Preserving old barns


A friend has a farm with several old barns. He wants to preserve the barns in their natural "weathered gray" state. The barns are in otherwise excellent structural condition. Is there an applicable wood treatment that could be used that would not require power-washing or prepping the wood beforehand? Remember, he wants to keep the aged patina of the barns.
Rich
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I would think that doing nothing is the only way to ensure they continue to look the way they do now.
Next closes would be a colored stain. I'll bet somone even has a color called "Weathered Grey". Anything else is going to alter the color.
I would suspect that if they are old and in good condition then doing nothing may be OK. Make sure there is zero earth to wood contact and that all ground slopes away. Water will kill them. Ensure the roof doesn't leak. Those things will go a long way in preserving the structure.

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rich brenz wrote:

The various clear 'weather seal' products would do nothing or very little to alter the color and patina of the wood. However they also wold do very little to protect them and they only last six months or so in sunlight. I've soaked the outsid eof a building with waterseal and a year later the wood looked like it had not been treated with anything.
At one time here on the rec a recipe for making your own weather seal was posted. It was mineral spirits (paint thinner) mineral oil and parraffin, IIRC. Cheaper than buynig the stuff pre-made (maybe) and just as good.
I suppose thinned tung oil, might help a little. Tung oil is expensive, but a volume discount may be had by buying from the folks who supply it to print shops. If you buy a 55 gallon drum, the [price/gallonis not that bad.
Linseed oil would be cheaper and not as good for protection and it would blacken over time.
There used to be an outfit selling an oil finish called penofin, but they were quite honest about it not lasting in direct sunlight unless you bought a pigmented oil.
Perhaps your friend should consider that the barns were probably not weathered gray in the first place. Maybe a bit of restoration to their original (probable) rust red might be in order.
The most important thing, IMHO, is to keep a good roof on those barns. Otherwise rot wil take the structure no matter how pretty the siding looks.
--

FF


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On Thu, 28 Jul 2005 09:13:12 -0400, rich brenz

All old barns should be painted black with a Mail Pouch sign on at least one side ;-)
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On Thu, 28 Jul 2005 09:13:12 -0400, the opaque rich brenz

No, I don't believe there is any treatment which would leave the barns looking like they do and provide continued additional protection. All treatments require sanding and/or cleaning for them to adhere to good wood and require cleanup/retreating on a regular basis. They got to look the way they are by having no treatment and anything else would alter that appearance plus causing a lot of extra work to no avail.
Tell him to leave them alone. They'll live for a long time, just as they already have, as they are now.
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rich brenz wrote:

How old is "old" and how are they constructed and of what material? Where are they located (or, iow, what's the climate)?
Although that is interesting info and can help to assess how much longer they may last, but as others have noted, the two desires are pretty much mutually exclusive...you can have "patina" or you can protect the wood--you can't do much about both simultaneously.
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