Damaged oak beam repair or covering

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danjennings1958
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon 14th Sep, 2020 10:32 am

Damaged oak beam repair or covering

Post by danjennings1958 » Tue 1st Mar, 2022 11:53 am

I have a central support beam that after cleaning with soda blasting has revealed badly damaged areas that i really need to cover. theres no rot, just looks ugly and im looking for ideas to best cover.
I though plastering of some sort in between, but it was suggested plaster might not stick unless i wire over it, to give the plaster something to stick to, Which seems an awful lot of trouble for such small areas.
Also was suggested small cuts of plasterboard butt these would need to be bevelled at the bottom where the cross beams meet the main central beam.
Ive enclosed a picture of one of the areas that needs attention and another picture of part of the same room, which id like it to look like.
any advise would be appreciated.

thanks

Dan
Attachments
beam to be filled small.jpg
beam to be filled small.jpg (51.77 KiB) Viewed 820 times
beam filled small.jpg
beam filled small.jpg (57.55 KiB) Viewed 820 times

88v8
Posts: 2937
Joined: Wed 15th Jun, 2011 7:01 pm
Location: Glorious Gloucs

Re: Damaged oak beam repair or covering

Post by 88v8 » Sun 6th Mar, 2022 10:18 am

Hmmm.
If you think of this as 'damage' your eyes would pop out at some of the beams in our cottage.
I think this is what we call 'patina'.
One should refrain from sanitising an old house.
Trying to make it like a new house.
It looks fine to me.
You'll get used to it.

Just my opinion.

Ivor

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

Re: Damaged oak beam repair or covering

Post by Kearn » Wed 9th Mar, 2022 12:01 am

Unfortunately, that’s what blasting does to ancient nibbled timber…

Personally, I don’t see anything here to hide. I would certainly be in the camp of tidy and leave. It’s highly likely to look far more out of place by adding awkward sections of unintended plaster in.

What’s interesting is that you say this is the same room… yet the joists don’t match. so either some floor joists have been replaced, or later chamfers and stops have been added in only some areas.

alternatively, if the room may have at one time been partitioned, with the straight joists being the service end.
these were never intended to be exposed at all. Those with the chamfers and curved step stops were intended to be seen.

danjennings1958
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon 14th Sep, 2020 10:32 am

Re: Damaged oak beam repair or covering

Post by danjennings1958 » Wed 9th Mar, 2022 9:45 am

thanks for the reply.

It wasnt the blasting that did that, it was covered with some kind of filler from many years ago and it flaked off as the soda blast hit it, its old damage that was attempted to be repaired before - I suppose in some ways im trying to do the same.
i posted a picture of the best, theres a lot worse with large gaps for rubbish, debris and dust to fall from above, which i must cover as its just unpleasant, especially as wife really suffers from dust.
these old houses throw up all kinds of mysteries, so can only guess whats happened before, but we try and make it good, for the next person who wants to change it!

Cubist
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Joined: Thu 24th May, 2018 3:53 pm
Location: Shropshire/Herefordshire Border

Re: Damaged oak beam repair or covering

Post by Cubist » Wed 9th Mar, 2022 12:52 pm

danjennings1958 wrote:
Wed 9th Mar, 2022 9:45 am
thanks for the reply.

It wasnt the blasting that did that, it was covered with some kind of filler from many years ago and it flaked off as the soda blast hit it, its old damage that was attempted to be repaired before - I suppose in some ways im trying to do the same.
i posted a picture of the best, theres a lot worse with large gaps for rubbish, debris and dust to fall from above, which i must cover as its just unpleasant, especially as wife really suffers from dust.
these old houses throw up all kinds of mysteries, so can only guess whats happened before, but we try and make it good, for the next person who wants to change it!
We had/have the same issue. There were, and to some extent still are, any number of little gaps and crevices between the timber joints and interfaces between the timbers and the plaster work. Its inevitable given that the timbers will move as they respond to atmospheric conditions inside the property. Unfortunately the first approach, to fill the gaps with more plaster, seldom works for long as the new material soon succumbs to the same problem.

Here at Fircroft though we have achieved some success by packing the gaps and crevices with Caulking Cotton, multiple strands of which can be twisted together to form a thicker rope, for the wider gaps, before pushing it into place. The cotton has the benefit of being able to move with the timbers and, if packed tightly enough will not come out. Painting the outermost surface of the cotton with an emulsion of a colour (milk chocolate brown in our case) helps to deceive the eye and prevent the accumulation of dust. This method can also help to deprive many of those wee many legged beasties of their hiding places.

danjennings1958
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon 14th Sep, 2020 10:32 am

Re: Damaged oak beam repair or covering

Post by danjennings1958 » Thu 10th Mar, 2022 8:52 am

hi cubist.

thanks for getting in touch, thats an interesting solution. I googled, as one does, caulking cotton and see its a chandlery supply, used is boats/ships, is that correct. If so ive actually used it before many many years ago on an old barge conversion that i was involved with as a school project, pushing caulking between the gaps on the hull of an old essex barge.
How does one paint it, as we have quite large areas to go over ( appx 25 x 15 cms ) or is this just a solution for the gaps?

Thanks

Kearn
Posts: 399
Joined: Fri 4th Dec, 2015 11:48 am
Location: Sonning, Berkshire

Re: Damaged oak beam repair or covering

Post by Kearn » Thu 10th Mar, 2022 10:03 am

Ah, the oakum is really great for thin long gaps or small areas where it can be twisted tightly and pushed in to expand into the space. It’s often used in the gaps between frame and lime panels for example.

If you’re really set on covering flat areas, of timber - one option we used for an awkward ceiling run between joists was Savolit wood wool board - as I needed to sit a few inches proud of the floor boards at one end so laths were too tricky. You can cut it to shape, then plaster straight onto it. Just remember we stainless fixings only.

danjennings1958
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon 14th Sep, 2020 10:32 am

Re: Damaged oak beam repair or covering

Post by danjennings1958 » Thu 10th Mar, 2022 11:42 am

Great thanks for the suggestion, ill look up the product and see if it suits.
Much appreciated.

Cubist
Posts: 389
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Location: Shropshire/Herefordshire Border

Re: Damaged oak beam repair or covering

Post by Cubist » Thu 10th Mar, 2022 11:54 am

danjennings1958 wrote:
Thu 10th Mar, 2022 8:52 am
hi cubist.

thanks for getting in touch, thats an interesting solution. I googled, as one does, caulking cotton and see its a chandlery supply, used is boats/ships, is that correct. If so ive actually used it before many many years ago on an old barge conversion that i was involved with as a school project, pushing caulking between the gaps on the hull of an old essex barge.
How does one paint it, as we have quite large areas to go over ( appx 25 x 15 cms ) or is this just a solution for the gaps?

Thanks
Hi Dan,
Thats the stuff and yes its really for the seams/joints between the timbers. Oakum, as Kearn suggests, can be used in the same way and will produce the same result. BUT - Oakum is typically made of a hemp strand/matting soaked in Stockholm Tar, a very thin oil, that when pressed or hammered into a gap will 'bleed' into the surrounding timbers producing darker/discoloured patches. These can only be rectified by applying a coat of oil to all the surrounding wood, so not really a good idea unless you intend 'oiling' all the timbers.

Also, Oakum would, I think, reject any attempt to paint its outer/exposed surface while Caulking Cotton will happily absorb almost any kind of paint.

Caulking Cotton is not a viable solution for 'area coverage' as you describe/need and I'm beginning to question my understanding of what you are trying to achieve. Referring back to your first photo are you wanting to produce a plastered finish as per that seen in the second photo or do you merely want to close all the apps and crevices that have opened up around the top edge and sides of the beam?

Cheers, Cubist

danjennings1958
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon 14th Sep, 2020 10:32 am

Re: Damaged oak beam repair or covering

Post by danjennings1958 » Thu 10th Mar, 2022 1:58 pm

Hi Cubist

Its a little of both, there are some gaps toward the top area that im trying to improve, so overall a board material of some sort.

Ive had a suggestion that screwing pieces of 6mm plasterboard in the area and tapering the bottom part as best i can to give it a rounded/tapered edge, filling the screw holes, then painting may achieve the effect im after an close all the gaps both small and large.
I will take a few more pictures of the worse areas and post them next week.
Appreciate your responses, its good to have sound advice to use, rather than 2nd guess my way through things.
thanks

Cubist
Posts: 389
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Location: Shropshire/Herefordshire Border

Re: Damaged oak beam repair or covering

Post by Cubist » Fri 11th Mar, 2022 2:04 pm

Hey Dan,

I've been quite reluctant to offer the following suggestion as it goes against the grain of the purist/pedant in me and I'm sure that many other contributors would find the idea nothing short of vandalism, but...

On a few occasions I have been presented with similar needs to fill largish gaps, particularly around the edges of old plasterwork, where some alternate approach has been needed to solve the problem effectively. On such occasions I have resorted to a 'bodge' of which I am only a trifle ashamed. Said bodge consists of firmly pushing scrunched up balls/twisted layers of galvanised chicken wire into the gap which anchors itself by means of pressure on the surrounding woodwork or, if access permits, a couple of screws/pins. The 'netting' structure of the chicken wire then forms an armature into and around which a lime plaster mix can be injected with a suitable caulking gun. While curing the plaster can be shaped with an appropriate spatula to produce the desired gap closure and finish.

I won't tell you how many such crimes I have committed - I'm leaving them for the disgust and disparagement of future stewards who may be of similar mind to myself :evil:

88v8
Posts: 2937
Joined: Wed 15th Jun, 2011 7:01 pm
Location: Glorious Gloucs

Re: Damaged oak beam repair or covering

Post by 88v8 » Sun 27th Mar, 2022 10:07 am

Cubist wrote:
Fri 11th Mar, 2022 2:04 pm
...scrunched up balls/twisted layers of galvanised chicken wire ...
I did something similar when making the verge of our garage. It provides a very good matrix that resists cracking.
But I'll see your galvanised and raise you stainless https://www.meshdirect.co.uk/wire-mesh- ... ess-steel/

Ivor

CliffordPope
Posts: 731
Joined: Tue 16th Nov, 2010 2:57 pm

Re: Damaged oak beam repair or covering

Post by CliffordPope » Mon 28th Mar, 2022 6:19 pm

I've used that method for repairs to structural parts of old cars. Something to stop the body filler going too far. :oops:

(Not recently you understand)

philpjuk100
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Joined: Fri 27th Mar, 2009 9:35 pm
Location: newark nottinghamshire

Re: Damaged oak beam repair or covering

Post by philpjuk100 » Sun 3rd Apr, 2022 12:58 pm

Some of the longitudinal cracks in our timber frame seem to have been filled with decorators filler (polyfiller) and then stained. The ones that have been left open have all sorts of "goodies" forced into them, we have found coins, medals, rings, pipe tampers, etc stuffed into them. Everything we have found has been returned to where it came from. Only yesterday my son shut the door of the downstairs "loo" and a shop token fell on the floor, previously undiscovered by us and we have now been here over thirteen years, so I need to get in there with a torch to see what else I can find.

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