How to Install Faux Wood Beams?

Written by Milan Jara on 23rd Aug 2021

Faux Wood Beams - Oak

If you’re planning on having wooden beams installed in your home, chances are, you’ll be investing in faux wood beams. They are much easier to work with, and they come without many of the flaws that real wooden beams do. If you’re seeking information on how to install faux wood beams, then this article will have you covered. If you buy faux wood beams, here are the steps for you to take:

Before getting right into the work - like all projects - it is best to make sure that you prepare for faux wood beam installation. First, make sure you have all the materials you’ll need for the job. Once you’re satisfied, look at your ceiling and try to map out a plan for where you would like to add your decorative ceiling beam.

Step 1: Marking & Stud-Finding

This first step is where you define where you will be placing the beam using your chalk (or painters’ tape). Use your tape to be inside the edges of the beam underneath your blocks.

Using a stud finder, locate where to anchor the blocks of wood onto your ceiling. Draw a mark directly on the ceiling, highlighting the location of the studs. Make sure you can see the marks well enough so that you do not lose track of them. These marks will later help you when you install the beam as you’ll know where to fasten it to your anchor.

If the studs or joists are where you’d like the beam to go, you may have to use mollies/anchors to attach the blocks to the ceiling.

Step 2: Measure and Mark the Ceiling

Faux Wood Beams

Now that you have your ceiling closed, you will want to mark your pattern (or how far apart you want the beams) on the ceiling. You can snap grid lines using a chalk box to see where your beams will eventually be attached. You will want to snap chalk lines for one outer side of the rail and then another for the opposite outer rail. This approach shows you how wide your faux wood beams will look before attaching them to the wall.

Step 3: Cut the Beams to Size

You will need to measure the inside of your beam. Cut the faux wood beam to the size you need. However, it might be best to begin with cutting the rails first. To complete the cutting, it’s best to use a power miter saw, unless you have access to a Japanese saw. If either of these is not available to you, then do know that a handsaw will also work fine.

Like any cutting task in DIY, using a pencil is key for marking the points where you plan to cut. However, some faux wood beams are dark in tone; therefore, you may need an alternative method for this. We recommend that you create score lines to where you need to cut to see the correct measurement. To complete this step, saw off just outside the score line and then sand off the rest of the marking.

Step 4: Prepare for Finish

Once you have the faux wood beams completely assembled, fill nail holes with stainable wood filler. Also, carry out some light sanding using fine-grit sandpaper. This way, you get fully prepped boards. Make sure you thoroughly wipe the wood clean, removing debris or sawdust. Use a dry cloth if you have one unless you have a tack cloth, which will give you the best result.

Step 5: Stain the Beams

Faux Wood Beams

Before applying the oil-based wood stain, consider the option of staining the wood with a stain conditioner to help the stain application create a more uniform look. Apply the conditioner using a foam applicator and allow it to cure for around 10-15 minutes. Once this time is up, wipe off the excess with a dry painter’s rag. Apply the wood stain within two hours of the conditioner – and in the same way. If you are looking for more depth, there is no harm in applying multiple coats. Once you’re satisfied, let the stained beams dry for 24 hours before installation.

Step 6: Install the Beams

First, it is best to start with the rails. Using your pencil, mark the rails at 36-inch intervals before you drill ¼ inch holes where you plan to fire the nails. If you have someone to help you, use them to help you get the rails planted onto the ceiling. Once you have the rails in the right position, aligned with the chalk lines you created earlier, drill through the holes and into the ceiling.

The beams are hung from the ceiling using the rails you have already planted onto the ceiling. Before lifting the beams to fit over the rails, make sure you apply a strong adhesive to the outer parts of the rails. The rails should either be direct to the ceiling joists or in the hollow part of the ceiling using toggle bolts.

Once you have all the faux wood cut to length, the hollow, three-sided beams simply slip on a pair of rails before being held in place using either finish nails or head screws. If you opt for nails, then perhaps use a nail gun to avoid creating embarrassing dents with your hammer.

Ultimately, wood has always had a certain rustic charm, whether on the fireplace mantel, wall, or crown molding. Faux wood also delivers on this perception, and you can enjoy it in just about any room in the house. Although this project can seem daunting, it isn’t that complicated, and even if you’re a complete beginner, this shouldn’t be an impossible task for you.

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