Looking beyond comeliness —the outward appearance of wood and timbers exposed for increased aesthetic appeal, structures left to nature are given a natural coating that will last indefinitely. While the life expectancy and unity of future potential coatings are influenced by the process of exposure to weather that will require some maintenance.
For the first hundred years or so, the colonies of America allowed the exterior surfaces of their homes and shelters to weather naturally. This Early American tradition can be considered the first method of finishing. Later, people, in general, used paint on the surfaces.
Today, interest is revived in the colonial tradition of rustic finishes and natural beauty of weathered wood.