We are using an old barn beam as a shelf over the soaking tub. It needed to be installed while I could still stand behind the tub. I bought the beam from another very nice Craigslist seller. Amazingly the beam was exactly the right size for the space.
We thought the grain of the beam looked like oak but it was much too easy to drill into to be aged oak. So it may be poplar or even pine. I am not a good enough woodworker to know.
I originally thought I would drill all the way through the beam to mount it. But the 3/8″ bolts I already had were too short. So I thought I would hang it from a cleat, although routing the back for a cleat seemed difficult. Then the Internet revealed this method. The recommendation was for 1/2″ bolts or steel concrete stakes but only two were used in some cases. I decided to use what I had and sink them into every 2×4 in the wall.
The bolts were inserted a little more than half their length into the 2x4s. That put them almost all the way through the wood for good stability.
The protruding bolt is about 2/3rds of the width of the beam. Just what was recommended in the instructions. After the bolts were set the heads were cut off with a grinder.
We held the beam up to the bolts and marked them with a sharpie. But the first holes I drilled were a little too low and the beam hit the tile and that created a large gap between the beam and the wall. So I had to drill a second set and these were a little high to have the beam meet the tile underneath exactly but it won’t be very noticeable. The beam is nice and level and I’ll just caulk the gap. Luckily the Liquid Nails takes some time to set.
The beam is shoved onto the bolts and the holes and bolts lined up well. Some instructions say the adhesive is not even necessary. I ordered some expensive low VOC formula sealer (Waterlox-a mixture of tung oil and resins) to protect it from the moisture of the bath.
The next step was to move the tub into place and hook up the drain. My son who is visiting from California helped with this task.
And before the end of the day I was able to install the tub faucet. I also did a passable job of cleaning out the poor construction dirty tub.