It’s Channel 4’s Grand Designs programme that’s almost solely responsible for the resurgence of oak beams in home design. We’ve all now seen fantastic oak beamed extensions and homes on the programme, whereas a couple of decades ago, oak framing was almost a lost craft.
You don’t need to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds to enjoy the beauty of air dried oak beams in your home, though. Thanks to the interest sparked in this most ancient of building materials, there are now all sorts of other ways to use them.
Individual beams and posts
You can buy individual air dried oak beams and posts to use as structural or non-structural elements of a renovation or home makeover. As long as the design of the rest of the house will work with them, you can add beams to fireplaces, walls and ceilings and use posts as supporting members. You can also buy pre-made door frames, opening surrounds and staircase kits.
For oak beamed ceilings, most suppliers will make up beams to order from your design and supply them cut to length (usually slightly over, in fact, to allow for trimming to fit). They will also supply the joists, marked up for assembly with pre-cut joints. A ceiling of this type can be fully functional or installed as decoration below an existing one.
An oak framed porch is a fantastic addition to a home and will suit most styles, except houses built in the sixties and seventies. They can be glazed or open, full height or built onto dwarf walls and roofed in any material to match or complement your home.
A relatively new idea, beam covers are U-shaped and made from air dried oak planks to resemble a beam. Or solid beams can be routed out to make place for the steel beam. They are then placed over steel or concrete supporting beams and lintels to give the look of a beam at a fraction of the expense. They can also be used to cover runs of pipework and cabling, enhancing a property far better than plastic ducting.
Air dried oak beams are a beautiful addition to any home, inside or out.