Understanding CUTEK® Colortones
It’s important to understand that CUTEK® is a unique penetrating oil system designed to enhance the natural color and grain of wood. CUTEK® Extreme is sold as a clear oil which can be used to protect the wood from moisture and moisture related movement such as cupping, warping and splitting. Using just the clear oil will protect the wood, providing stability and structural integrity while allowing it to naturally lighten to produce a silver weathered look over time. The soft natural lightening and silvering of the wood represents a low care option and is becoming an increasingly popular way to leave wood in weather exposed settings.
Wood projects using clear CUTEK® Extreme that have silvered can easily be returned back to the wood’s original color using CUTEK® Wood Reviver and high pressure washing followed by further applications of CUTEK® Extreme clear oil.
However, if you desire to maintain the original color of the ‘freshly oiled’ wood then you need to purchase a CUTEK® Colortone to add to clear CUTEK® Extreme. It is important that the Colortone that you choose is suited to your selected wood as it should further enhance the natural color and grain and help to maintain its “natural” color over a longer period of time.
What to expect when using CUTEK® Colortone
Most wood care products on the market leave a build up of material on the surface of the wood. In the short term this provides more color, but in the long term the finish can be prone to peeling and flaking, which requires time and money to repair.
The CUTEK® system is unique because color is designed to fade, ware or erode slowly over time and with use, rather than peel or flake. The initial CUTEK® Colortone intensity on new smooth wood projects only offers subtle amounts of pigment that enhance the wood. Wood that is exposed fully to the weather will lighten faster as the wood acclimatizes. A follow up application after this initial weathering period will provide much greater color intensity as the wood becomes rougher and more open.
How to increase color intensity on new wood
New wood is milled smooth and often has a mill glaze which will greatly restrict the initial color adhesion of any pigment. Better results can be achieved by creating a rougher surface and preparing the wood using CUTEK® Wood Reviver in combination with a high pressure washer. Sanding the new wood with 80 grit paper will give even better results as it removes mill glaze and creates a much rougher surface which will enable greater color intensity.
Note: The rougher the surface of the wood, the greater the color intensity and durability. Rough sawn or heavy brushed wood profiles will take more oil and color, so a much bolder color contrast can be achieved. The amount of mill glaze, if any, that is present on any job can vary significantly depending on species density, and machining method used.
Note: Sanded surfaces should be vacuumed or washed thoroughly to remove all loose wood and dust.
Selecting the right CUTEK® Colortone
Our CUTEK® Colortone system is designed to enhance the wood color and grain you select. With this in mind, you need to think about your original wood choice and the color it most represents. Is it Light to Golden, Brown, Red or a combination? Here are a few common examples to help you understand:
Western Red Cedar: Reddish to pinkish brown, so Rustic Gold is a nice choice.
Redwood and Mahogany: Light pinkish brown to darker reddish brown, so Terra Cotta or Autumntone will look similar on new smooth wood.
Douglas Fir: Light brown with a hint of red and/or yellow, so Espresso is a nice choice.
Eastern White Cedar: Light white to straw yellow, so Goldtone or Honeycomb will look similar on new smooth wood
For a good idea of what a Colortone will look like on your wood type, use our Colortone Visualizer above.
Changing the original color of any wood
For horizontal walk-on surfaces such as decking, we recommend you select a CUTEK® Colortone that is the closest match to the wood you have selected, rather than attempt to change the color. You can talk to any of our retailers for advice.
For cladding and screening, a much higher intensity of color can be achieved which can completely change the original tone of the wood. Even very light colored wood species can become an almost solid Black, Gray, Red, Brown or Gold if the wood surface is suitably rough and more coats or a higher pigment loading has been added.
In some circumstances you can double your CUTEK® Colortone to achieve bolder effects on rough or brushed wood. We advise that you contact us to discuss this option in more detail as we want to ensure you have the best information possible.
NOTE: We recommend using a Pre-Mixed Sample to see what your chosen CUTEK® Colortone will look like on your specific wood type PRIOR to starting your project.
|Common Wood Species Types in the USA
||Recommended CUTEK® Colortones
|Eastern White Cedar
|Western Red Cedar – Clear & Knotty
||Goldtone, Honeycomb, Rustic Gold
||Espresso, Honeycomb, Terra Cotta, Burnt Red, Cedartone, Autumntone
||Goldtone, Honeycomb, Rustic Gold
||Autumntone, Goldtone, Walnut, Rustic Gold
|Douglas Fir – smooth
|Douglas Fir – rough
||Honeycomb, White Wash*
|Pressure Treated (brown)
|Pressure Treated – Southern Yellow Pine
||Honeycomb, Smokey Grey, Rustic Gold
|Thermally Modified Southern Yellow Pine
||Ashwood*, Espresso, Honeycomb
|Thermally Modified Ash
|Thermally Modified Scots Pine
||Espresso, Goldtone, Honeycomb
||Cedartone, Honeycomb, Rustic Gold
|Common Wood Design Trends
|Hamptons/White Wash Look
||Blue Slate*, White Wash*
|Instant Weathered Look
||Grey Mist*, Smokey Grey
|Charred Wood Look
* available by special order
Stir the contents of the CUTEK® Colortone thoroughly and add to the clear CUTEK® Extreme oil as follows:
• For 0.95 gal of CUTEK® Extreme – add 1 x 3 oz Colortone
• For 5 gal of CUTEK® Extreme – add 5 x 3 oz Colortones
Thoroughly stir combined mixture from the bottom of the can BEFORE AND DURING use.
Failure to do this may result in inconsistent color.
For best results, one coat of clear CUTEK® Extreme should be applied to all faces of the wood prior to installing, with a second and third coat of Colortoned CUTEK® Extreme applied to the top surface, after installation, once the prior coat is completely dry and non-greasy.
If applying post-construction, apply two thin coats to all accessible wood surfaces, ensuring the first coat has completely penetrated/diffused (dried) before applying the second coat.
Colortoned CUTEK® Extreme will lighten/fade faster in full weather exposed areas whereas wood in protected areas will retain color with minimal maintenance over time.
CUTEK® Extreme is designed to gradually fade, ware, or erode over time and with use rather than peel, split or crack. Rejuvenation of wood coated with CUTEK® Extreme is a simple, fast and cost-effective process.
Clear or Colortoned CUTEK® Extreme should be reapplied as frequently as necessary to retain the natural beauty and color of your wood. Assessment of this is subjective and it is important to realize that color durability varies widely according to many factors including the age and porosity of the wood, species, situation, exposure to the weather and how rough the wood surface is.
Typically, horizontal exterior wood surfaces exposed to full weather such as decks and handrails will require recoating more frequently (initially after 6-12 months), while other surfaces such as vertical rough-sawn cladding will need recoating less often.