Archatrak structural wood tiles are constructed with either Ipe or Black Locust wood, both species noted for their stability in service, long life, hardness, excellent weathering properties and resistance to insect attack. Our structural wood tiles can thus be expected to maintain their attractive appearance over a long period with minimal ongoing maintenance.
Ipe wood typically exhibits variation in both color and grain, which can vary both from tile to tile and within the individual slats of a single tile. These variations add to the character and overall appearance of the finished project. Over time however, the color variations will tend to decline and the wood will fade to a soft silvery grey color.
As supplied, Ipe wood tiles do not have any sealer or decking oil applied to the surface. However a wax is applied at the ends of the slats to minimize any slight cracking or checking. If the tiles are not coated with any sealer or decking oil after installation and left to fade naturally, slight “bleeding” of the wax on the ends may give the appearance of water staining on the ends of the wood slats.
This will disappear over time as the tiles weather naturally although when the tiles are wet, a difference in color at the end of tiles where the wax has bled may be noticeable for a longer time due to remaining wax in the wood pores.
Maintaining the Wood Color
All wood tiles will fade naturally to a silvery grey color if exposed to UV in sunlight. The rate at which this will occur depends largely on the degree of exposure to direct sunlight, the climatic conditions and the frequency at which any preservative treatments are applied.
To slow the rate of this natural fading and to keep the tiles in their optimum condition, as soon as convenient after installing the tiles, we strongly recommend applying a good quality decking oil with a brush or roller. This can not only reduce the rate of fading, but can to some extent help mitigate the loss of moisture on the top of the wood slats which in turn can minimize checking (small cracking) and splitting. Note that a small amount of checking and splitting can be expected as a natural occurrence in the natural weathering process.
Decking oils which contains trans-oxide pigments or other proprietary UV absorbing or reflecting compounds and have a high solids content are preferred for longer term results and extended periods between applications of the decking oil/sealant. These specialized products will help maximize the durability, beauty and value of your tiles and assist in maintaining the original wood color as long as possible. Some proprietary products will also provide additional protection against mold and mildew.
From time to time, it may be necessary to use a commercial cleaning product to both clean the surface of the deck and kill mold spores. Deck brightening products may also used providing you carefully test the product in an inconspicuous area to ensure it will achieve the results you require.
A pressure washer may be used to remove any built-up dirt, mold or mildew from the surface of the tiles, however we recommend you firstly test the pressure washing on an inconspicuous area.