How to Oil and Maintain a Patio Deck

Patio Maintenance

High-quality outdoor flooring such as timber decking can transform your outdoor space and provide your friends and family with the perfect place to dine, relax and enjoy. However, to keep your timber decking in tip-top condition, it needs a little tender loving and care.

Oiling a patio deck will bring your timber to life and help protect it from the harsh Australian weather, but there are few things to consider before you begin. If you’ve never oiled a deck before, our simple step-by-step guide will show you how to do it right.

What Are the Benefits of Oiling a Deck?

Apply decking oil to your timber decking to help replace the wood’s protective natural oil sand resins that have been lost over time.

Not only does decking oil give your decking a subtle hint of colour that will enhance its natural beauty, but it will also help to protect it from rain, sunlight and mould.

Oiling a deck will protect it from getting grey and weathered and will help prolong its life so that you can enjoy your outdoor entertaining area for many more years to come.

How Do You Choose a Decking Oil?

When choosing a decking oil you will want to consider the look you want to achieve, how much footfall your space is going to get, and what type of timer your decking is constructed from.

In general, choose an oil that will complement the grain of your timber and highlight the wood’s natural texture and colour.

A good-quality decking oil should also be easy to coat, is water-repellent, and offers UV protection and resistance against mould and fungi.

If you’re pushed for time, a water-based oil will dry more quickly and will allow you to use your deck on the same day as oiling.

Recommended decking oils include:

  • Cabot's Natural Decking Oil
  • Simply Woodcare Exterior Decking Oil
  • Organoil Decking Oil
  • Sikkens Cetol Deck

What Tools and Materials Do You Need to Oil a Deck?

The following supplies and equipment are required when oiling a deck:

  • A stiff decking bristle brush
  • Sugar soap or decking cleaner
  • Pressure washer or garden hose
  • Suitable protective gloves and goggles
  • Wellington boots
  • Decking or paint stripper (if required)
  • Sander (if required)
  • A timber brush (for smaller areas)
  • A roller set (for larger areas)
  • An empty bucket (about 10L)

When to Oil a Newly Installed Deck

If your decking is newly laid, we recommend leaving it to weather naturally for 4-6 weeks prior to oiling. Some times may even require 3-6 months of weathering before being coated.

These weeks of sun and rain exposure are necessary to leach out any tannins and oils in your timber so that when you oil, the product can penetrate deeper into the wood and offer it greater protection.

Once your decking has weathered, you can begin prepping it for oiling.

Before You Start: How to Prepare a Deck for Oiling

First off, make sure you check the weather forecast and pick a day predicated to have dry conditions.

Next, remove all your outdoor furniture and other items off your decking so that you have a completely clear surface to work from.

If your decking has layers of old paint, you may want to sand your timber using a belt or palm sander prior to cleaning.

Clean your timber using warm, soapy water and a stiff-bristled decking brush. Scrub any dirt and dust from the surface then hose off excess dirt and suds. When the decking is thoroughly rinsed, leave it to dry.

Note: If your decking is particularly dirty, you may want to use a specialised deck cleaning solution to give it a deeper clean.

Some cleaning products strip old oil from the wood and require you to wait 24-48 hours before oiling. If any traces of previous oiling or staining treatments remain, you may also want to consider using a decking stripper. 

Once the timber is completely clean and dry, you’re ready to start oiling your deck.

How to Oil a Deck: A Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Pour the oil into your bucket and give it a thorough stir so that the colour is well mixed and evenly distributed throughout. This will ensure an even application.
  2. Find a discreet area of decking where you can test the colour. Allow the timber to dry fully so you can see the final results.
  3. If you’re completely happy with the colour, begin to apply the oil using either a roller (faster application, ideal for larger areas) or timber brush (slower but better for smaller areas, such as extension gaps).
  4. Start in the furthest corner of your decking, and make sure you have an exit route planned that won’t require walking over freshly oiled timber.
  5. Work in controlled, smooth motions along the length of the boards, liberally coating each one completely.
  6. Oil three or four boards at a time from one end to the other – this will help you to avoid any overlapping marks.
  7. Make sure all areas of your decking are completely covered so that your timber has comprehensive protection from the elements.
  8. Leave decking to dry as per oil instructions, then apply further coats as necessary. Decks that are in good condition will typically require only one coat, while older decks may require two or three.

How to Maintain Your Patio Deck

It’s important to re-oil your deck to keep the wood protected, give your timber a longer lifespan and keep it looking its best.

We recommend oiling your deck every 6-12 months or whenever it starts to show signs of deterioration.

You’ll know if it’s time to re-oil if your deck begins to look patchy or discoloured around the edges.

If it does, follow these simple steps to re-oil:

  1. Sweep away any dirt and dust from the surface of your deck.
  2. Give your deck a good clean – hose it down and scrub with a brush.
  3. If you’re oiling an older deck that has been previously stained or painted, use a stain or paint remover.
  4. Sand any rough edges and areas using a belt sander, palm sander or sponge sander.
  5. You’re now ready to apply a fresh coat of deck oil to your timber. Follow the steps above. 

Contact the Perth Patio Experts

Great Aussie Patios are an Australian patio builder and installer. We design and build patios, pergolas, and carports for both commercial and residential clients across Perth, WA.

To find out more about how we can transform your outdoor space and add value to your home with our patios and pergolas, contact us on 9493 7115 or get a free online quote today!

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