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Solid Beams vs. Box Beams

Feb 2

Solid Beams vs. Box Beams

In the future, if you are planning to build a custom home, you will likely have to choose whether to incorporate box beams (aka wrap beams) into certain spaces in your home. Below are some considerations to make when making this important decision.


Solid beams can be specified to have a rustic, antiqued style or a sleek, modern, transitional appearance. You will not see any seams when using solid beams in areas that require extremely long beams. For box beams, the timber/beam manufacturer and trim carpenter must join planks of a specific length, usually measuring between 14'-16'. The seam can be carefully covered by a skilled carpenter or painter, who will match the grain and staining. However, if you pay attention, the seam is still usually visible. You can hide the mitered edge seams if you are working with a highly skilled manufacturer or carpenter.

Box beams can be adapted to a more modern, clean-lined design. You can paint the beam instead of staining it. This is because they do not have to match the graining of the wood species and are more affordable. It is not always cheaper to choose box beams than solid beams for an antiqued or hand-hewn finish. For those who are designing a home from scratch, solid beams will be preferred over box beams.


Because the existing structure was not designed for the extra weight of heavy timbers, solid beams aren't often an option during renovations. Box beams are only decorative and can be used for most renovations. Solid beams can either be decorative or functional. Douglas Fir is a type of solid wood that is best known for its strong structural strength. Sometimes box beams could be used for wrapping structural components, such as a steel I-beam or Glulam. In that case, box beams might be custom-milled and matched to solid beams. This is helpful when wiring or plumbing needs to be hidden inside a beam.

For areas that have humid climates, like Houston, Texas, boxes beams should not be used. Solid beams, however, can be used indoors as well as outdoors. The humid Houston climate can cause cupping, expansion, and separation of box beams at their ends and edges.


You should choose painted box beams for interior decorative beams. This is the most economical option. You can choose to have your box beams stained if you don't want to spend as much. However, it is possible to save money by using box beams that are made by skilled trim carpenters. Make sure to check with your custom building to make sure they are experienced in mitering edges, masking seams, and other tasks. Solid timbers can be a great choice if you are looking for an antiqued rustic look, even though it is the most expensive beam option.

It is best to consult your architect, interior design professional, and custom builder when considering solid beams vs. wooden beams for your new home. Your custom builder should be able to advise you on the availability and pricing of solid timbers or wrapped beam planking. They will also know how capable their trim carpenters might be to achieve a solid-beam "look" with a box beam application. Your chosen custom builder should become a trusted resource, advisor, and advocate for you, your family, and all those involved in this journey. If you are looking for the best Home Builders, Cedar Park Home Remodels is the best option for you.



Cedar Park Home Remodelers

Cedar Park, Tx

(737) 307 8281