Add a rustic architectural feature to your home with this DIY wood beam and columns.
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It’s been a year now since I remodeled our kitchen and living room area. We purchased the house last April and I was eager to try my hand at home improvement and make it our home … so, naturally, I started with a major remodel … took down a load bearing wall to open it all up, rebuilt the top of the cabinets, painted them, put in a new kitchen island, etc. Go big or go home, am I right!?
One of the biggest tasks of the kitchen remodel was putting a beam in to replace the load bearing wall. I originally planned to use a glulam beam, but it was a little spendy. So I went with an LVL and this DIY wood beam and column wrap. It’s been a LONG time since I finished it, but I wanted to make sure it held up before sharing a full tutorial. One year later and it still looks new, so it’s good to go!
Tools & Supplies:
- Miter Saw
- Brad Nailer
- Tape Measure
- Wood Glue
- Paintable Clear Caulk
- Speed Square
- Safety Glasses
- Ear Protection
- I used Pine 1x4s, 1x10s, 1x8s, Crown Molding, and Cove Molding. Adjust to fit your space.
Measure and cut the boards to length for your beam and/or columns.
The beam in our house is about 20′ long, so I had to use a few boards on each side to cover the full length. I cut each board straight off at 90 degrees and butted them up to each other at the joints. It worked just fine. However, for tighter joints, consider cutting any joint pieces at a 45 degree bevel. The bevel allows the wood to move with temperature and humidity changes without leaving a big gap (just like how you splice baseboard trim). If I did it again, I’d cut all the joints along the beam wrap at a 45 degree bevel – live and learn!
It depends on the situation, but I stained and sealed the boards before I put them up in the house. You can finish them before or after you put them up – totally up to you if you want stain in the house or not. In a full remodel, it’s common to finish everything after it’s installed. I did this remodel in sections, so I didn’t want to get stain on anything that was already in the house. We were also still living in there … no need to stink everyone out.
I stained the boards with a mix of Minwax Special Walnut and Classic Gray.
Apply wood glue along the back of the boards, position them along the length of the beam, and clamp in place.
Attach the bottom of the wrap first (1x4s), then the sides (1x10s) to ensure a clean seam along the bottom of the beam.
Typically, ceilings are not perfectly level. Since this beam butts up against the ceiling, I wanted to make sure the bottom of the beam wrap lined up and the imperfections stayed at the top against the ceiling. Don’t worry – I covered the gaps along the top with molding (see step 6).
If your ceiling is more level, simply cut the board to width and fit it right up to the ceiling.
I used 1x10s along the sides of the beam and 1x4s on the bottom. Adjust the board sizes to fit your beam.
Attach all boards to the beam with wood glue and 2″ finish nails.
I also drove a few standard framing nails into the beam wrap for extra security. LVL beams are very dense in order to maximize load capacity. The finish nails had a bit of a difficult time penetrating it, so I used a few larger framing nails to make sure the wrap was really solid.
If you’re wrapping a normal header (usually just bigger pine boards), a pine beam, or a drywall beam, the 2″ finish nails are probably fine. Use your best judgement on what is sufficient – don’t want boards falling down randomly!
Here you can see the LVL before it was covered (the yellow-looking beam):
Next, wrap the columns.
I used pine 1x8s and 1x4s for the outside columns and pine 1x10s and 1x4s for the middle column. Adjust to fit your columns.
Attach the boards to the columns with wood glue and 2″ finish nails.
I did not use any heavier nail for the columns. The columns are all built out of framing 2x4s, so the finish nails had no problem driving into them.
Finish it all off with molding and caulk.
I ran crown molding along the top of the beam:
And boxed out the bottom of the columns with 1x lumber and cove molding:
I cut everything off square for a rustic look. You could do all joints with 45 degree bevels for more of a fine finish.
Those details are entirely up to personal preference and style.
Consider using a different species of wood or staining the boards a different color to change the look – cedar is pretty common for wraps as well. The best part of doing a wood beam wrap yourself is being able to customize it exactly to fit your home.
Once the wrap is in place, seal all the joints with caulk. I’ve found that clear caulk is best against wood. Brown stands out too much and black is too dark. The clear stuff sort of “reflects” the wood color, so it’s pretty hard to see.
And here’s one more view from inside the kitchen:
Please let me know if you have any questions and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Thanks for stopping by!
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