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Beamed ceilings needn’t make life uncomfortable

Learn the New Luxury Playbook at Luxury Connect | October 18-19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

Q: I have exposed 8-inch beams throughout the house and no attic. Is there some kind of attractive insulation I can put between the beams, not more than 4 inches thick, that will give me the maximum amount of insulation with the least thickness? A: We don't know of any insulation that you can just tack up between the beams and have it look like anything but what it is -- cobbled together. But with a few more steps, we do have a good solution to give you much-needed insulation and an attractive ceiling. Your description of 8-inch beams and no attic tells us that your house is probably one of the post-World War II homes built with beams for rafters, 2-by-6 tongue-and-groove Douglas fir for sheeting, and probably a built-up tar-and-gravel roof. The roof has probably been replaced with asphalt shingles, but the substrate remains the same. Acres of these homes were built all over the San Francisco East Bay. An example is the Palma Ceia subdivision in Hayward, where street a...