Why does my Ipe deck gray?
When you first put a new piece of Ipe or Teak Furniture outside, it will have a nice dark color to it. Over time, in the sunlight and rain, the wood will slowly turn to a silver/ gray color. This happens because of a process called photo-degradation which is a big word that means fading. Basically, the exposure of the sunlight, and it’s UV rays causes the coloring of the wood to break down.
The solution to this is to use a cleaner/stripper to clean away the top thin layer of faded wood cells which have the gray color. Then, you can use a Sealer or Oil to help the wood to keep it’s dark coloring and delay future Fading or graying.
Wood graying is a natural process but with the proper care and types of woods, it can be minimized significantly.
What about color changes on indoor wood?
Since we have covered color changes on outdoor furniture or decking, what about wood that you have indoors? Does that still change or what can be done to prevent it?
Overtime, all wood color changes even when indoors the changes depend on the species. The rule is usually that the color will lighten over time but not significantly if properly cared for.
What effect does sun have on hardwood floor coloring?
The sun will slowly lighten most hardwood flooring which can been seen if you ever have a carpet on a rug in a sunny room for years. When you go to move the carpet there can be a dark shape of where the carpet was. This shape is a better preserved version of the woods original color. You may not have noticed the wood color changing, but once you see the protected carpet area you definitely can.
When teak is first milled, it can have a blotches and streaks of color appear. This appearance will last a few months time to the consistent golden color that people are used to from teak. What happens is that certain pigments in teak are light sensitive, so when they are first exposed they change colors.
To get the consistent golden teak color make sure to let you teak sit out in the sun. In fact, at most of the mills where new teak is processed, they specifically layout teak boards in the sun to help even out the coloring.
African Mahogany is photo-reactive and gets darker when exposed to sunlight. If it is exposed to direct sunlight for too long, the color will fade (this takes months). But to get the natural appearance of Antiqued mahogany you usually have to have some sort of darkening finish since that appearance takes many years to happen naturally.
Wenge has a moderate color fastness but can lighten over time. This lightening is not significant, and, with proper finishing, should not be of major concern.
Padauk is less colorfast than Wenge and over time can turn a very deep reddish brown. Sun-light has a direct effect on this wood. A finish with Ultra-violet protection is highly recommended. This will significantly delay the change in color.
Jatoba is an exception to the assumption that wood gets lighter over time from the light. One of the most popular imported floors, Jatoba will get darker and richer colored. This becomes quite evident when you move furniture, rugs, or other covering from the floor.
Hopefully, that gives you some insight into wood color changes and how they affect your colors. If you have any questions about specific color issues you are having, suggestions for finishes, or what color changes to expect from some of the woods that we carry ask below or contact us today.