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Real Beams vs Faux Beams: A Few Distinct Benefits to Each

Real Beams vs Faux Beams: A Few Distinct Benefits to Each

Want to elevate the look of your ceilings? Beams are the perfect way to do it. When it comes to choosing the right beams for your project, you have options—not just in terms of colors, sizes, and textures, but also choices between real wood beams versus faux wood beams.

There are no right or wrong answers as to which you should choose, but keep in mind that both real wood and faux wood do offer unique benefits. Read below for an authentic comparison between the two so that you can make an informed decision about the best beam style for your project.

Comparing Real Wood Beams and Faux Wood Beams

Java Hand Hewn Faux Wood Beams decorating a chic living room

Hand Hewn Faux Wood Beams in Java

You want to create stunning interior spaces—and ceiling beams are a great way to do that. The typical ceiling is a bland expanse with very little in the way of visual interest, but beautifully designed beams add an architectural element that breaks up all of that empty space, transforming it into something that beautifully complements the home’s style.

But when it comes down to making the choice between real beams and faux beams, which should you choose? There are quite a few factors to consider—and we’ll help you break it down so that you can make the right choice for your home.

To start, let’s outline the different types of beams that you can install:

  • Wood Beams. This category includes solid wood beams—which are completely solid singular square or rectangle cuts—and real wood beams which are hollow box beams that use real wood planks to form three sides, making them more lightweight and inexpensive than solid wood beams.
  • Faux wood beams: Faux wood beams are hollow box beams that are made from durable high-density polyurethane—and as such, you can get them in any number of colors, sizes, and styles that impressively mimic the appearance of real wood beams.

How Realistic-Looking are Faux Beams?

This is one of the top questions people have when considering real wood box beams vs faux beams—which again are box beams made with faux planks. The answer is easy: Modern faux wood looks just like the real thing. While it’s made from high-density polyurethane, faux wood features natural wood grain textures and colors expertly designed to mimic the look of real wood. In fact, our authentic-looking faux wood beams are created using master molds made from real timber, which imparts each piece with the exact texture you’d expect from real wood.

In other words, if realism is a concern, there’s no need to worry. You can instead read below about the advantages of both real wood and faux wood beams so that you can make an informed decision based on a number of other factors.

Wood Box Beam Benefits

Warm natural Wire Brushed Wood Beams decorating a chic kitchen

Wire Brushed Wood Beams in Warm Natural

Trying to make a choice between real wood beams and faux alternatives? Let’s get started by outlining the advantages of real wood:

  • While faux wood has plenty of realistic appeal, real wood creates a truly unique look. Each beam will feature different grain patterns, and in the case of rustic wood, each will show wear and tear differently, which adds to the character of the beams.
  • If you have woodwork of a particular species throughout your home, it can be easier to get matching colors and textures through solid wood beams of the same species.
  • While faux wood beams are paintable and available in a variety of colors and styles, real wood beams—both solid wood beams and wood box beams—are a bit more customizable over time should you decide to refinish with a different stain, paint, or varnish.
  • Solid wood beams, when installed correctly, are strong enough to offer structural support whereas faux wood beams will be for decoration only.
  • In historical homes governed by strict requirements for additions or renovations, faux wood or hollow wood may not be an allowable material, which means you’ll need to use solid wood if you want to add beams or mantels.

Faux Wood Beam Benefits

Caramel hand hewn faux wood beams decorating an elegant living room ceiling

Hand Hewn Faux Wood Beam in Caramel

From their authentic appearance to their advantageous price point, faux wood beams provide distinct benefits that DIYers and commercial contractors both appreciate. Here are some of the biggest benefits faux wood beams offer:

  • Faux wood beams are designed to be durable even in outdoor settings, which means they’re highly resistant to moisture, rot, insect damage, and more.
  • For interior applications, faux wood’s durability makes it the lower maintenance option. You’ll only need to dust and occasionally wash it down to keep it looking pristine, as opposed to natural wood in wood box beams and solid beams, which will need to be refinished occasionally.
  • Faux wood beams are more cost-effective than solid wood beams and wood box beams, especially if you want the look and feel of rare and expensive hardwoods.
  • Faux wood is lightweight, which is advantageous in two ways: it’s much easier to install, especially when installing it overhead, and you can often install it without worrying about adding extra reinforcement to support the extra weight of real wood.
  • Because faux wood is lightweight and easy to work with, you can often make and install faux beams yourself, thus saving the expense of contractor labor.

Making Your Final Decision Between Solid Beams and Faux Beams

Fortunately, in your choice between real beams versus faux beams, there are no wrong answers! Faux wood beams offer you a durable, low-maintenance, and lightweight option that looks just as good as the real thing—but at a fraction of the cost. However, some homeowners prefer the uniqueness of real wood, or in some cases, like historical restorations, real wood box beams may be required by regulations. Ultimately, the choice will come down to your budget, building requirements, and your own personal tastes.

One thing is clear: You can’t go wrong with handcrafted beams from Barron Designs. With all products made in America, we offer custom box beams made from both natural wood and faux wood in a variety of colors, styles, and sizes, making it easy for you to find the perfect choice for your next project. If you’d like to learn more details about our real and faux wood beam products, be sure to read our beams FAQ and explore our eclectic array of home design style ideas