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wood beam drop ceiling


inafix's Avatar
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02-21-05, 10:24 AM   #1  
inafix
wood beam drop ceiling

Hi - I am thinking of building a 'fake wood beam' drop ceiling where I suspend 4x6 beams from the ceiling joists and place tile drop-in style between these new fake beams. A diaggram and photos of the existing joists are viewable at http://factory-hollow.com/diy-walls.bhtml

I am worried about the final look, but more importantly whether or not the weight of the new suspended beams will be too much for the structure. any advice or experience on this is appreciated!!

Thanks

 
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02-23-05, 04:07 PM   #2  
inafix
noone?

Is this the wrong place for such a question? My wife is getting pretty upset, as the kitchen is a wreck! Can anyone comment on the additional load? Please - thanks.

 
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02-24-05, 07:07 AM   #3  
I am no expert but it seems that the method you propose couldn't be much heavier than 5/8 sheetrock attached to those joists.

You need to get those wire junctions back in the box and get a cover on them before installing a ceiling.

 
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02-24-05, 10:34 AM   #4  
I agree that the load you would impose is distributed and less then drywall.

Have you considered spacing the fake beams futher apart.

Scott

One other thing, I like your web site. Nice ideas there.

 
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02-27-05, 07:28 PM   #5  
inafix
beams are so heavy

Thanks guys - I went to buy 4x6 beams, and they are really, really heavy. It makes we want to triple check that I can just screw these into the bottoms of our scabbed up ceiling joists without worrying about the structural integretry. We'll need to put up about 10 of these 15' 4x6 beams, and it just seems like a lot. Please let me know if you were considering this much weight! Thanks a lot.

 
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02-28-05, 06:55 PM   #6  
the weight of the beams is about 6 lbs per square foot (psf). drywall is about 2 psf. what was the original ceiling? uneven joist depth makes me think it may not have been drywall. the horizontal white lines on the joists indicate it was plaster and lath.

 
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02-28-05, 07:11 PM   #7  
I apologize. after a second review, the tee tracks for the suspended ceiling are obvious. unfortunately, that would have been about 1 psf max, so you are making it substantially worse.

 
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03-01-05, 06:00 AM   #8  
inafix
Thanks, I can see where it will be much heavier, but I still am not sure if this means too heavy? I was even thinking about dropping in 12in tiles between the beams, which would add even more weight. Since the 4x6 beam must span 15 ft, at 6lb/ft this weighs 90 lbs? (Or is it only 3lb per linear ft?)

If so, 10 of these will be almost 1000 lbs - I worry that it is too much (in addition to the desk and bookshelf in the room upstairs). Then add the tile.

I think it would look nice, and I really want to find a way to do it safely.

 
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03-01-05, 08:30 AM   #9  
Are these joists 2x8s. I'm not sure how you measure square feet on that beam. What are these beams made of?

 
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03-01-05, 07:20 PM   #10  
inafix
they are at least 2x8. Some are 3.5x8 and many are 2 or three pieces side by side. some are rounded on one side with the bark still on.

 
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03-02-05, 04:59 PM   #11  
what is the approximate spacing of the 2x8's and is it roof or floor above?

 
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03-02-05, 05:05 PM   #12  
inafix
they are spaced 16in on center and there is a room above

 
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03-11-05, 05:19 AM   #13  
inafix
I am getting ready to try this, although I wish I had more confidence. Any chance of last minute advice? A couple of open questions in the thread make me hopeful

 
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03-11-05, 07:28 AM   #14  
You could substantially reduce the weight and cost by using 1x4's and rough 1x6's to build a hollow U shaped beam. Since you are already proposing spacers from the joists down to the beam. I would use 2x4's attached to the sides of your joists extending down to 1" above the desired bottom of the false beams. Then attach a 1x4 side piece on each side , resulting in a overall width of 6".
The rough 1x6 would then be attached with screws to the bottom edge of the 1x4's. Essentially you would be eliminating over half of the weight and each individual piec that you have to lift would be 1/4 or less than a 4x6.

 
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03-11-05, 08:03 AM   #15  
Hollow beams are the right idea

I am working with a friend whose hollow beams are in trouble. One fell off the ceiling because it was not screwed to the framing. The concept is right, the fastener was not. We will be going in with some lag screws to correct the situation. The beams are very old and have molding on the beam facing the floor. He is choosing to decorate a few bolt heads rather than take the whole thing apart and risk damaging the molding.

Can you build the beams on the ground, drill access holes for the fasteners, then plug the holes and finish over them once the fasteners are driven?

 
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03-11-05, 04:17 PM   #16  
inafix
Thanks very much for the suggestion. I had that idea too, but it didn't pass the wife test, as she doesn't want the seams of the "boxed beams" visible. Do you suggest this path because you think the load is too much or as a work around so I don't have to worry about it?

 
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03-11-05, 04:26 PM   #17  
Paint, stain, natural

Finish was not specified. If it's painted, any seams should not matter. Otherwise, it will look "built up from pieces". In that case use cedar or other low-density wood to reduce weight. Since it's not structural, the wood only needs to support its own weight.

 
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03-11-05, 04:45 PM   #18  
Thanks guys - I went to buy 4x6 beams, and they are really, really heavy. It makes we want to triple check that I can just screw these into the bottoms of our scabbed up ceiling joists without worrying about the structural integretry. We'll need to put up about 10 of these 15' 4x6 beams, and it just seems like a lot. Please let me know if you were considering this much weight! Thanks a lot.
Are these faux beams or the real thing, 4"x6" solid wood beams? If they're real, I'd be adding some sister joists up there before proceeding with your plan. It'll work and look good too, but if you're using 15' 4"x6", I'd really be adding some more substance up there. They definitely need to be lagged up there, I'd use at least 3/8" lags or 1/2". I'd predrill the beams and countersink the heads, then fill over either with wood plugs, (buy a dowel the right size & cut off slices thick enough for the plugs) or else you can get away with wood putty to fill the holes.

There are alternatives that could have been used for the accent purpose, we've done some ceilings like this in older homes for clients. We did one with the box method and filled the seams with a stainable caulk, then applied a dark stain on the beams. We did another room for a gal that wanted like half columns mounted flat on the ceiling. We adapted a vinyl product designed for exterior use to wrap support post in a vinyl deck or porch. The vinyl pieces were attached with construction adhesive. It's been better than a yr ago & she's sent me 2 or 3 referrals, so I guess she's pretty happy with the job. Hope that helps a bit.

 
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03-17-05, 06:32 AM   #19  
inafix
Great, thanks!
When I add sister joists, is this just to strengthen the joist along its length, or also to add strength to where the joists meet the support beams? In other words, is attaching the sister joists to the existing joists all I need to do, or do they need to be attached to the beams in a special way to transfer the load correctly?

Thanks!

 
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03-17-05, 08:22 PM   #20  
I agree with your wife. You didn't answer Awesomedell as to whether or not these were real wood beams or not. I assume they are real wood or there would not be a weight problem. There is no problem provided you support the new beams as close as possible to the walls. The existing beams, which sound very sturdy (you sound as if you are describing real sizes as opposed to modern imaginary sizes), will not be oversteressed as long as you do not hang anything from them in the mid 50% of the span. This is where all the beam stress occurs. The outermost parts of the existing beams are not highly stressed. Therefore, siupport your new beams from the first 25% (or less) and last 25% (or less) of span and you have nothing to worry about. Better still do it in the first and last 10%. The faux beams you describe are very substantial and more than capable of supporting their own weight. (Otherwise they would snap in two as you carried them off your truck).

Good luck. When's your divorce?

Gerlad

 
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03-23-05, 11:05 AM   #21  
inafix
You guys are great.. I'm going for it.

Thanks for you help.

 
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