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How To Install Faux Wood Beams

Want the look of real wood without the hassle and expense? That’s where faux wood beams come into play. 

A popular decorative accent for mantels and ceilings, faux wood beams are manufactured from high-density polyurethane. Although faux wood beams aren’t made of real wood, they mimic its look, yet are lightweight, easy to handle and don’t come with many of the challenges of real wood.

In addition to being easier to install, faux wood beams are also much more affordable than the real thing — another key reason why they’ve become a staple in homes and businesses looking for a rustic, warm and inviting accent. 

Here’s a closer look at how to install faux wood beams for ceilings and mantels.                 

How To Install Faux Wood Beams: A Step By Step Guide

Let's start with some directions on how to install faux wood beams on the ceiling, and then we'll get to installing them on a mantel. 

All you should need for both tasks is a table saw, tape measure, some tape, a level, wood screws, a drill, wood filler or putty, and some scrap pieces of wood or a 2 x 4. 

How To Install Faux Wood Beams On Ceiling

  1. Start by measuring the interior dimensions of each faux wood beam. When we say "interior dimensions," we're not talking about the total width of the beam, just the space where the gap is on the inside of the beam.
  2. Next, take those measurements and cut a few pieces of wood to fit inside each beam. These will eventually screw into studs in the ceiling and serve as the anchor points for the wood beams, so they must fit snugly inside of the faux wood beam. Usually, 2 x 3 or 2 x 4 blocks that are bevel-cut to fit should work.
  3. Now comes the planning step. Using either a chalk string or painter's tape, lay out where you want to install the beams on the ceiling. This will serve as your guide for when you go to hang the beam.
  4. Find the studs: Now that you know where you want to hang the faux wood beam and have a few pieces of wood to serve as anchors, it’s time to screw them into the ceiling. You don’t have to hit a stud to hang these properly. A 3/16 x 4-inch toggle bolt should suffice. If you do hit a stud, swap out the toggle bolt with a 4-inch deck screw.
  5. Now it's time to install the wood support blocks you cut in Step 2. Start as far to the end of where you want to hang the beam as you can, and then try to install an anchor at least every 4 feet. Use 4-inch deck screws to drill into the studs. Use a level to check as you're installing the anchors so the beam will fit straight. After you've hung the anchor blocks of wood, place the piece of faux wood over them to ensure there's a snug fit. 
  6. Next, cut the faux wood beam to the size you want, and check the size by placing the beam into place over the anchors.
  7. Apply construction adhesive to the sides of each anchor and then place the beam over the anchor pieces of wood. With a partner there to hold the faux wood beam in place, use  2-inch screws to secure the beam to the wood anchors. Make sure that you're screwing it where anchors are located and that you're applying the screws close to the ceiling so that they make proper contact.

Helpful hint: It is a good idea to mark your anchor points with a pencil or tape so you know where they are, once you fit the beam over them.

  1. Now, it's time to put the finishing touches on. If the faux wood beam meets the wall, consider applying a little bit of caulk to make for a more natural transition between wood and wall. You can also use putty or wood filler inside the screw holes.  

This is pretty simple stuff if you're even remotely handy. Now let's take a look at the steps for how to install faux wood beams for a mantel, an even easier process! 

How To Install Faux Wood Beams On A Mantel

  1. Get a 2 x 4, and cut it to the length that you want your mantel. Next, find the studs and hang it on the wall using a level to ensure that it's straight. This will act as a support structure for hanging the faux wood mantel, serving a similar purpose to the wood anchors that we mentioned in the above process.
  2. Cut the faux wood beam you're hanging to the same length as the 2 x 4 that it will be installed on (or even so that it's slightly longer), then make sure that it fits over the 2 x 4 properly.
  3. If all is well, apply some adhesive to the top of the 2 x 4, then slide the faux wood mantel over it. Grab some anchor screws and place them into the top of the faux wood beam near where the beam meets the wall. Between the construction adhesive and screws, it should hold securely. And since the 2 x 4 runs the length of the faux beam, it's not an issue of finding the anchors to put the screws into.
  4. Lastly, caulk, or apply putty or wood filler into any noticeable screw holes to complete the project and enjoy your new mantel.

Understanding How To Install Faux Wood Beams

The beauty of faux wood beams is that they are lightweight and easy to install on your own or with another set of hands. If at any point you aren’t comfortable with the steps for how to install faux wood beams, you might decide to solicit the help of a carpenter or contractor to help you. 

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