If you have recently installed or have existing hardwood timber decking, you’re going to want to ensure that it stays in the best possible condition. There are a couple of ways to do this – oil or stain. Both of these methods are feasible and it is down to personal preference and other factors such as cost and ease of application that determine which is used.

Cleaning and preparing the timber deck

Before treating the decking you will need to ensure that the surfaces are properly cleaned and prepared before applying the oil or stain to the hardwood. The easiest way to do this is with a pressure hose or with a bucket of soapy water and a stiff brush if a pressure hose isn’t available.

You can also use dedicated timber cleaning products that help reduce and eliminate mold and other rot issues from occurring.

Find out more about how to properly clean and prepare your hardwood decking.

Timber decking: oil or stain?

Once you have cleaned and prepared your decking for treating it’s time to choose whether to use oil or stain. There are different qualities to consider for each of these. Oil, which is the preferred method and is considered the more cost effective, brings out the natural grain of the wood but doesn’t drastically change the colour. Stains are used to change the colour and appearance of the hardwood as well as protecting it at the same time.

If you decide to stain your timber decking you will need to take some further steps to protect yourself while applying the stain.

If you are going to use oil, first choose which oil and then follow the next steps to treat your timber decking.

Oiling timber decking

The main oil used to treat hardwood decks is linseed oil. This provides a good polished finished while also protecting the wood and bringing out the natural grain.

Start applying the oil using a cloth or bush to the wood being careful not to leave pools of excess oil but you also don’t need to be too careful with the application. Ensure you have an even coverage across all the surface areas including any rails or steps.

Depending on the type of wood, the oil can absorb faster in certain places than others but after around 1 hour of applying the oil use a dry cloth to rub down the surfaces spreading any excess pools of oil and giving an overall better finish.

After a day or so you can apply another coat of oil if required, as always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for guidance.

As a general rule most oils cover around 6 to 12 square meters per litre but this can vary depending on hardwood type and the quality of oil used.

The quality of the final product also depends on the quality of your decking; we recommend using high grade hardwood timber decking.