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Advice needed re: removing whitewash on beams (or pickling?)

Advice needed re: removing whitewash on beams (or pickling?)


Old 10-30-08, 10:18 PM
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Advice needed re: removing whitewash on beams (or pickling?)

Help! We're in the home of our dreams, and someone made it the home of their dreams in the 80's...you know what that means....the beautiful large architectural beams appear to be whitewashed. The pretty grain does show through, I think it's fir. Someone suggested painting them white as we are remodeling; however I would love to see the wood grain in a natural color.
I've searched google and this website for how to remove; sanding, then staining with a poly stain? Someone mentioned Methyl Ethyl Ketone? Please anyone comment on your experience or advice would be much appreciated!
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Old 10-31-08, 04:33 AM
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Methyl Ethyl Ketone is a common ingredient in many solvent based paint & varnish removers. Some of these products remove stains as well as finish, some don't.

Working overhead with any kind of stripper is difficult at best and be quite frustrating.

Faced with the problem you outlined, I'd opt for sanding. If the beams are rough sawn (not planed smooth) you'll wind up changing the entire appearance of the beam, but sanding will be just about the only alternative I would consider.

It will be time consuming and tedious, and I wish you well.
Old 10-31-08, 05:22 AM
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I agree with George. MEK is a good solvent when needed but you REALLY don't want to use it in your home - it is strong!

Does the whitewash have any finish over it? like varnish/poly?
That would require more sanding and/or use of a paint stripper.

Sometimes you can get by with applying a tinted poly over the existing finish in order to alter it's appearance.
Old 11-18-08, 10:53 AM
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Sanding/ Poly stain is the answer

This website is great! Thanks to the replies (the moderator was one) I had on my whitewashed overhead beam predicament; the advice I received to sand/stain was perfect; they are becoming the "beams of my dreams!". Thank you !
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