• By: OLM Staff

Let It All Hang Out

Exposed wooden beams are growing in popularity with the massive prevalence of using reclaimed wood in modern décor. Within this dated mid-century space, the design stage boasts minimalism and functionality, yet the homeowner desired elements of traditional adornment, so our beams are the perfect complement to the dramatic fireplace.

Our homeowner chose to a more extensive reno that included resurfacing the fireplace, redoing the flooring and a fresh coat of paint but you can get the exposed beam look in a weekend.


TIME: Weekend
PRICE RANGE: $100 – $350
DIFFICULTY: Moderate to Hard

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Step 1 Measure and Create a Pattern

Proper preparation is key. You want to determine your ceiling pattern in advance of hitting the lumber store (or your local lumber mill as I prefer) and picking up your supplies. Are you looking for a coffered ceiling (wafflelike grid) or beams that run in parallel?  Once you determine the pattern, you can calculate how much lumber you will need.

Step 2 Measure and Mark Ceiling

Since the ceiling is already closed, you will need to mark your pattern on the drywall, attempting to find as many of the existing joists beneath the drywall as possible in order to support the weight of the faux beams. Use a chalk box to snap grid lines where your beams will be attached.

Step 3 Add Support Beams to Ceiling

You will need to affix the faux beams to the ceiling in an inconspicuous as possible fashion since you are attempting to create the look that these decorative beams were actually part of the original space. For our ‘support beams’, we simply used lengths of 2×4 screwed to the ceiling (catching the original joists where possible through the drywall) where the u-channel faux beams would eventually sit.

Step 4 Construct Faux-Beams

Using 1×4 rough pine planks (milled at a local lumber mill) we created our three-sided (or “U” shaped) channels by first applying glue on the edges of the pine plank and then nailing the  2 sides on.

Step 5 Prepare for Finish

Once the wood beams are fully assembled, you will need to fill all nail holes with stainable wood filler and do some light sanding with a finegrit sandpaper. Once this step has been completed be sure to remove all remnant sawdust from your beams in preparation for the next step.

Step 6 Stain the Beams

Depending upon the other features
within the space (such as any existing stone or wood work), you want to select a stain that is in keeping with the total look you are trying to achieve. In this case, we were going for a rustic look so we selected a stain that mimicked weathered barn board.

Step 7 Install Faux-Beams

Once the stain on your beams has dried completely (I usually wait 24 hours), you can begin the installation.  Simply slip the open end of your u-channel over the 2×4 support beams that you installed using a nail gun.

Step 8 Make Final Touchups

When the install is complete, fill the nail holes with stainable wood putty and make any touchups to the fauxbeams as required. Voila…Your very own, affordable open-beam rustic look.