Weathered Wood Decking Can be a Good Thing – Or Not

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That feeling of walking on the weathered wood decking on a boardwalk by the shore may bring back nostalgic feelings of yesteryear. Or it may summon nightmares remembering that time when your little brother got a big splinter in his tender bare foot from the pine wood boardwalk, that the nurses removed, and how he cried all the way home, until Mommy gave him ice cream. Not all weathered wood decking is a bad thing, though. Learn more here.

Ipe deck weathered to silvery gray patina

Ipe hardwood decking - weathered wood decking can be strong and beautiful.


The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Weathered Wood Decking

Some wood decking species weather beautifully. Others do not. Some wood decking species are exceptionally strong and do not need to be stained or painted. Other wood decking species, particularly softwood decking species like pine, treated pine, cedar decking, fir decking, absolutely need to be finished – and refinished. Softwood decking not only can get ugly, but it can also create serious safety concerns.


Safety Issues with Old Wood Decking

When the Ocean Beach boardwalk replaced its old southern yellow pine decking with Ipe hardwood decking, the nurses were delighted. For years, Ocean Beach had a full-time medical staff on hand busily dealing with slews of injuries from splinters. Because Ipe is a high-density hardwood decking with finer graining, splinters are a rarity nowadays.


Ipe hardwood weathered wood decking after 10 years on Ocean Beach Boardwalk


Performance Problems with old wood decking

there's a huge difference between weathered woo decking and rotted wood decking. If your dream is to have a weathered wood softwood deck, let’s hope it’s a short dream. Softwood decking rots, and rather quickly. And when wood rots, beware. Danger lurks beneath rotten deck boards, and not just splinters. After a wood deck board starts to rot, it loses much of its fiber strength. At some point, the rotten wood decking becomes unsafe to walk on. 

Rotted wood decking is a safety hazard. Softwood decking rots quickly without proper care.

Danger! When deck boards start to rot - replace them - quickly.


Here's a test we performed of various wood decking species. We wanted see how wood decking weathered over time. Now you can, too. Check out this short weathered wood decking video. Here's what the weathered wood boards look like after their first fifteen years.



Why Hardwood Decking Can Weather Safely and Beautifully

High density hardwood decking is incredibly strong, naturally. Hardwood decking species like Ipe, Jatoba, Machiche, Cumaru and Garapa are exceptional performers. Because of their unique natural properties, like high strength and high density, these hardwood decking lasts for decades, without rotting.

If you like the natural appearance of weathered wood decking, high density hardwood decking is the best path to take there. Hardwood decking is a true low maintenance decking option.

For more information about weathered wood, please download “How Exterior Hardwoods Weather” today.

Fiber strength – the natural fiber strength of high-density hardwood decking is off the charts. These species range anywhere from 1-1/2 times to 3 times stronger than oak.

Density – the natural density of hardwood decking Their high density, combined with the natural oils found in these hardwood decking species, make them nearly impossible to paint or stain. That’s the same reason why they can last so long, even without refinishing them.

Durability – The high strength, high density, and natural characteristics of hardwood decking are the key reasons why they so durable. They can last for decades without refinishing them. If you wish to refinish them, though, you can change your mind at any time.


Which Hardwood Decking Species Weather Beautifully?

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so you can decide which weathered wood decking you like the best. Here are a few examples of weathered wood hardwood decking.

Ipe hardwood decking

Ipe decking on covered porch at private club in Rhode Island
Ipe hardwood decking ages gracefully to a weathered wood decking, safely. For a low maintenance deck, simply keep your Ipe hardwood decking clean.

Ipe decking info

Ipe decking project photo gallery


Jatoba hardwood decking

Jatoba hardwood decking and benches after 6 years of waethering

Jatoba hardwood decking is another excellent weathered wood decking option. Here's Jatoba decking on a commercial boardwalk after 6 plus years of weathering.

Jatoba Decking Info

Jatoba decking project picture gallery


Garapa hardwood decking

Garapa decking weathers nicely after five years to silver patina

Garapa hardwood decking can create a lovely weathered wood deck. Keep your Garapa decking clean and live the dream.

Garapa Decking Info

Garapa decking project gallery


Machiche hardwood decking

vaughn machiche rooftop deck weatherd 2

FSC Certified Machiche hardwood decking is a high performance weathered wood decking option. Machiche decking is incredibly, hard, strong and durable. Machiche can withstand the test of time and weathering.

Machiche Decking Info

Machiche decking project photo gallery


Cumaru hardwood decking


Cumaru hardwood decking makes a great weathered wood decking material. How strong is Cumaru decking? Here it is on the Coney Island boardwalk. Imagine how well Cumaru decking works on a weathered wood backyard deck.

Cumaru Decking Info

Cumaru decking project photo gallery


Maintaining and Caring for a Weathered Wood Hardwood deck

Don’t confuse weathered wood decking with a dirty deck. Weathered decking is one thing, but you still need to keep your deck clean. All decks need to be cleaned occasionally. So, please keep it clean, bro. The best way to maintain a hardwood deck is to give it an annual cleaning.

You can try to clean your hardwood decking with a pressure washer, but unless you are a skilled deck cleaning professional, you can ruin your deck this way.

The best method and product we have tested is Penofin Pro-Tech Cleaner. It is amazingly effective at getting deep seated grime, and gunk right up to the surface of your deck.  My wife and I cleaned our deck with it in about two or three hours, and I must confess, it was filthy. We hadn’t thoroughly cleaned our deck in 2 years. The difference was beautiful.

If you are willing to put in a few hours of hard work, it is easier, safer, and less costly to use a cleaning agent like Penofin Pro-Tech Cleaner.

More info about decking care and maintenance here

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