Beams are retrofitted to bear gravity loads from floor joists and roof, and it is important to know how the beam is installed because it could affect how the living space looks. This post will cover the various ways a beam could be retrofitted.
1. Flush installed beam - The flush beam is installed to fit flush with the bottom of the ceiling to maintain a uniform ceiling height in the living space. It would generally make the space appear more open and allow more light to fill the room. Engineers would assume that a structure would have flush ceilings unless notified otherwise.
This picture shows a flush beam with floor joists hanging off of it and it could be seen that daylight could shine through the room without any obstructions.
2. Top flush installed beam - Top flush installed beams are installed to maintain as much ceiling height as possible. Sometimes when beam needs to be deeper than the floor system, the engineer should notify the client and architect that the beam would protrude from the ceiling. The slight protrusion of the beam would prevent some light from filling the room.
Sometimes the client or the architect can appreciate the look of a beam that hangs lower than the ceiling. However, if the ceiling must be flush, the engineer must choose stronger material such as steel for a beam or use more than one wooden beam.
This picture shows a steel flush beam with wood nailers used to maintain a flush ceiling.
This picture shows a two wooden beams used to maintain a flush ceiling.
3. Drop beam - Drop beams are beams installed below the ceiling and could add a nice architectural finish to the room. Engineers must be notified that a drop beam is allowed at certain areas of the structure.
This picture shows a stained sawn lumber drop beam.
This picture shows a drop beam with a dry wall finish that will be painted.
This picture shows a glue laminated drop beam, which is my favorite=)
Thanks for reading!