Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@. Skimlinks & other affiliated links are turned on

    • vicki2221
    • By vicki2221 2nd Jan 18, 4:48 PM
    • 65Posts
    • 283Thanks
    Oak beam restoration
    • #1
    • 2nd Jan 18, 4:48 PM
    Oak beam restoration 2nd Jan 18 at 4:48 PM
    Does anyone have any recommendations or tips on removing the paint from oak beams? Our new house has original, 500 year old beams painted in very dark brown paint. I'd like the paint removed so they are back to natural oak. I have seen companies offering soda blasting (more gentler than sand blasting etc) and also some offering a "water applied process" which doesn't cause the mess of soda blasting but the soda blasting sites say water can be damaging to old beams.

    Any advice? I need to call the conservation officer anyway, so maybe he might know.
Page 1
    • Furts
    • By Furts 2nd Jan 18, 5:08 PM
    • 4,292 Posts
    • 2,785 Thanks
    • #2
    • 2nd Jan 18, 5:08 PM
    • #2
    • 2nd Jan 18, 5:08 PM
    Too specialised a question for me. But I will add a couple of pointers. I have various old doors in my home, plus other original timbers that I took the coatings off. This was by careful sanding down. There was not a simple way because the coatings had soaked into the timbers in varying depths - depending how wet, or thick they had been applied. But also because the timbers were variable quality. Some were clearly more porous than others. The end result was many doors were patchy because they were made up of variable timbers.

    There is a chance your years of paint covering could look awful when removed, This is partly because paint can hide a multitude of shakes, damage and filler.
    • DaftyDuck
    • By DaftyDuck 2nd Jan 18, 7:16 PM
    • 4,193 Posts
    • 8,719 Thanks
    • #3
    • 2nd Jan 18, 7:16 PM
    • #3
    • 2nd Jan 18, 7:16 PM
    That's something I do have experience of, although my beams were ~700 years old, and many were friable, and some had old graffiti on.

    It's difficult to offer generic advice without knowing more about the paint. On very old wood, the paint itself might be old (and watch out if Conservation Officer says it must stay.... they have weird opinions on that kind of thing). I'd start with the most gentle, soap and water, biological, or sugar soap. Try turps, but take care, as that might send it into the wood. Sanding and scraping? Probably not, as I guess your beams are very textured. Gentle wire brush and a gentle heat gun....

    Too much turps, water, soap, anything, can have a very detrimental effect on old oak. It may be rock-hard now, but that's easily changed.

    I'd consider your options BEFORE you allow a Conservation Officer through your door!
    • road2manchester
    • By road2manchester 4th Jan 18, 11:18 PM
    • 66 Posts
    • 89 Thanks
    • #4
    • 4th Jan 18, 11:18 PM
    • #4
    • 4th Jan 18, 11:18 PM
    Soda Blasting for sure. Though it is more expensive that sand blasting .
    Chances are the wood has been coated over and over again, so I doubt you will ever get it t a 'New Old Beam' look if that's what you want. depending how new you want it to look, even sand blasting may leave stained wood behind but at least its quick. I create Stone-oak beams quite often. Same look but limestone ..... spooky hey ?
    • Tom99
    • By Tom99 5th Jan 18, 4:18 AM
    • 2,260 Posts
    • 1,529 Thanks
    • #5
    • 5th Jan 18, 4:18 AM
    • #5
    • 5th Jan 18, 4:18 AM
    I had the same thought with my 18th century beamed ceiling. I tried a small section using Kling-Strip.

    It worked very well without any damage to the beams but I decided it was just too much efforts to try and do the whole ceiling.
    • vicki2221
    • By vicki2221 5th Jan 18, 1:51 PM
    • 65 Posts
    • 283 Thanks
    • #6
    • 5th Jan 18, 1:51 PM
    • #6
    • 5th Jan 18, 1:51 PM
    Thanks everyone. They look as though they might have a dark stain or paint on them. You can still see the knots etc through it. It's not layers of thick paint. But the ceilings are so low and there are so many beams that I think it would be so much lighter with them back to oak colour. There is no way I'd try and do it myself, I would mess it up and certainly lose patience.

    I've been talking to this guy, but I think it's another type of paint he puts on:
    Last edited by vicki2221; 05-01-2018 at 1:53 PM.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

2,820Posts Today

6,525Users online

Martin's Twitter