placing a coffered ceiling's perimeter beam
Photo: Ryan Benyi

Step 3: Cut a Beam.

Measure for the first main perimeter beam. If your room is square or irregular, start with a perimeter beam that runs perpendicular to the joists, to create a firm connection to the ceiling. (If you need two boards to span the length of your room, join them with a plain scarf joint at a joist.) Cut the beam on your miter saw ¼ inch too long. Dry-fit the piece, then apply panel adhesive to the length of the beam. Butt one end into the corner and hold it there with your deadman, as shown.

Tip: The beams need to be tight to the ceiling at the joists, but any gaps that appear between joists will be covered later by the molding.
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    Tools List

    • 30-foot tape measure
      Measuring tape
    • Painter's Tape
      Painter's tape
    • studfinder
      Stud finder
    • 1/8-inch drill bit
      -inch drill bit
    • drill
    • miter saw
      Miter saw
    • pneumatic finish nailer
      Pneumatic nailers (16 gauge and 18 gauge)
    • chalk line
      Chalk line with nonstaining chalk
    • Rafter Square
      Rafter square
    • small plastic putty knife
      Putty knife
    • caulk gun
      Caulk gun
    • 2½-inch sash brush
    • paintroller
      Small paint roller

    Shopping List

    1x6 primed finger-jointed pine. Get six 16-footers.

    Cove-profile shoe molding

    Panel adhesive

    2-inch 16-gauge pneumatic nails

    1 inch 18-gauge pneumatic brads

    Wood shims

    Wood glue

    Wood putty

    Latex caulk

    Semigloss paint