The wood exposed to the outside and to the weather, especially humidity and solar radiation, darkens and turns gray. This is a natural process that we may be interested in delaying as much as possible.
With proper maintenance, our solid wood deck, facade cladding, fence, etc. it can offer a nicer appearance for much longer.
Gray wood Why?
The natural aging process of wood is a combination of chemical, biological, mechanical and light-induced changes. They all occur simultaneously and affect each other.
For example, when air moves over the surface of a wooden deck, dust, pollen, dirt and air pollution replace the exposed colored cells in the wood.
This slow transformation is also affected by exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays or salt particles in coastal areas.
Depending on the species of wood and the exposure to the elements, these changes can occur anywhere from a few months to a few years, but generally the color starts to change after a 6-month exposure.
Color changes are surface transformations that do not negatively affect the mechanical properties and durability of the wood.
The treated wood may initially have greenish, yellowish or reddish colors, depending on the protectors applied. Wood protectors cannot prevent the wood from turning gray, but they can, however, slow this process down.
How to prevent the wood from darkening?
Maintaining the natural appearance of the freshly cut wood requires the use of a finishing product that blocks or delays the action of moisture and the sun.
In the past, many of the products used as wood protectors were very toxic and had a high content of volatile organic solvents associated with health problems. The new wood finishes have a low VOC content and are safe for users.
- The surface of the wood can be “renovated” to recover a color similar to the original using specific products, whose effectiveness is limited and temporary.
- Surfaces protected by eaves or shade trees will not show as much wear as high traffic areas.
For outdoor floors, the best option is still to allow natural color changes. The wood, in most cases, is coated with a homogeneous silver-gray patina, which is perfectly acceptable from an aesthetic point of view.
A coating is a liquid, paste or gel that is applied in a thin, uniform layer on the surface of the wood. The finishes can improve the appearance of the wood and help protect it from the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Due to the fact that the coating obliges users to maintain strict regular maintenance, it is not a good option for large surfaces or for outdoor floors with high traffic of some types of products. Varnishes, lacquers and other film-finishing products should be avoided (they degrade with UV radiation, can break and exfoliate, are difficult to remove).
So the ideal is to use oils or saturators. This type of finish nourishes and preserves the wood without forming a film. Thanks to this, finishing renovations are much easier and faster on pallets, coatings …
It must be prepared for regular maintenance regardless of the chosen finish.
- Gently clean your deck twice a year. Cleaning will prevent the development of mold and the accumulation of dust and dirt, which increases the slippery of the terrace.
- Use a hard, stiff brush and water. It is important to brush the inside of the cracks, if any.
- In high and very high density woods, a high pressure wash can be done.
- Floorboards must dry a day or two after washing and before applying the finish.
- Depending on weather conditions, sun exposure and traffic intensity, two or even three years of service on a horizontal surface (facade covering) can be expected before renewing the finish.