How to breathe new life into old oak

One of the things that drew me to love The Barn almost from the moment I walked through the door is the amazing oak that makes up so much of the frame of the house. I’ve written before about the beautiful beams inside and while the weatherboarding outside is painted barn black in keeping with style of Essex Barns, in the extension there is a considerable amount of oak which has weathered over time to a dull silver grey. Some people will like this look but we wanted to restore the warmth – and ultimately the health – of the oak. So here’s how to breathe new life into old oak in three simple steps.

Pre-treatment weathered oak at The Essex Barn

Pre-treatment weathered oak at The Essex Barn

Pre-treatment weathered oak at The Essex Barn

Step #1 is to prepare the wood, sanding it down first with a coarse grade and then a finer grade of sandpaper back to the bare wood. This takes patience and elbow grease but as with so many decoration projects preparation is key. Our team from RE Butler & Son – who have been working with us on our renovation and remodelling – used a belt sander to start the process off because it’s much quicker for larger areas but still used sandpaper for a professional finish.

Prepare wood for treamtent

Use a belt sander for larger areas of weathered oak

Step #2 is to paint the oak with a UV Protection oil which protects against sun damage as well as fungus and mould. The team used an Osmo clear stain which has brought out the natural woodgrain and looks amazing.

Applying the oak treatment 2

Applying the oak treatment

UV protection oil for exterior wood

Step #3 is to make a note of when you did the work and schedule it in again! We love the warmth and detailing that this wood treatment has brought back to our oak and we’re determined to keep it in tip top condition. This means we’ll need to repeat the process every year – but it’s easy to forget to do it and if you leave it too long the preparation stage is much harder.

Post-treatment - beautiful woodgrain

Treated oak looks as good as new

Do you have any weathered wood that you’d like to restore? Would you tackle this kind of project yourself? If you’d like to keep this post for later why not pin it – here’s a pinnable image, just for you.

How to breathe new life into old oak pinnable image

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  1. Jenny August 26, 2015 at 12:00 pm Reply

    Ahh this looks amazing what a great transformation. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me. I hope to see you again soon. #sharewithme

    • Michelle Reeves (The Essex Barn) August 28, 2015 at 5:57 am Reply

      It really has made such a huge difference to the outside of the house – although not sure anyone would notice without the before and after shots!

  2. mummyofboygirltwins August 20, 2015 at 5:47 pm Reply

    So stunning. There really is nothing like wood like this – wow it looks incredible. Thanks SO much for linking up and sharing! Jess xxx


  3. Lisa@intotheglade August 19, 2015 at 8:55 pm Reply

    Oh wow! The difference this makes. It looks amazing x

  4. Catherine @pushingthemoon August 19, 2015 at 8:26 am Reply

    Oh, I can imagine doing this has really brought the exterior back to life! It looks beautiful – there’s nothing quite like oak, is there! Xxx #HomeEtc

    • Michelle Reeves (The Essex Barn) August 21, 2015 at 6:57 am Reply

      It really has Catherine – SO worth it and to be honest we would have had a harder job down the line if we hadn’t tackled this now. I love the warmth and texture that the treatment has brought out x

  5. Rebecca U August 14, 2015 at 9:28 am Reply

    Great tips. I haven’t felt brave enough to try anything like this yet – one day! #thelist

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