I've recently bought a house that has a feature wall using this bamboo pictured below out the back. It spans approx. 3-4 metres and the previous owner who is elderly did not maintain it at all. For the past 5-6 years, it's been under the sun, rain and never cleaned. I forgot to take a photo of it while I was there but it's basically lost of most it's colour and looks like an old timber decking (you know, the greyish, very ugly and worn kind of look). I was wondering if I could bring this back to life rather than replace it...and how? Obviously the first step would be to give it a good wash but once I do that, would the colour reappear or has the colour been lost for good? And how would I go about restoring the colour, is it as simple as buying and giving it a paint over with a stain or something? My apologies, I've never owned a house and needed to do any maintenance, I'm not sure what I'm doing but I'd like to learn!
Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community. It's sensational to have you join us, and thank you for sharing your question about bringing your bamboo feature wall back to life.
One of the things you'll need to check out is if the bamboo has become brittle. Carefully press the corners and middle parts of the bamboo feature. If any of it sinks and crumbles, I'm afraid it's not worth saving it. It means that the bamboo material has deteriorated so badly that it has started to disintegrate.
Generally, unprotected raw bamboo has an average life span of two years. However, if painted and maintained it could last up to seven to ten years depending on its location. Another thing to watch out for is mould infestation, it usually resides in the cracks and splinters of the bamboo itself.
If it looks like it can be saved, I suggest using Intergrain 1L UltraPrep Timber Cleaner along with Oates Long Handle Deck Scrub Brush. Make sure to wear safety goggles and gloves when handling this cleaner. Once the bamboo is nice and dry, you can now decide which timber stain and varnish you'll be using.
I propose visiting your local store and looking at the timber stain and varnish display near the paint department. You can then choose which finish you would like to put on the bamboo feature wall.
If you have any other questions we can help with, please let us know.