Sakkho » Owners » Graying of Teak


Sakkho Teak Wood

Wood is as an organic, hygroscopic material expanding, shrinking, moving and changing when affected by surrounding natural elements. As a result, teakwood color and texture will vary one way or another becoming darker or lighter over time.

While many elements have an effect on how the color of teakwood will vary, in favorable conditions, two elements will have the most significant impact on how the tint will change: oxidation and light; more specifically, oxygen (air) and UV rays (sunlight).


1. Natural Teakwood
2. Elements Affecting Teakwood
3. Oxidation of Teakwood
4. The Graying of Teakwood




1. Natural Teakwood

Raw, unfinished teak wood has an oily surface feel due to high natural oil content within the wood, this combined with a tight grain makes teak weather resistant. To learn more about teak wood, visit Our Timber page or click here.

Sakkho teak tiles are usually presented natural, unfinished, allowing the use of various paints, finishes or simply to be left out in the elements to weather and age accordingly. 




2. Elements Affecting Teakwood

The manner by which teakwood will weather and the time it will take for the graying process to complete will be affected by many elements such as but not limited to:


•  The intensity of UV rays
•  Rain, snow, hail, wind
•  Oxygen, sunlight
•  Pollution, dirt, spills
•  Bird droppings
•  Cuts, dents, scratches
•  Extreme temperatures - cold or heat
•  Salty air and water
•  Type of walking traffic
•  Frequency of use
•  Pool chlorine or other chemicals
•  How the timber was kiln dried
•  The age and density of the wood
•  The timber natural oil content
•  Maintenance practices




3. Oxidation of Teakwood

When unfinished, natural, teakwood is left indoor or outdoor, without direct or constant use, particularly in humid areas and away from direct sunlight, oxidation will slowly occur caused by surrounding oxygen combined with the ambient humidity.


Teak - Slight Oxidation and Darkening

The most obvious form of oxidation is found with metals which suffer from rust; however, oxidation also occurs in a variety of substances besides metals to include wood.


When oxidation alone occurs in teak wood it appears by a slight darkening in tint which over time will turn to an evened color as original darker streaks in the wood grain become less obvious.




4. The Graying of Teakwood

Left outdoor unfinished, raw teakwood subject to direct light and UV rays lightens over time turning into an ash gray (silver) color. While other elements will affect teakwood, discoloration occurs purely by exposure to light and the sun's UV rays.


Photo 1 - Water Spots - 3 Months

Depending on the intensity of UV rays the wood is exposed to, slowly, the natural oil in the outer layer of teak wood will evaporate. As the timber loses its moisture and dries it will also discolor. The color fading process starts once teakwood is exposed to light and a visible difference is present within a few weeks.


During the weathering process teakwood changes showing a slight roughening of the texture; water spots and spots of different colors may start occurring in the grain and few small cracks may appear. All these changes are part of a natural and normal process as the wood contracts and expand adjusting to the surrounding environment.


Photo 2 - Uniform Tint - 5 Months

The time it will take for teakwood to weather really depends on the intensity of UV rays the wood will be subject to. Without any other elements affecting the timber (such as pollution, damages, etc...), after 3 months all initial water spots and small cracks start disappearing and a nice uniform, semi-weathered tint takes place around 4 to 6 months.


Total weathering ("graying") usually takes about 6 to 8 months in the sun in favorable conditions.


By the time the installation of Sakkho teak tiles is finished, it may come as a surprise to many owners wondering why the original golden brown tint of the tiles is fading. Ultimately, teak exposed to light out in the elements will take a uniform silver-gray color desirable to some unless regularly protected with an appropriate wood coating or teak oil.


Photo 3 - 18 Months Old Commercial Decking

It is important to know that the graying process can be affected by many elements such as the frequency of use or walking traffic, pollution and cleanliness Sakkho teak will be subject to.


a. Description of Photo 3 and 4

The two photos show an outdoor commercial decking about 18 months old installed at a busy restaurant in Melbourne, Australia. 


Sakkho teak tiles were not protected with any finish or oil and the teakwood was left natural out in the elements subject to constant heavy walking traffic, food and drink spills, stains, dirt, cigarette burns. In addition, the decking was also subject for about 18 months to Melbourne changing weather conditions with 40 degrees Celsius peaks during summer, 3 degrees low during winter nights and rainy and humid months of July and August.


While the graying is obvious and shown by the discoloration of Sakkho teakwood tiles, the graying is not uniform as the daily and heavy commercial use at the busy restaurant left darker marks and stains requiring maintenance.


Photo 4 - Weathered Sakkho Teak Tile

Ultimately, whether left natural to "gray" or protected with a suitable finish, teak wood is popular and widely used by interior designers, furniture designers and for marine and building use.


Note: The colour of Sakkho timber tiles and other timber products shown on photos included in this website may vary with your PC, mobile, pda or iPad screens. 


For maintenance advice and how to restore weathered Sakkho tiles, visit the Tile Maintenance page or click here.

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