Luckily not all your DIY projects need to involve repairs. Sometimes it is just about improving your quality of life.
Mobile homes can often, unfortunately, sometimes feel a bit cramped. One way you can create the illusion of space is by installing some exposed beams. The project can be a great way to renovate your ceilings.
Read on to find out more about exposed beams. Find out whether you should try it out and how you can install them in your mobile home.
Why should you choose exposed beams? The deal with exposed beams
Is your home feeling a bit drab and outdated?
Your ceiling takes up a significant amount of space in any room. But for some reason, we often ignore it when it comes to decorating and renovating projects. The good news is that changes to the ceiling will make a huge difference.
Sometimes things just have to change. Adding exposed beams to your ceilings can be a fantastic way to bring style back to your rooms. It will look new and refreshed. The wood textures can help you make any room look more interesting.
Exposed beams are popular in rustic as well as contemporary themed homes. However, with so many customization options available, you can adapt it to any style.
Need more convincing? Take a look at these examples of how exposed beams can add something special to a room.
Structural vs. decorative beams
Traditionally you would install wood beams in homes for structural support. Perhaps that’s why they have such nostalgic appeal.
Sometimes people would hide these beams with their ceiling. And if you are lucky you can peel away the sheets to find beautiful timber rafters.
But this is unlikely with any type of manufactured house. The three most common types of mobile home ceilings are sheetrock, paneled, and suspended. So very few, if any mobile homes are made with the types of wood beams that would look attractive.
In stick-built homes, you can install structural beams after it has been built. But this isn’t necessary for mobile homes. Besides, they are more expensive and are much more challenging to install.
Because they are weight-bearing, you will probably need to call a contractor or structural engineer to help you.
Nowadays, modern building techniques have made structural beams dispensable. But people still have a hankering for these wood and timber structures.
It’s not only the old-timey and rustic appearance that people love, it is also the way it can help you make a room look more open and airy. Plus you can use exposed beams to make your mobile home look more premium. So it can add some value if you are looking to sell.
If you are doing it purely for looks, you want to make sure that it looks as good as possible. In this case, you would preferably install the beams onto a paneled ceiling. Of all the common types, this one will suit the look best.
All in all, it probably won’t be worth it to install structural beams in your mobile homes. Instead, go with decorative ones. You will get a beautiful aesthetic with much less hassle.
Different types of exposed beams
One thing you don’t have to worry about is finding a beam you like. The market is full of different options for you to choose from. They differ in appearance, weight, and significantly, the skill level needed to install them.
Solid wood beams:
For a truly authentic look and feel you probably want to go for solid wood beams. You can choose from a variety of textures and colors. It will fit perfectly with a rustic farmhouse themed mobile home. For something exceptional, you can even use reclaimed timber.
But this project won’t always be practical, nor even possible. The timber planks are heavy, and many ceilings just aren’t made to support that much extra weight.
Besides this, the materials will be quite costly.
All in all, this option requires the most skill and experience. Therefore, it definitely isn’t a project for a beginner.
Faux wood beams:
Alternatively, you can go with faux wood beams instead. Manufacturers make them from a variety of materials like fiberboard and foam. Because of this, they are usually super lightweight and inexpensive.
On top of this, you don’t need to be as skilled in carpentry to manage this project.
You can find faux beams that resemble virtually any kind of wood. Some of them are very realistic. But most of them won’t hold up to close scrutiny.
Wood box beams:
There is a third contender that you have to consider. Box beams can help you create the illusion of solid wood but without much of the weight. You will usually be able to save some money with these as well.
Manufacturers make these beams from real wood planks. But they cut out a section of material in their material, hence the name.
Now, this leads us to one of their best features. You can use their hollow interiors to hide wiring, plumbing, and other fixtures like speakers. Pretty handy, right?
The project also requires some carpentry experience but less so if you buy ready-made box beams.
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Can you do-it-yourself?
When it comes to installing exposed beams, this isn’t a straightforward question. You always have to be careful with any project which involves your mobile home’s ceiling. Things can quickly go wrong, and when they do, you could face serious consequences.
But saying that, you could install decorative exposed ceiling beams by yourself as long as you have some carpentry experience. The project requires quite a bit of skill and knowledge. So if you are a complete newbie, you might want to leave it to the professionals. Or at least get some help.
Remember that the most challenging way to do this is by using solid timber. So if you don’t want to struggle, instead go for faux wood or box beams.
If you’re going to do it yourself, you should contact an expert carpenter first. They can inspect your ceiling for you to check whether it can support any extra weight and how much of it. This step is crucial.
Here are some tips that can help you make the project an overall success:
- Pay attention to the height of your ceiling. If the room is a bit low, don’t use beams that will protrude too much. It will only make your room feel smaller and cramped.
- Darker woods will stand out better against a light surface. You can use this contrast to create a beautifully modern look.
- For a cleaner look, you can use white beams on a white ceiling. We think that this option will work well in bedrooms.
- You can create a dramatic look by placing beams closer together. But again, you have to be careful not to make the room feel smaller. You don’t want it to look overcrowded.
Guide to installing an exposed beam
For this tutorial, we are going to look at installing decorative beams. We will look specifically at using wood box beams in a narrow slatted pattern on a flat ceiling.
Before anything else, you want to get everything together that you need. It will help you avoid any delays once you get started.
- Measuring tape
- Drafting paper
- Stud finder
- Painter’s tape
- Wood stain or treatment of your choice
- Wood box beams
- Construction adhesive
- Blocks of wood
- Optional: mollies and anchors
1 – Ceiling measurements
The first thing you have to do is to measure your ceiling. You want to measure the length as well as the width. Add then write down all your measurements.
2 – Planning
Next, you need to plan out the project. You have to decide on a pattern or design for the ceiling.
How many beams do you want to use? What size should the planks be? How far apart do you want to place them?
Sketch out this plan on some drafting paper.
3 – Choose your beams and prepare
Once you have an idea of what you want, you can choose the beams that you want to use. When you have them, you should measure them just to make sure that they will fit your plan. If not, you might need to make some adjustments.
You could buy the wood pre-stained or treated if you want to. But you can also do this yourself. Overall, it will probably be much easier to do this now before you mount them. You can always perform some touch-ups once you have cut and installed them.
4 – Cut mounting blocks
Measure the inner dimensions of the beams.
Now take the loose pieces of wood and cut them to fit inside. These will be your mounting blocks.
5 – Mark the ceiling
Look at your plan again and then mark out the positions of the beams on the ceiling. Use the painter’s tape to lay out exactly where the sides of each box will sit.
After this, get the stud finder. Use it to locate the studs along the strips of tape. Mark them when you find them. These are the spots where you will need to mount the blocks.
6 – Secure the blocks
Attach the mounting blocks to the ceiling. You should align them with the painter’s tape. Try to install one more or less every three feet. Place the first one and the last one as close to the walls as possible.
Preferably, you should secure them at the studs. But this won’t always be possible. In this case, you can install them with mollies or anchors.
7 – Prepare the beams
Whenever you are working with timber beams, you need to let it acclimatize. This counts for bow wood too. So let the planks stand at room temperature for 24 hours or more.
After this period, you can measure and cut the beams into the lengths that you need. It’s a good idea to cut only one plank at first. Then test whether it fits. If it does, you can go on with the rest.
Pro tip: Cut the planks a little (about 1/8 of an inch) longer than necessary. You want to create a tight fit rather than have it sit loosely.
8 – Install the beams
Before you put the box in place, you should apply some construction grade adhesive to the side of the mounting blocks.
Now you can slide the beam over the blocks. Push them tightly against the ceiling. You will probably need a second pair of hands for this.
Following this, you need to attach the beams to the blocks. Use screws to do this. You need to put at least two on each side of the mounting. They are there to hold the wood in place while the glue dries. It will make the fit much more secure.
You want to countersink each of the screws. Read here for more information on how to do this.
Repeat this until you have installed all the beams.
9 – Add finishing touches
Lastly, all that you have to do is finish the job. Take some caulk and apply it to any gaps between the ceiling and the beam. This will help you to make the whole project look complete and professional.
Also, apply some caulk over the screw holes. If it isn’t colored, you can paint over it with stain.
Now you can congratulate yourself on a job well done.
You can really play around with different patterns and materials when it comes to installing exposed beams in your mobile homes. It is all about creating perspective. You can make your room look bigger and your ceiling higher.
Decorative beams are a great way to add some luxury to your property.
And while we’re on the subject of making upgrades – don’t miss reading up on how to replace your mobile home’s baseboard and trim.