YOUR BEAM RENOVATION QUESTIONS ANSWERED
For decades, the only solution to dark, black, painted and fire or smoke damaged timbers was chemical stripping or shot/sand blasting. These processes are messy, destructive and can affect the integrity of the beams. They also remove archaeological evidence of the building’s construction and development. It is for this reason that we invented our process in 1997. However, even though we have been applying our process for over two decades, renovated beams in thousands of properties and appeared on TV on numerous occasions with George Clark, many people still believe that stripping and blasting are the only solutions. So, we often have to field a lot of questions as properties owners get to grips with the concept of our fast, mess free and cost-effective alternative to these traditional methods. We have therefore developed these answers to the most frequently asked questions. If your question is not fully answered here, please do not hesitate to contact us.
What is the difference between sand blasting/stripping and what you do?
Blasting, chemical, and mechanical stripping actually remove historic layers of paint and the timber. This is a messy, time consuming and damaging process that can affect the integrity of the timbers and most
importantly remove archaeological evidence of the building’s construction and development. Our process is a cosmetic treatment applied to the timber, without the removal of any historic paint or timber layers – even the black remains! As such, our process is fast and clean and does not require the area to be cleared. By applying an additional layer, we are highlighting historic dating rather than removing it.
Can you treat and renovate external and internal timbers and beams?
Yes, we can. We have worked on a number of properties to renovate their external timbers as well as internal works. The process and treatment is similar for interior and exterior beams.
Will the beam renovation process cause any noise or dust?
No. The process is mess free and is applied in the same way as paint decoration, so there is no noise. Our process is without doubt the kindest and most gentle way to lighten the beams.
Does the treatment impregnate the timber?
No. Our process does not affect the timber in anyway. We effectively apply a new layer on top of the existing paints, nothing is removed and historic paint layers remain, preserving historic integrity.
Does the treatment affect the integrity of the structural timbers?
Absolutely not. Unlike blasting or stripping, our process does not affect the timber in any way. We effectively apply a new layer on top of the existing paints. Nothing is removed and historic paint layers remain, preserving historic integrity.
Does the room need clearing to renovate the beams?
We do ask clients to clear the room(s) as much as possible. Larger pieces of furniture such as beds and sofas can remain in place, but need to be covered, and we can work around these. All small furniture and valuables should be removed and soft furnishings like curtains and blinds should be taken down. To all intents and purposes, the same precautions are necessary as if you were carrying out routine decoration. If the building is undergoing full renovation and the room is clear, then all the better.
What preparatory work is required for beam renovation?
Other than preparing the room so that our team can work safely and so furniture/ valuables are protected, there is no preparatory work on the timbers themselves. In the case of dusty/hard to reach roof beams, we will clean the timbers with a damp cloth before we begin work.
How long will the beam lightening process take?
Most rooms can be completed inside a day. We recommend ventilating the area for 24 hours to aid drying, but because we do not use chemicals, rooms can normally return to use the same day.
What is the substance you use to lighten beams?
It is a combination of water-based materials (mixed with specialist knowledge and years of dedication!).
Is the substance you use to lighten the beams toxic?
No, it is purely a cosmetic treatment using water-based substances and is therefore not toxic in any way to people or animals.
Is Back From Black a chemical-based treatment?
No. It is purely a cosmetic treatment using water- based substances. This means the process is quick, clean and there is very little odour.
What experience have you got of working in/on period properties?
Our MD Nick has a passion for restoring period properties and has owned and renovated a handful of houses in France and the UK dating as far back as the 1500s. His first property in France was one of the oldest, a painstaking job to restore a Renaissance property. More recently, and having moved back to the UK, he has worked on Elizabethan, Jacobean, and Victorian houses. So, in addition to helping clients achieve their vision, Nick’s own eye for detail, design and care, makes him an amazing font of knowledge, something he is happy and willing to share with Back From Black clients.