Bring Character to Your Living Room With Everything Faux Wood Beams

Additions and Remodels
Carpentry
Roofing
By Alex Mikayelyan September 07, 2021

If you have a rustic, cottage, craftsman, or modern farmhouse aesthetic going on, nothing is more characteristic of these designs than wooden ceiling beams. And chances are if you don’t have them yet, you’ve been thinking of getting some gorgeous wood beams installed. They bring that extra bit of coziness into the room while giving the ceiling grand form, depth, and shape.

Regardless of the interior design you have going on, be it contemporary, Victorian, Mediterranean, or mid-century modern vibes, a careful glance around your open living spaces will likely remind you how small details can work to bring everything together. At the same time, you might notice a lack of character or structure. Faux wood beams are some of the most popular ways of bringing in that missing puzzle piece for an interior that is bursting with charm, harmony, and contrast all at the same time.

There are two main types of ceiling beams: solid and faux. Solid wooden beams are, well, solid; as in they are one big piece of lumber that extends across the ceiling. Faux beams are essentially very long hollow wooden boxes. They are a very convenient solution for homeowners who are looking to spruce up their rustic interiors on a budget.

What Are Faux Wood Beams

Options Are A Plenty for Faux Wood Beams Perfect for Your Home

Options Are A Plenty for Faux Wood Beams Perfect for Your Home

In the olden days when structures were built entirely out of wood, timber ceiling beams were used as structural support. Without them, the entire floor would collapse. Today, with our modern construction materials, equipment, and techniques at play, we do not have to rely as much on this kind of external structural support. 

Since the beams are no longer used for practical reasons they do not need to be solid pieces of lumber. Faux beams are composed of three pieces of wooden panels put together to imitate the appearance of solid wood beams. This hollow setup allows for certain workarounds to help with installation and maintenance.

Solid wood beams, as attractive as they are, are a real pain to install. They are super heavy, which means to install them you will need the help of professional woodworkers and contractors. Solid timber beams also need plenty of extra support to keep them structurally sound. Because of their weight, not all ceilings are fit to hold them, and those that are, require a careful inspection prior to installation. 

Faux beams weigh a fraction of what solid beams weigh and therefore are much easier to install as well as significantly easier to maintain in the long run. 

Types of Faux Wood Beams

There are several types of faux wood beams that you can install. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages that you should consider before making up your mind. 

Foam Beams

Faux Foam Wood Beams that Are Easy to Install

Faux Foam Wood Beams that Are Easy to Install

There’s no shame in having fake wood beams. If they work, they work. That is the mentality with which you should approach your foam faux beams. They may not be made of sturdy material, nor are they going to offer many practical benefits, but they look good and that is all that matters. Foam faux beams fall in line with this kind of thinking and are very easy to install because of how light the foam is.

Even if foam beams may not be made of real wood, they still look very much like the real thing and your guests will hardly be able to tell that they are artificial. The one downside to foam faux beams is that they are more expensive than natural wood beams and are harder to repair if damaged. But the easy installation makes it a great option for homeowners who are looking for a remodeling project that’s not complicated.

Glulam Lumber

You Can Maintain An Authentic Appearance with Glulam

You Can Maintain An Authentic Appearance with Glulam

One of the biggest advantages of glue-laminated wood is its weight to strength ratio. Glulam is very durable yet at the same time is very lightweight and easy to work with. The material is also quite versatile as it comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. 

One of the most important factors to consider when installing faux beams is, naturally, how it looks in your interior. While glulam lumber is processed, it by no means loses its authentic appearance. You will find that glulam is almost impossible to tell apart from solid wood beams. 

Laminated Veneer Lumber

LVL Ceiling Beams for Quality You Can't Tell Apart from the Real Thing

LVL Ceiling Beams for Quality You Can't Tell Apart from the Real Thing

Laminated veneer lumber (or LVL) is a widely manufactured material that is engineered to have as few flaws as possible. One of the major advantages of LVL is that it is consistent in its quality. Working with natural wood comes with a set of risks since only the most experienced carpenters would be able to tell you exactly what flaws a particular piece of lumber has.

The disadvantage of working with LVL is that it is not all that durable when compared to other wood beam options. While durability is not the most important factor when trying to achieve the faux beam ceiling look, it becomes far more critical if you want to make the beams bigger. But where LVL loses out on durability it makes up for being a more cost-effective option.

Reclaimed Wood Beams

Wood Beams to Bring Dimension to a Rustic Interior

Wood Beams to Bring Dimension to a Rustic Interior

If you are looking for something that is as authentically rustic as possible, reclaimed wood beams are the way to go. Should you come across some reclaimed barn beams for sale, consider buying them and installing them in your interior.

The advantage of reclaimed wood is that it can be a very durable material to work with assuming it has been properly restored. Reclaimed wood is also oftentimes a more cost-effective and eco-friendly alternative to fresh natural lumber. With reclaimed wood, you also get a bit more sentimental value since the material comes with its own history, which can be used to increase your home value.

What Is Required Before Installation

Things to Do Before Buying and Installing Your Ceiling Beams_

Things to Do Before Buying and Installing Your Ceiling Beams_

Before you can even think about installing a single beam on your ceiling you must take into account several prerequisites. 

Spacing

Beam spacing depends on the size of the room you’re going to add them to. Some ceilings may not accommodate many beams as they do not have enough surface area. If you have your heart set on having four beams but realize they will be less than a yard apart once installed, best to consider installing three before you put in the order.

Material and Colors

While the beams do not have to perfectly match the rest of the interior, you should aim to have them speak to at least a few elements in the room. If you can match them to the window frames, doors, and other structural accents, this can help tie the room together. 

Ceiling Height

Faux beams require at least eight or nine feet of ceiling height to be installed. This is to ensure the safety of those who are in the room. It also just looks better because having faux beams hanging down too close overhead can make your room feel quite tight. You should aim to have them installed in rooms with higher ceilings where the beams won’t create clutter in the atmosphere. 

What to Expect During Wood Beam Installation

Preparing Your Space for Wood Beam Installation

Preparing Your Space for Wood Beam Installation

While the installation varies depending on the type of faux beams you are using, there are some general guidelines to the process. 

Preparing the Space

Even with foam faux beams, which are relatively easy to install, you will still need to prepare the space under the ceiling as well as the ceiling itself. To avoid damaging any light fixtures, remove all of them. If you have recessed lighting, cover them up with an adhesive. Clear up the space below to avoid damaging the furniture and also to have enough room for ladders and other equipment that will be moving into the frame.

Calculating Faux Beam Costs

Knowing the costs involved as early as possible can help you plan out your budget accordingly. To do this, you will first need to measure out how many linear feet of beams will be installed since this is how the pricing is typically calculated by contractors. The national average for 100 linear feet of faux beams is around $1,800, which includes labor and materials. 

DIY Faux Beams

If you feel up to the task of creating and installing faux beams yourself you can save a lot of money that you would have otherwise spent on labor costs. While building the beams themselves may require you to own and operate more advanced equipment and machinery, it is still possible.

However, even if you purchase pre-made beams and install them yourself, you can still save a lot of money since the labor costs for faux beams are almost as much as the materials themselves. So you can potentially slash your costs in half if you can install the beams with your handyman skills.

Written by
Alex Mikayelyan

Written by Alex Mikayelyan