Wood Colour Changes


One thing that can be very difficult when working with solid timber is the range of colours you find within a single piece or species. All woods will change colour throughout itís process from when it gets planked in the sawmill to when it becomes a finnished project. It will then keep changing in colour years down the road.

Wood like all materials fades in the sunlight.Some woods also undergo actual chemical changes that will also change their colour. So you must never get too attached to a specific colour of a speies as it is bound to change throughout the years. Also expect that matching an existing wood may take months or years to do as the wood matures.

We often get clients asking us about matching a deck/pagola or an exterior wood that will turn grey. This senario is an easy one as any wood left exposed to the elements weathers to a silver grey colour.Every species does this. The timber will keep this silver grey colour until it is cut,sanded or planned to remove the outer layer. Some woods will turn grey faster than others.You will find that the tropical species that contain a lot of oil content will fight this graying for a longer time.

What causes this colour change is that the sun is bleaching the surface and drying the timber out. Any resin or oil in the wood resists this action so if you add oil to the surface or do regular maintanance, you are preventing the bleaching.

Another point to consider is that the sun is drying the wood so you can expect to see tiny surface cracks(called checks). It doesnít always happen but it is a fact of life as the wood is forced to dry quickly and unevenly. It is not a defect in the wood.

So finding a colour match is a matter of waiting on mother nature to do your job for you. The species used and the amount of sunlight it gets will change the time it takes, but eventually the wood will go grey.

Wood is unique and unpredictable.This is what makes wood so beautiful.

Cape Town:
15 Second Street, Montague Gardens, Cape Town 7441
Tel: 021 552 2631
Cell: 083 234 6497

15 Thora Crescent, Wynberg, Johannesburg 2090
Tel: 011 444 6705
Cell: 082 485 1969

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