No one can deny that one of the most premium material choices you can ever use is oak. The majestic oak has been used for centuries for its invaluable properties and its timeless, classic appearance, and when you have old oak beams or furniture in your home, it would be wise to renovate or restore them as best as possible. Oak beams are particularly beautiful and are prized for their rustic and natural appeal, and if your old oak beams have been painted over, have suffered from sunlight exposure or exposure to too much damp or moisture, or have been infested with pests, then they will most likely show some wear and tear and even have damage that needs to be treated. But what should you know about the best methods of cleaning, restoring, and renovating your old oak beams? Let’s find out.
- Damage from insects and fungus
Some oak beams may exhibit damage from insects and fungus, which can be readily apparent with the appearance of minute holes in the wood. Woodworm can be particularly damaging to oak beams, but since the woodworm will only lay its eggs when the oak is freshly cut, they will no longer be there if the oak is old; the larvae will have left a long time ago. You will only be left with holes, and one way to treat them is to use beeswax, which you can use to fill in the holes. If your old oak beams are being painted, you may be able to apply wood filler and then sand it prior to painting the beams, so the holes are concealed.
A fungus is the result of a problem with damp, and you should look for the damp source and fill it. If the oak wood isn’t rotten, you can simply let it dry naturally. But if there is extensive rot, you may no longer be able to restore the beam and may have to replace it. Fortunately, even if you replace the beam with green beams, you don’t have to stain the new beams because they will begin drying in about a year, and they will exhibit the same or similar hue as the older oak beams. In time, the new beams will be almost indistinguishable from the old beams.
- General cleaning
If you simply need to clean old oak beams, try using a soft brush to remove dust and dirt. Avoid using a brush with wire bristles because this can make the surface rougher and damage the timber’s appearance.
You have the option of soda blasting or chemical-free blasting for the removal of smoke stains and blackening caused by fungi or damp, and some oak beam experts like bespokebeams.co.uk have other viable and gentle methods of restoring oak beams. Avoid methods like sandblasting because this can make the wood’s surface rougher, damaging the beam’s finish as well. You have another option of making use of a mixture of water and vinegar (a ratio of two to one) – simply spray the mix onto a soft piece of cloth and rub it onto the beam to clean and disinfect it.
If your old oak beams need more intense repair and renovation, there are a lot of beam specialists who can help you; it’s worth investing in renovation and restoration as old oak beams are a definite asset to any home.