How to Match New Wood to Older Wood Decking

When exterior wood weathers it becomes faded. This is also known as graying. Sometimes repairs have to be made if some of the wood has rotted or decayed due to weather damage. Replacing old wood with new wood can be a great way to reinforce a structure and is a very common occurrence. Once all the repairs have been made the wood is then generally protected with a wood stain or sealer. The problem is that new wood and older wood look different when they are stained.

Understanding why newer and older wood look different when stained may help you in dealing with this dilemma. When wood weathers the top wood fibers become damaged and begin to gray and become soft. When wood is new it is much smoother and denser. Older wood is more porous and will absorb much larger rates of wood stain making them appear darker. New denser wood will not absorb as much wood stain therefore appearing much lighter than stained older wood.

To better match new wood to older wood it is best to wash the entire wood surface. Using a wood cleaner and a pressure washer will remove any dirt, grime, and gray wood fibers from the older wood and mill glaze from the newer wood. Once clean, apply a wood brightener to the wood surface. The brightener will lighten the older wood and help to open the pours of the newer wood. This will help bring the stain absorption rates closer together.

As an extra step you can sand the wood surface once it is clean and dry. Sanding the older wood will remove any remaining soft wood fibers to reveal a harder surface. Sanding the newer wood will have the opposite effect and will soften the hard surface and remove any remaining mill glaze.

After performing these steps to match new wood to older wood use a high-grade semi-transparent wood stain. Although the wood surfaces, new and old, may not match completely this will blend them together as well as possible resulting in a more beautiful appearance.

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  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ron · 06/15/2018
    A couple of questions.

    1) What is the best method to apply Armstrong Clark semi-transparent stain to railing and spindles?

    2) What is the best method to transfer stain from the 5 gallon container to a paint tray with the least amount of mess?

    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      The Sealer Store · 06/16/2018
      1. Stain pad or brush.
      2. Pouring carefully. :)