Oakwood has long been used for structures and as furniture, and most everyone is familiar with its beauty and inherent strength and durability. But oak has certain qualities that can make it a challenge to treat and restore as well, especially if you want to bring back the rustic appeal of oak wood or beams that have been painted and finished inappropriately or have become damaged by mould, mildew, or smoke staining. Although restoring and renovating oak can easily be done by the experts, it pays to know certain facts about oak, so you will be better aware of the best treatment for it. Here, then, are some quick facts about oak and oak beam treatment you should know and remember.
A Brief History
The Latin name of oak is Quercus, and it is a strong and sturdy hardwood that has 400 species as of date. Oak has always been a popular type of wood in the United Kingdom and has been widely used for support and construction and as internal elements as well. And while the use of oak for furniture has already been done in the UK for as long as we can remember, it is only in recent decades that the choice of oak for furniture has greatly expanded in countries like China and other countries in Asia.
The oak tree has flowers called catkins, and these catkins are produced once the oak reaches the approximate age of 20. Catkins are usually found in the spring once temperatures rise, and these catkins turn into the acorns which everyone is familiar with.
How Oak Wood Changes Over Time
Oak can change in integrity and appearance over time, especially oak beams that have been installed outdoors, where it is constantly exposed to the elements. In the 1970s, it was popular for oak beams to be painted or finished in ‘bright’ colours, which has led to many property owners today wanting to have their oak beams treated and restored to their natural look and shine. But the treatment of this type of wood can be a challenge, and you need to know how oak wood changes over time in order to fully understand how to treat and restore it properly.
For instance, once water is absorbed by oak, it can react with the oak’s high content of tannin, which can result in the blackening of the oak beam. The sun has something to do with how oak can change over time as well since its rays can turn the finish into a silvery tone or hue. If you are thinking of restoring your oak beams with a clear finish, note that a ‘clear’ product will not really be clear, so they often bring out the oak’s natural colours, making it look warmer and darker.
How You Can Treat and Preserve It
If you would simply like to make your oak beams look natural and prevent them from turning silver or blackening, you can use a clear preservative and follow this by two coats of a protective product. For best results, however, you should turn to oak beam renovation specialists who will know precisely what to do to treat your oak beams.
If you would like to address blackening, you may be able to use a mould and mildew cleaner, but once again, it’s best to follow expert recommendations.