How to Make Faux Wood Beams That Look Original to Your House

Wood beams give a house a look of timeless rustic elegance. Builders traditionally used heavy wood beams to create support for upper floors and for roofs. That dramatic look endures over the years and today brings a feeling that is both intimate and solid.

You can make your own faux wood beams. It’s an easy illusion to create, and the beams are straight-forward and fun to build. And for all of that sense of permanence that they evoke, they are just as easy to remove, leaving little damage to your home.

How to Make Faux Wood Beams

  1. Create a three-sided faux beam made of wood
  2. Age the wood
  3. Screw a wood cleat to the ceiling
  4. Attach the faux beam to the cleat
  5. Cover seams, joints, and ends with metal beam straps

Faux Wood Beam Basics

Faux wood beams are long, hollow three-sided boxes. After installation, the U-shape faces up and the three finished sides face the room.

A hidden cleat attaches securely to the ceiling drywall. The faux beam straddles the cleat, and fasteners attach the beam to the cleat from the sides. Distressing—a way of rapidly antiquing wood—makes your faux beam look like it has been there for ages.

When two beams butt up against other, metal beam straps cover the seam. They’re used for covering the ends, too, and they’re easy to put on.

Types of Faux Beams

Distressed Dimensional Lumber

If you’re going to be creative with faux wood beams, go all the way. Building faux wood beams from one-by-six dimensional lumber gives you the blank canvas you need for your genius to shine.

Dimensional lumber squares up on its own to easily create 90-degree angles. Best of all, you’ll have fun devising all sorts of ways to distress the wood.

Three boards form a U-shaped box. The surface is distressed, then the box is mounted on the ceiling cleat. Beam straps cover the ends and any mid-point seams where the faux beam meets up with adjacent beams.

Interior Shiplap Wood

Simulated aged shiplap siding has a rustic appearance because it has been machined that way. In the factory, the siding is primed and painted so it has the patina of aged wood.

Shiplap boards are assembled much like the distressed dimensional lumber method, except that boards need to have their shiplap tongues cut off lengthwise. Since some shiplap siding boards are long, you can potentially create a faux beam that runs the length of the room—no seams.

Polyurethane Foam Beams

Three-sided faux wood beams are made from high-density polyurethane foam. Modeled from real wood, they are skinned with realistic-looking wood tones and textures. Of the three options, this is the most convenient since you purchase them from online suppliers. There is nothing to build; it’s all assembly work. A 20-foot, 4-inch-square polyurethane foam beam will cost in the range of $400 to $500.

What We Don’t Like

  • High cost

  • Beams may be duplicated

  • Repairs difficult

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