How to Install Faux Wood Ceiling Beams

Happy Weekend Everyone! 

How was everyone's week? My thoughts and prayers still go out to everyone in Texas.  We read the news here in Australia and on everyone's blog posts about the weather situation and our hearts go out to you all. 

My week was relatively quiet. My back is still playing up, but despite this I continue to do things I shouldn't which just aggravates it more.  Just can't keep a good girl down I guess. 😜

Last week we did manage to get the rest of the ceiling beams up and so today I'm sharing our finished ceiling, including a few speed humps we encountered along the way.  I use the word "we" as this project definitely required the assistance of the whole family.

You can see what we were hoping to achieve from this post. I think we did pretty well!

Before beginning this project we did a lot of planning. We measured the ceiling to see how much timber we would need. Then we had to decide on the width and depth of the timber. We needed to make sure it was wide enough to cover our downlight holes. I used Thifty & Chic's blog post for inspiration and ideas. Thank you Alicia!

First of all we purchased a few items including masking tape, long thin nails and a stud finder tool. 

I also drew up a rough diagram of the ceiling to include the ceiling measurements and to record where our screw holes would be placed. 

Then we marked the lines with the masking tape along the ceiling to see where the centre of each beam would run so we could mark out our ceiling joists when (and if) we found them. Then we ran another line of tape where we wanted our the edge of our beams to line up. We had agreed to screw up the boards. I definitely didn't want to glue them up in case we wanted/needed to take them down.

We purchased a new stud finder tool from Bunnings and prayed it would work well enough to find some of our of our joists. Sometimes it was a hit, and sometimes it was a miss. They were not evenly spaced and sometimes I think the finder was a few centimetres off.  Anyway, we bought some long thin nails to hammer where we thought they would be to use a guide for our screws. We knew we would be covering them with the timber so making a few small holes was fine.   If we hit wood we were happy. We measured where the holes would be and marked them on my diagram to use for the next row of boards. (For each row we got up and used our nails to double check for joists. Just as well as there wasn't always any there!) 

Then we purchased our timber from Bunnings. We went with Premium Grade Dressed Pine that was 140mm wide x 19mm deep x 3m long. The living room ceiling was approximately 6 metres long so we used 2 x 3m boards for each beam.  

But before we could put them up, we had to stain them. We used Cabot's Interior Stain in Walnut and got the kids out in the back yard with their own little rollers.

They did an awesome job. We only needed one coat and because it was a hot day they dried within the hour. I gave them a light wipe over to take off any excess and they were good to bring inside. 

Next we needed to remove the downlights.  They had been disconnected already by an electrician years ago so we just needed to  pull them out and unplug the wiring. The wires then got tucked back up in the ceiling. 

Next we measured up where the screw holes needed to be drilled on our boards, based on the nail spacings on the ceiling. 

Then we marked the boards and pre drilled the holes. 

The next part was tricky. We had a few chairs and step ladders and with the help of the kids we all held the boards up to the ceiling and passed the drill along to put in the screws. 

And the first board was up!!  Or almost. It wasn't that easy unfortunately.  Where we thought there were joists, turned out there wasn't. So in some places we had to use plasterboard anchors.  This meant taking the board down again. Drilling in the anchors to the ceiling in the exact position where the screw holes already were and trying to figure out what holes were from the screws and what holes were from the original nails. We also had another issue along the way where we thought the boards were warped (which they were in part) cause they weren't sitting flush against the ceiling. Turns out the ceiling wasn't totally flat either! A few of our boards we took back outside and flipped and stained the other side as well so we could hang them on the other side cause they fit better that way against the ceiling.

Putting each row of boards up was a long and exhausting job. We literally took a few days to do the two rows in the living room. After they were up we could take down the tape. Some of which was stuck under the boards cause nothing really went to plan with this project.  This is where a stanley knife came in handy. 

After a few days recovery, we started planning out how to do the dining room ceiling. I marked out the dimensions on a piece of paper again and using the living room diagram, I attempted to locate the joists again. I even found a few new ones using the stud finder. But there is something about holding the stud finder up against the ceiling and dragging it over and over that really makes you build up a sweat!

The other issue we knew we had here was we needed to go around the air conditioning vent which was just off centre but directly in line with one of our rows of boards. The vent was also where a screw hole was so we needed to find others so we could ensure our boards were secured properly.  The beams in the dining area needed to be approximately 4m long so we used 1 x 3m and cut up another 3m board for the rest of each row. (In total we used 7 board for both rooms). 

And instead of using the masking tape this time, we just marked out our lines in pencil.

We got the first row up fairly easily, but the next one would need to line up with the corner of the living room. Unfortunately, if I went in line with the downlight holes, it would have been over.  And lining it up meant the boards would not completely cover the downlight holes. 

So the holes needed to be patched first. Patching had been an option prior to putting the boards up but we both shied away from this idea as it looked too hard. But this time we couldn't avoid it. So we YouTubed lots of videos.  Hubby wanted to go with the California Patch method (all very fancy, but you can Google if for more details).  So I purchased a small sheet of plasterboard and a drill attachment to cut the plasterboard the same size holes as the ceiling. 

After cutting the holes almost all the way through, you score the sheet outwards from the circle and break off small triangles, leaving the backing sheet attached. Then cut around the backing sheet in a circle shape. 

I had a bag of Gyprock Pro Repair left from my bedroom patching disaster that hubby mixed up and used to apply the patches to the ceiling and then plaster over with. He did a much better job than me and was way more patient about getting it smooth and even. I take my hat off to ya babe!

We let the plaster dry overnight and then scraped off any uneven bits with a paint scrapper. 

And then gave it a light sand. 

Next I used a small roller and some ceiling paint to go over the patch.  We probably could have put more plaster over the hole and made it less noticeable, but we knew most of the hole would be covered by the beams anyway. And for a first attempt we were pretty happy.

In order to attach our beams around the airconditioning duct, I used a sheet of paper the width of our beams (140mm) and lined it up with where we had pencil marked where the beams would be positioned. Then I pressed the paper around the edge of the duct to accurately obtain the curve. We then transferred the curve to our pine and cut it out with a jigsaw. 

And it fit like a glove. One thing that did go without a hitch!  I just needed to apply a bit more stain with a paintbrush to the edges you could see around the duct. 

After collapsing on the lounge to admire our work, we noted the spots where I used the ceiling paint to cover the patched holes was very white and noticeable.  (See the red circles below.). Well, that just meant we needed to paint the whole ceiling, didn't it? Or maybe not. The reason it was a different colour was because there is a film on the ceiling from the fire place. And here is where we had an idea. Could we just cover the paint with a bit of soot from the fire place??  

So I grabbed a tissue and dunked it in some of the soot. 

Then I gently blended it over the new paint on the ceiling. And guess what! Those patches quickly disappeared. Had I created a new thing? Ceiling sooting! Haha. A lot easier than repainting the ceiling, for now anyway. 

Tah dah! Can't even tell from here.

The last thing I am slowly getting around to doing is using a paint brush to dab a bit of black paint over the silver screws. We couldn't find black ones in the size we needed so I knew all along that I would be painting them.  

Overall I'm very happy with how the beams all lined up.

The finished dining room ...

And living room ...

We still have to figure out what we are doing to do in the bedrooms. I'm not sure any of us want to do boards again. They look great and I am glad we did them, but they were also a big job. We needed everyone to help out with little things like handing up tools and pencils and tape measures and nails and hammers. Standing on multiple chairs and moving them around. Holding boards up the ceiling to get measurements and line them up properly. It was a big job.  And definitely taxing on our backs and sanity.

Honestly, we almost gave up shortly after starting this project. Not being able to properly find the joists and having warped timber and ceilings was frustrating! 

Would I recommend doing it? Probably only if you were confident where the joists were and your ceiling and boards are relatively flat.   We won't be keen on painting the ceiling any time soon cause it would mean taking the boards down again, and no one wants to do that! 

Plus it was a long blog post. 😫 I hope you hung in till the end!

Don't forget to pin for later! 

I hope you are all enjoying your weekend. Despite yesterday's rain I've managed to get a bit of gardening done.  I'm in the process of laying weed mat in our succulent garden. I haven't shared that before so look out for it in an upcoming post! 😊

Take care friends, 
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Shared at:
Inspire Me Monday - Farmhouse 40


  1. What a great look! Congratulations on persevering with this project!

  2. Julie... I LOVE your faux wood beams... you are speaking my temporary-faux language! ;-) Your home looks perfect... what a job it was though! And your shiplap too! Girl, same names, same tiny living (well, i'm a bit tinier), and same love of affordable solutions! Delighted to be featuring you at Tuesday Turn About tomorrow! Pinned!

    1. Haha, too funny Julie! We obviously have great taste! Love that you love my home and all the crazy things I do with it. :) Excited to be featured this week as well!

  3. Thanks so much for sharing this detailed tutorial! You have created a beautiful farmhouse:)


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