Naturally weathered redwood is possible because redwood is a wood species that possesses inherent dimensional stability and heartwood decay resistance. Naturally weathered redwood is a no-maintenance option that results in a rustic appearance that many prefer. Years of testing by the U.S.D.A. Forest Products Laboratory have shown that redwood is among a select group of wood species that erode at only 1/4 inch of wood fiber per century in unfinished exterior applications. Because of these qualities, many centuries-old redwood homes and other buildings now being recycled and renovated, have been found to be in excellent condition, requiring minimal structural repair or replacement of siding or trim.
Natural weathering results in color changes
As redwood weathers on its own, several natural color changes take place. These color changes may occur over a period of years and will vary from one climate to another. In a damp or humid climate, redwood used outdoors will go through two stages, the first being a darkening of the wood. As time goes on, this darkening may be rinsed away by rain and the redwood will weather-bleach to a soft, driftwood gray color. A redwood structure sheltered from rinsing rains may remain dark throughout its lifetime. Therefore, the site of the structure plays an important part in the decision to leave the wood unfinished. In drier climates, unfinished redwood may not darken. Instead, the wood will gradually turn a silvery tan, becoming lighter in color as the natural weathering occurs.
Infinite variations of color and texture
The effects of natural weathering on redwood will be different depending on which side of the house or building the redwood is installed. This is because redwood’s color changes are caused by sunlight and water, and different areas of a house usually are exposed to varying amounts of each. Two boards installed side by side may also vary in appearance because of the infinite variations of color and texture offered by redwood lumber. This is one of the unique, inherent qualities of a natural material such as redwood, compared to the artificial uniformity of plastic lumber products.
Reversing color changes
The color changes in naturally weathered redwood are completely reversible. Visit our Color Restoration page for additional information.