Architectural Cedar Ceiling Beams
I am excited to announce we just built and installed our own custom-made Architectural Cedar Ceiling Beams. This DIY will layout the steps and show you exactly how to make your own beams. No more lifting up heavy land beams up to get a decorative look.
This was another one of our quick weekend projects, which only took two days from start to finish. Take a quick look at our room before we added the beams. It was nice, but pretty plain, very vanilla box looking. The flat ceilings were vast, and lacked any kind of personality.
In all honesty I wanted to add beams to the room from the very beginning, I felt like the room really needed the rich warmth of the wood. Unfortunately, like many of our other DIY projects, the cost to install at the time of building was just silly. We chose to put our money into intangible structures that we knew we could not do ourselves after the fact. At the end of the day this $200 project saved us a ton of money and was pretty simple to do. So to start our project we first needed to build out the cedar boxes. Prior to building the cedar boxes I decided to stain our cedar plank boards. Mainly just for ease of install and I really didn’t want to try and stain them in place. I chose the Minwax Penetrating Interior Wood Stain, Jacobean satin color from Minwax to match the rest of our stained doors, handrails and stair treads. As you can see the cedar grain left a beautiful stain pattern in the raw cedar planks. It almost has a tiger eye look when wet, but it dries down to a more subtle uniform stain color. The next step was to glue the boards together to form a box. We chose to pre glue, with Elmer’s E7290 Carpenter’s Wood Glue Max, just to avoid possible gapping on down the road. We glued each of the sides to the base and clamped for 12 hours over night to dry. You will have some glue that oozes out, make sure to wipe it off so the stain will still adhere to your cedar.We used these clamps TEKTON Mini 6-Inch x 1-1/2-Inch Ratchet Bar Clamp and 9-Inch Spreader to hold the beams in place. Then we used a brads and a nail gun to secure the beams together for a more permeant use. This will allow us to lift the faux up and secure to the ceiling without the worry of breaking the beam apart. Make sure when choosing your brads you pick one that is very thin, so you do not split the cedar planks. Also confirm that the length will pass through both the front side of the board and at least a 1 1/2″ into the back board as well. Once this step is done you are ready to install. So this next step was completed during the time it took the stain to dry, because there is nothing as boring as watching paint dry, or in this case stain.
We penciled guidelines on to the ceiling. 1 line measured off the wall to make sure the beams would be square in the room, and another line where the ceiling joist are located. You can also use a chalk line or laser line if this is easier. Then we attached 2×6 pine boards to the ceiling with 4″ decking screws. This is the frame work your will attach your cedar boxes too.
Next we hoisted the faux wrap beams up, placed them on the wooden guide rails and nail them in with a nail gun. Sorry no pictures of this as I too was on a ladder, and assisting in the lift.
You may be asking why we left space in between the boards, there is really not an answer other than it was easier to transport the two 6′ foot boards than one 12′. Plus the room is 13 1/2′ feet wide, which brings me to the next issue we discovered upon going to purchase supplies, #designingonthefly.
Cedar plank only come in 12′ foot lengths which mean we would have a seam. Well I do not like to see seams anywhere, so we had to come up with a solution. (Side bar: I am so anti seams, I requested all my marble countertops be one solid piece with zero seams. Yep I am that person) One thought was to piece the beams together and have metal bands wrap the seam. Which could work but I was not thrilled about the metal bands, I wanted it to look more natural. So we decided to build a 1’foot cedar cap box for either end to wrap the beam and make up the distance.
Prior to installing the cap we needed to cut out the crown molding. For this task we used a Dremel Cordless Rotary Tool Kit, which gave us an precise straight line, which elevated any gaps. Just make sure your measurement is accurate, and based off the final width of your beam and cap.
The final step of this project was to slide the cap over the beam into the crown gap and nail into place. So here is a look at the final result of adding our own architectural beams to the living room.
They really make a huge ascetic difference to the entire room, it warms up the space draws the eye to an interesting focal point and truly make the home feel a whole lot more custom. In fact after discussing my husband and I both agree the wooden caps actually make the beams seem less faux and more structural. So that particular project challenge turned into a happy design detail which we will say was all a part of the plan, wink wink.
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Ron’s Tool Box:
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