When installing decking in your garden, you’re likely going to spend a significant amount of money. Not protecting that investment is an unwise move so using the best decking oil for protection is essential.
However, there are a few different oils to choose from so it can feel a little confusing when trying to decide which is right for your deck. This guide provides you with information on the various types of decking oil and how they will benefit your deck.
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Do I Really Need To Use Decking Oil?
As if you haven’t already spent enough of your hard earned installing the decking in the first place. Now we’re telling you that you’ve got to part with even more for decking oil. So, is this really necessary or just a ploy by retailers to rake in the cash?
In actual fact, using decking oil is a must. Fortunately, this isn’t the most bank breaking product so while you will need to spend a little more once the decking is done, it isn’t going to be a lot.
There are two types of decking; those made from hardwood and those made from softwood. Hardwood is naturally more durable and will resist things like exposure to weather, moisture, mould and other things. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t treat it with a decking oil as this will boost the protection and keep your deck stronger for longer.
Softwood decks are more prone to weathering and damage so it’s extremely important that you treat these with a decking oil. This includes woods such as fir, pine and spruce which are strong but not as resistant. By using decking oil, you increase protection ensuring that your deck lasts longer.
These decking oil products penetrate the wood so it is protected from the inside out. The oil prevents water from getting in which is one of the leading causes of degradation in wood. As water gets into wood, the wood expands, when it dries, this can lead to warping but through the use of an oil, this is far less likely to happen. What’s more, the oil will nourish the wood which in turn stops it from splitting or cracking.
You should also consider that, without an oil based treatment, mould and algae are likely to grow. This can make the decking slippery which of course, is a safety issue.
Is There Anything Else I Can Use Apart From Decking Oil?
As we have discussed, decking oil gets right into the fibres of the wood to offer protection. However, if there is already a product in the wood such as a paint, then there’s nowhere for the oil to go which means it won’t be effective. This may leave you wondering if there are any other products you can use.
There are decking stains which shouldn’t be confused with tinted decking oils, even though they’re sometimes marketed as the same thing. A true decking stain provides protection over the top of the wood as opposed from within it. This is great if you’re looking to provide protection from the weather and heavy foot traffic.
You might also choose a decking paint. These are ideal when you want to fully alter the colour of the decked area. They word particularly well when trying to restore the appearance of an old deck as they’ll cover any imperfections.
What Are The Different Types Of Decking Oil?
Each deck will have different needs depending on the level of foot traffic, how exposed it is to the elements, its age and many other factors. For this reason, there are lots of different types of decking oil. Let’s take a look at what is available to help you make the most informed decision.
Anti Slip Oil
As we have already discussed, certain things like algae can decrease the traction of the deck and make it very slippery. This could cause a nasty accident but through the use of anti slip decking oil, problems like this can be as good as eradicated.
Anti slip decking oil contains tiny particles which dry to form a more textured surface. But don’t worry, these particles are tiny so they won’t affect the appearance of the deck.
If you’ve created a raised deck or there are steps then an anti slip oil is essential. They’re often used on commercial projects but can be just as useful for domestic situations.
The natural appearance of wood can add real character to an outdoor space but a lot of decking oils are tinted or pigmented to alter that colour. If you want to retain the natural look of the deck then using a clear decking oil is the way to go.
These products still give the exact same protection but they won’t show up so you’ll be left with a deck that looks as natural as if it hadn’t been treated at all.
For a more modern appearance, you could use a coloured or pigmented decking oil. These are great if you want to create something that really stands out and catches the eye but also has a good level of protection.
There are a large number of colours to choose from so you can really show off your personality through your outdoor decor. If you’re trying to restore the look of an old deck then a coloured oil is a brilliant way to do this.
For decks that are in a very sunny spot, a coloured oil might be a better option since the pigments help to offer even greater UV protection. Darker coloured oils offer the best protection and will prevent things like sun bleaching.
How Do I Apply Decking Oil?
The great news is that using decking oil isn’t a complicated task. In fact, it is something you could do on a pleasant Saturday afternoon.
You’ll first need to sweep the decked area to make sure there is no debris, leaves or anything else that might get caught in the oil. If the decking needs to be washed, then now is the best time to do it but make sure you allow it to fully dry before applying the oil.
Sometimes, your decking may have suffered with mould or algae and this is something you’ll need to clean up before doing anything else. There are special decking cleaning products which do a great job of removing mould and algae. Again, allow the decking to dry before you use the oil.
You only need to apply a very thin coat of decking oil. You can buy large decking paint pads which come attached to a long pole so you don’t have to bend over and do your back in as you work. Apply the first layer, ensuring that you get right into the grain and then wait the specified time for the oil to dry. Generally speaking, this will be around four hours but each product will be different so check on the tin.
Once the first layer is dry, you can apply the second. Some people think that it’s a good idea to continue adding coats but this is something you should avoid. If you do this, the drying time will increase and could take days and you may find that it never fully dries, leaving your decking tacky. In the worst cases, debris could get caught in the oil and with too many coats, you may find it just peels off.
That said, there may be times when you do need an extra coat. For decking that has gone several years without treatment, the wood might absorb the oil more readily. In this case, allow it to dry and then apply a thin third coat on a small, inconspicuous area. If it absorbs this well then you may need to apply a third coat all over.
When Is The Best Time To Apply Decking Oil?
When you apply decking oil, you should make sure that it isn’t going to rain within the next few days. Check the weather forecast and while it’s not always reliable here in the UK, you can get a relatively good idea of what’s coming up. It’s also worth waiting until the temperature is at least 10ºC.
You’ll find that the decking oil dries to the touch within a few hours but it won’t be fully cured by this time and will need a little longer before it’s resistant to foot traffic and the elements.
Generally speaking, you’ll want to apply the decking oil in spring, summer or the beginning of autumn. In fact, a lot of people will apply another coat of decking oil as autumn starts to roll in to give better protection over the colder, wetter months,
Decking oil is crucial if you want the longest life out of your deck. It penetrates the wood and protects it from moisture damage as well as things like foot traffic and UV damage. While there are different types of decking oil, depending on what you’re looking to achieve, they all behave in pretty much the same way.
Which one is the best decking oil for you will depend on whether you want to alter the colour of the deck, how old it is and whether you want to reduce how slippery it becomes.