border, installed to fit flush with the edge of the structural beam.  This makes it appear like the beam is emerging from the structural support – as if it’s an actual supporting beam, and merely exposed rather than installed after the fact. That makes the Driftwood beam crossovers look more realistic, too.

Open plan living room and kitchen with new beamed ceilings.

Here’s another shot of the clever way the beams were installed seamlessly with the structural beam and columns.

The next clever installation element we wanted to showcase was the fireplace.

Located in the center of one wall, the fireplace was beautiful, and made from gorgeous stone bricks. Obviously, that created an issue with running the beams around the perimeter of the room – so the enterprising homeowners turned to the history books and looked at how real timber beams would have appeared in homes with similar fixtures.

Living room fireplace

The fireplace needed some thought about how to best install the beams.

As it turned out, structural wood beams often met large, stone foundations like this fireplace. In fact, they served as the perfect anchor point for the heavy beams; and that’s the look these homeowners went for. They trimmed the ends of the beams to fit flush with the stone, and that made it appear as if they were actually going inside the fireplace – supported in small stone alcoves as a real timber beam would have been.

Obviously, that’s an illusion – but thanks to clever carpentry, and entirely convincing one; and it means the beams look absolutely congruent with the fireplace, and in keeping with the rest of the room.

Ceiling beams meet the living room fireplace.

Here’s another angle of where the beams meet the fireplace.

The final detail worth noting is the color matching of the beams themselves.

Browns and taupes are definitely the theme of this room, and they’re contrasted beautifully with clean, white wainscoting and paneling. But the homeowners decided to go with a dark Mocha color for the new beams they installed – which might have seemed like a bold choice.

Beams installed in a recessed ceiling over an open plan kitchen

This shot from the kitchen area demonstrates how perfectly the beams blend with the beautiful dark wood furniture.

But when you start looking at the kitchen cabinets and assorted furniture in the home, you’ll see the Mocha color matches perfectly – and it really adds a great new element to this three-color scheme. By themselves, the furniture looks characteristically transient – after all, a homeowner could replace the lot of it on a whim. But when you pair that with the cabinets and beams, the furniture becomes less of something that’s just in the room, and becomes something that’s part of it.

And that’s really where the magic of these beams come in – they really bring together the entire room, and make it more than just the sum of its parts. We love the way they blend seamlessly with the decor, and are excited to be able to share these pictures with you.

Jun 032016

Our products are designed for DIY-friendly handling and installation, but sometimes you need an extra tip or two to make everything go smoothly and get the look you want. Below are just a few of our most popular beam hacks to make your project easier.

1. Paint Your Own Knots

Our beams already have a vividly realistic appearance and texture of real wood, but you can expand on this look with this quick painting technique to create “knots”.
See how it’s done…

Faux wood trusses with painted knots

2. A Different Angle

Sometimes a ceiling where you want to install your beams doesn’t have nice and simple 90-degree angles. This easy trick will help you make sure your beams are cut properly for an excellent fit.
Get the hack…


3. All Together Now

In some situations your design will call for two beams joined together to completely span the length of your ceiling. But how can you make them look like one continuous beam?
Find out here…


4. Recessed Is In

Adding recessed lights to faux beams is a snap with their easy-to-drill material and hollow design for hiding wires and other hardware. But how many lights do you need and how should they be spaced?
Find out here…


5. Brush Up on This

Drybrushing is a cool finishing technique that’s particularly useful if you’re painting or staining your beams in lighter colors.
Learn how here…


Want more tips? Head over to our Video gallery and check out the How-To series.