Busting Kebony Installation Myths



You may already know that Kebony is simple to install, but how simple? In this post we will dispel some common myths around installing Kebony cladding and decking that will help you prepare for your next project.

MYTH: Kebony requires waxing or sealing cut ends.

FACT: Yes, and No, depending on the grade of Kebony products you require. Kebony Clear grade does not require the waxing and/or sealing of cut ends. Typically with hardwoods such as Ipe, the cut ends of each board must be end-sealed with wax prior to installation to keep moisture from escaping the ends of the boards causing warping, cupping or twisting. This is not the case for Kebony Clear, as the moisture content is stabilized during the modification process and it comes ready to install with no other preparation required. For Kebony Character grade, we recommend sealing cut ends since the heartwood center needs to be protected.

MYTH: Kebony needs clearance off the ground that typical hardwoods will require.

FACT: Kebony does not require the same clearance as tropical hardwood, softwood or composite decking products. The minimum required clearance is 1.5” except when placed over exposed ground. In such cases, the clearance should be determined by the installer based on site specifics.

MYTH: Kebony cannot be installed with metal fixtures and mounting.

FACT: Kebony can be used with aluminum without discoloration. Zinc, copper and iron galvanized fixtures may incur some discoloration from water runoff. Kebony cladding should be installed with stainless steel screws. Be careful to keep your fasteners flush with the decking surface for the best possible connection.

MYTH: Kebony must be stained or painted to maintain maximum performance.

FACT: Kebony does not need to be stained and painted, and can be allowed to naturally weather without affecting the strength or warranty of the wood. Kebony utilizes an environmentally friendly, patented process that enhances the properties of sustainable softwood with a bio-based liquid. The process permanently modifies the wood cell walls, giving Kebony premium hardwood characteristics throughout.

Because of this, the wood can weather to a beautiful grey patina without losing the integrity of Kebony’s performance. If you want to maintain the rich brown color of the wood, you can stain Kebony with stains or natural penetrating oils. Please follow the coating manufacturers use and maintenance guidelines. If desired, Kebony cladding can be painted on vertical surfaces with an oil base product or stained to change the color of the wood. We don’t recommend Kebony decking be painted.

MYTH: I have to buy short and uneven lengths of Kebony

FACT: Unlike tropical hardwoods, Kebony decking only comes in even and premium lengths, from 10’-16’. Because we use sustainably-managed softwoods, we don’t need to require the purchase of odd lengths when you order. Whether it’s a residential or commercial project, we understand the needs of each customer varies. Kebony is normally purchased in even tallies of 10’-16’, and we strive to provide the appropriate options for your project so you can be productive and efficient on the job site.

MYTH: Kebony’s color/furfuryl alcohol will eventually leach out of the wood.

FACT: During the modification process, Kebony uses heat to lock in the wood’s cell structure permanently. As a result, the color and the bio-based liquid (furfuryl alcohol) used to modify the wood is infused into the wood cell’s and cannot leach out.

Kebony will perform like any other wood when it comes to color change. Kebony boards have a deep brown color that will form a silver-grey patina over time. The speed of this process depends on exposure conditions and type of application. Normally it will happen gradually over a few months, but intense exposure to sunlight and rain will accelerate the process. The change in appearance has no effect on resistance to decay or other technical product properties.

Now that you have information about common installation myths and facts, feel free to reference our installation guide or use and maintenance sheet for more product-specific details and tips.