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It is believed that decorative painting of timbers began in the 15th century. Initially it was common to use limewash with naturally occurring pigments mixed in to add colour. In the 19th century, fashion dictated that colours made way for black which may have derived its colour from tar and/or coal liquid by-products used. Today in the UK, it is common for the exposed structural timbers in historic properties to have been painted using traditional black gloss paints.

Wanting to lighten the beams in your property is not unusual. Black beams, when combined with low ceilings – another feature of period properties – can make rooms feel heavy and dark. Removing the black and either returning to the original beam colour, or at least reducing the strength of the black is the outcome many of our clients seek. But as you will see above, removing multiple layers of historic paints that may have been made of or contain tar, lead and oil could be a very risky process, releasing chemicals into the atmosphere.


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.

Rather than stripping back layers which create the rich history of the building’s construction and development, we apply an additional cosmetic layer that helps to highlight the original features of the timber, whilst also lightening the look and feel.

Our solution enhances what is already present and allows you to balance aesthetics with conservation. We simply create another step in the long timeline already associated with your property.


No Need to Clear the Room – Simply protect valuables and furniture as if you were decorating.

Fast – The process is fast. We recommend ventilating the area in question for 24 hours post application, but only to aid the drying process. Rooms can typically be used again on the same day.

Mess-Free – With our process there is no need for messy and disruptive sandblasting or any other blasting method, mechanical or chemical stripping. It is the only mess-free alternative to blasting and stripping. The process is applied with brushes only.

Highlights Original Features – Where black paint hides features, our process accentuates and Highlights original timber features.

Can be Removed – When creating our treatment, we also made sure that it can be easily removed if necessary, again without the need for blasting or stripping.

Preserves Historical Integrity – Our process is a cosmetic treatment applied to the timber, without the removal of any historic paint or timber layers.

Non-hazardous – We do not use corrosive chemicals in our process. All applications are water-based and virtually odourless


If you would like a quote, please send us some pictures of the room(s) along with room dimensions and the address of the property. Thank you.

Wood stove with wood blocks