How to Oil Wooden Decking: 4 Easy Steps

Wooden decking with built in planters
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Wooden decking is a beautiful addition to any home. It adds character, charm and can also be functional too. However, if you want your deck to last for many years, it is important that you look after the decking.

Most people tend to stain their decking with artificial wood preservatives, but this can distort the beautiful appearance of the decking. In contrast, by oiling the wood, it can not only maintain the natural beauty of your deck but also prolong its life.

This article will go over why we should oil wooden decking, what oils work best and how often they need to be applied in order to keep them looking great!

Be sure to understand your specific type of wooden decking and what treatments are effective before applying anything. Here is a good starting point for getting to grips with wooden decking.

Hardwood decking being oiled

Why do we need to oil wooden decking?

1. Wood is a natural material that needs to be cared for

Natural wood is a beautiful and durable material that can withstand the elements for many years. However, it is important to note that wood needs regular care in order for this durability to be maintained.

2. Oil helps protect the wood from water damage and rot

Over months and years, water can cause damage to the wood. This is because of its ability to seep in and saturate dry areas, which eventually leads to rot.

The oil helps combat this problem by providing a protective layer that deflects moisture and prevents it from permeating into the wood

3. Oil can help prevent cracking in the wood, which could lead to splinters

As wood dries out it can start to shrink. This causes the wood to be more susceptible to cracking and splitting, which can result in splinters on your feet or hands.

Oil is applied as a preventative measure by helping maintain moisture levels in the wooden decking so that it does not dry out excessively, crack, or split

4. Oiling your decking will make it look better and last longer

Over time the rich colour of your wooden decking can fade and leave it looking dull and old. Applying oil to the surface of your decking will help it stay vibrant for longer.

5. Oiling decking can stop it getting slippery when wet

Wooden decking can get very slippery when wet if algae, moss and other substantives take hold in the wood. Oiling your decking can prevent this and ensure your wooden decking stays safe to walk on.

What are the best oils to use for wooden decking?

The best oils to use on wooden decking are those that penetrate deeply into the wood and help to nourish it. Different types of wood will require a different type of oil.

You can use linseed oil or Tung oil as these oils will provide an excellent finish for your wood. You could also look at using a natural sealant such as boiled linseed oil, which is made from 100% natural ingredients

These oils will help to protect the wood from damage and deterioration. They also provide protection against rot by making sure water doesn’t seep into any cracks and cause problems

Oils can be used to change the colour of the decking without covering over the wood effect or damaging the wood as some stains can.

How to apply oil to your wooden decking

1. Clean the decking with a pressure washer

The first step is to clean the decking with a pressure washer.

You will need to use an environmentally friendly, biodegradable cleaning solution such as citric acid or vinegar mixed in water which should be able to remove any grease from your wooden surface and make it easier for oil to penetrate.

When using a pressure washer make to not to get the pressure too high or move the hose end too close to the decking which could lead to splintering.

Allow the decking to dry off before moving on to the next step

2. Apply oil to the wood using a brush, roller or sprayer

Following the instructions on the oil container, apply the oil to your wooden surface using a brush or roller. If you are applying with a sprayer make sure that it has been cleaned and washed thoroughly prior to use.

It is important not to over-apply too much oil which could cause excess seepage from the decking boards into unwanted areas.

Applying oil to decking with a brush

3. Allow it to dry for at least 24 hours before applying another coat of oil

Most oils will require at least two coats.

You should wait at least 24 hours for the first coat to dry. It is important that you keep the surface dry and clean for at least this amount of time before applying another coat of oil.

4. Wait 3-4 days before walking on the decking in order to allow it time to cure properly.

Oils take time to cure and harden properly. For this reason, it is important that you wait at least three days before walking on the decking in order to allow it time to cure properly.

How often should you apply decking oil?

We recommend you oil your deck every six months, at the beginning and end of summer. The frequency of the application will depend on how much foot traffic there is and what the weather has been like.

A varied spectrum of weather like we have in the UK will have a much more demanding effect on your decking than in other parts of the world.

What is the best time of year to apply decking oil?

Oil is best applied in spring when the wood’s pores are open and the oil can penetrate the wood. This is also a time when there are fewer insects around, so you won’t have to worry about them getting in the way of your application.

If your decking needs an oil treatment during summer or autumn be sure to apply it before rain starts and make sure that any excess water drains away quickly after applying.

Using varnish or stain on wooden decking

Oil is a nice alternative to varnish or stain as it is environmentally-friendly and it keeps the natural colour and finish of the wood.

Stains can be good but they will often permanently change the characteristics of the wood.

Decking stains and paints can also be a nightmare to reapply as some parts of them will fade and chip whilst others wont. This means that when you go to reapply, you can end up with some nasty bumps and odd textures.

Decking oil on the other hand is thin enough to penetrate deep into the wood and will fade evenly over time.

In conclusion

Though it may seem like a daunting task to take on, tending your decking will keep you and those who enjoy the space happy for years.

When you oil your wooden decking, not only are you protecting against things such as water damage but also insects which can wreak havoc in a short amount of time.

It is best to apply an oil around every 6 months to keep the decking looking its best. Oils with natural ingredients tend to work better than synthetic oils because they’re more gentle and won’t strip away some of the natural qualities found in the wood.

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