How to lighten dark stained wood beams in 2021

How to lighten dark stained wood beams

How to lighten dark stained wood beams? Wood is a very useful and versatile material that is commonly used in building homes. It can also be used to make your furniture, dining tables, and chairs and even be an excellent material as supportive frames for your home.

It’s very easy to forget about your support beams when you have so many things to things to take care of every day. When you neglect your wooden beams, they lose their luster. Although keeping them in pristine condition is not an easy task, there are products, depending on the type of wood you have in your home, you can use to clean and restore the wooden beams to restore their shine.

What causes wooden beams to age?

Wood is organic matter and like all organic matter, it ages with time and can be caused by both natural and artificial substances. Naturally, wood can be destroyed by severe rain or snow which can cause mold to grow, artificially, the humidity inside your home and various spills can have the same effect. Termites also eat the wood beams from within. Wooden beams can also age from using the wrong cleaning products that contain harsh chemicals like chlorine that damages the integrity of the wood, its strength, and causes it to deteriorate.

Different types of wood for wooden beams

There are different types of wood that are used for the construction of wooden beams. You should consider the décor and purpose of the support beams when selecting the right type of wood for your home.

Douglas fir

This is an excellent wood for beam frames and highly finished posts because of its beautiful grain and strength. It has a color range from light red to pale yellow. This wood doesn’t have heart centers that are found in other types of wood which makes it less prone to checking and is more stable.


This is a very strong wood that has a long grain and very economical wood for building country homes and barns. It’s resistant to rotting and it can give a rustic look to a beam and post frame.

White pine

This is a very stable wood with a good straight grain that planes well and can be easily stained. It has a pale yellow with occasional reddish streaks, but it’s not as strong as fir and hemlock so it’s not the best wood for long spans.


This is a very strong and beautiful hardwood, but not as stable as softwoods because they tend to twist and check more. However oak beams are the strongest of all wooden beams and are widely used.


This wood has a distinct look and smell when cut and is moderately strong, hard, and stable and resistant to decay which makes it great for both indoor and outdoor use. The wood has natural preservative oils that increase its lifespan.

How to lighten dark stained wood beams

When a wood stain is too dark it changes the appearance of your furniture and the entire room. However, there are simple ways you can lighten the color of your stain to a color you’ll be happy with.

Diluting stain before application

  • Use natural wood stain which is a transparent medium with the same base as the stain that you can mix with a standard stain to give it a lighter and thinner color. Check the stain to see if it’s water or oil-based so that you’ll know the type of natural stain to buy, get equal amounts for both.
  • Combine equal amounts of the natural wood stain and stain you want to lighten. Stir the mix thoroughly so that it doesn’t appear spotty.
  • To see the color, spread the stain using a brush on a scrap piece of wood that’s the same type of wood you plan on staining later. Use a shop cloth to rub it into the wood. Wipe any excess stain off and check the color of the stain and compare it with your natural wood to see if you like it. When you first stain the wood, the color may be different than when it dries completely so let it seat overnight so that you can see the actual color of the wood when it’s dry.
  • If you want the color to be lighter, you can mix in more natural stain and use your stir stick to ensure its thoroughly mixed. Test the color of the stain again on a scrap piece of wood until you get the light stain color you want.

How to lighten oak beams

  • Avoid using wire brushing or sandblasting on oak beams as it will give it an unpleasant finish.
  • Test the ESP undercoat and casein distemper on a discreet part of the oak beam since you don’t know the type of finishes that have been applied on the oak beams in the past and if they leach into the distemper.
  • Use a scraper to remove all flaking or loose paint. To make cleaning up easier hold a dustpan with your other hand as you scrap off. Use a ladder to give you a comfortable height as you work.
  • Scrub the dirt and grime on the beams using hot water, sugar soap, and a bristle scrubbing brush. Use a green kitchen scorer to rub the gloss paint or varnish on the beams to create a roughened surface for the distemper coating.
  • Use clean cloths and hot water to rinse off. Use an old t-shirt to soak up excess surface water to help reduce the drying time or open the doors and windows to dry naturally.
  • After the wood is completely dry, use a brush or cloth to apply ESP to create a barrier between the old and new finishing and allow the distemper to bond and prevent stain migration from the old application.
  • Dilute the casein distemper with water by 10% then stir well before use and stir occasionally during use.
  • Apply several coats of the distemper, at least 2 coats but not too thickly as the paint will sag and crack once it dries. Allow the first coat to dry for 2 hours then apply the second coat, but don’t use the distemper if the temperatures are below 10 degrees or above 30 degrees.

Tools you need to lighten dark stained wood beams

Product Description
Red Devil 4205 2" Stiff Putty Knife
Red Devil 4205 2" Stiff Putty Knife
  • Putty knife
  • Shatterproof polypropylene handles
  • High carbon steel blades
  • Solvent-resistant handle
  • Rust-resistant steel blade
Cosco Three Big Folding Step Stool
Cosco 11408PBL1E Three Big Folding Step Stool with Rubber Hand Grip, Platinum
  • Large platform steps with wavy tread. Height is 45.59 inches , Width is 27.95 inches and Depth is...
  • Comfortable handle grip
  • Opti-Bond powder coat finish
  • Meets ANSI Type lll 200-Pound Duty Rating
  • Large platform steps
Dustpan and Brush Set
Kitchen Craft Living Nostalgia Traditional Dustpan and Brush Set
  • Sweep your home spotless! This vintage-style cleaning set is pretty and practical, with a...
  • The elegant, time-tested design makes it robust and easy to use. Ideal for spring cleans or sweeping...
  • The brush features a comfortable bamboo handle and durable PET bristles, which are designed to get...
  • Nesting design makes it easy to store, and it comes with a hanging cord so you can keep it in easy...
  • Comes with KitchenCraft Living Nostalgia's 12 month guarantee
Bates- Paint Scraper
Bates- Paint Scraper, Taping knife, Pack of 2 Putty Knife Scraper, Scraper, 5 in 1 tools, Spackle Knife, Caulk Removal Tool, Painters Tool, Paint Can Opener, Paint Remover for Wood, Wallpaper Scraper
  • PROFESSIONAL QUALITY: Paint Scrapers that get the job done with a superior finish. Makes repair and...
  • ONE TOOL WITH MULTIPLE USES: Tools can be used as a paint scraper, screwdriver, paint can opener,...
  • STAINLESS STEEL BLADE: Straight-ground blades for flexibility and carbon steel blades, hardened for...
  • COMFORTABLE AND DURABLE: Soft grip designed to last for long jobs without discomfort to your hands
  • LIFETIME GUARANTEE: No worries here, if something happens to your set, return them, and get a brand...
Bercom Handy Paint Pail
Bercom 2500-CT Handy Paint Pail, 1 Pack, Red
  • Adjustable strap to fit your hand and also attaches to belt for hands-free use
  • Built-in magnetic brush holder
  • Built-in brush scraper
  • Solvent resistant-works with any paint or stain
  • Made in the U.S.A.
Owatrol E.S.P Easy Surface Prep


Cleaning your wooden beams requires a lot of effort and precautionary measures and before you use any cleaning method, you should dust and vacuum the beams. You must use the right products that will help to lighten dark stained wood beams in your home.


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