Six Considerations for Choosing An Oak Beam Fireplace / Mantelpiece

In our opinion, there is no feeling more satisfying than installing a beautiful, natural oak product as the centrepiece of your living room to create an elegant and charming oak beam fireplace.

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However, there are many factors to consider before ordering your oak beam fireplace. Here are our top 6 things to consider when choosing your oak beam:

1. The Oak Beam’s Style

The vast majority of oak beams that we sell are Planed and Sanded Oak Beams. This means that, with a little Danish Oil or Coloured Oak Oil, they are ready to be installed above your log burner or fireplace. We do also offer beams that have been Sawn Only or Planed Only, which are generally better suited to trade customers that have experience in handling and shaping oak.

2. The Oak Beam’s Cross Section

Once the beam’s style has been chosen, the first oak beam variation we ask from our customers is the beam’s cross section. The cross-section is the size of the edges of the beam and is made up of the beam’s height x the beam’s width. The wider the beam, the further it comes from the wall and the larger the beam’s height, the larger it looks from the front.

There are obvious practical and aesthetic implications based on the beam’s cross section size. Whilst oak beams look great in modern, contemporary living rooms as well as characterful, cottage living rooms, you may find that a certain size cross section suits your space better than others. Take your time to browse through our gallery on the Oak Beam Fireplace or the Oak Beam Fire Surround pages to find a room and a style that best matches yours.

3. The Oak Beam’s Length

The next variation we ask our customers for is the beam’s length. This one is pretty straightforward and can be anything from 900mm (approximately 3 ft) to 2400mm (nearly 8 ft) and anything in between.

4. The Oak Beam’s finish (For Planed and Sanded Beams Only)

How your oak beam fireplace is finished, along with what oil you use (but let’s not get ahead of ourselves with that one, we’ll save that for number 5) probably have the largest impact on the final aesthetics of the beam. We offer three different beam finishes – contemporary, lightly worked or heavily worked.

Our Contemporary finished oak beams have been planed, sanded and had the corners rounded to remove sharp edges. This finish allows the beauty of the oak beam to shine through in its most natural form.

Our Lightly Worked beam finish adds a light curve to the edges on the face of the beam, which can add to the beam’s character.

Our Heavily Worked beam finish, is similar to the lightly worked beam but with deeper curves.

5. What Oil to Use on Your Oak Beam

We supply a pot of your choice of coloured oil with all planed and sanded beams. What oil you choose to finish your oak beam, makes a big difference to how the beam will look over your fireplace or log burner. The standard oil that we recommend is Rustins Danish Oil, which is easy to wipe on, protects the oak and adds a slightly darker tone to your oak beam. Should you wish to maintain the beam’s original tone, we recommend Clear Briwax. Finally, if you wish to alter the colour of the oak to match your room, we offer a range of Coloured Oak Oils.

6. Will my oak beam fireplace crack after I install it?

All of our beam fireplaces are from air dried oak beams. The air-dried process reduces the oak’s moisture, meaning that the cracks that form will be less deep than with green (unseasoned) oak. However, as the oak acclimatises to your home and your central heating, cracks can form. Cracks do tend to add the beauty and the character of oak beams and are usually nothing to worry about.

To further reduce the impact of beam cracks, we recommend that your oak beam is slowly introduced to the room where it is going to be displayed over a couple of weeks before installation and certainly before lighting any fires underneath it.

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