Decking is a great addition to any home and will really enhance your outside space, but many people worry about what time and weather will do to their deck over the years. While there are plenty of people who celebrate the look of aged wood, if you’re one of the people who worry that your deck will go grey, keep reading and we’ll explain why wood goes grey and what you can do to help prevent it.
Because your deck is exposed to the elements, it’s going to change colour, no matter what you do to it, but the change it experiences can be minimised with the right treatment. When wood is exposed to the weather, it suffers heat, cold, sun, rain and wind. These changes in temperature and conditions take their toll on the wood and cause both chemical, biological and light-induced changes. Some of these changes will be obvious, but some will be less obvious. Even a light puff of wind will cause dust, pollen and dirt to be deposited on your wood and these will slightly change the colour of the wood on their own. Add to this the bleaching effect of the sun, the salt in the air if you live near the coast and the foot traffic that goes over your deck and you start to see why the colour will change and in many cases will start to take on a grey tone.
You can reduce the effect that weathering and traffic will have on your deck by treating it to protect it and keep it looking great. The right finish will block a good proportion of the sunlight; dirt and moisture that make your deck go grey. One of the problems with treating decking in the past was that people were concerned with the health problems associated with wood treatments to protect wood from weathering. In days gone by, Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs were found in many wood treatments. These invisible compounds are known to have pollutant properties and are thought to pose potential health risks. It’s for this reason that anyone with babies or small children, as well as anyone suffering from allergies or illness were reluctant to use this type of product on their wood, even outside. These days however, wood finish manufacturers are sensitive to the needs of the end user and have worked hard to reduce the VOCs in their products to make them safe for users.
When you choose a finish for your deck, you can choose to either leave the wood looking highly natural or change the look of the wood with the finish, the choice is yours. There are essentially 4 types of decking finish that will help prevent your deck going grey. They are:
Generic outside decking oil, or
A stain of some sort
If you choose UV, Teak or Generic Decking Oil, you’ll be able to protect your deck at the same time as retaining its natural look and if you choose a stain, you’ll be able to change the colour of the wood, and, or seal the deck in one go. These types of treatments, as well as keeping your decking clean and clear of algae will help avoid the greying process.