Perhaps you’ve been dreaming of installing a deck with boards that are completely consistent in color. This would be the type of deck you’d see pictured in a high-end home magazine or featured in a home improvement store’s showroom floor. If that’s your ultimate goal, don’t be surprised if turning that vision into reality proves to be extremely challenging. In the real world, color matching lumber is a difficult endeavor. Even boards of the same species can vary dramatically in their color.
Here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind if you have your heart set on color-matched decking boards.
Lower Your Expectations
Though you may not be thrilled to read this first tip, it’s worth considering. Unless you want to pay a significantly higher price for your decking project, you may want to reconsider trying to get the color of your boards to be an exact match. Slight differences in the color of your wood will give it character. Since wood is a natural product, you don’t need to expect it to have the generic, manufactured look of composite decking. Each board came from a tree that experienced certain conditions that caused it to look the way it does.
Though different species all have their unique looks to them, there’s a surprising amount of variation within a species. Just because you purchase packs of Teak, Ipe, or Cumaru, that doesn’t mean each board is going to be the same color. If you’re willing to lower your expectations when it comes to matching colors, you’ll probably end up spending less money while still being satisfied with the look of your deck. But if you have your heart set on color-matched lumber, read on to find out how to get the best possible results.
Recognize the Reasons for Color Variations
There are several different reasons that decking boards of the same species tend to have differences in color. Some of these variables include regional climate differences, the timing of the tree’s felling, methods of drying and sawing, milling techniques, and even the manner and duration of time the boards were stored. All of these factors play a major role in the color of the finished product.
So next time you see those glossy photographs of decks with perfectly color-matched decking boards, remember all that it takes to achieve those kinds of results. If you want that same kind of look, you’ll need to be willing to pay more than you would for a deck that’s less evenly matched.
Whether you go with Ipe, Cumaru, or any other tropical hardwood decking product, the boards are intended for installation right after purchase. That means you need to specify your desire for color-matched boards to your lumber dealer to get an accurate price estimate for the project. In our next article, we’ll take an in-depth look at some of the specific factors that can affect the color of your decking materials.
You see this the most with decking projects, and this is where the biggest frustration with different colors comes up the most. Tropical decking like Ipe and Cumaru are sold ready to install. I’ll talk more about that in a future article. For now, let’s look at all the things that can affect the color of your decking boards, and what you can do to get the best color match for your project.
Continue reading with Part 2.