The ultimate guide to wooden beam restoration

Wooden beams can give a home beautiful character but unrestored, can make a room feel dark and oppressive. In today’s trend for open plan living, wooden beams make a stunning centrepiece to your interior decor. Creating a striking contrast between clean painted walls and ceilings, or a calming, natural aesthetic in a rustic farmhouse, restoring old oak beams sensitively can make all the difference.

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Stripping wooden beams

Perhaps existing beams are too dark for the space, or their finish is looking tired? There are plenty of products on offer to strip the wood back to its former glory. It is best to ensure all previous paint and varnish is removed, where possible, to provide a blank canvas for the best quality finish.

Fast-acting traditional paint strippers will easily remove most coatings. It is recommended you do a patch test in a hidden area to confirm suitability. Stronger options are available but again, patch test to check for correct levels of application and timing. Sanding the area afterwards will ensure the area is ready for the final finish.

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Finishing wooden beams

Depending on the look you want to achieve, there are a number of finishing options for your structural wooden beams, whether you want to match the colour to wood elsewhere in the home or create a more rustic look.

Water-based wood stain is the perfect treatment for structural oak beams while acrylic wood dye gives a deeper colour but still showcases the natural grain. Stains will need to be sealed with the corresponding varnish or oil. Wood wax is the best choice for a minimal colour change following a top coat.

Two-in-one products will seal, protect and colour in a range of wood tones and you could add a coloured wax on top to create a striking look. Adding black patinating wax to new untreated wood will give it an aged look.

Hard wax oils are the perfect choice for sealing and protecting structural oak beams while displaying the beautiful natural colour of the wood and grain. Linseed and Danish oil are the traditional options which have the added benefit of nourishing the oak. The added benefit of structural oak beams is environmental; properly sourced oak locks in carbon, preserves woodland and in 800 years time can be recycled.

Exposing wooden beams or restoring existing ones is an achievable way of elevating your interiors.

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