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Transform Your Room With Faux Wood Beams
You’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between real wood ceiling beams and high-quality polyurethane look-alikes. If you want the look of real wood beams without the hard labor of installing and finishing them, faux wood beams are the ticket. You can get them in lots of styles and prefinished colors to suit your taste, from rough and rustic to smooth and shapely.
Faux beams are a fraction of the weight of wood, so one person can easily lift the largest beam, and two people can safely maneuver them during installation. You cut them with ordinary woodworking saws, and they attach to the ceiling with adhesive and a few screws.
Here’s how easy it is to install a ceiling beam.
What You Need
- Beams and matching wood filler, available online for shipment to your door (Google “faux wood beams”)
- Short pieces of 2×4 to use as mounting blocks
- 3-inch screws or anchors for attaching 2×4 blocks to ceiling
- 2-inch screws for attaching beam to blocks
- Construction adhesive such as Liquid Nails Poly or PL Premium Poly
The ceiling beam has a U cross section, open along the top where it rests against the ceiling. To install the beam, you first cut short wood blocks that fit inside the U and screw these to the ceiling. Then you apply adhesive to the top edges of the beam, slip it over the blocks and screw the beam to them.
Step By Step
After you’ve planned where the wood beams will go, just follow these simple steps to install each beam:
- Measure the inside width of the ceiling beam and cut 2×4 blocks to fit. You need about one block for each 4 feet of beam.
- Mark where the beam will go on the ceiling using a pair of chalk lines or strips of painter’s tape.
- Attach the 2×4 blocks with screws or anchors every 3-6 feet along the lines you’ve marked. Then you can dust off the chalk line or remove the painter’s tape.
- Mark the beam for cutting. If the wall and ceiling don’t form a right angle, transfer the angle using a sliding T bevel. If the beam extends from wall to wall, mark it about 1/8 inch longer for a snug fit.
- Cut the faux wood beam to length. Use a power miter saw, manual miter box or any sharp, fine-tooth woodcutting saw for a smooth cut. Dry-fit the cut beam to make sure the length is right.
- Apply construction adhesive along the open top edges of the beam.
- With a helper, slip the beam over the blocks, hold it snugly against the ceiling, and screw it to each block on each side. Countersink the screws slightly.
- Fill the screw holes with matching wood filler.
- Climb down the ladder, sit back in a comfortable chair and admire the new dimension you’ve just added to your room.
Tips for Great Results
- If possible, position each 2×4 block on a ceiling joist. Then you can use plain screws to attach them securely and not have to bother with plastic or metal anchors.
- Cut the ceiling beam slightly long so the ends fit snugly into place against the walls.
- Apply the bead of adhesive toward the inside of the wood beam so it doesn’t squeeze outside the beam. If some adhesive does squeeze out, carefully wipe it away. Or, to avoid smearing, let the adhesive harden first and then cut it away with a razor or utility knife.
You can do much more than attach faux wood beams to the surface of the ceiling. You can enclose the open side and ends of the beam for a completely solid look from all angles. You can suspend beams from point to point to simulate ties or trusses. You can use them vertically to simulate support posts. And you can use faux wood beams and accessories outdoors as well, for everything from decorative headers and corbels to freestanding pergolas.
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