What to do with false beams?
As the leader in skylight installations in our area, the chances are that regardless of a room’s layout, we’ve seen it before. A common surprise for many customers is the decorative nature of false beams. This room feature was a common construction technique of the 70s and 80s. Although they have the look of an integral structural component, false beams are what the name implies, purely decorative.
Generally speaking, the spacing between the beams is dictated by the dimensions of the room and not the overlying roof structure. While it is intuitive to center a skylight between these decorative additions, the structural spacing of the rafters can often be uncooperative. But the good news is, there is always a solution or two to every problem.
As skylights are more of a permanent feature (but not an irreversible one), we recommend to our customers to take a long-term view. Given the constant evolution of interior design, false beams do not have the same appeal that they once did, though they are regaining a small following again. As such, it is good idea to look at placing the skylights where the skylights belong, without regard to the current placement of the beams. The removal of the beams can add to a more contemporary look of the room.
The reason for this long view is to avoid unnecessary costs should the beam be removed in the future. Once the beams are removed, the skylights may then lack the desired balance and centering had the skylights been installed without the beams and previous structural accommodations would prove unnecessary.
However, should the beams be seen as an essential part of the room, structural work can be done to accommodate centering of skylighting.
While it may seem that removing false beams are a costly remodeling option, it often is a simple task involving trim and finish work. And in the grand scope, it is one of the least costly endeavors with the biggest visual returns on investment.