Your Top Questions Answered about Proper Treatment and Restoration for Old Wood or Oak Beams

October 9, 2020

There is definitely something elegant about old wood; this is especially true for wooden beams such as oak beams that have retained their splendour and sheen through the years. But wood, just like other natural materials, can be affected by time and other factors such as the weather and elements, insects, moisture, and more, which can change the way it looks and change its integrity. If old beams are not treated properly, they can very well become more damaged, and they can weaken and lose their appeal. If you have old wood or oak beams and are wondering how they can be restored or renovated, here are the answers to your top questions.

Do my wood beams need to be treated?

The simple answer is yes. It is always good to treat wood, particularly if the beams are located in an environment with high moisture, such as bathrooms and kitchens. Moisture can easily seep into the wood grain and make it swollen or contract it, and, worse, cause the buildup of fungus or mould. Even if your building or structure has central heating, wood beams can still become dry, and this can lead to warping and cracking as well. The application of wax or oil once every two to three years can help maintain the wood, sealing it and keeping it looking attractive and at its best.

Should I have my wood beams sanded prior to applying other products?

The answer to this is based on the kind of wood you have for your beams. If the wood is old and uneven and has a rustic look, sanding the wood may be a challenge. But if the beams are reproduction wood beams and have a modern, smooth surface, you can have them sanded as long as they are structurally strong and sound. This will then remove traces of contaminates or other products and smooth out defects. Sanding can also re-open the wood pores on the surface so it can readily accept and absorb the oil or stain.

What would be the best way to treat wood beams that are more than a century old?

This would depend on their existing condition, as explained by beam renovation specialists from Bespoke Beams. If your wood beams are painted, you have two choices: you can have them stripped with a dedicated paint remover or stripper and then make use of beeswax polish so they can get back their natural shine and beauty, or you can repaint the beams and then replenish the finish. If you decide to repaint, however, keep in mind that painting should only be done over a sound coat and not when the paint is already peeling or flaking. If the wood beams are bare, you can have them treated with either a wood oil or beeswax polish.

How can I maintain the look and integrity of interior beams and have them protected and nourished?

To maintain the look and integrity of interior beams and have them protected and nourished, you can use oils such as pure tung oil (obtained from the tung tree's nuts), which gives the beams a matte finish, or you can use blended oils. It would be good to ask a beam restoration and renovation expert regarding the best oils to use.

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