Modified wood decking – the best option for your deck
Modified wood is quickly becoming a premium decking material for residential homes as well as commercial settings. Nearly everyone can appreciate the natural beauty of wood decks, yet many also will agree that the high maintenance associated with them is a main reason for choosing alternative materials.
Modified wood offers all the beauty of real wood without the concerns over durability, longevity and maintenance needs. Instead of choosing vinyl, composites or expensive hardwoods, here are 30 reasons why you will be happier with a modified wood deck.
1. Modified Wood Decks Develop a Natural Patina Over Time
Photo by: Salih Usta
Although it does come down to personal opinion, many wood deck lovers do enjoy the natural grey patina that real wood takes as it ages. Since modified wood is real wood, it does develop this attractive, weathered look overtime. This patina will develop more quickly in areas with strong sun or heavy rain.
2. No Need for Annual Painting and Sealing Means You Save Money
Architect: Vettermann + Rickens Photo by: Salih Usta
Modified wood doesn’t require annual painting or resealing as part of maintenance like other wood decks do. High quality paints, stains and sealants certainly aren’t cheap, especially for low VOC products, which means you’ll be saving quite a bit on a yearly basis by choosing modified wood.
3. Deck Railings can be Constructed with the Same Material
Architect: architecturemade Photo by: Rene Sievert
If you enjoy the seamless look of matching deck and railings you’ll be happy to know that modified wood can be used in all parts of deck construction. Railings made from modified wood will naturally weather just like the deck itself and will offer a strong, smooth splinter-free surface that won’t crack.
4. Modified Wood Decks are a Safe Option for Families
Architect and Photo by: Studio 3001
Children often spend much of their time on the deck directly in contact with the wood, often times playing right on the deck itself. Therefore it is extremely important that families invest in a deck that is free of chemicals and won’t leave painful slivers. Modified wood decks have no chemicals and are an excellent choice for properties where young children are present.
5. Modified Wood Boards are Equally as Hard as Tropical Hardwood
Architect and Photo by: Studio 3001
Tropical hardwoods are often considered the premium wood decking option, but modified wood offers more benefits and is essentially equally as dense. This density is what makes modified wood so durable and difficult to damage. If you want the strength of tropical hardwoods without enabling further tropical forest degradation, modified wood is the perfect alternative.
6. Raw Wood Materials are Sourced from Certified Sustainable Forests
Architect: Marcel Adam Landschaftsarchitekten Photo by: Salih Usta
A major issue with tropical hardwood is the concern over what trees are being cut down to source the lumber. Many modified wood companies use certified wood suppliers that adhere to sustainable and responsible forestry management practices. Using modified wood means your deck won’t contribute to unscrupulous damage to old growth or poorly managed forests.
7. Using Modified Wood is an Eco-Conscious and Green Option
The use of modified wood doesn’t negatively effect the environment in the way that many other decking options do. Other wood decks may be treated with harmful chemicals or are sourced from questionable suppliers. Vinyl, composite and other wood-alternatives can also be laden with dangerous chemicals and may not be recyclable. Modified wood is one of the most green decking options on the market today.
8. Modified Wood Decks Only Require Simple Cleaning to Maintain
Architect: NAV A.S Arkitekter
The only thing you need to do to maintain your modified wood deck is keep it clean. You won’t need to repaint or reseal nor do you need to purchase any special cleaning agents. Soap and water will do just fine to remove any dirt, grime, algae, etc. This requires very little effort and often is just a few minutes of sweeping or washing
9. Modified Wood is Handled and Cut the Same as any Wood Board
Vinyl, some composites and fiber cement boards are also used for decks, but often can’t be handled like wood. Some require special equipment for cutting and installation, making it difficult to accomplish as a DIY project. Labor costs in these cases can add a lot to the overall expense, often making modified wood a much more reasonable expense.
10. Modified Wood Decks use Bio-Based Liquids Rather than Harsh Chemicals
Architect: LPO Arkitekter Photo by: Nils Petter Dale
Many wood options used for decking are loaded with chemical-based products to achieve greater durability. However modified wood, like Kebony, uses a natural, bio-based liquid to achieve its superior performance characteristics, instead of relying on harsh chemicals. Having direct contact with a modified wood deck is safe and you won’t need to worry about chemicals leaching into the surrounding ground either.
11. Modified Wood Performs Equally Well in Any Climate
The climate in your region often does play a role in material selection for the exterior of your home, but not if you choose a material like modified wood. Unlike other products, modified wood’s durability make it a versatile material appropriate for any type of climate, even climates where wood is often ignored in favor of plastics or composites.
12. Modified Wood Boards Avoid Common Shrinkage Issues of Traditional Wood
Architect: Gerkens Garten- und Landschaftsbau Photo by: Rene Sievert
The cell modification that occurs during the modifying process leaves these wood boards having a much lower moisture content than treated wood. This means that when boards are placed and the deck is constructed, the natural shrinking that will occur is greatly reduced since the moisture content is already at a minimum.
13. Modification Process Greatly Reduces Swelling from Moisture
Architect: grad™ lifetime decking Photo by: Ed Kingsford Photography
Since the cells of the wood have been strengthened and enhanced, as well as permeated with a polymer and hardened with heat, the cells of the boards are unable to soak up as much moisture as other wood. This means modified wood boards are great for climates with high moisture levels as the boards will not swell to the extent that other woods or materials might.
14. Density of Wood Makes Warping Very Unlikely
Photo by: Salih Usta
Modified wood boards are unlikely to warp due to density and lack of swelling or shrinking. The lack of moisture in the board that helps prevent shrinking and the density that helps prevent swelling also means that these boards typically remain as straight and strong.
15. Insects and Pests Aren’t Attracted to Modified Wood
Insect and wildlife pest damage are two common headaches when it comes to using wood on the exterior of a home. However, modified wood is extremely resistant to insect activity, making it a safe and reliable choice.
16. Homes with Modified Wood Decks are More Valuable to Potential Home Buyers
Architect: North on Sixty Photo by: Christopher Lawson
Due to the many advantages of modified wood, having a deck made of this material is a huge selling point for potential buyers. If you’re installing a new deck but have plans on selling within a few years, strongly consider investing in modified wood instead of a cheaper option. Chances are you’ll get an excellent ROI out of it.
17. Modified Wood is One of the Longest Lasting Real Wood Decking Options
Photo by: Balteschwiler AG / Thomas Wilper, Lorenz Obrist
When it comes to longevity there are few organic material options that will outperform modified wood. If you want a real wood deck that is going to last for 30+ years, modified wood is the lowest maintenance, most valuable option.
18. Modified Wood is Ideal for Pool or Waterfront Decks
Architect: Family Vogel Photo by: Märchenhotel Bellevue
If you’re looking to build a deck for a pool or one that extends by or over water your material choice will be limited, because many options fail when in close proximity and direct contact with water. However, modified wood is an excellent choice and one that is highly recommended for these high-moisture areas. If your heart is set on real wood, modified wood is a smart decision for these application types.
19. Decks Made of Modified Wood are Far Less Likely to Splinter
Architect: Homexo Photo by: Studio Oslo
A major issue with many wood decks is that overtime they begin to splinter, often leading to painful slivers. Not only can slivers hurt, but having slices of chemically treated wood trapped underneath the skin can be dangerous and cause for concern. Modified wood offers better strength and durability over the years, which is why many consider it a “splinter-free” option. In the event of any structural damage that could possibly lead to a sliver, modified wood, like Kebony, uses only organic furfurylated alcohol in the modification process so you wouldn’t be exposed to any harmful chemicals, like you would with treated wood.
20. Modified Wood Decks Won’t Peel or Split with Age
Architect: ARK NET AS Photo by: Jacob Buchard
Vinyl decks often don’t age very nicely and instead begin to peel and split. Similarly, wood decks that have been painted over the years may experience peeling and chipping, making it difficult to repair and create a smooth finish. As a real wood decking, modified wood weathers naturally, but without losing any of its superior performance characteristics.
21. Modified Wood is Highly Resistant to Threats like Mold and Fungus
Architect: hacedor/maker: arquitectos
Due to the bio-based liquid and overall density of modified wood, chances are very slim that fungus, rot, algae or mold will grow on a deck made of this material. While you should take measures to prevent these problems from forming by regular cleaning and trimming of nearby foliage, a modified wood deck is going to be more resistant than other types of wood more prone to fungal growth and degradation.
22. Modified Wood is Available in Several Varieties
Architect: Werner Nasahl, Dipl.-Ing. Architekt Photo by: Salih Usta
When it comes to modified wood, options aren’t limited to one type as different species of wood lead to multiple options for end users. Take Kebony modified wood for example. Kebony Clear is a soft, smooth grain that is knot-free for a clean finish; much like the appearance of ipe yet far more environmentally friendly. One the other hand, Kebony Character offers a rustic look with a knotty pine appearance. Both provide the durability users seek with modified wood and help create a multitude of design styles.
23. Color can be Maintained with Modified Wood Decks
Photo by: Mareiner Holz
While the majority of consumers prefer to leave modified wood decks bare to weather naturally to the timeless silver-gray patina, the option does exist to maintain the original brown color if one chooses. There are various products that can be applied to protect the color, like a Penofin wood finish for instance. Painting is even an option with modified wood, unlike PVC or composite decking. Modified wood offers flexibility to choose your look and change your mind.
24. Modified Wood Deck Care Only Requires Water or Very Gentle Cleaning Agents
Modified wood decks don’t require special oils or cleaners to keep them looking beautiful. If you properly maintain your deck and clear debris off it regularly, chances are the only thing you’ll need is plain water. That being said, you can use gentle cleaning agents if you wish, but always be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions first.
25. Unused Modified Wood Boards can Easily be Repurposed or Recycled
Architect: Henning Kongshavn Frønsdal Photo by: Per Erik Jæger
Another way modified wood is an environmentally friendly choice is that the boards can be easily be repurposed or recycled. Naturally it is a good idea to try and recycle modified wood boards for other projects, particularly unused pieces, but scraps from construction or full boards from an old deck at the end of its life can be burned without releasing harmful pollution into the air.
26. Modified Wood is Cooler and More Comfortable to the Touch
Architect and Photo by: Tommy Bahama
Vinyls and other wood-alternatives are known for getting hot under the sun, often being too hot to comfortably stand on barefoot in some cases. Real wood decking, like modified wood, stays cooler, enabling full use and enjoyment even when the sun is at its highest.
27. Modified Wood Offers the Advantages of Tropical Hardwood without Harming the Environment
Architect and Photo by: Basecamp Explorer
Tropical hardwood is often the epitome of beautiful wood decking, but the destructive effects of unsustainable forestry practices that lead to rainforest degradation can make it a difficult choice ethically speaking. Modified wood is an excellent alternative for the home or business owner who wants an equally beautiful deck, but wishes to be more respectful of the Earth and its natural resources.
28. Natural Aging Process Doesn’t Affect the Deck’s Durability
Photo by: Salih Usta
The attractive grey patina wood takes on as it ages often is also a sign that your wood deck is wearing down and may need new more upkeep, however, this isn’t the case with modified wood. A modified wood deck will age naturally without requiring any special effort on your part to maintain durability. These decks will be just as tough on day one of construction as it will be decades later.
29. Cleaning a Modified Wood Deck Doesn’t Require a Pressure Washer
Using a pressure washer isn’t required for a modified wood deck, but rather a regular garden hose with a sprayer, along with the help of a stiff brush, is all that’s needed. This is actually a huge benefit, as many homeowners end up damaging traditional wood decks when using a pressure washer by using the wrong nozzle and pressure level settings.
30. Longevity and Low Maintenance Makes Modified Wood Decks More Economical
Architect: João Mendes Ribeiro Photo by: do mal o menos – Eduardo Nascimento, João Fôja
While modified wood decks may be a bit more expensive than pressure treated woods and some wood-alternatives, it is still a more economical option when comparing cost and value. The lack of maintenance requirements, outstanding durability and a potential lifespan of 30+ years, quickly adds up to lower overall lifecycle costs than many other decking options on the market.
All in all, modified wood is a real winner when it comes down to ease of care, long lifespan and overall value to the property owner. A well-constructed modified wood deck is going to outlast other wood decks and require less work to maintain, which means you’ll have more time to spend enjoying your deck.