How to Successfully Achieve the “Silver-Look” in Timber

Allowing timber to weather naturally can produce a striking silver-grey appearance. This refined silver-grey is a sought-after look, creating an elegant and natural timber aesthetic.

Silvered off timber facades and decks have become increasingly popular with architects, designers and homeowners who want to achieve a distinctive appearance in contemporary homes.

Weathering involves exposing new timber to the elements. It’s a natural process that helps remove tannins and oils from the surface of timber. The key to getting this look is to use the right timber and follow the right process.

Take three steps to achieve the on-trend look.

1. Choose your timber

In order to achieve a silver-grey finish, it’s essential to choose the right timber. Some hardwoods will splinter or split during the weathering process or may not weather to the desired colour.

Rosewood, Spotted Gum and Silvertop Ash are top choices that when weathered silver, blend beautifully into the natural environment.

2. Let the process happen naturally

Staining timber grey won’t achieve a naturally weathered aesthetic, nor will use of a colourtone.

A do-it-yourself approach is likely to result in a paint-like unnatural appearance. To achieve an organic, natural result, the wood must be exposed to the elements and given time to age and silver gradually.

3. Use a protective oil during the process

It’s a myth that timber must be left unoiled while it silvers with age. The timber needs protection from the weather, especially in harsh climates, to prevent it from drying, splintering, cupping, warping or rotting.

Unlike most other coatings, Cutek CD50 oil works in harmony with the weathering process by offering inside out protection while still allowing the timber to silver off over time.

Silver weathered timber can stand the test of time if it is looked after well. In conjunction with the steps above, continued use of a protective oil will guard against the elements and enable the silvered timber to retain its unique appearance for many years to come.

Which timber is best suited to your decking project?

So, you’ve decided to use timber for your deck. Now for the hard part. It’s time to decide which timber is best suited to your project.

Factors to consider in choosing a timber species include appearance, where the deck is to be located, ongoing maintenance requirements, budget and availability.

Appearance

Timber is often chosen for its natural beauty and good looks. Exposing the grain can have a dramatic and aesthetically pleasing effect.

When choosing a timber species, consider what colour you would like for your deck. Enhancing the natural hue of the timber can be achieved by using a Colourtone.  By choosing a shade that matches the natural colour of the wood, the knots and grains will shine through. Building up the colour will make a style statement.

Location

Choosing a timber that will withstand the weather conditions it will be exposed to is critical.

A high level of exposure to rain, sunshine and even wind will require a hardy species. Using Cutek’s wood protection system will guard against the elements and ensure a good looking deck for years to come.

Ongoing maintenance

Whichever material you choose, your deck will need regular maintenance to keep it looking great. Keep in mind that some decking timbers are quicker and easier to maintain than others.

Using a Cutek protection oil will help, in extreme conditions choose Cutek Extreme, specifically formulated for the toughest climates.

Budget and availability

Decking timbers vary in price, from more expensive hardwoods to lower-cost treated pine.

If you are working to a budget, ensure that you plan for the space that needs to be covered and bear in mind the qualities you require to suit the purpose of your decking. More widely available timbers tend to be less expensive and easier to source, especially if you’re on a tight timeframe.

Hardwoods

There are many hardwoods to choose from that are suited to decking projects.

Pros of hardwood

  • Can produce striking installations
  • High quality, durable timber
  • Tend to cost less than composite decking

Cons of hardwood

  • Some species prone to extractive bleedout or ironstain
  • Likely to cost more than treated pine decks
  • Can be difficult to drill or nail

Hardwood Species

There are many hardwood species to choose from. Merbau’s warm red-brown tones make a striking deck that invites year-round use. The species is durable yet can be less expensive than other hardwoods.

Ironbark is the most durable hardwood for decking and offers longevity. It is extremely fire, termite and rot resistant. On the flip side, its high density can make it hard to work with. On account of its strength, Ironbark is without doubt one to consider for installations that will be highly trafficked or for poolside decks.

The rich brown of Jarrah makes it a popular choice. Jarrah can be expensive but is also fire resistant. If left unsealed Jarrah will turn a lovely grey colour over time. Blackbutt is another timber with high resistance to fire, but is more prone to ironstains.

Spotted Gum is widely used for decking on account of its durability and strength. It is sustainably harvested in Australia making it an environmentally sound native choice.

The species is also fire retardant and is very dense with low levels of shrinkage. Spotted Gum tends to bleed less than some other hardwoods, and it has a broad colour range making for unique applications.

Yellow and red stringybark are durable enough for outdoor use. Yellow stringybark is usually cheaper than red. Both hardwoods can exhibit borer holes, something to bear in mind aesthetically before choosing it for your deck.

Using a high performing protection oil such as Cutek CD50 or Cutek Extreme will ensure your hardwood deck endures harsh climatic conditions to look stunning all year round.

Treated Pine

Treated pine is a cost-effective choice but won’t have the same durability of a hardwood.

Pros of treated pine

  • Lightweight and versatile to work with
  • Affordable
  • Pressure-treated to withstand decay, fungi or termites
  • Can be stained or painted to change its appearance

Cons of treated pine

  • Not as aesthetically pleasing as a hardwood
  • Can be restrictive in that it has already been treated
  • Needs regular oiling to protect against the elements

Cutek CD50 or Cutek Extreme can be used straight on pre-treated pine without using a preparation treatment first.

Cutek Proclean is a professional grade wood restoration product that will prepare the timber for the protection oil. Cutek CD33 Naked will also prepare the timber and allow the treatment oil to penetrate and do its job.

If you are working to a tight budget, treated pine certainly has its advantages but these are traded off against its looks. Before purchasing treated pine for your decking project, check whether it is suitable for outdoor use.

The critical factors in choosing a timber species are desired appearance, location, ongoing maintenance, budget and availability. Working through each element will help you to arrive at the right solution for your project.

Timber oil vs stain vs varnish vs paint

There are many types of timber treatments and finishes available. Although each is different, terms such as ‘timber oil, ‘stain’ and ‘varnish’ are often used interchangeably.

We examine the properties of some of these popular products and when each might be used.

 

Wood stain

Purpose: Designed to penetrate and change the colour of wood while leaving the grain visible.

Advantages

  • Highlights the natural beauty of the wood
  • Can be colour matched to your styling
  • Offers some wood protection
  • Wears away gradually, only requiring periodic re-coating
  • Easy to clean and maintain

Disadvantages

  • Doesn’t offer a lot of protection to the wood, especially in harsh environments
  • Can raise the grain in wood

After staining, oils or varnishes can be applied to the wood as a protective layer.

When to use: To expose the natural beauty of a timber installation.

 

Varnish

Purpose: Varnish is an older finish made up of oils, resin and solvents that coats the wood as a protective layer.

Varnish can be compared to paint without the pigment.

Advantages

  • A protective coating can be applied after stains
  • Ensures the natural grains of the wood remain exposed
  • Durable and hard wearing
  • Choice of matt, satin or gloss like paint
  • Exterior varnishes are often microporous and have an added fungicide
  • Available as a ‘fire retardant’ treatment
  • Offers UV protection (where stated)

Disadvantages

  • Varnish can’t be used on its own as it doesn’t protect the wood inside
  • Accentuates stains, bumps and marks so preparation of the timber is essential
  • Dries slowly

When to use: When finish is important for decorative purposes and when a project requires the  natural timber look to be retained.

 

Polyurethane varnish

Purpose: Tough protection for wood after staining.

Advantages

  • Can be used in place of varnish with the same benefits and more
  • Extremely durable with a hard finish
  • Heat resistant

Disadvantages

  • Has a plastic, unnatural look about it
  • Not UV resistant (unless specifically stated on product)

When to use: Applications where a durable surface is required, especially in high traffic areas.

 

Combined Products

There are some combined stains and varnishes available on the market designed to be applied for one-step colour and protection.

These varnishes with added colour can be a time-saver, however they may need more maintenance and reapplying more frequently.

 

Paint

Purpose: To protect and change the look of timber.

Advantages

  • Many different colours on the market
  • Choice of matt, satin or gloss
  • Can be considered aesthetically pleasing
  • Can cover up unsightly timber
  • Available as a ‘fire retardant’ treatment
  • Durable and hard wearing

Disadvantages

  • Coats the top of the wood rather than penetrating the wood
  • Hides the natural beauty of timber
  • Can peel and look unsightly particularly after exposure to the elements
  • Surfaces must be thoroughly prepared before application, usually including sanding
  • Is expensive to reapply when used on vast areas

When to use: In situations where it is desirable to cover or weatherproof timber without exposing the natural grain at all.

 

Wood oils

Purpose: Designed to bring out the character in wood whist offering some protection.

Advantages

  • Brings out the natural beauty in wood (more so than a stain) and makes the grain ‘pop’
  • Replaces natural oil in wood that dries out over time
  • Adds protection against moisture
  • User-friendly; easy to apply and maintain
  • Long-term, cost effective option

Disadvantages

  • Traditional wood oils aren’t as durable as varnish
  • Oils are not easily covered with varnish or paint

 

The Cutek Difference

Cutek CD50 oil is a professional option that offers more protection than traditional wood oils as it works from the inside out by deeply penetrating the timber. Cutek oils are long lasting making them a great choice for timber exposed to the elements. Cutek Extreme has been developed for tough conditions.

Cutek timber protection oils are designed to minimise warping, cupping and splitting over time. Cutek is versatile, a Colourtone can easily be added for a stunning effect.

Timber is amazingly versatile, with the right level of care it can be used for a vast array of projects. Wood does need to be looked after and treated with respect in order to ensure that it retains its beauty over time. Choosing the right timber treatment or finish for an installation is critical.

Make your deck a year-round space

During the winter months we often favour indoor spaces leaving decks and exterior areas under-utilised but there are many ways to set up your outdoor deck for year-round living.

Here’s our top five!

1. Create warmth

During the winter months, adding a source of heat such as an outdoor heater, heater panel or firepit will certainly add comfort and extend the use of the deck.

Add a touch of style with a decorative heater or portable fire pit that makes a statement. If space allows, a built-in fire can be designed to fit the space and complement the exterior fittings.

Tip: Keep heat sources off the decking to prevent burns or marks.

2. Build your deck in

Consider adding a roof to your deck to keep the warmth in and make the space cosier. If using timber, select a species that complements the existing deck and give thought to a warming Cutek Colourtone that makes a style statement.

If adding a fixed roof isn’t an option, an awning or weatherproof panels could be a simple way of achieving the same outcome.

Tip: Winter sun can provide warmth during daylight hours. A flexible solution, such as an operable roof, will let light in when required.

3. Decorate and refresh the space

Consider your deck another room, have some fun styling it to create a familiar atmosphere in keeping with your home. Add some creature comforts such as cushions and candles to create warmth. Choose pieces that are weatherproof and can be left outside all year round and introduce evergreen plants that flourish whatever the season to bring some natural colour.

Tip: When decorating take the time to assess maintenance requirements and apply a coat of deck oil. Cutek’s CD50 Oil will work to control moisture from the inside out, minimise warping, cupping and splitting to provide protection through the Winter months well into Summer when the sun’s rays become stronger.

4. Let there be light

With the nights closing in earlier in Winter, lighting is essential. Outdoor lights can often be very stark. Decorate with string lights or ambient lighting to create an inviting space.

5. Add a hot tub

Hot tubs are the perfect tonic for the winter months. If layout and structure allow, installing one can create a fantastic feature that really opens up the opportunity to get outdoors and use the space in the cooler months.

Cooler weather can make it challenging to utilise outdoor areas that are in constant use during the summer months.

By taking some simple steps to open up outdoor living spaces for year-round use will make the most of your deck and improve your home’s liveability.

What is ‘The Cutek Difference’?

Cutek offers innovative wood protection with a stand-out difference.  With so many wood protection products to choose from it’s a big claim.

So, what is the Cutek difference?

The problem with traditional coatings

Examining the issue with traditional coatings will help to explain why Cutek is so different.

When first applied to timber, traditional coatings look good on the surface. However they have a common weakness. Exposure to the elements, including harsh UV rays and rain will cause damage to timber over time.

 

 1. Traditional coatings sit on the top of the timber

 

 

2. UV rays break down the coating and cause it to peel leaving the timber exposed.

 

 

3. When it rains, moisture gets in causing the timber to swell.

 

 

4. The timber then shrinks in the sun.

 

After exposure to the elements, the wood cracks, splits, warps and rots. Re-coating with a traditional product will cause the cycle to repeat itself and your timber installation won’t last.

 

 ‘The Cutek Difference’

Cutek wood finishes work differently to traditional wood protection products. Instead of sitting on the surface of the timber, the oils diffuse deeply into the wood to protect it from the inside out.

 

Cutek oil penetrates deeply into the timber and repels water.

 

 

The timber stays better protected for longer in all weather conditions.

 

 

Cutek stays mobile inside the wood – if you can add a fastener or cut the timber it will self-heal.

 

Cutek’s unique formula has been developed by our team of experts to keep timber more stable over time. You can protect your investment and enjoy the beautiful look of your timber installation for much longer.

 

The Cutek difference: timber that stands the test of time.

 

Our wood protection system is proven and chosen by industry professionals time and again.  Use Cutek for your next project to experience ‘The Cutek Difference’ for yourself.

Watch ‘The Cutek Difference’ video.

 

 

 

 

Not finding the right decking oil to suit your project?

With a wide range of decking oils on the market, deciding on the product that’s best suited to your specific needs can be challenging.

Cutek oils are different to other leading wood coatings. They deeply diffuse into the timber to protect it from the inside out. This innovative approach to timber protection ensures that Cutek oils stand out from the alternatives to help narrow down your search.

This ‘Buyer’s Guide’ to Cutek Oils highlights the pros and cons of each solution to help your decision making.

Cutek CD50

Cutek CD50 is the original cost-effective workhorse. It can be applied clear for a natural silver patina or with Colourtones to retain a freshly oiled look. As with all Cutek oils, it protects from the effects of moisture and minimises warping, cupping and splitting.

Pros:

  • Suits most household decking projects.
  • Protects from the effects of moisture.
  • Minimises warping, cupping and splitting.
  • Can be applied clear for a natural silver patina.
  • Cutek Colourtones can be added to help retain the natural oiled look or match timber and style.
  • Cost effective.

Cons:

  • Not quite as good in the tropics or harsh climates as Cutek Extreme
  • Not suitable for use on bamboo or acetylated wood.

Cutek Extreme

As its name implies, Cutek Extreme excels in the toughest of environments where inferior products would fail to withstand the conditions.

Pros:

  • Withstands the toughest of environments and harsh climates.
  • Has all the benefits of Cutek CD50.
  • A good choice for most engineered wood products.

Cons:

  • More expensive than Cutek CD50.
  • Achieves a silver patina at a slower rate than Cutek CD50.
  • Not suitable for use on acetylated wood.

Cutek LowVOC oil

Cutek LowVOC oil is the environmentally friendly choice that helps decking projects achieve a green star rating. It looks and performs the same as Cutek CD50 but has a lower volatile organic compound (VOC) content.

Pros:

  • Has all the benefits of Cutek CD50.
  • An environmentally friendly wood protector.
  • Helps your project achieve a green star rating.

Cons:

  • More expensive than Cutek CD50.

 Final Finishes

Cutek Colourtones will help to achieve a freshly oiled look that will last. They work well for treated pine, renewing the colour of weathered timber and for styling your deck to match your house and garden design.

The colour, species, age and condition of the timber to be coated will impact the final colour and finish achieved by using a Colourtone.

Colourtones have the added benefit of offering greater UV protection.

To achieve a natural “driftwood’ type look on your deck use clear Cutek oil only.

Tips on how to apply Cutek Oil and Colourtones

  • For new timber, cover both sides for the first coat, and apply a second coat to the front face only.
  • For old, weathered or stained timber, use Cutek Proclean before oiling.
  • If the deck has been coated previously with a Cutek oil, apply only one coat – saving time and money.
  • Always test on a small area or off-cut for colour suitability if you’re adding a Colourtone.

All Cutek oils protect from the effects of moisture and minimise warping, cupping and splitting.

Choosing which Cutek oil is best suited for your decking depends on how exposed to the elements the timber is and whether your project requires a green star rating.

Introducing: Cutek Wood Preservative –

The Formula For Commercial Operators

Introducing Cutek Wood Preservative for the pre-treatment and remedial treatment of exterior wood in industrial and domestic environments.

When used, the coated wood resists damage caused by fungal decay, mould and termites, and is protected from moisture, improving dimensional stability and minimising warping, cupping and splitting.

Use Cutek Wood Preservative on its own as a clear oil that will fade in the sun to natural silver patina*, or mix it with any of our 10 colourtones to enhance and retain the freshly oiled look of your timber.

Cutek Wood Preservative will gradually fade over time rather than peel, split or crack, so the rejuvenation of timber coated with Cutek Wood Preservative is a simple, fast, and cost effective process.

Cutek Wood Preservative is able to be used on natural, and engineered and modified timber – some applications include boardwalks, fencing, pergolas, decks, railings, weatherboards, log homes, joinery, shingles and large council/government projects. It is not suitable for use on acetylated wood.

It’s designed to be used only on above-ground,wood structures or components of.

Download the fact sheet or ask us for advice on how to use Cutek Wood Preservative.

*At a slower rate than Cutek CD50

Maintaining an oceanside deck

Timber decking is a common feature of oceanside homes. The level of required maintenance on an exterior deck is directly proportional to the environmental conditions.

Exposure to sun, wind, salt, sand and ocean moisture can cause significant damage and result in premature failure of wooden decking boards.

With a close proximity to the sea, decking will need a high level of protection from the harsh elements to ensure longevity.

Removal of salt from the wood

Moist salt air can be a challenge for oceanside decking. Once salt finds its way into timber via cracks, salt crystals can form and grow. Over time they push the fibres of the timber out making it appear fuzzy.

Prevention includes frequent power rinsing to wash the salt off. Using Cutek Proclean will ensure that all traces of salt are removed.

Seal regularly for longevity

After removing salt particles from the wood, the next step is to apply a protective coating.

Most coatings, deck stains and oils trap moisture and can be the cause of premature wood failure through rot and decay. Cutek Extreme penetrates the wood to protect from within and keep moisture out, including the salt air and sea-spray of a beachside location.

The high-performance oil offers superior mould and fungi protection that is essential for a coastal environment.

Cutek coatings never peel or flake but will need more regular recoats in a marine setting.

The professional’s choice

Architects, designers and engineers continue to use timber for coastal structures, including resorts and beachside clubs. They turn to Cutek Extreme for professional hard-wearing protection of installations against the elements.

Deck care is important. Regular cleaning, staining and coating with quality products will give oceanside decks the protection they need to withstand their harsh environment.

Trending Timber Colourtones 2018

Cutek’s natural wood finishes and colourtones make it easy to preserve the original beauty of timber installations.

Our ten colourtones have been in demand in 2018, although the Top 3 Colourtones for the year are Black Ash, Burnt Red and Sela Brown.

  1. Black Ash

Interior designers look to shades of black or dark brown to add a sophisticated sleekness to a contemporary, urban space.

Darker hued timber is an obvious choice to fulfil this brief. When stained with Black Ash, the strong grain pattern is further highlighted for a striking visual impact.

Blackened cladding is an architectural trend traditionally achieved using the ancient Japanese technique of Shou Sugi Ban that involves charring the surface of the wood rendering it a deep black.

Using traditional processes to char and blacken timber can be time intensive and costly. Adding Cutek’s Black Ash colourtone to the clear wood finish and staining dark timber is an easy, effective way of achieving the same stand-out look.

Timber species match: Black Ash, Western Red Cedar.

Case Study: Ray White’s Queensland office

Western Red Cedar combined with a Cutek Black Ash colourtone was the perfect blend for a feature wall and desk area to complement the chic, modern styling of the office space.

  1. Burnt Red

2018’s colour trends took us back to nature so it’s no surprise to see Burnt Red appear in Cutek’s Top 3 Colourtones. The earthy appeal of rich, red brown timber has made it a popular choice both inside and outside the home this year.

Burnt Red is a match for a wide selection of red toned species, popular with architects for adding organic warmth to a contemporary home.

Timber species match: Red Gum, Kwila/Merbau, Rose Gum, Blue Gum, Jarrah and Ironbark.

Case Study: An award-winning Tasmanian home

Cutek’s Burnt Red oil highlights the Western Red Cedar’s natural grain and beauty, while ensuring its design appeal and strength last longer.

  1. Sela Brown 

Sela Brown is a classic, traditional colourtone that matches well with a variety of timber types.

This popular colourtone made the most popular on account of its versatility and widespread appeal. Sela Brown is often chosen to stain outdoor decking or seating in a natural setting.

Timber species match: Spotted Gum, Kwila/Merbau, New Guinea Rosewood, Brush Box, Spotted Gum, Malas, Mixed Hardwood

For a naturally fresh colour, try Cutek’s colourtones. Contact us if you would like help selecting a wood finishing product or best decking oil to suit your project.

Timber Specialist Frank Di Stefano recommends Cutek Oils

In an article published in Bowens Builders Bulletin this month, Timber Specialist, Frank Di Stefano discussed the issues that poor wood preparation and weather extremes can cause for timber decks.

In his article, Di Stefano warns that the risk of not applying a protective coating to decking boards is that they are exposed and unprepared when wet weather or summer sun hits.

Cutek’s products are recommended by Di Stefano and industry experts based on their timber protection properties and the valuable part that they play in avoiding decking issues.

“I have long been promoting the benefits of oil-based coatings like Cutek, that deeply diffuse into timber decking.”

Frank Di Stefano, Bowens Builders Bulletin

The feature points out that Cutek’s high quality timber oil is soaked in by the wood. After absorption, it works from the inside out to help control moisture entry and minimise common issues such as timber cupping, warping and splitting.

Summary of Di Stefano’s tips for using Cutek:

  • Use early protection during the construction stage.
  • Best practice includes coating the underside of decking.
  • Reseal all cut end grains.
  • Appropriate use can help to provide UV protection.

Professional timber protection products significantly prolong the life of outdoor decking when utilised correctly.

Contact us to discuss any of the points raised by Frank Di Stefano in Bowens Builders and to find out how our products can be used to protect your decking.