Faux beam or take down

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Forum topic by jfreak53 posted 06-10-2017 01:21 PM 1120 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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15 posts in 2943 days

06-10-2017 01:21 PM

Topic tags/keywords: beam posts porch

Not sure if this is the right place to post this, I need some opinions and advice on how to complete this.

I’m re-doing my porch at our new place and my wife is not only wanting posts but she wants me to do the header beam in the same. My problem is the header beam is structural support, so unless I take everything apart I can’t think of a way to put a new wood beam up.

In my own mind I’ve come up with two solutions, one I take it all apart, install temporary supports and put in my new beam. I don’t really want to do that haha.

Or second I install my new posts then create a faux beam by wrapping the current with 1” boards to finish it and make it look like a beam.

I’m open to suggestions as to another way if there is one, I’m just dreading taking it all apart to re-do.

Here are some pics of what I’ve got:

I’ve got 4 posts to replace.

Thanks for any advice you might have!

9 replies so far

View JBrow's profile


1368 posts in 1697 days

#1 posted 06-13-2017 03:29 PM


There are a few things that I simply refuse to undertake due either to the excess cost or complexity. Replacing the beam in the porch make-over would qualify as to complex for me. In addition to the prep work and hoisting the beam in place, there is engineering work. If the span between the new posts is too great for the species and size of the beam, an evidential structure failure could result. On top of that, I suspect that since this is structural work, it would require a building permit and inspection from your local building department. All this complexity is a little too much for me for the benefit of a cosmetic porch make-over.

It seems that the simplest approach would be to wrap the beam and the existing columns under the assumption that the better-half wants simple square posts. But even if she wants a different size or style of turned posts, replacing one post at a time and then wrapping the beam would be fairly fast, easy, and straightforward. However, some caution would be prudent when removing the corner posts and the field posts, since there may be a splice in the beam that was placed atop a post.

The third option you did not mention was that the beam would be unseen if the porch ceiling were lowered to flush with the bottom edge of the existing beam. The existing beam would remain in place and yet disappear; but there would be less ceiling height and I suspect it would be more work than the wrapping approach.

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 2263 days

#2 posted 06-13-2017 04:51 PM


-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View dhazelton's profile


2839 posts in 3074 days

#3 posted 06-13-2017 07:16 PM

It’s probably a sandwich of 2 by material. Once you take the aluminum trim off you’ll just wrap it in one by material on the bottom and two sides. The vinyl or aluminum ceiling panels are the real offender to me. I hope that’s going away.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16714 posts in 3396 days

#4 posted 06-14-2017 12:05 AM

New posts as in ‘not turned?’ Stained or painted?

Without that info, it’s still a no-go to replace the header currently wrapped in aluminum.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View dhazelton's profile


2839 posts in 3074 days

#5 posted 06-14-2017 01:17 PM

Technically he could just wrap the posts as well. As long as they are the same at top and bottom. Why make more work and expense?

View Sark's profile


281 posts in 1138 days

#6 posted 06-14-2017 10:42 PM

Wrap the beam. And while you’re at it, wrap the posts too. Why make extra work for yourself? Unless you have some rather specific architectural detailing in mind. Even then, if posts and beam are sound, don’t take them out. Check out the numerous companies who supply column wraps in many different styles.

View John's profile


246 posts in 2359 days

#7 posted 06-14-2017 11:19 PM

Wrap it. Most of the time structural members that are exposed are wrapped in the more valuable wood for aestheic reasons.

-- I measured once, cut twice, and its still too short...

View runswithscissors's profile


3099 posts in 2803 days

#8 posted 06-15-2017 03:23 AM

I suspect the beam may already be a box (or maybe boxed in), as indicated by the vertical joint to the right of the post. If you wrap it, I’d have the joint in the boards not fall at the same place as that joint. That way you’ll be adding a little extra strength to the beam. I’d definitely wrap instead of replace.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 4146 days

#9 posted 06-15-2017 05:02 PM

Get rid of the Vinyl/aluminum ceiling as stated and wrap the beam and posts. Wrap the beam in 2X and the posts in 1X and add moldings top and bottom of the posts. MHO

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