Isn't it Good, This Norwegian Wood?

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When an Austin-based family sought to renovate the deck around their backyard pool and spa, they decided on Kebony, a Norwegian, modified wood that was recently introduced to the Austin market. They enlisted Caleb Wheeler of Centex Decks to carry out the project.

"The homeowner used to be an acting ship builder," says Wheeler. "So when selecting a decking material that was right for them, he definitely did his research."

Kebony is produced from sustainably-sourced timber and infused with a bio-based, non-toxic liquid. The chemicals (furfuryl alcohol produced from agricultural crop waste) are polymerised inside the wood fibers to create a stable and durable wood material. After treatment, the cell walls are left permanently altered — 50% thicker due to the stable, locked-in polymers — to give both the strength of hardwood and the tolerance of composite material.

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Wheeler says it was his first time using this type of wood. "The biggest thing that jumped out at me was how easy Kebony is to work with," he says. "I was able to get it looking nice very quickly. And despite it being real wood, it doesn't fight back like other woods on the market."

"If you're comparing it to a regular tree, it's night and day," adds Wheeler. "Kebony is a lot more stable, and it's supposed to have a great lifespan."

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Over time, the material will turn from deep brown to silver-grey in color. The company says some customers prefer the silver-grey and will let the wood age naturally. Others choose to preserve the original color, which can be done so with simple surface treatment (oils, stain or paint). Its change in appearance does not affect its durability.

The family was left very satisfied with the project. And as for Wheeler, he will definitely recommend the material to other homeowners and peers.

"Kebony is another option that wasn't there before," says Wheeler. "It's still your natural-looking wood at a similar price point. You no longer have to go to composite to have the same kind of benefits."

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