​How to clean & restore wooden beams?

Sucheta Mehra Sucheta Mehra
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Wooden beams are needed for a country style and rustic décor. They have also made a strong place for themselves in modern décor as well. Wooden beams are the bold and aesthetic feature of any home décor. However, wooden beams are tough to maintain and tougher to clean. There are many factors that may affect the life of wooden beams adversely. These include weather conditions and artificial conditions as well. Also, you may need to pay extra attention towards the use of certain materials that may affect the wooden beams and expose them to weathering. The wooden accumulate layers of smoke, dust and grit. To help you install wooden beams effectively, we bring to you an ideabook that can guarantee long life and fresh looks. These tips and tricks will also help you maintain your home décor for long enough.

Causes of aging of wood

There are numerous reasons for aging of wood. These include both natural and artificial factors. The natural factors include excessive rain and extensive snowfall. Rain can destroy the wood and also might develop moulds on a regular basis. Snowfall might deposit on these beams and would have the same effect as water. This moisture contamination could also lead to the development of fungus and infestation. They eat the wood from within, thus making it hollow and leading to loss of strength. Termites and ants are the most common reason for aging of the wood. This factor makes the overall structure weak, which might lead to repairs and replacements. The wooden beams should be exposed for ventilation for removal of excess moisture. These should also be exposed to sunlight as sun rays cause death of moulds and other infestation.

Types of wood

There are various types of wood available for wooden beams. You need to select them according to the décor and purpose of use. The different types of materials are oak beams, veneer beams and plywood beams to name a few. While oak beams are the strongest and hardest quality of wood, they are also the most expensive. However, they are the most popular ones and commonly used throughout the world. Plywood is mainly used with vertical and horizontal stiffeners. They are lightweight and thus nailed perfectly to flanges for a stronger structure. Veneer is dealt in another fashion where multiple sheets are laminated together to make a strong structure. They come in standard sizes that minimise weakness and provide higher strength to the structure. The timber beams even be glued together for longer spans.

Clean the wooden beams

The cleaning and maintenance of wooden beams is a tough task. This involves a lot of effort and necessary precautions. This includes soda blasting and chemical free blasting. This removes and strips paints, varnishes and smoke damages caused by normal household processes. Both of these processes are non harmful and help in effective cleaning of timber and wooden beams. These processes are so precise that they can target only the designated areas without posing any harm to the rest of the materials. The chemical free treatment and non-abrasive vapour streams will help remove old paint, varnish, dirt and grim. These include a stream of fine particles that form a layer on top of wooden beams thus ensuring long life. You can even clean the wooden beams yourself by using sand paper and lacquer polish that matches the overall home décor. The above shown picture is of a living room designed by Rubio- Bilbao Arquitectos, architects from Spain. 

Restore the wooden beams with specific products

Removing the old finish first can help restore the wooden beams. This involves removal of varnish, stains and smudges. Choose an oil or wax to stain the beam. This adds to the natural beauty as it penetrates deep into the grain that also replenishes the original wood oils that will also prevent wood from aging. This wax or oil will form a hardening layer on the wood that will reinforce the protection of wood. You can restore the beam with the help of clean cloth or sponge. Try leaving the topcoat for at least 72 hours and then you can apply a varnish or lacquer. Shellac is another material used for restoring the wooden beams. It is easy to apply and dries much faster than other polishes.

Which products should not be used?

 Front doors by FingerHaus GmbH
FingerHaus GmbH

MEDLEY 210 A—Eingangsbereich

FingerHaus GmbH

Water should be kept at bay for ensuring long life of the wooden beams. Try to design wooden beams that receive a good amount of sunlight to keep the beams dry and moisture less. In case moisture penetrates the beams, try exposing them to sources of ventilation. These can very well be natural or artificial. Use of fans, natural air and air conditioning systems can suck the moisture out of the beams thus rendering them a fresher and much smoother touch. Also, harsh chemicals should not be used for restoration and cleaning. This will suck the strength out of the timber quickly, thus leading to the loss of structure and home décor. Try going for only the chemical free treatment that will act only superficially and will not affect the health of the timber from inside. Also, do not use any harmful mosquito spray pest control liquids for removal of fungus and infestation.

How often this process should be done

The process of cleaning and restoration should be done on a timely basis.  This involves the use of spray guns and sandpaper. The sandpaper should be used initially for removing any filthy deposits and stains. After removing, the timber is ready to be painted again in the colour of your choice. You may do this process in the summer season so that the wood can have some moisture evaporated during hot days. This will also be helpful in destroying any fungal or bacterial deposition on the wooden beams. Do no try to temper with the oil applied. Let it rest for more than 72 hours for best results. Lacquer painting can also be done on wooden beams. This will ensure that the wood is in line with the overall colour combination.  It also ensures uniformity in design and décor.

Ever thought of having a bathroom inside your bedroom? Cool thought, isn't it? Do checkout this ideabook for some refreshing ideas : Create a bathroom inside your bedroom

So how would you like to protect your wooden beams? Let us know in the comments below.
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