What should I consider when adding decorative beams to my ceiling?

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Answered by: Don, An Expert in the All About Walls, Ceiling, and Trim Category
What should I consider when adding Decorative ceiling beams to my ceiling?

To begin with, should you consider synthetic or real wood?

There are many synthetic artificial wood beams available. Some products are made of dense Styrofoam, or PVC plastic, others are made from recycled paper, or wood products. These artificial beams are generally low cost, and unique in their ease in attachment. However, they generally require proper finishing, or an artistic paint application to make them visually credible. Keep in mind, nothing beats the look, and textural finish of the real thing, wood! Check in your area for purveyors of architectural ornament, or demolition contractors.

You maybe able to purchase remnant beams previously removed from other structures, and have them modified to suit your design plan. Or, if you like, construct new beams from scratch, either by box framing, or having the local lumber yard mill solid core beams from large stock.

With it comes to attachment, there are important things to consider with regard to decorative ceiling beams. The size, dimensions, and the direction of the existing ceiling joists within your ceiling will help determine the amount of weight your ceiling can hold. Therefore, always consider the actual weight of the decorative beams, and determine the method of attachment required to hold them in place, safely. Light synthetic artificial beams typically require simple attachment, often into drywall alone.

Usually the manufacturer will include proper attachments, and/or installation instructions. However, you will need to get solid direct attachment into the ceiling joists with threaded screws, or bolts when installing heaver wood, or wooden box constructed beams.

Before you shop for factory built, recycled beams, or you design and construct beams from scratch; always consider the size, placement, and color aspects of the beams and the design Impact they will have on your room.

When you incorporate beams into a room that previously had none, you'll see right away the impact the beams will have on the room lighting. Beams tend to cut off ambient light and create shadows. Also, keep in mind the color of the finished beam. Dark colors tend to create the feeling of a lower ceiling, where as light color tends create the feeling of more height to the room. Also, don't forget to consider the textural look and touch of the beam. Now I'll agree it is unlikely you will be in contact with the beams, once they have been installed. But the textural surface of the beam will impact the way they appear, and are cleaned. Rustic, deeply weathered beams will hold dust easily, and may require cleaning more often; whereas smooth surface beams will not.

If you are contemplating a rustic look, and choose not use recycled old beams, you can still have a recycled look. Have your solid wood, or wooden box beams sandblasted to reveal an incredible textural effect similar to aged recycled beams.

Finally, the direction you install your beams may be subject to the available attachment points in the joists above. Regardless, the direction they take may make the room appear longer, or wider. Things to consider!

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