Is It Okay To Let The Wood Gray Naturally
Most homeowners know that untreated wood left to the elements will gray over time. This graying is due to the sun’s UV rays. When the wood is not treated with the proper wood stain, it turns a rustic looking gray.
Another enemy of exterior wood is moisture. This can cause the wood to warp, crack, splinter and eventually rot. To protect wood from water damage, a stain or sealer can be applied. When a stain with added color or toner is used it will not only protect the wood from water damage but also from sun graying. The added pigment of the toner helps block out the UV rays. When a sealer (clear stain) is used it will only provide water protection and no sun protection.
Some people like the look of weathered or grayed wood. But is it okay to let the wood gray naturally. Meaning is it okay to let the sun gray the wood even if it is still being protected from water damage with a clear sealer? For the most part the answer is no. UV rays are actually damaging the wood fibers, which turns them gray or causes them to become faded. If allowed to continue, these harsh UV rays will also cause more extreme damage like board cracking, splintering, and warping. This can also cause boards to become loose as screws are loosened from buckling and cupping wood.
Just like moisture causes water damage, UV rays cause sun damage. Both will jeopardize the structures integrity and decrease the wood’s overall longevity. If a rustic looking deck or other exterior wood structure is your thing there is a better way to go about it. Look for a semi-transparent stain in a gray tone. This would not only give the wood water and sun protection, but would give you the naturally gray look you desire. It is important to protect exterior wood from both water and UV damage. Allowing the wood to gray naturally without a stain will shorten the wood’s life costing you money.
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