50 Shades of Black Locust Color:
What decking looks like after 5 years in use.

The most frequent question we get from architects and customers is what Black Locust color is like after some years in use. We have previously written a case study comparing two projects one of them using surface treatments and the other one not. In our over 30 years of experience working with Black Locust wood, we understand Black Locust lumber properties and characteristics well. We are advocates of the non-use of decking oils, stains, and sealants for your Black Locust decking. 

We also know that one of the top reasons architects decide to use Black Locust Lumber apart from its sustainable characteristics is the aesthetics and natural beauty of the wood. Black Locust lumber’s beauty withstands the test of time without the need for toxic oils or chemical enhancements. So without further ado, we have gathered a collection of decking pictures and facts for you to discover and familiarize yourself and to get an idea of what Black Locust color looks like in the long term.

Freshly installed decking: Black Locust color

A newly installed Black Locust project will be pale amber to a light brown in color. The lumber is tight-grained and has beautiful detail. As mentioned before, Black Locust wood is an organic product that does not require treatment to enhance its beauty, longevity and durability, thus the original Black Locust color cannot be preserved.
Below you will find a couple of pictures of the New York Botanical Gardens’s Native Plant promenade. The installation of this natural Black Locust decking project clearly shows the distinctive golden hue in this notable project. In scrolling down, you will be able to see what Black Locust decking color looks like after 5 years in service. No oils or chemical surface treatments were applied to the Black Locust decking.

New York Botanical Gardens Native Plant decking picture was taken upon installation.
New York Botanical Gardens Native Plant decking was left natural by the landscape architect, no oils or chemicals were used to treat the surface upon installation.

Decking 5 years in use: Black Locust color

With time and exposure to the natural environment, Black Locust color develops a silvery-gray patina. The color is a result of natural elements and surroundings: rain, snow, and UV exposure. The color does not affect the longevity and durability of the wood, which is 50+ years.

New York Botanical Gardens Native Plant decking picture 5 years after installation. The decking has no surface treatments applied.

New York Botanical Garden’s Native Plant promenade made of Black Locust had already been 5 years in service when this picture was taken.

To sum up

Black Locust color changes from pale amber to a silvery gray color when left natural. The color change has no effect whatsoever on the durability of the wood. Leaving Black Locust lumber natural, without surface treatment will result in lower maintenance costs and a beautiful, patina surface that will last you over 50+ years, with minimal maintenance.

New York Botanical Garden’s Native Plant promenade is made of Black Locust, color comparison upon installation and 5 years in service

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