4 min read

Treat your timber with the best care

Posted in: Ideas and Advice
5 October 2022

As a natural material, timber will react to its environment, expanding and contracting as temperatures change and absorbing and releasing moisture when wet. Is your timber exposed to the wind and rain? Is it being walked on with dirty shoes or high heels? With the proper care and maintenance, your woodwork will last and last, looking as fantastic as the day you bought it.

Preparing Your Timber

Before applying finishing treatments, you’ll need to prepare your wood to get it ready to take the product smoothly and evenly. If you’re reapplying on top of an existing treatment, preparing your timber will remove any build-up or greasy residue that may have accumulated over time, giving you a cleaner result. Preparation will look different depending on the product in question – a power washer may be required for a fence where a microfibre cloth may be all indoor furniture needs.

Carefully clean away any surface dirt as it develops. Gentle soap and warm water can often be used in the case of food and drink spills but be wary of using harsh cleaning chemicals. Wood bleacher is a useful alternative for stubborn stains. If your timber has become damaged or cracked over time, consider using wood filler to patch these areas. Filler is available in a range of finishes and once sanded will blend seamlessly into the grain.

Sanding wood with abrasives will plane away defects in the surface, removing shallow scratches and dents. Be sure to sand in the direction of the grain and select the correct coarseness (or grit) of your abrasive of choice for the kind of wood that you’re handling. For tough jobs such as removing existing paint, think coarse. For the final step before varnish, a fine grit should suffice. There are several options for sanding, from traditional sanding paper sheets to wire wool or electronic sanders. Some treatments such as those from Osmo can be reapplied without sanding, so it’s worth checking the product you’re using for best practice.

Enhancing Your Timber

As timber experts, we’re always happy to shout about wood’s natural beauty. But that’s not to say that it shouldn’t be maintained or even enhanced with the right product. From varnishes and paints to stains and oils, the location of your timber and associated environmental factors will largely dictate its care.

If your wood is exposed to the elements, you may think wind and rain are your primary concerns. However, you shouldn’t ignore the impact of the sun. We carefully protect ourselves from UV rays to help minimise sun damage to our skin, but what about our decks, fences and sheds? Prolonged UV rays will stain timber, turning the colour a silvery grey. For some, this effect is desired, and many cladding projects are designed with UV exposure in mind for a modern finish. But for many, the change in colour is unwanted. Use a standalone UV protector or a stain with UV protection built in to protect your wood from the sun.

There are few interior features more luxurious than wood flooring, but shoes, pets and furniture all take their toll and over time scratches and stains can start to detract from the look. Varnishes and oils create an invisible barrier (although it can add a light shine and richness to the wood) to help protect your wood from damage.

Timber’s absorbency makes oil treatments an ideal way to enrich and enhance the appearance and lifespan of your wood products. Application is easy, and once the wood is no longer able to take on any more oil into its grain, water will begin to bead on the surface, rather than being absorbed, making oils ideal for worktops or garden furniture.

In many cases, protection and preparation are the key to long-lasting healthy timber. It’s far easier to maintain simple upkeep (often, you’ll be able to leave your wood alone with only minimal cleaning for years between treatments) than to fix damage and decay. If you’re planning a timber project, do your wood justice and don’t forget woodcare.

Browse our Woodcare solutions range here.

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