The Glorious Beams - Three Lessons Learned

The HEAVY beams from Texas Reclaimed were installed a few weeks back. The total combined weight of the four beams is 2,500 pounds! It came with some difficult logistics, but in the end, well worth it.

Lesson #1:  Wrap beams in a tarp to protect against water and insects.

Now let me explain. After the beams were delivered, we had a few weeks of rain. Water would come in and collect under and around the beams. I tried my best to protect them, but there wasn't much I could do.  Once the rain settled down, the framers turned the smaller beam over and I noticed damp soil in a few of the notches. The last thing I wanted was to hang them and the soil have no way of drying out. I grabbed a chisel and began digging. Then came the unsightly cockroach! I freaked out screaming and jumping, which gave the framers a good laugh.  Previous to the shipment, the beams were put through a kiln to remove anything that may have been living inside. I ran to Home Depot and got pesticide killer and sprayed the s*#t out of those beams. I believe two or three more cockroaches came running out. Fortunately, the house was scheduled to be sprayed for termites so they offered to spray the beams then too.  All is in order now.

Lesson #2: Prior to carrying in long, heavy beams, make sure it's brought in the direction it should be hung.

We had the mill do an "L" cut on each beam so they'd be flush with the wall and ceiling. We learned this the hard way and had to figure out how to flip the 29 foot beam around. Here's how it all went down....

beam 6.jpg

Getting closer....

beam 8.jpg

The upstairs beams weren't as difficult. Initially, the floating corner created a lot of skepticism for the framer. At one point, the architect suggested a worst case scenario, they be used as benches outside. This was not a possibility. We would find a way to make this work. The structural engineer got involved and proposed a plan. He would double up the ceiling joists, furr out a wall under the beam, and add metal straps attached to the ceiling and beam. The plan worked well...

upstairs 1.jpg

Lesson #3: Before hanging beams, make sure there is room to drywall behind the beams.

This was overlooked and now we're having to figure out the best way to drywall up to the bottom of the beams. Because the beams are not straight, there is added effort and thought to creating a seamless look. Right now, the solution is for the dry wall guys to do the best they can and then call in the plaster "specialist" to fill in the gaps.

I'm Beaming

I am a big fan of exposed wood beams! I think they add instant character to a new home. Below are some of my favorite examples...

A few months ago, I contacted a good friend who owns Texas Reclaimed about helping me find reclaimed wood beams for the house. I knew I could trust her to find something beautiful and affordable. She was able to locate oak hand hewn beams and tack them onto another larger Austin order to be brought down from Pennsylvania to help save on freight. The delivery was exciting but intense. I knew they'd be heavy, but underestimated the man power to offload.

Fortunately, we had the numbers on hand and more importantly, no one got hurt! It took seven guys to carry the largest 1,000 pound beam into the house.


That 29 foot beam will sit parallel to a 15 foot beam anchoring the living room, dining, and kitchen space (similar to the picture below).

The other two smaller beams will be in the master bathroom like the image below.

Down the road, we'll be adding faux beams made from reclaimed wood to the upstairs den and bedroom vaulted ceilings. These beams aren't structural so aren't a priority at the moment.

Well, now onto the hard part, hanging them. Wish us luck!