Making Long-Lasting Faux Beams

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Faux beams are perfect for adding style to ceilings. They can last quite a while if made of wood, not as long if made of plastic foam. Here’s how to design, build, stain, and install them.

Plan Your Beams’ Layout

To determine the dimensions of the beams, consider the dimensions of the room where the beams will be installed. The length of each beam should correspond to the width of the ceiling. The width and depth are up to you, but should be uniform. The most common width is 4 inches. The depth varies more, but is usually 1–4 inches.

The dimensions of the beams aren't the only measurements to consider. You have to decide how far apart they'll be. As you do so, don't forget to consider any obstacles in the ceiling that may break up your intended spacing.

Cut Your Beams

When purchasing lumber, always choose the best quality. Your beams, in actuality boxes, will be made out of three 1 ¼-inch lumber boards connected together to form a hollow beam with one side open. One board will serve as the base, and the other two will be fastened to its sides. The boards can be mitered or recessed. The recessed kind are easier to assemble because you don't have to cut the beams to a specific angle at the corners.

Before cutting each wooden board to the appropriate length, lay a chalk line to mark where it should go into the ceiling. As always, measure twice, cut once. Assemble the boards using wood glue and finishing nails.

Stain or Paint Your Beams

Depending on your preference, either stain the beams or paint them. Make sure the color contrasts with that of the ceiling. Apply primer, stain or paint evenly, and allow the beam to dry.

Install Your Beams

This will require mounting blocks cut to fit the hollow parts of the beams. The blocks should be at least 2 inches deep and 3 inches long. Fasten two mounting blocks into the ceiling using screws or nails at both ends. Fit the beams into the mounting blocks and secure them using screws or nails.