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Preservation Efforts at Biltmore Go to Great Heights

Posted on 09/15/2016 by Leeann Donnelly

Guests visiting Biltmore in September are getting a view of some of our most height-challenged behind-the-scenes work in Biltmore House. Housekeeping staff members Connie Dey and Shelley Tate are working from a 40-foot scaffold to clean the oak woodwork that surrounds and supports the glass ceiling in the Winter Garden.

Part of our ongoing preservation efforts, treating the soaring wood takes place about every three years. Sun damage is evident on the wood closest to the tops of the ceiling, which dates back to the late 1890s. Those areas receive full-sun for several hours on sunny days. Making sure the wood stays moisturized is key to keeping it protected – sort of like applying sunscreen every three years.

The day we got these photos, Connie and Shelley were vacuuming and wiping dirt away to ready the surfaces. They will then apply a wood polisher that contains beeswax, carnauba wax and orange oil. The entire project will take about a month.

Top two photos: Connie Dey stretches over the Winter Garden to reach every inch of wood with her dust mop to prepare the wood for its moisturizer. 

Bottom photo: Connie Dey and Shelley Tate take a quick break. 

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