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TudorCottage
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Joined: Mon 21st Feb, 2022 5:30 pm

New Member

Post by TudorCottage » Wed 23rd Feb, 2022 4:07 pm

Hello, new member to the forum

We’re due to exchange on a c1500 Thatched Cottage very soon :?

Having read through some of the on going projects on here I do feel somewhat of a fraud as the current owner of 20+ years really has made what appears to be a very comfy place to reside. Gas underfloor heating downstairs and radiators upstairs are just a couple of the modern improvements made. All in keeping with a cottage of this period and done with LBC :D

A 117 page document duly landed in my inbox after a full structural survey :shock:
But for a dwelling that was quite possibly built before the first Queen Elizabeth was on the throne the survey was far more positive than I’d expected.

The main area of concern was a couple of the timber frames showed surface decay and I was advised to seek specialist advice to ascertain the extent of the potential problems. This was duly carried out and it was determined that the rot is not extensive and a more than acceptable quote was obtained from a local company for the maintenance required. First hurdle cleared 8)

With spring fast approaching I’m keen to tackle the outside projects first. Starting with the timber frame. Reading through the threads on here I get the impression that Oak timber frames are best left to their own devices, but it’s plain to see over the years this frame has had it’s fair share of different coatings thrown at it. I couldn’t begin to tell you exactly what :!:

In terms of maintenance what would be the collectives advice be for some gentle maintenance?

1. Just a gentle brush over and perhaps a coat or 2 of Bedec Barn paint.
2. A chemical strip (too harsh on old Oak?) followed by Barn paint.
3. Firmer hand abrasion followed by Barn paint.
4. None of the above, just let it do it’s thing.

My other project for the summer are the window frames. Again in fairly tidy condition, which in my experience is the best time to do them. The current product seems to be sitting in the frame rather than on top of it, which I believe is a good thing.
The current colour (a shade of sky blue) is more than acceptable to my pallet and I believe means I don’t have to consult the officials for consent?

I like the look of Sikkens paints but not having a degree in bio-chemistry I found their website difficult to navigate the different products :oops:
Bedec MSP seems to get good reviews but I really fancy an oil paint for this project.

Any recommendations gratefully received.

I hope my ramblings haven’t sent you to sleep and I’m sure they’ll be more as different projects and problems present themselves.

Thanks.

Feltwell
Posts: 5909
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Location: Shropshire, England

Re: New Member

Post by Feltwell » Wed 23rd Feb, 2022 10:42 pm

Welcome!

I'll leave others with more relevant experience than myself to comment on the timber frame queries.

Window frames though - I wouldn't touch oil paints, they just don't last in my experience. I've had much better results with Bedec MSP, it's microporous and just seems to stick better and never blister or flake, unlike oil paints. But, being water based, you will get more brush marks than with oil based and the gloss won't be as glossy. I prefer satin anyway and am just careful to make sure the brush marks are well aligned with the timber.

As a plus it's much, much quicker to dry than oil based and it's just hot water needed to clean your brushes.

Others prefer oil for the finish it gives.

Bedec will mix bespoke colours for a price - give them a ring, they're a small firm and are very helpful.

TudorCottage
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon 21st Feb, 2022 5:30 pm

Re: New Member

Post by TudorCottage » Thu 24th Feb, 2022 6:24 am

Thanks for the input on Bedec msp.
Water based paints are very tempting for the ease of cleaning.

Also, the trouble with the ‘bespoke’ smaller companies who tend to specialise in the oil paints, it can be an expensive mistake if the colour turns out to be a completely different shade than you expected. Smaller sizes or test pots seem hard to find. Maybe they can do this if you speak to them directly.

Cubist
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Location: Shropshire/Herefordshire Border

Re: New Member

Post by Cubist » Thu 24th Feb, 2022 12:50 pm

Hi There and Welcome,

Seems we have similar properties. Fircrofts foundations - foundations, what foundations :?: - were set sometime in the mid 16thC and has been variously cared for and abused since then. Fortunately, none of that abuse extended to the oak frame being painted. However, at one point, and Lord knows for how long, it was buried - roof and all to the ground - under a sheathe of corrugated iron that had in turn been painted black and white to emulate that rather peculiar cottage style sterotype :(

From the above you may have already gleaned that I am no fan of painted oak frames and indeed Fircroft has escaped that travesty - at least so far and certainly not while I'm still breathing. Clearly therefore I cannot claim any particular knowledge or expertise regarding the various products you are considering as, bluntly, I have shunned any consideration of them. The conclusion that Fircrofts frame retains it 'natural' timber appearance would be correct and, other than a thinned coat of Linseed Oil, it otherwise remains 'untouched' since the timbers were first cut when QE1 was on the throne - other than, that is, by the clot that hammered nails through the corrugated iron to attach it to the house :(

Ok, rant over, for now at least.

From your introduction I have concluded that the frame of your new home has already been visited by the paint vandals and your intention at present is merely to spruce up a perhaps tired appearance? If so, I would suggest that you take a long hard look at that idea before committing as you may be adding to damage already done in the past - and well hidden by the perhaps many coats of whatever it has been painted with over the years - and exacerbating it into the future. At this very early stage in your stewardship of your new home I would strongly recommend that you confine your activities to investigations concerning the condition of the timbers under the paint to determine whether there is any evidence of damage, particularly at the joints between the timbers. Also, you would be wise to carefully examine the seams where the infill panels meet the frame - more horror stories can be found there than in the entire Hammer catalogue - as I know to my cost.

I could go on..and on..and on... but don't let me damp your enthusiasm. Oak timber frame houses, no matter where they may individually sit on the spectrum of Crude, like Fircroft, to Fine - as those terms are often applied by COs and other aficionados - are wonderful in my opinion and worth every bean and effort we put into them.

Good luck and Enjoy - there will be sweat, tears and blood but you would not miss it for the world - I don't/won't.

Feltwell
Posts: 5909
Joined: Sun 18th May, 2008 7:28 pm
Location: Shropshire, England

Re: New Member

Post by Feltwell » Thu 24th Feb, 2022 2:01 pm

TudorCottage wrote:
Thu 24th Feb, 2022 6:24 am
Thanks for the input on Bedec msp.
Water based paints are very tempting for the ease of cleaning.

Also, the trouble with the ‘bespoke’ smaller companies who tend to specialise in the oil paints, it can be an expensive mistake if the colour turns out to be a completely different shade than you expected. Smaller sizes or test pots seem hard to find. Maybe they can do this if you speak to them directly.
I've got a Dulux trade colour fan deck and it contains every colour you'd ever need - smaller paint companies will match to their references I've found. You can get them on Ebay for about £20 - this one looks to be similar to my much older one:-

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/373938162511 ... Swawxhuvbg

Or, if you can scrounge a RAL, Pantone or BS colour set from somewhere they will all work to those.

TudorCottage
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon 21st Feb, 2022 5:30 pm

Re: New Member

Post by TudorCottage » Thu 24th Feb, 2022 3:20 pm

Thank you Cubist for your honest appraisal of how we should treat our timber frames.

Unfortunately I’m too late to save the frames of our new home, so I’m looking at ways that might help them moving forward.
I’m more interested in how to attack the coatings already applied rather than perhaps the addition of new products. I want to treat them gently but not sure that will achieve the desired effect. I’m not even sure what desired effect I’m trying to achieve :oops:

Thanks Feltwell for the link and correspondence will ensue with the various paint suppliers to see who wants to help the most.

LadyArowana
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Joined: Sat 17th Oct, 2009 1:58 pm

Re: New Member

Post by LadyArowana » Thu 24th Feb, 2022 9:50 pm

TudorCottage wrote:
Thu 24th Feb, 2022 6:24 am
Thanks for the input on Bedec msp.
Water based paints are very tempting for the ease of cleaning.

Also, the trouble with the ‘bespoke’ smaller companies who tend to specialise in the oil paints, it can be an expensive mistake if the colour turns out to be a completely different shade than you expected. Smaller sizes or test pots seem hard to find. Maybe they can do this if you speak to them directly.
I second Feltwell’s comment about the fandeck ( I have the Dulux one too ) but sometimes they cannot mix sample pot size in a colour because the machines don’t dispense tint in a small enough quantity to downsize all the relevant ingredients.

Kearn
Posts: 397
Joined: Fri 4th Dec, 2015 11:48 am
Location: Sonning, Berkshire

Re: New Member

Post by Kearn » Thu 24th Feb, 2022 11:04 pm

You don’t say what the current coating on the frame, if any, is…?
Regardless, oak needs to see the light, it silvers beautifully over the years and doesn’t need defending from the elements, as you’ll find out over 400+ odd years it’s seriously solid stuff. Until…. Water gets in and sits against it for a relatively short period. You can limewash oak once cleaned up also.

First port of call, get anything modern and mucky away - you’ll undoubtedly have foreign modern stuff hidden to fill gaps in the wood and painted over to give the appearance of a frame. Pull off modern cement render and whatever else you find and dig away with a screwdriver into the wood to see how big the issue is. You’ll smell soggy oak quickly, but it begins to dry remarkably quickly.

Don’t panic if there’s no longer a sole plate, it takes most of the beating. Ours has been missing for centuries, replaced with bricks, and the bottom couple of foot of each post at the front was floating in the air, but the brick infills were helping here!

Strip the building back as best you can, see what you’re dealing with and then get some framers round if needed, to assess. And expect to wait months for a visit and potentially years for a start date… it’s a crazy market right now.

The first stage is pretty simple, manual work but hugely rewarding! Fingers crossed there aren’t too many nasty surprises….

Any pics?

TudorCottage
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon 21st Feb, 2022 5:30 pm

Re: New Member

Post by TudorCottage » Fri 25th Feb, 2022 8:18 am

I’m not really sure what the current coatings are, guessing I would say some kind of wood stain/paint?

I’ve had a timber frame specialist take a look and they’ve assessed what they need to do, luckily at this stage it’s not too extensive. The main area of concern is one end of the cottage, it sits in shade for much longer than than the rest so has much less sunshine to aid the drying process. The sole plate seems to sit above the ground around the cottage, also the Thatched Roof has a large overhang so rain water seems to fall a few feet away from the building on to shingle. All things which I assume will minimise the effect of damp to the sole plate.

I was lucky enough to be present when the survey was carried out. The internal side of the timbers remain untouched and are as solid as rock.

It looks like a finger tip approach is required to try and remove as much product from the external timbers as possible and go from there. Fingers crossed for a long hot summer.

We’ve still to dot the i’s and cross the T’s so pictures will follow ASAP.

Feltwell
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Joined: Sun 18th May, 2008 7:28 pm
Location: Shropshire, England

Re: New Member

Post by Feltwell » Fri 25th Feb, 2022 9:20 am

LadyArowana wrote:
Thu 24th Feb, 2022 9:50 pm
I second Feltwell’s comment about the fandeck ( I have the Dulux one too ) but sometimes they cannot mix sample pot size in a colour because the machines don’t dispense tint in a small enough quantity to downsize all the relevant ingredients.
Absolutely. Let alone tester pots, I often find products aren't even available in 1ltr tins, 2.5ltr is the minimum. Though that's more to do with them stocking the appropriate base tin than the tinting I suspect.

For Bedec specifically, if I remember rightly they will do custom colours but there is a minimum order quantity.

Cubist
Posts: 381
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Location: Shropshire/Herefordshire Border

Re: New Member

Post by Cubist » Sat 26th Feb, 2022 12:59 pm

TudorCottage wrote:
Fri 25th Feb, 2022 8:18 am
I’m not really sure what the current coatings are, guessing I would say some kind of wood stain/paint?
There is an easy way to find out if its paint or stain. Locate an unobtrusive spot and literally 'pick' at the surface with a small sharp tool to remove a small area of the coating say about one centimetre square. If the coating lifts off an small pieces leaving naturally coloured wood beneath, or what appears to be an undercoat, its probably paint. If it does not lift off in pieces or strips and a natural wood colour does not quickly emerge it is almost certainly a stain.

The principle difference is that paint lies on the surface of the timber whilst stains typically use a transport medium to carry colourings into the wood. Be ware though that some stains include components that also produce a coating which can behave very like a paint to produce a weatherproof barrier. If a stain has been used that has a very high penetration performance, you are unlikely to ever be able to remove it without extensive surface damage to the timbers, as the softer fibres of the wood will have absorbed more of the colouring agents. However, such stains will probably not have a long term detrimental affect on timber as they are less likely to significantly inhibit the timbers ability to breathe.

Heres the gotcha though - if its paint or a stain that creates an impermeable weather barrier then, in my opinion, theres no alternative but to strip it all off. There is another test I think you may be able to use which depends on having had a few days of dry weather. After such, if you were to use one of those gardeners water misters to spray a small area of the frame and observe whether the water beads on the surface. If it does, and remains for a few moments in beaded form or runs together its a weatherproof coating. If not then its likely to be breathable as the water is being absorbed into the wood.
Last edited by Cubist on Sat 26th Feb, 2022 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Cubist
Posts: 381
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Location: Shropshire/Herefordshire Border

Re: New Member

Post by Cubist » Sat 26th Feb, 2022 1:04 pm

I forgot to mention - avoid knots in the wood when conducting those tests. Next nothing but dynamite gets into them :shock:

TudorCottage
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon 21st Feb, 2022 5:30 pm

Re: New Member

Post by TudorCottage » Sat 26th Feb, 2022 3:02 pm

Thank you Cubist for the advice. Hopefully with the better weather on the way I’ll have plenty of opportunities to investigate and formulate a plan.

I’m hoping the motivation of a new home will make the project less arduous.
But reading the pages on here, when living in houses of this age the motivation and enthusiasm needs to be long lasting :?

TudorCottage
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon 21st Feb, 2022 5:30 pm

Re: New Member

Post by TudorCottage » Fri 13th May, 2022 5:00 pm

https://ibb.co/ZGgVg56

After 6 months of our offer being accepted, we’ve finally moved into our new home :D

So far so good. The previous owner has to take credit for making the experience of moving into a c1500 property much nicer than one would expect.

TudorCottage
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon 21st Feb, 2022 5:30 pm

Re: New Member

Post by TudorCottage » Fri 13th May, 2022 5:02 pm

That hasn’t quite worked out as I’d expected, but you can enlarge it to see the full view.

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