In our first article in this series, we discussed the tendency of Teak wood to change color. Unlike some other species of wood, the changes in Teak tend to be pretty dramatic from the time it is freshly milled to the weeks and months following its installation. This change from dark and streaky to golden brown and consistent can cause some frustration in customers who aren’t properly prepared to know what to expect. In this article, we’ll give even more details about the process of Teak undergoing color changes.
The How and Why of Teak Color Changes
Kiln drying and seasoning Teak is a necessary step in preparing it for most applications. Even when these steps are taken care of in the correct manner, there will still be changes to the color of the wood. This is because when it gets out in the elements, the sunlight and oxygen will impact it in an aesthetically positive way.
Freshly milled Teak has a strikingly variable appearance. Each board can show a whole host of different colors. The oxidization and sun tanning process transforms freshly milled Teak quickly, within the space of just a few hours. Customers who are not familiar with the process can be puzzled, wondering why the Teak resembles Zebrawood.
Different Colors of Teak Decking
Though the initial fading may start to occur within days or even hours, freshly milled Teak will take longer to completely change color. Right after milling it can appear in a surprisingly diverse array of colors, such as black, brown, yellow, green, cream, gray orange, or even blue. It can be a complete hodgepodge of these different colors streaked across the boards in unusual patterns and blotches. Though many people mistake this appearance as resulting from incorrectly drying the wood, that’s not normally the case. Teak has been tested with numerous different amounts of time in the kiln. The results of these tests demonstrate that Teak that is dried for longer or shorter amounts of time or at different temperatures in the kiln tends to fade at the exact same rates.
Exposure to air will make the wood darker but it won’t get rid of the streaks in the wood. For that to happen it takes a chemical reaction to light. This change takes place when Teak wood’s pigments and extractive oils experience a chemical reaction when the wood is exposed to sunlight. Certain species of wood are extremely chemically responsive to light, and Teak is one of them. Over a period of three to six months after milling, a drastic change in the amount of streaking and color of Teak wood should take place.
So if you’re considering Teak for your next project, whether it be a boat deck, exterior trim, or some other application, don’t be nervous about your choice. All it takes to achieve optimal results is a little patience, sun exposure, and oxidization. If you follow that tried-and-true pattern, that initial discoloration and streaking will soon even out into Teak’s iconic golden brown color.