How to Choose Decking Oil, Paint or Stain for your Deck


Selecting the right timber for decking is one thing, but then comes the maintenance of the deck which is an essential job to ensure its longevity. The difference between a well-cared for deck and one which has been forgotten is enormous, even if you are using the same timber from the outset, and leaving it under the same environmental conditions. For timber decking there are a number of different options with regards to treatments, with some of the most popular options revolving around oils, stains and paint. So how do you choose the right one & when is one option better than another? Let’s take a brief look.

Exploring decking oils

The first thing that needs to be identified is how you wish to treat the deck. If you wish to ensure that it is protected from the elements, without changing its look or colour then a timber oil should be used. This oil is naturally pigmented so instead of changing the style or the colour of the timber on the deck, it will instead enhance what is already there. Oil is always the best option for those with hardwoods such as Jarrah and Merbau, and it will not only provide protection but will also help to bring out the natural beauty of the timber.

Choosing the right stain

One confusing area is knowing when to use paint and when to use stain, as well as whether there is any difference between the two. One of the key differences is that staining offers a much more natural look than paint. The stain is made with high levels of oil which help it to seep into the timber. Staining will ensure maximum protection to the timber and add some colour whilst maintaining the natural wood grain. The staining oils are available in various colours, in order to either reinvigorate the old timber or to offer a fresh look by changing the colour of the decking.

Making a statement with paint

Timber paint is another option that can be used to protect decking. Whilst paints offer colours which are not always natural, they can be used to enhance low cost timber and be used to compliment other contemporary colours and styles. Despite paint being the more expensive option and being trickier to apply, it provides a larger variety of colours and a high amount of durability when correctly applied.

When applying oil, stain or paint to the deck, always make sure to be fully prepared. The deck should be cleaned and scrubbed prior to commencing the new layer. The products must also be applied during dry and wind-free conditions to ensure that the decking can dry without the risk of running or pooling.

Timber oils, stains and paint all provide a great way to protect the decking and keep it looking brand new. However, prior to choosing which product to use, ensure you have a clear idea of what type of look you want to achieve as well as which option will fit in with your own personal circumstances/design needs.