Oak Beams - Technical


A simple guide to understanding the characteristics, appearance, fixing, and maintenance of your oak beam/s.

Full advice and help is always available by calling 01423 593794

Characteristics & Appearance

Oak beams tend to be available in 2 forms:
‘Air Dried or Seasoned Oak’ and ‘Green Oak’.

Their characteristics have advantages and disadvantages depending on whether you are looking at the beams from a supplier or customers point of view.

Seasoned or Air Dried Oak.

  • More stable due to less moisture

  • More character with splits and cracks

  • More expensive but well worth it!

After an oak tree is felled, it dries out and loses moisture over time.

The oak beams become more stable and less prone to movement within your home as its moisture content gets closer to the atmosphere in a centrally heated home.

This drying out process means the oak will deflect and sometimes twist as it settles down over time.  When the oak is machined, these unsightly characteristics are removed and a clean, straight and seasoned piece of oak is ready for further processing.

air dried oak
Season, air dried oak

Fireplace Fixing Options

Self Supporting

A self supporting beam is normally situated on brick or stone and bedded on a course of mortar.  This can either be set within the brick or stone or sat on corbels and sometimes plasterboard is placed above.



Face Fixed

The face fixed option replies on placing large screws through the face of the oak beam.  These holes in the beam will be countersunk for you and 4 matching oak pegs are then used to disguise the head of the screw.

oak fireplace beam and oak mantle

Strapped Option

Using a builders galvanised strap is ideal for those customers that have yet to plasterboard or decorate.  It is an easy, cheap and effective way to install your oak beam.  Ensure sufficient fixings are applied.  Ensure the beam is covered prior to plastering!


Invisible Fixing

For small and medium sized oak fireplace beams, there is an ingenious invisible fixing method.  This uses 2 oak support brackets that are screwed to the wall.  On the reverse of the beam are sloping pockets designed to grip the beam when lifted in place.


Click this link for a diagram to show how this works!




For expert advice, further prices and general help, call 01423 593794