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Avoiding UV Exposure and Natural Oxidization

Learn about the 4 options for getting rid of the picture frame effect after being affect by UV exposure and natural oxidization.

Sponsored by Sashco Sealants
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I just took down some pictures from my log walls and the wood underneath is lighter than the wood around them. I knew this might happen, but how do I fix it? How do I avoid the same thing happening in the future?

 
Ah, picture frame effect. You’ll see the same effect if you remove the trim on clear-coated cabinets. The area underneath the trim will be a much brighter, whiter color than the rest of the cabinet. Wood turns yellow over time on its own, due to both UV exposure and natural oxidization. There’s no stopping this from happening (but you can slow it down and hide it…more on that later.) 
 
There are a couple of options for getting rid of picture frame effect after the fact:
 
1.) Stain
Stain those areas with a very light colored stain that would match the surrounding yellowed wood. It might mean you have to over the entire area with a clear coat to get a good match. This is going to be the easiest labor-wise, but the hardest to get a match.
2.) Sort of Sanding
Sand down those areas and feather them into surrounding wood so the delineation is harder to see. Again, a clear coat will hide things a big more. And again, getting a good match will be difficult.
3.) REALLY SANDING
Hardest but most effective would be sanding down all of the affected walls and applying a single coat of stain and a coat or two of a clear coat. This will ensure a good match and prevent the picture frame effect from happening again.
4.) Artful Cover-up Job
You may have to just continue hanging something there. The work to repair it may just be too much to do for some. Consider hanging something different for a change of pace. A tapestry, quilt, or wreath may be just the change you're looking for. Of course, we'd still recommend you stain and clear coat the wall to prevent even weirder picture fram effect from your new artwork, but you can avoid the sanding - which is the real work - by going this route.
 
So, how do you prevent this from happening in the future?
 
In short, you won't prevent it. But, you CAN slow it down and hide it. Apply a pigmented stain to the walls, followed by a coat or two of a clear coat. The pigmented stain will prevent UV degradation caused by the sun coming through windows, while also hiding the natural oxidization that will happen over time. No no to go crazy with a dark stain (unless you want that "Miss Scarlett in the Library with the Candlestick" kind of dark, brooding look to your logs). A lightly pigmented stain will do the trick. Plus, BONUS: a clear coat is going to make cleaning those logs much, much easier. Any dust that settles on the top curve of the logs can be easily wiped off with a microfiber dusting cloth. Yahoo! 
 
Published on: January 16th, 2018