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How to Clean and Restore Wooden Beams

Having a wooden house or a house that is partly made of wood has its advantages and disadvantages. A house made of wood is attractive and pleasing to the eye. An advantage of having a wooden house is its efficiency in saving energy. Wood is effective in isolating heat and cold. It is also easier to construct, renovate, and manipulate.

On the down side, a house made of wood is high maintenance. You need to have it cleaned or renovated every once in a while because there are a lot of factors that may cause its destruction and deterioration. Water, sun, wind, bacteria, fungi, decay, and insects can cause its destruction and deterioration.

Wooden beams affect the overall aesthetics of your home especially those that are exposed that’s why wood beams require cleaning and restoration especially if they have damages from smoke, grime, paint, etc. Beam cleaning and restoration is also necessary if the coating of your beam doesn’t match your home decor. Blast cleaning is one of the method used for cleaning wooden oak beams.

Various Processes in Beam Cleaning

The best way to clean and restore beams is by using cleaning agents that are free of chemicals and that are non-abrasive. There are different processes that use this type of cleaning: non-abrasive precision blast cleaning, low pressure chemical-free blasting, and soda blasting and stripping. Architects, heritage conservation experts, and listed building officers favour and recommend these processes when cleaning and restoring beams. A lot of beam restoration companies use these processes because they are safe and gentle and they also bring back the natural colour of beams and other parts of the house that are made of wood. These methods are ideal because they don’t use chemicals that tend to change the original colour of the beams plus the stripping process gently removes or strips varnish, paint, graffiti, smoke damage, and dirt.

The other methods of beam cleaning and restoration include sand blasting and chemical or hand stripping. Conservation officers do not allow or sand blasting especially for listed buildings because sand blasting uses very high pressure. Sand blasting is a type of abrasive blasting. This process forces solid particles across the surface at very high speed and pressure to clean, smoothen, and shape a hard surface. The effect of this process is similar when using sand paper but in this process, technicians use an equipment that has a chamber where air and sand are mixed. Because of the high pressure, it may cause damage to the beams that’s why this is highly discouraged.

Chemical or hand stripping is another method of cleaning and restoring beams but it is a messy process plus it takes more time to finish the whole cleaning and restoration process that’s why beam cleaning companies don’t use this method.

Using cleaning agents that are chemical-free and non-abrasive when cleaning and restoring beams  gently and safely removes the dirt, paint, varnish, and graffiti from the beams layer by layer leaving your beams fully restored and back to their natural state. These processes tend to enhance the character and beauty of your home.

Soda blasting is another type of abrasive blasting but many consider it to be non-abrasive. It uses sodium bicarbonate to clean and smoothen the surface, and to remove smoke damage and mould also at a high pressure but baking soda easily shatters upon impact so it is much gentler on the beams compared to sand blasting.

Pros and Cons of Soda Blasting

Soda blasting is a preferred method of cleaning and restoring beams because of its many advantages. It is biodegradable and environment-friendly. Baking soda not only removes dirt, mould, paint, or smoke damage. It also deodorises or removes the smell from smoke damage. Soda blasting is 15 times more effective and quicker in removing dirt, mould, varnish, or paint than industrial hydro-blasting. Baking soda is water soluble and is not toxic.

Soda blasting also has its disadvantages although it still has more advantages which makes it the preferred process or method in beam restoration or in cleaning oak beams. Soda blasting costs more compared to other processes because the friability of the sodium bicarbonate or baking soda only allows it to be used once which then increases the running cost.

When & Where can Beam Restoration be Performed?

Beam cleaning and restoration can be performed in private homes, listed buildings, industrial and commercial premises, schools, offices, and shops. This can be done if you notice that the beams need an uplift or a maintenance, or if the previous coating doesn’t match the colours or decors of your home.

You should always take into consideration the various processes or methods used by a beam restoration company before deciding which company you will choose and what type of services you will require of them. Aside from the price, you should also look into the pros and cons of each process or method.

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