What's all the rage with beautifully crafted wooden beams that add character, charm and that little touch of rustic finesse to really almost any space... who are we kidding, right?
We know exactly what the hype is about and we love them too! Adding a beam is by no means a quick fix or easy addition, but what it lacks in time and labor it more than makes up for in impact.
However, for most clients this look comes with a costly price tag. Not just the materials but the labor it takes to install them, and depending on the size of the space they can be rather large. Well fellow homeowners, we have some good news! Here are some cost effective methods to accomplish this beautiful look without breaking the bank.
Beams can be painted, stained or even left raw to create different feels for each space. Depending on the colors, materials, lighting and style you are going for there are many ways to accomplish this.
Option #1: Hollow Beams (or Wrapped Beams)
Rather than a solid wood beam, which we all gravitate towards, wrapped beams are a wonderful alternative to adding warmth to your ceiling or a column while still achieving the same look. Cedar is the most common species of wood used for beams, but is not the only option for getting that grainy, barn-like feel. Oak, maple and even elm wood (all hard woods) can be used to create these faux beams, along with Douglas fir, redwood or hemlock (all soft woods). Wrapped beams are usually installed, using 1x material, around existing structures; such as, smaller structural beams, structural steel beams, or 2x framing to create the look of the solid full slab of wood.
Option #2: Salvaged Wood (or Reclaimed Wood)
Reclaimed wood is probably one of the more sought after looks when it comes to wood; beams, accent walls, coffee tables, even full ship-lap ceilings. It's also a very economical (or "green") material to use. By using reclaimed wood our natural resources are preserved and it saves greatly on our landfills. The time in which it's exposed to the hot and cold atmosphere's allows the wood to expand and contract it's maximum therefore making this material stronger, less likely to split and ultimately last longer.
Option #3: Composite Materials
Polyurethane, is one of the most popular composite materials used for making faux beams. Advantages when using this material: budget friendly, maintenance free, won't warp or twist, lasts longer, makes for an easy installation, and there is a variety of wood finishes to choose from. Our industry has come a long way in terms of looks for composite materials. No one wants to install a beautiful wood beam in their favorite room and have it look faux at the end of the day, we are with you on that one. However, there are a variety of suppliers and manufacturers who have accomplished this.
Option #4: Box Beam Ceilings
Looking for the same warmth but not all the extra weight? Box beam ceilings give you a more elegant and traditional spin, without all the extra mass. Most often used in kitchens, dining rooms, or living rooms these beams add texture and movement to create a more formal view. Box beam ceilings can either be created through traditional trim materials, usually included in your contractors scope of work, or with the faux beams we've been talking about, for a more rustic look. This option gives you the drama you're looking for at a more cost effective price.
Where there is a will there is a way! Finding the right solution and materials for your home and specific needs doesn't have to be impossible. With a little research and a good team of experts to help guide you in the right direction, anything is possible!
Author: Kevin Spivey