Oak is a wood known for its sturdiness and resilience, and it has been in wide use ever since we can remember. Many property owners are proud to have oak elements in their premises, whether it’s a selection of oak beams, furniture, fixtures, and other elements made from oak. But oak, although hard-wearing and can last for centuries, will still show some signs of ageing over time, and it can even be affected by rot, mould, soot, and so on. If you are lucky enough to have a home with old beams made of oak, you know very well that they’re worth restoring and refurbishing. But how can you properly restore oak beams without damaging the wood and its integrity? If you want to know how you can renovate and restore your property’s old oak beams, here are the three best steps.
Step 1: the sanding process
In many cases, oak beams of a certain age will have a buildup of dust, patina, or just simple grime on their surface, and all they need is a bit of sanding. For this, you would need some proper materials, such as sandpaper and an orbital or belt sander.
For proper sanding, remove the old surface finish first. Regardless if the timber has a wax finish or a top coating, you can remove it the same way. Apply your sander to the wood and make sure to work in a parallel manner to the wood grain; do this until the outer colouring has faded and you can see the bolder amber colour beneath. If you have a tight space to work with, try using an orbital sander instead of a belt sander. If you are not fully satisfied with the mechanical sander, you can also sand some portions by hand to get rid of all remaining imperfections.
Step 2: the staining process
Most beams have an oil stain, and the beam absorbs the oils so the timber is protected both without and within. The oils also serve to replace whatever natural oil the wood contains, so it remains supple, as confirmed by oak beam restoration specialists like bespokebeams.co.uk. What you can do in this process is spray your chosen oil on the beam using an electric sprayer, but if you don’t have one, you can wipe the oil using a sponge or cloth. Leave the oil for a few minutes so it can dry out, but make sure you have a good and even stain. Once the wood soaks up the oil, wipe the remaining oil away with a clean cloth. If you want something darker, simply repeat the process.
Step 3: the top coating
In the past, property owners finished their beams with shellac or varnish. Both were relatively fine, but today, lacquer is the product of choice. Lacquer is a better option because it can dry out faster and is more convenient to apply. Plus, it is more budget-friendly and comes with different levels of shine.
Once the oil has dried for a minimum of 3 days, you can choose your lacquer and fill a spray gun with it. Make sure to apply steady and even strokes that are parallel to the wood grain. Once the layer has dried out, sand the oak beam once more using sandpaper that’s very fine. When you have smoothed the beam, spray another coating or two and then leave it so it can dry out properly.