How to restore / refresh redwood paneling interior?

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frankflynn

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We have a 1920's cabin. The original walls are redwood paneling - that is planks of redwood, milled (smooth), but with no other finishes that I can tell - perhaps some oil was applied years ago but nothing that you can see now. We'd like to refresh it.

I've included a few photos showing some of the challenges especially in hight traffic areas. Has anyone done a project like this or know of articles on how to proceed? So far the advice I've found is damp wash it with something like Murphy's Oil Soap, light sand where it needs it and then coat it with Boiled Linseed Oil or Tung Oil - Poly Urethane or varnish being other options but I'd rather the oils since they seem easier to spot treat an area later if needed.

Redwood Walls - 1.jpg Redwood Walls - 2.jpg Redwood Walls - 3.jpg Redwood Walls - 4.jpg
 

bud16415

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It will soak up a lot of oil.


I am cautious with organic products like linseed oil etc. I have used it all my life and it is a great product both boiled and raw. Boiled tends to dry better. I have seen people use it on decks and such and being organic it turned blackish over time.


My dad built our family home in the 50’s and all the siding was redwood. He wanted a natural look and used a Behr oil based stain that was almost clear. It was very simple to paint on, and soaked in and left a beautiful wood look with a luster. We did it about every 5 years.


These products now are water based and work a little different. I would buy a couple redwood planks or siding and take it to a few paint stores and have them experiment while you watch. You can then have an idea of coverage and also how it will look.


My personal tastes like it raw like it is. Very beautiful.
 

oldognewtrick

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I agree with Bud, if it was mine, I'd wash it with Murphy's as you described, let it dry and see if I could live with that. After close to 100 years, I'd hate to ruin the pitina of the natural wood. Just my 2 cents...
 

frankflynn

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Actually I also like the idea of leaving it natural - and dislike the idea of having to recoat every few years (although inside it might not be that often). But my fear is that I wash it and it looks good except for the areas where there are scratches or gouges (the last photo showed one) - so I sand that the minimum so the wood looks good but now that area is lighter (looking like virgin redwood). My thought was the oil would help it to blend in.

But I do take your points - untreated has worked for 100 years lets see if we can keep that going. So the plan is dust and then wash the walls - not too much water. Dry them, light sand where needed (perhaps a test area first) and see how bad it is (how different it looks from the untouched walls). It may also be that if the light sanding does lighten an area I can feather that out a bit and then let time work to have the wood naturally age to match. I'm not really sure how well that would work but these are the first steps I'd have to take anyway, even if I wind up oiling, staining, or worse.

Thanks for your thought, I will post more as I progress.
 
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