Use Decking-Oil to Protect Iroko Gates
Iroko is a hardwood tree that originates from the west coast of Africa and it can live up to 500 years. A tough, dense and very durable timber, it is naturally resistant to decay and insect attack. Initially yellow, the wood darkens to a richer copper brown over time. It is common to see iroko being used for outdoor gates.
There is often a lot of confusion around how to prepare, protect and maintain Iroko wood, and Osmo is here to provide you with all the information you need to complete these three stages correctly.
A common mistake that we see is that the timber hasn’t been through the necessary weathering period.
Some timbers require a little more preparation, and Iroko is certainly one of these. Notoriously rich in natural oils and ingredients, it isn’t very absorbent when it is new or fresh after being sanded. This means that any wood finishes that relies on penetration into the fibres of the timber will struggle to do so on fresh Iroko.
To help absorbency, having the new surface sanded to a final P120 grit sandpaper grade is recommended. Sanding to higher grades tend to close off the surface of the wood a little more and will not be quite so absorbent as a P120 grit grade.
Once sanded, we strongly recommend leaving the new surface to weather untreated for 12 weeks (the longer the better), so that the elements can improve absorbency on the surface. Without weathering, the natural wood oils remain, and a wood finish may struggle to penetrate.
After the weathering period, the surface should be ready to protect. If, however, there are areas that have silvered, we suggest treating it with Osmo Wood Reviver Power Gel. This will refresh the colour without any requirement for further sanding. A rinse with methylated spirits will help degrease the surface resins and help open the pores to aid the absorption of the oils. Once cleaned and dried, it is now ready to have two coats of Osmo Decking-Oil 006 applied.
Designed to protect, maintain and enhance the wooden surface, Decking-Oil, which is aesthetically suited for Iroko, produces a smooth satin finish which is water and dirt resistant. The microporous finish consists of natural vegetable oils and waxes which allows the wood to breathe, reducing the risk of swelling and shrinkage over time. The professional nature of the finish means that it will not crack, flake, peel or blister providing you with peace of mind that your Iroko Gate will continue to look its best.
A key benefit for choosing this Osmo finish is that it is breathable, which allows moisture to be release in dryer conditions, as opposed to varnishes or lacquers, which will keep the moisture trapped, causing more damage and warping in the wood.
The reason why this is important to note, is that the joint between a ledge and brace section of Iroko gates can attract more sitting water through the end grain. If the rainwater sits here for a long time and the surface hasn’t been protected with the right finish, the moisture will migrate into the wood.
An advantage of using Osmo finishes over paints and varnishes, is that if you notice little areas that need maintenance, spot repairs are possible. Before doing so, we recommend doing a small trial and protecting any nearby sensitive surfaces such as metal, stone and render.
By using the Osmo Paint Stripper 6000, you will gain access to the wood and can then treat it with the Osmo Wood Reviver Power Gel and refresh the colour of the timber – expect the refreshed areas to appear richer and for the colour to appear intensified.
Once cleaned, rinse away the stripper and gel with the help of a green scotch pad and warm water and allow the surface to fully dry. It is good practice to degrease the dried wood with methylated spirits to ensure all residues have been removed. Once dry, the surface can be topped up with the Decking-Oil 006 as before.