An oak beam is a common feature in a traditional fireplace. Many cottages and older properties have large inglenook fireplaces with a rustic oak mantel. It’s traditional but timeless enough to be attractive in a room with more modern décor too. Oak mantels are also becoming increasingly popular with homeowners who have installed wood burning or multi-fuel stoves. It’s a nice mix of old and new, and the perfect addition to a fireplace with a stove.
If you are considering an oak beam fireplace for your home, rest assured you are making a good choice. Here are some ideas to help you choose the right style for your home, as well as some useful maintenance tips.
The fireplace is often the heart of a home. Some people hang a flat-screen TV on the chimney breast and stare at that all night, but if you want to create a welcoming ambience in your home, it is hard to beat the crackle of an open fire or the warm glow of a stove.
When designing a fireplace, consider what type of fire you want. Oak beams work best with open fires and log burning stoves. There is no reason why you can’t fit a floating oak beam above a modern inset gas or electric fire, but it probably won’t look quite right.
Oak beam styles
In general, an oak beam requires no extra decorative elements. Oak is a beautiful natural material, so it works best when you have a plain fireplace opening, perhaps lined with bricks or stone, and a simple stone hearth. A floating oak beam above a fireplace is simple yet effective. A relatively flat beam will look as if it is a structural beam embedded in the wall, especially if the wall is then plastered around the beam. If you want more of a mantel for ornaments, select a thicker piece of oak three or more inches in depth.
You can also use oak as a decorative surround for a stove that isn’t sitting inside a traditional fireplace. For example, if you install your stove against an external wall, Scandi-style, build an oak frame to make it feel more of a centrepiece to the room.
Vintage oak beams
Reclaimed oak is a popular mantel choice, but you can also buy a made-to-measure piece of oak from a timber merchant. Reclaimed oak is often dark or near black in colour, but seasoned oak is naturally lighter. If you want your new oak mantel to look distressed and vintage, use wood stain or paint.
The shabby-chic look
You could even give your oak beam some colour – dilute milk or chalk paint and go for a shabby chic look. A soft blue or grey will really lift your room and transform a plain fireplace into a quirky and unique feature.
Take care of your oak beam
An oak mantel can be kept clean with a soft cloth. Avoid water-based cleaners and protect the wood with a quality wood oil periodically. You can use sealant to protect your oak mantel from beverages.
Look after your oak beam mantel and it will continue to look beautiful for many years to come.
At Tradoak, we specialise in supplying oak beams for all types of projects. If you are looking for a fireplace beam, we’ll hand select the best ones we think will suit your requirements and send you photos so you can see what we have available. Otherwise, customers are also very welcome to visit our yard in Sheffield Park, TN22 3QH where they can pick out the best beam for themselves.