I have an old house I will soon be dismantling and rebuilding. Prior
to reinstalling the floorboards and most of the other wood I will
reuse, I'd like to have the boards steam cleaned and fumigated to kill
any bugs that may be in the wood and remove old (probably lead based)
paint. Can anyone suggest a company that specializes in this. The
house is located in the Massachusetts Cape Cod area.
Thanks in advance for your suggestions.
Unless there's active sign of infestation, you're wasting your time
and money and it won't do any good about paint removal anyway. What
is the wood (species and type of material/dimensions, etc.)? How much
of it is there? How old is "old"? Is it of architectural or other
significance or "just a house"? Knowing some more might make for
other ideas of proceeding.
I've not done an entire house at a time, but have done multiple houses
(as in 25+ altogether) restorations in pre- and shortly post- (Civil)
war era houses in VA. Good quality finish lumber and trim was hand
stripped and sanded. Structural timbers and framing lumber were
either just used as is w/ minimal effort or, on occasion, as someone
else noted, cleaned up and run through planer to true it to consistent
DPB... thanks for the reply. Some answers to your questions:
The part of the house being "rebuilt" is circa 1750. I don't know the
of wood but the dimensions are 23 inches wide by 26 feet long
The wood has signs of powderpost beetles so I'd like to rid the wood
living bugs.The paint is probably lead based so I'd like it removed.
of companies that will take wood in bulk and treat it... i'm looking
for one of these
Not heard of that specialty. If it does show infestation signs,
that's a problem. That size and age, is most likely white pine and
valuable for salvage.
In that area, I'd look for the restoration folks and see what they can
lead you to. One way to treat the infestation would be to kiln steam/
dry it, certainly, but if it is finished already, that's pretty iffy.
For the paint on the surface, I think I'd try to find a commercial
millworks w/ a power thickness sander -- they could run it through en
masse, although they might have reservations if it were known to be
Again, while we did a lot of old houses, never tried to do it in the
manner you're thinking of and was long enough ago that the lead paint
scare wasn't such an issue. The thickness sander is a _very_ useful
The only thing even close to your scenario we used to do was stair
rails, newel posts, etc., we took to a refinisher who had a bulk dip
tank. But, w/ the new EPA rules, those have pretty much disappeared
-- I don't know what has replaced them, if anything, sorry.
Again, best idea I have is to start calling around to the preservation
society foks and look for the folks in your area who do that kind of
But are you seeing any signs of current activity? Unless so, it's
more than likely old damage and not active.
But, one other thought -- you might investigate the subject of "diy
kiln-drying". There's a significant amount of information available
that you could potentially build a small kiln of your own and do the
heat treatment although steaming gets to be a little complicated on
your own. AFAIK, it only takes something otoo 120F for 30-min or so
to kill virtually any of the types of beetle that could include the
powderpost or similar which leave such small exit holes as to be
misidentified as them. Steam itself isn't really mandatory, and as
noted, won't help w/ the paint removal problem, either.
I haven't done a search there, but I'd recommend looking at the US
Forestry Service web site and doing some searching there -- they're
the font of all wood-related knowledge.
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