Do You Need to Treat Oak Beams

27th May 2022

In older properties, oak beams are a popular choice for roof and floor joists. At the same time, they can add durability and character to old barns, house extensions, garden outbuildings, workshops and new builds.

As dependable as oak beams can be over time, they need to be treated periodically for best results, such as using a preservative to protect them from decay. In doing so, you can also maintain beautiful colour and character.


Maintaining a timeless and inviting appearance

Over a very long period, natural tannins in the timber react with the surrounding air, and it changes gradually from that bliss warm honey colour to a more silvered hue. Oak is relatively maintenance free because it's strong and durable, however, a lack of treatment causes the oak to dry out, causing splits, cracks and warping. Even with the best care, oak beams will slowly change in colour, and in some instances, this adds to their unique charm.


Quality matters

The very best quality oak beams are widely recognised as maintenance-free. Therefore, it's not always necessary to treat them. When you consider how oak changes over time, utilising preservatives that penetrate deep into the wood is a safe bet for ensuring you have long-lasting protection in place against decay and rot. You can apply preservatives yourself using a brush or sprayer or hire a professional contractor to do it for you.

There are many different grades of oak beams available, so when deciding how you should maintain the beams now and in the future, it's best to speak to a timber expert like UK Oak. We provide a multitude of air-dried English (quercus robur) and European structural oak beams, air-dried for 3-5 years. This process ensures the oak develops a naturally aged appearance whilst adding characterful cracks and splits to beams without compromising strength.


Embrace each beam's unique character

One of the biggest advantages of oak beams is that they offer an abundance of character. Unlike many other materials, every oak beam is unique in its own way. Different variations in colour, grain, and texture make each one special.

Whilst some people prefer the more uniform look of treated oak beams, others like to embrace the natural ageing process and let the wood take on its own unique character over time.


What's the right preservative?

If you're undecided about how to treat your oak beams yet maintain their character, quality and stability, we're more than happy to provide advice tailored to your needs. From beeswax polish to linseed oil, tung oil and Danish oil, there are many options available to you, with each different in appearance and durability. If you're unsure about the right treatment for your oak beams, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team today.

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