Cleaning Wooden Beams

Stripping Paint From Old Beams In Situ

As fashions have changed over the years wooden beams in old properties have had all sorts of treatments – From being boxed in / painted black and made to look very even – to stripping right back to bare timber to expose the natural grain.

Sandblasting is one way of getting rid of all surface coats that have been put on in the past to reveal the natural wood underneath – yes you can use paint strippers but this is very time consuming and labour intensive. Sandblasting is quick and easy and as long as it is done at the right time is not too intrusive.

Stripping Wooden Beams

If you wish to have wooden beams stripped in situ whilst you are renovating a house the following needs to be taken into account:

  • What wood is it – hard wood or soft wood?
  • What is the condition of the wood?
    • Has it been allowed to get wet over its life then dried out?
    • Does it have live woodworm in it? Has it had woodworm / beetles living in it in the past?
  • What is on the covering that needs to be removed?
    • Is it a limewash / an old fashioned paint / a modern paint / a stain?
  • What is going to happen to the wood once it is stripped?
  • What is happening to the rest of the building ?
    • Is it possible to use a water mist to reduce dust or will the water cause damage to other sections of the building e.g. plaster ceilings below?
    • Is it possible to section off the area that needs to be worked in to minimise disruption to the site?

Once you answer these type of questions then you can start to formulate how long you think a job will take and therefore how much a job will cost.

Blasting (either wet blasting or dry blasting) by its very nature is an aggressive type of work – you are blowing a ‘grit/abrasive material’ at a substrate in order to remove a layer of something from it. The idea of every sandblaster ‘should be’ to leave the substrate with as little damage as possible and to do this you need to take the above factors into account and then be able to alter:-

  • The pressure with which you work – using a lower pressure can cause less damage but needs to be balanced by how much it will increase the time it takes to do the job.
  • The type of abrasive material – using as soft a material that is practical and the ensuring that it is the correct one for the job. i.e. not using ferrous based products on woodwork because of the resulting rust stains that may occur. Not using glass products on internal woodwork due to the glisten that sometimes occurs afterwards. – in an ideal world you have to try to use a blasting grit that is harder than the material that you wish to remove but softer than the substrate that you blasting on – not always the easiest objective to achieve.

Below are pictures of before and after for an old farmhouse in Denton just outside Ilkley:-

For further information please either email us via the form on the contact page or call us on  07706 662149