finger prints on cedar ceiling

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foamspoon
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finger prints on cedar ceiling

Post by foamspoon » Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:50 pm

Hello,

First post. I bought a house with a "Sun" room. The ceiling was finished with 1x4 T and G cedar. It looks like it was installed after a lunch of greasy potato chips. There are finger prints all over the ceiling (see picture). I was wondering if anyone had ideas of what to do? I thought of a stain but thought it would only high light the finger prints. Maybe a linseed oil? Not sure I want to paint the ceiling, I like the wood look. Looking for ideas.

Thanks,

Bryan
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Shannon
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Re: finger prints on cedar ceiling

Post by Shannon » Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:56 pm

My first thought is that it was just how the stain took to the wood until I seen the last picture.
Do you know what it was finished with originally? was it just an oil or is there a clear poly or something over it?
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foamspoon
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Re: finger prints on cedar ceiling

Post by foamspoon » Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:08 pm

Shannon wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:56 pm
My first thought is that it was just how the stain took to the wood until I seen the last picture.
Do you know what it was finished with originally? was it just an oil or is there a clear poly or something over it?
No stain just the raw cedar.

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A. Spruce
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Re: finger prints on cedar ceiling

Post by A. Spruce » Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:16 pm

It's going to be tough to simply stain over the finger prints, since those prints are stains in and of themselves, the only thing that will cover them will be a paint or solid stain.

Refinishing will be a chore, for sure, however, by sanding out the entire surface, you will not only get rid of most of the finger prints, you'll also get rid of the majority of the water stains from the skylight areas
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Re: finger prints on cedar ceiling

Post by foamspoon » Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:23 pm

A. Spruce wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:16 pm
It's going to be tough to simply stain over the finger prints, since those prints are stains in and of themselves, the only thing that will cover them will be a paint or solid stain.

Refinishing will be a chore, for sure, however, by sanding out the entire surface, you will not only get rid of most of the finger prints, you'll also get rid of the majority of the water stains from the skylight areas
I am not totally against the work of sanding them down. do you think I could do it with a palm sander?

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Re: finger prints on cedar ceiling

Post by A. Spruce » Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:37 pm

Yes, a palm sander is probably the best one to use, as its vibrational pattern essentially goes with the grain of the wood. An orbital would be a whole lot faster, however, it will leave swirlies behind that will be as annoying as all the fingerprints. So, a palm sander would be the ticket with probably 150tgt paper. I would recommend doing some tests in an inconspicuous area. You want to use a grit heavy enough to do the job, but not so rough that you have to come back across it with finer grit later. Cedar is a soft wood, so start with a higher grit, say 150 or 180g.

Tip #2: Sand the entire surface as evenly as possible. As wood ages it hardens, so if you only sand a little in one spot the wood surface will still be hard, and if you sand heavily in another you will have exposed softer material. The issue comes when it's time to apply your stain or sealer, the hard wood areas will not soak up the finish like the softer wood areas, resulting in splotchy patches and shadows. Sanding as evenly as you can will prevent all this from happening.

Keep in mind that when you start the project fresh, you'll be energetic and attentive to detail, 15 minutes in when your neck and shoulders start to complain your energy and attention will start to degrade. By the time you get three days in, sick to death of overhead sanding, with every muscle in your body aching, you're not going to care what it looks like, so long as you never have to touch a sander again, it will be at this point that you really have to persevere to continue doing as good a job at the end as you were in the beginning so that you don't end up with the shadow problems earlier discussed.

If you go forward with this project, take lots of before/after pics to share, and don't forget to report back from time to time with your progress. 8-)
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Re: finger prints on cedar ceiling

Post by foamspoon » Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:41 pm

A. Spruce wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:37 pm
Yes, a palm sander is probably the best one to use, as its vibrational pattern essentially goes with the grain of the wood. An orbital would be a whole lot faster, however, it will leave swirlies behind that will be as annoying as all the fingerprints. So, a palm sander would be the ticket with probably 150tgt paper. I would recommend doing some tests in an inconspicuous area. You want to use a grit heavy enough to do the job, but not so rough that you have to come back across it with finer grit later. Cedar is a soft wood, so start with a higher grit, say 150 or 180g.

Tip #2: Sand the entire surface as evenly as possible. As wood ages it hardens, so if you only sand a little in one spot the wood surface will still be hard, and if you sand heavily in another you will have exposed softer material. The issue comes when it's time to apply your stain or sealer, the hard wood areas will not soak up the finish like the softer wood areas, resulting in splotchy patches and shadows. Sanding as evenly as you can will prevent all this from happening.

Keep in mind that when you start the project fresh, you'll be energetic and attentive to detail, 15 minutes in when your neck and shoulders start to complain your energy and attention will start to degrade. By the time you get three days in, sick to death of overhead sanding, with every muscle in your body aching, you're not going to care what it looks like, so long as you never have to touch a sander again, it will be at this point that you really have to persevere to continue doing as good a job at the end as you were in the beginning so that you don't end up with the shadow problems earlier discussed.

If you go forward with this project, take lots of before/after pics to share, and don't forget to report back from time to time with your progress. 8-)
I have lived everything you just posted! Thanks

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Re: finger prints on cedar ceiling

Post by A. Spruce » Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:44 pm

foamspoon wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:41 pm
I have lived everything you just posted! Thanks
Then you're familiar with that kind of pain! This is one of those times where it's good to have kids, make them do it. :twisted: ;) :mrgreen:
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Re: finger prints on cedar ceiling

Post by Shannon » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:51 am

I would lean towards the orbital sander myself. Let the sander do the work and swirls will be minimal and at that height really not seen.
I do agree this will be a messy painful job, the sanding will be bad enough then all the dust clean up and staining after that. This is one of those jobs that will be very rewarding when completed though. My only real concern is if you will really be able to remove all of those stains or if they have soaked into the wood a ways? No idea what they could have had on their hands to leave that mess? air gun oil? potatoe chips? fried chicken? none of them really make sense.
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Re: finger prints on cedar ceiling

Post by A. Spruce » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:57 pm

Whether or not the swirlies will be seen will depend on the finish going on, the shinier the finish, the more swirlies will show up. You are correct, higher up on the ceiling the swirlies won't be seen, but down low they could. A small test sanding with each in an inconspicuous area will give Foamy the info he needs.

Also, a HUGE help with dust control will be a good quality vacuum cleaner attached to the sanding implement. If you can get your hands on a Fein vacuum, that would be the ticket, but at the very least a shop vac will certainly help. You can also set up box fans with furnace filters taped to both sides to filter the air and help contain the dust in the room.
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Re: finger prints on cedar ceiling

Post by foamspoon » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:12 pm

Thank you guys. All great advice. As I am sure everyone has done this, we have all started a job that we have gotten half way and started to have second thoughts. (Spruce wrote about this in an earlier reply.). I will have to consider if starting this project is something I will not regret half way in! Thanks again!

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Re: finger prints on cedar ceiling

Post by foamspoon » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:14 pm

Shannon wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:51 am
I would lean towards the orbital sander myself. Let the sander do the work and swirls will be minimal and at that height really not seen.
I do agree this will be a messy painful job, the sanding will be bad enough then all the dust clean up and staining after that. This is one of those jobs that will be very rewarding when completed though. My only real concern is if you will really be able to remove all of those stains or if they have soaked into the wood a ways? No idea what they could have had on their hands to leave that mess? air gun oil? potatoe chips? fried chicken? none of them really make sense.
I do not know what caused the finger prints. On other spots there are child foot prints and sneaker solo marks. To say the least it was poor craftsmanship.

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Re: finger prints on cedar ceiling

Post by A. Spruce » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:36 pm

Take the square footage of the room, multiply by 1.5, and that will be the approximate square footage of ceiling work you've got in store. That looks like a good sized room, I don't envy anyone to do this job.


BTW, that calculation also work for figuring out roof square foot on a 4/12 pitched roof.
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Re: finger prints on cedar ceiling

Post by Shannon » Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:55 pm

Although much more costly, installing new cedar or pine would be quicker and easier.
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Re: finger prints on cedar ceiling

Post by A. Spruce » Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:24 pm

Replacement would also allow for covering up the abandoned skylight areas.
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