18th Aug 2021

Restoring period properties requires the use of specialist knowledge and high-quality equipment. Hamilton Decorating Tools are specially designed for the professional and are ideal for such properties by providing the authenticity that every professional painter looks for. They are especially helpful when it comes to restoring wood panelling.
painting period panelling

Period panelling is a ubiquitous feature for Georgian and Victorian houses and well done, adds character and charm. Sadly, it is the most affected part of any old period property. Experts advise on painting previously exposed wood panelling while others recommend installing new panelling. The guide shows how to restore panelling without altering the original style used in period homes.

Identify Areas that Need Painting

The most effective method of restoring period panelling is to avoid altering healthy areas and focus on repairing or replacing broken panels first. Professionals can quickly identify such areas and purchase materials that match the period panels and mouldings. They will also mix up different stains and finishing products to match the existing panelling.

Prep the Wood Panelling for Painting

Clean the wood panelling using methylated spirits to rid of the dated, tired look. Be sure to work the spirit in the direction of the grain and get into the mouldings and corners. Also, remove dirt and old waxes that may be on the panelling by using relevant surface cleaners. However, you should ensure that the original colour remains. The most critical aspect of wood panelling for period properties is maintaining its authenticity. Here are more tips to help you when prepping the wood for painting:

• Consider engaging an expert. This is because if done incorrectly, the new panels may move in a different way to the old wood, creating large gaps on the panelling.

• The expert should be well-versed in matching the woods, i.e., according to their behavioural characteristics, colour and finish. You can ask to see samples of finished timber that the expert intends to use and compare to your wood panelling before you start the project.

• Ensure the reproduction of the carvings, architraves and wooden mouldings is done manually. This is because modern machines may create awkward corners where carvings do not meet appropriately.

Paint the Old Panelling 

If you are painting the wood panelling without professional help, you should perform a thorough research of the period of the property so as to choose suitable colours. Period properties have a broad breadth and depth of colours, which can be overwhelming to choose. You should consider engaging a colour specialist in advising you on the most appropriate shade for the wood panelling.

Creating the Perfect Finish 

The key is to pay attention to detail to restore the original glow of the period wood panelling. Period finishing experts who start off the restoration process by altering the chemical structure of the wood panelling using ammonium hydroxide have an easier time creating the perfect finish. This is because the ammonium reacts with the tannins in the wood, darkening it and removing the grain pattern to unveil the original colour of the panelling. A variety of materials, including pumice and lime, are then introduced to create the perfect surface for applying finish.

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