Graying is something that anyone who has a wooden balcony or patio floor knows about.
Some people find the worn and cozy look of gray wood beautiful. Some people don’t like this style and want to remove grey weathering from wood because it makes decks look old and dirty.
Many people ask how to keep wood decks from turning gray, so in this article, I’ll tell you what you can do to get rid of gray on wood decks. I also talk about what causes the wood to turn gray and if that is bad for the wood.
Why does wood decking turn grey?
Changes in temperature, rain, and snow are hard on wood floors outside. But the sun’s rays are the main cause of the wood’s surface going gray.
Lignin is a part of the wood that is very important. It protects the wood and gives each type of wood its color. Because lignin is very sensitive to UV light, it doesn’t become a problem until the wood is further processed.
Over time, the sun’s rays and water from rain and snow slowly destroy it. When the lignin breaks down, the cellulose breaks down, which makes the wood age and gets a gray patina on the surface.
How fast this aging process progresses depends on the type of wood. Outside, softwoods tend to turn gray faster than hardwoods.
Cellulose: Most of the wood consists of cellulose. This contributes to 42 to 50% of the total material, depending on the type of wood. Cellulose is the basic structure of the wood, forming the cell structure. It combines to produce fibers and is hence extremely strong.
Hemicellulose: Another important component is the hemicellulose. Its adhesive-like effect also ensures superior tensile strength and overall structural stability. The amount in the wood ranges from 25 to 40%.
Lignin: Wood consists of about 20% lignin. Because of the storage in the cell walls, they are highly stable and pressure-resistant.
Other components: The rest comprise resins, tannins, essential oils, and other chemicals. Often, they are what give the wood its unique, pleasant smell.
Outdoor wooden floorboards will only survive a long time if they are adequately maintained. Above all, this means treating the wood with wood care oil once a year and removing any gray haze.
Is the graying of the wood harmful?
Fortunately, the fading is only visible on the surface. As a result, graying does not affect the structural integrity or durability of the wood planks. It’s only a visual thing.
Your terrace will gray faster or slower, depending on the type of wood. Patina develops more slowly in hardwoods than in softwoods such as Douglas fir or larch.
Because lignin degradation occurs only in the top layers of the wood, this may be easily sanded away using sandpaper. As a result, the wood nearly reverts to its original color structure.
Wood grayer has a comparable effect. They include oxalic or citric acid, which dissolves the murky surface, revealing a deeper, non-grey layer with a fresh color beneath.
WPC decking boards, like actual wood boards, turn gray due to their wood component, but considerably more slowly. The amount of wood in a WPC plank determines how gray it will become.
Is it possible to stop wood from going grey?
Because this is a natural process, it cannot be avoided entirely. However, reasonable solutions are available today that can significantly slow the graying process.
If you don’t like the gray color, clean the wooden patio regularly and apply UV-resistant wood care solutions.
Check the deck for damage and wear regularly; catching early problems is typically considerably easier. Above importantly, frequent maintenance washing removes grime and deposits that might cause the wood to discolor.
Good UV protection is required to postpone graying as long as feasible. Although opaque paints provide the best sun protection for outdoor wood, they also obscure the inherent color and grain of the wood.
To keep the natural color as long as possible, you need a transparent coat that protects the wood from moisture, rot and microorganisms, and UV radiation.
These UV-resistant products are also perfect for weather protection of wooden paneling, garden homes, wooden terraces, and garden furniture. Let’s examine more closely which products are highly recommended.
How to stop wood from going grey?
UV protection is generally built into good outdoor wood care products. When purchasing a wood care oil, you can buy a transparent oil or a naturally colored oil with color pigments. Of course, both options offer pros and cons.
A clear care product protects the original color of the wood. UV blockers are applied to slow down the graying process.
Colorless wood care oils also have a disadvantage. Due to the transparency, and UV protection, If only the care is renewed regularly, it will be effective. You should specifically re-oil the terrace at least once a year.
Color pigments are present in naturally tinted wood care oils. These provide UV protection by reflecting some of the sun’s rays.
In terms of sun protection for wooden items, opaque outdoor oils containing color pigments are more effective.
However, this product also has a disadvantage. Using wood oil with color pigments ensures that the natural color of the wood and maybe some of the grain is covered.
Manufacturers offer color-coordinated solutions for each type of wood so that the finished result does not appear too artificial. It is also suitable for protecting outdoor wood from graying.
The interaction of moisture and iron or metal objects causes dark, circular discolorations in timber flooring.
You can Manually Strip to Remove the Gray from the wood
If your wood was graying a lot and was protected with more of a plastic finish at first, you might want to strip it by hand. With this method, you can use a hand sander or an electric sander to eliminate the old and gray finish.
Start with a coarse grit, then use a medium grit to go over the wood again. This will help smooth the surface and get it ready to be stained and sealed again.
After sanding, wipe off the dust with a damp cloth and let it dry before putting on your new finish. Keep the project dry before putting it outside so it will last as long as possible.
Gray wooden decking board cleaning and maintenance
On every wooden deck, this process will undoubtedly begin at some point.
However, the terrace owners’ perspectives and preferences differ in this regard: Some are relieved when the terrace finally develops a naturally gray patina because it has its distinct appeal.
The others do everything they can to keep the original hue as long as possible and prevent graying.
Graying will not affect your patio if it is properly designed. On the contrary, it protects the wood core and is simply an aesthetic trait that every weathered wood has outside. Also read stain parquet wood floors in gray.
The fact that many gray-surfaced timber constructions have survived for decades should reassure you. The substance of your terrace is flawless, and the quality of the wood is unaffected.
The following is the best way to clean and oil your wood patio:
First, thoroughly clean to eliminate dirt, moss, fungi, and algae. A portion of the graying is also eliminated automatically with basic mechanical cleaning. The embedded bacteria, which contribute to the gray coloration, are washed off during the procedure.
Cleaning step by step:
- Water the wooden deck
- Apply wood cleaner
- Leave it on for 10 minutes
- Treat the terrace by hand with a brush or with a cleaning device
- Then rinse with plenty of water or a high-pressure cleaner (Caution! Maintain a distance of at least 30 cm from the nozzle to the terrace floor; otherwise, the wood surface may be damaged.)
After that, begin the oil treatment. It revitalizes the color tone while making the wood surface water-repellent and elastic. As a result, the wood fibers become more flexible, and chipping happens less frequently.
Oiling step by step:
- The decking should be completely dry.
- The weather should also be dry. No intense heat or direct sunlight.
- Apply the oil layer in the desired shade. The oil can be rolled, brushed, or sprayed on the floor.
- Leave to dry for 24 hours after application.
- Then apply a second coat for extra protection.
- Leave to dry for another 24 hours.
- The terrace can then be walked on again.
How frequently and with what kind of oil should I treat the wood?
In general, a second oil application should be performed around 6 weeks following the first to activate the protective action fully. If you want to preserve the shade, it is recommended that you repeat this treatment 1-2 times per year.
Oil in 2.5-liter containers, with 1 container covering approximately 20-25 m2 of flooring.
Further treatment after the second oiling is no longer required in the case of the intended graying of the wood. We are selling our colorless oil in 2.5-liter containers for this second round.
With colored oil, you have two different shades to choose from:
Dark hardwood oil: If you treat each plank with dark oil, the color will be very even. Different shades of color are made to look the same, and stains and other problems can usually be “ironed out.”
Light hardwood oil: This oil works best on wood that is light in color. Because the pigments are light, the planks stay almost the same color as before. After a few coats of oil, the different colors of the planks will blend.
In theory, you can treat any wood with dark or light decking oil, or if you want, you can use colorless oil instead.
Dark hardwood oil: Bangkirai, Ipe, Cumaru
Light hardwood oil: cumaru, tamarind, garapa, larch
Colorless hardwood oil: as surface protection for later graying
Colorless, unpigmented wood oils are perfect for protecting terraces that you want to turn gray over time. This keeps the surface safe and makes it less likely that the planks will bend.
This doesn’t stop the graying or change it in any way. If you want to keep the color of the wood, we suggest using decking oils made with pigments.
This keeps the natural color and shape of the wood for a long time.
Before purchasing the decking, you can take precautions to avoid fungal infestation and other damage. Above all, constructive wood protection and the proper selection of wood species are important.
Following that, constant maintenance and care of the wooden deck are especially vital to maintain its natural appearance.