How to Finish Around Basement Beams


You want to finish your basement with drywall, carpeting and the rest, but wonder what to do with the bare, rough and dirty wooden floor beams running along the basement ceiling, dress them up. Use a table saw and 1-inch finishing board to essentially build a long narrow "box'' around each beam. Since it's going to be almost impossible to get the corners of this box exactly right, don't even try. Just let the sides hang a little lower than the bottom, which will hide any incremental differences in the corners and lend a little texture to the thing.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • 1-inch finishing boards wider than the widths of the beams, with enough footage to cover all the beam lengths.
  • More 1-inch finishing boards, wider than heights of the beams, with enough footage to cover both sides of all the beam lengths.
  • Table saw
  • Miter saw
  • Hammer
  • Finish nails
  • Nailset
  • Measure the width of the bottom of the beam.

  • Set the wood guide on your table saw at the width you measured from the beam. Make sure to take into account the thickness of the blade so the board won't be 1/8-inch too narrow.

  • Run a length your 1-inch board through the table saw to get a piece the same width as the beam. Cut additional pieces so you have enough for the entire length of the beam.

  • Nail the board to the bottom of the beam with your trim nails, hammer and nailset. Make sure the edge of the board is flush with the edge of the beam on both sides. Cut the last piece to the required length with your miter saw.

  • Measure the height of each beam, from the top of the beam to the bottom of the 1-inch board you've just attached. Add 1/4 inch to that measurement. Set up your table saw as before and rip the boards you need for the side pieces.

  • Nail the side-pieces to the sides of the beam as before, except instead of being flush at the bottom, they should hang 1/4 inch down on either side. Repeat the process for each of the other beams.

Tips & Warnings

  • To save some work, paint or stain your boards ahead of time, then touch them up as needed after you install them.
  • Wear eye protection when using a table saw.

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