How to Stain, Clean & Wash Timber Framing
Post & Beam construction is built from wood, and thus it has organic, natural tendencies. Along with the rustic beauty of the beams, there is a living, breathing element to it. They must be maintained over time for maximum aesthetic value. At the same time, the structural integrity will hold for a very long time (learn about how long timber homes last), but for the benefit of a beautiful look, it is best to clean, wash and re-stain them over time.
Often, people wonder what stains are best for the initial coats, as well as continued coating over time, which is especially necessary on exterior timbers that are exposed to the weather.
Shari Steber, the co-owner of Timber Pro UV, has provided us with some tips to maintain beautiful timbers. Post & beam construction requires the right products and application to maintain an attractive look year round, and Shari is an expert in the subject as she has worked with a wide range of clients on timber stains and coatings. Timber Pro UV is an Oregon based company that specializes in making protective stains, that hold up well in many climates, including the Pacific Northwest where it is manufactured.
Arrow Timber uses Timber Pro UV stains because:
Unlike some protective stains, Timber Pro does not have a plastic look
Timber Pro doesn’t need to be stripped off to apply touch-up coats (this can save you loads of time in the future)
Timber Pro Can be applied directly to green timbers
Timber Pro stain smells good and is easy to work with. (Very important for interior timbers)
Below, you’ll find a combination of timber care monitoring and prevention tips:
(Bonus Video) How to Clean Sap (Pitch) from Timbers.
Here is a video from Josh of Arrow Timber.
You will need a Putty Knife (or Chisel), A Brush (Kitchen Brush is fine), Denatured Alcohol, and a Scrub Pad. Tree sap (also known as pitch) comes out of wood as a natural process.
Learn the process for removing sap (pitch) from timbers.
7 Steps for Maintaining and Beautifying Timber Posts & Beams
1. Walk the perimeter of your home and examine all the surfaces.
Write down particular areas where you notice any fading of color, build-up of dirt, dust, or pollen, or anything that may be a particular cause for concern. Both log homes and hybrid homes with timbers must be inspected closely, especially edges and points of contact with other building materials. After you’ve noted all areas of concern, you can pay specific attention to cleaning and preparing those areas.
2. Wash your timbers annually.
Maintaining natural wood siding is a lot easier if you dedicate one weekend a year to cleaning the wood all the way around the house. Use a cleaner made for this purpose, such as Clean & Brite by Timber Pro Coatings. This maintenance can go a long way to ensuring beautiful timbers year-round.
Many people have tried to make their own cleaner using bleach and TSP, and have had poor results. Bleach can strip color from the stain you used, and repeated use of bleach over the years makes the wood pulpy.
Dirt, pollen, and other airborne contaminants contribute the most to finish degradation.
They will accumulate on horizontal surfaces, such as the top side of rounded logs, on top of beams, etc. Rough-sawn siding will also be subject to dirt and dust accumulation because of its texture. Dirt provides a food source for mold and mildew, so by keeping the wood finishes clean you remove that food source.
Timber Pressure Washing Tips
Pressure washing is a thorough method of cleaning, especially if you apply a cleaner that will kill the mildew spores. Spores maneuver into small areas where the pressure washer cannot reach.
Do not use more than 1500 PSI when pressure washing natural wood.
Use a fan-shaped tip, and keep the wand moving at a steady pace at least 12 inches away from the wood.
Do not pressure wash at all if you are inexperienced, because you could leave irreparable grooves and stripes in the wood.
3. Clean the gutters and downspouts. If your gutters or spouts are clogged, it could cause water to run off onto the siding and create a problem area on your wood surfaces.
4. Cut back bushes or plants that are touching the wood siding. Vegetation that is touching your siding provides a moist, shady environment for mildew to form. Gardening & landscaping is part of wood care.
5. Monitor the Cracks. There is not a finish made that will prevent wood from forming small cracks. Cracks in the siding or beams do not diminish the wood’s dimensional stability, but if the crack is large enough then there is a possibility that rain and moisture will fall down into the crack.
On a regular basis, try to blow dust, cobwebs, etc. out of these cracks. Many siding professionals recommend filling cracks that are collecting rain with a high quality caulk and monitoring the sealant on a yearly basis. On cracks that angle downward, it is recommended to spray clear stain to keep the inner walls sealed.
6. Don’t procrastinate! Re-apply the finish in areas that need it. Do not wait for the stain to wear off before you apply maintenance coats! If you wait for noticeable discoloration and weathering to show, then you will end up having to strip off the finish and re-apply it again, which is a lot more work than just applying refresher coats.
Finishes that are very transparent need to be re-coated on an average of 2-3 years.
Semi-transparent finishes or semi-solid stains will last longer. If the siding is smooth, rather than rough sawn, it requires more frequent coating.
The design of the structure has a lot to do with how often you need to recoat as well. You may only need to treat every 3-7 years on more protected areas of the building.
Often, the southwest exposure takes the most beating and that side may need recoating more often. There are no solid rules, but the product you used to protect your wood should have maintenance information on their company website.
7. Make it easy for next time.
Write down what maintenance steps you take every year.
Track which walls you re-applied the finish to, and what color and product you used. If you caulked, write down where you caulked and what brand and color you used. Keep track of quantity used so you’ll know what to order when it comes time again.
It will be hard to go wrong if we follow Shari’s simple tips!
For Premium Timber Stains & Coatings, Timber Pro UV can be reached at (888) 888-6095
Arrow Timber can include Timber Pro UV stain in your timber package to get the look you desire, with the dependability and good smell of a premium wood care product.
To Your Enjoyable Timber Living,
Learn About Wood Species / Drying & Shrinkage!
This article will get into some of the best wood species to use for timber framing and discuss the pro's and con's of kiln-drying. This information is excellent to discover if you're considering building...although geographical differences may determine prices of timbers, if possible - get the best option there is!