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Common Questions about Old Timber
Posted in General Information by Admin on February 26th 2015

Did you know that the signs of aging can add character to timber? Below, we have answered some of the most common questions about old timber for you to understand more about the wood aging process.

Dealing with Exterior and Interior Timber

  • What is the traditional method of polishing the oak beams of oak framed buildings?

Coat the external and internal timbers, together with the enclosing infill panels, with a lime wash. This will give the timber a great conventional polish.

  • In case of repairs and replacements, is it necessary to stain the new timbers to complement the old ones?

New timbers normally look unrefined. However, timber such as oak will eventually darken over time, achieving a beautiful colour. Therefore, it is advisable to not stain new timber.

  • How do you lighten dark oak beams?

If the oak beams are dark, you can simply put a proprietary liming wax on them. On the other hand, if you want a solid finish you can use a casein-based paint instead.

  • Is it okay to use linseed oil to improve the appearance of timber?

Linseed oil makes the timber sticky. This attracts dirt and dust. Additionally, linseed oil will eventually fade. Oak beams do not necessarily need a treatment but you can use a beeswax polish to improve their appearance.

Handling Decay

  • What is the cause of timber decay and how do I deal with it?

Dampness is the cause of timber decay. It may result in rot, beetle infestation or a combination of both. This can be devastating for structural timbers. Of course, you should determine the cause of dampness first before you can solve the problem. Some of the possible causes include a leaking pipe, a clogged-up gutter near the timber or direct contact with a moist surface. The rotting or infestation of insects will diminish as the timber dries out.  

  • Is it necessary to use chemical treatments?

Chemical sprays are usually costly and unpleasant to use. However, if there is active wood-worm due to infestation, treat the identified affected parts of the timber with insecticides.  

  • How do I check the timber’s condition?

In order to find out the condition beneath the timber’s surface, you can simply nudge it with a penknife. Even if the first few millimetres of the timber’s surface are affected, it can still be considered normal if the timber resists the blade. Alternatively, you can ask an expert to check the timber’s condition for you. 


UK Timber is a UK specialist that offers a wide range of wood products. Please visit our website or contact us on +44 (0)1536 267107 to order or to enquire.

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