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Ceiling Beams

If you are looking to add interest and drama to your home, consider installing beams to the ceiling of your living room, family room, library, kitchen, hallway, or bedrooms. Ceiling beams are especially appropriate in traditional English Tudor style houses; they are very popular in log houses and Western style houses where they add a charming rustic look; and ceiling beams have long been a feature of Spanish style dwellings common in warmer parts of the United States. These beams are made from a variety of materials, and they can be easily added to existing ceilings.

If you would like to put ceiling beams in your house, consider the following:

  • Structural beams are installed when the house is being constructed as they are part of the structure that holds the roof in place. They usually need to be installed by a professional house contractor.
  • Decorative beams are simply attached to an already existing ceiling and have no structural role. They are usually made from a wood such as pine or western red cedar that can be left unfinished or stained or painted. Beams that are hand hewn are generally more expensive. Using antique lumber can result in an especially mellow look. These beams can be installed in a variety of configurations, including the use of cross beams and trusses to mimic structural beams..
  • Most decorative beams are easy to install because they are not as heavy as they look. Some manufacturers cut the timbers in half, giving the impression that part of the beam is embedded in the ceiling. Others produce a u-shaped beam that is hollow in the center.
  • Beams made from inexpensive Styrofoam are also available. These are especially easy to install because they are so lightweight that they can be attached to the ceiling with construction adhesive. Styrofoam can be stained or painted, but they will look best if they are first coated with a synthetic plaster. An advantage to these beams is that they are so flexible that they will give with changes in temperature or if there are tremors.

If you want to make your decorative beams even more authentic looking, install the decorative beams first, and then hang the ceiling dry wall between them.

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