If you want a classic look in your home, of just need to hide an exposed beam, or steel ceiling beam, build a wood box beam. A wood box beam covers up cross beams and other ceiling supports. You can add any surface style to it as well, depending on what type of look you want.
Adding a natural-looking beam to your home in this way has advantages over traditional wood beams alone. One, the box beam is lighter and simpler to install than real wooden beams, it is also very cost effective. When you choose a wood box beam you also increase your options for home improvement.
Box Beam Design and Building Materials
A wood box beam contains a simple inner frame made from pine 2-by-4 boards, just like a wall frame. It is built to fit your wall in any width or length. As long as you know how to build a wall frame, you will have no problem building a box beam frame. Just like a wall frame, the outside is also covered in boards, which are fixed to the frame supports like drywall is attached to a stud. Each support is usually 16 inches apart.
Wood Box Beam Building Strategies
Determine how long your box frame needs to be before beginning by measuring the length of the installation area. To begin, cut two 2-by-4 boards to this length using a miter saw or table saw. Next, cut the vertical supports. Once you have all of your pieces dry fit everything together and attach them with screws or nails. Some box beams are glued together with adhesive like liquid nails and then screwed together. Three or four inch wood screws are generally used for the construction.
Finishing Wood Box Beams
There are many ways to finish wood box beams. Adding a plywood sheet to the frame is the most common. Maple, Pine, Birch or Oak are common choices. However, use any species you like. Though a 1/2 inch or 1/4 inch plywood sheet is the most common form of finishing surface for wooden box beams, veneers may also be applied. Keep in mind, 1/2 inch plywood adds twice the weight as 1/4 inch plywood.
The type of wood used on the exterior of the box beam itself will determine how the final product looks. A few good choices include burl wood, snake woods, and mahogany. The finishing layer will completely cover the wood box beam frame and provide an illusion that this is a solid beam of wood. This step adds a real authentic touch to any home.
Naturally, how you finish your wood box beam is up to you. Choose something that adds decorative appeal but is within the basic decorative theme of your home to get the most from this project.