Many an old English home is filled with glorious characterful beams, but this also means that, for rejuvinating an old property, beam restoration is often top of the to-do list. We have spoken to A T Palmer Ltd, specialists in period restoration, to find out how it all works. 

What issues can crop up when dealing with ageing wooden beams?  

Many of the oak timbers and beams we work on show signs of decay or historic beetle or worm infestation. In the first instance we endeavour to locate and understand the cause of the rot before deciding on how best to repair them. For external timbers causes can be as simple as faulty rainwater goods, vegetation, defective plaster panels, damaged tiling etc. 

What can you do to restore them to their former glory?  

Larger structural beams are often only affected aesthetically, having just a thin layer of easily crumbled material that has no detrimental impact on the strength of the beam. This is generally removed with hand tools to reduce any further damage to the timber. Inevitably, some beams are weakened past the point of being salvageable. In this instance we select size matched air-dried oak and carry out an appropriate splice repair depending on the location and size of the defective timber. Unfortunately, it is not always viable to repair existing timbers, in this instance we will locally source air-dried oak to match and replace the entire timber. 

Can you tell us about an interesting project you’ve worked on recently?

Before our client bought the below property, the house had been left unoccupied for some time and suffered the consequences of neglect. The remit for the project was to sympathetically refurbish the existing structure using traditional methods and materials.

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