Installing Oak Beams

If you have decided oak beam ceilings will enhance the ambience of your home, oak is a strong and resilient material that can be used for a wide range of applications from flooring and wall cladding to furniture and exterior accents. This article intends to provide an introduction to the advantages and disadvantages of oak beam ceilings. Whilst the decision to install a beam ceiling may not necessarily be one of the most important ones in making a home, it does represent a significant change to the property. There are a number of considerations which need to be addressed prior to installation in order to ensure maximum efficiency and longevity of the installation.

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The first issue to consider is the source of the timbers. Oak beams, like the ones from Timberpride are typically cut using a fine sanded finish and supplied in standard sizes from 105mm, 155mm, 205mm, and 255mm squares. Individual lengths are normally available from 2.5 metre increments to 8.0 metres but please bear in mind that not all timbers will be suitable for use in each section of the ceiling. For example, birch and maple timbers may split or warp when exposed to high humidity levels and therefore may require additional treatment before installation. If this is identified in advance of purchase, it can be solved by ensuring appropriate care was taken when choosing the timbers, either through the choice of supplier or the choice of birch or maple products.

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The second issue to consider is the potential for splitting or cracking of the timbers. Spreads of oak beams can occur as a result of water penetration but this is often prevented by careful screening or by fitting the timbers at least a few millimetres further out from the wall. Splits may also occur when the beams have been poorly installed. These can usually be avoided by fitting the beams to the timber they are intended to support using the correct joints and dowels.


Richard Anderson


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