Hey its Adri!
So today I wanted to share a post on how we (…or mostly G) created this beautiful faux wood beam across the vault of his parents ceiling!! For a long time G’s mom has talked about amping up her bedroom, and somehow getting the beamed look on her ceiling.
While his family was on a trip, G and I (who love more than anything to surprise people with finished projects) decided to attempt this endeavor… you know, as practice for our future home once were done living in apartments!
Anyway….. because Lover Boy was really the one who worked on this project (I was at work), he is going to write the rest of this post for you. Enjoy!!
Hey Guys! So this beam was a fun project that actually went a lot quicker than you might think. It’s a great weekend project and can make a big impact in any room. For starters lets talk about the materials I used for this.
–Pine Wood Boards (I used a combination of 1x6x8 and 1x4x8 boards for this beam. Depending on how long you need yours to be you might need to change what length of board you get, my beam was 14′ long.)
–2x4x8 Whitewood Studs (used for attaching beam to the ceiling.)
–Galvanized Metal Straps (like these, for the beam strap details)
–Wood Stain (I used Minwax Dark Walnut)
–Drill and Screws (I used 31/2″ screws)
–Nail Gun and Finishing Nails
–Orbital Sander (or regular sandpaper)
–Wood Glue (optional)
The basic idea of this project is to make a “U” shape out of the boards so that the inside is hollow. This makes it lightweight and easy to install.
I started by cutting my boards to length. I had to cover a 14′ gap so I decided to make two 7′ sections.
Once they were cut, I added a little glue in a few spots along the edges of the 1×4 and clamped my boards in a “U” shape. (The glue is optional. I just happened to have some laying around so I decided to use it.)
If you don’t have clamps, have someone help hold the boards in place as you put the nails in. I shot finishing nails in every few inches down both sides.
When using the nail gun, sometimes the nails like to shoot out in weird directions as you can see in the picture below. If this happens, you can just clip off the exposed nail with some cutting pliers and tap in the remaining tip of the nail.
After I had the basic structure down for both beams, it was time to make them look aged. The nice thing about the weathered look is you don’t have to worry about imperfections as you build because they usually end up adding to the character and charm of the piece.
I usually end up using a random assortment of tools, chains, or a bag filled with bolts and screws for this part. You can pretty much use anything you have lying around that you think will leave unique marks. As for technique, you just hit it with whatever is in your hand make sure to beat it up pretty good. This is my favorite part because it’s kind of therapeutic. 🙂
Make sure you don’t go too crazy on it because the goal is to make it look old, not like a piece of junk. I frequently take a large coarse screw like this orange hook and scrape it horizontally along the wood.
Once you have it distressed to exactly what you like it’s time to prep it for staining. Make sure at this point you sand it down!
Sanding is important because it takes off all of the bad chips and rough spots you made while distressing. Don’t sand too much as you still want the detail, but if this piece of wood was actually sitting around for a long time the rough spots would have been decently smoothed out over time.
I used an orbital sander with 220 grit and ran over the boards a few times until it was mostly smooth to the touch. You are welcome to just sand it by hand if you want, but it will probably take a bit longer.
For staining, I used Minwax Dark Walnut stain. I applied it with a foam brush and made sure to wipe it off with a rag as soon as I had the whole beam covered because I didn’t want it to get too dark.
As I was letting the stain dry I decided to tackle the 2×4 attachment to the bedroom ceiling.
This part was tricky because I was worried about getting the 2×4’s attached in the middle of the angled ceiling. My theory behind this was that I could just leave a triangle space between the 2×4 and the peak of the ceiling.
I made sure to use my stud finder to find the roof trusses in the ceiling so that my beam would be fully secured (It’s just like finding a stud in your wall). Then using the long screws, I attached my 2×4’s to the ceiling.
I was a little worried about having enough exposed edge of the 2×4 so I added those extra 4″ blocks as added surface to attach my beam to if necessary.
Once my stain had dried I was ready to put them up! (So actually, I was a little too excited to get it done so I installed the beams before giving the proper drying time. It definitely made the room smell faintly of stain for a few days. Good thing the family was gone!)
I slid the beam over the 2×4’s and tacked it up using finishing nails. I made sure to shoot nails every few inches down both sides of the beam.
After I attached the first half I took a step back and was super pumped because it was looking so good.
Unfortunately, because I had to use two sections of board it meant there was a gap/seam right in the middle.
To fix this I looked around and found a great solution from this Jenna Sue Designs post about when she made some faux beams a few years back. Her beam design is super similar to mine too!
I ran to Home Depot and grabbed a few galvanized metal straps. These are pretty easy to bend with a hammer on the edge of a workbench or even mold them right around the beam itself (this can be a bit tricky if the beam is already up). I used tin snips to cut them to length.
I had some left over Rustoleum Black Hammered spray paint laying around, so I used that to paint the straps.
Ta-da! No more gap! I simply used black screws and screwed them right into the beam.
And that’s it! It took me about 7 hours and $80 from start to finish to do this project, but I definitely should have let the stain dry overnight before attaching the beam.
It probably would have gone faster if I had waited for someone to help (Sorry Adri) but once I get the drive to do something I just have to get it done.
Hopefully this can give you the extra umph to get out and do a project like this and maybe it can help some of you who might be struggling with putting a beam on a vaulted ceiling. It would work the same way on a flat ceiling if you wanted to use this process as well.
I’d love to know what you think and if you end up making one of your own we’d love to see it! Also, remember to subscribe for email updates and to see what we’re up to!