One of the best ways to spend some free time is to relax with a book and your favourite drink on the deck.

As beautiful as a timber deck looks, maintaining it can be a little bit of a hassle at times. If you love spending time on the deck, you will realise that the quality of a timber deck tends to deteriorate with prolonged use. A big issue is timber decking losing its shine, making the space seem dull, so deck oiling becomes necessary.

Diy Guide Re Oiling Deck

If you are looking for some guidance on how to re-oil a deck, then you’re in the right place. Undertaking timber deck maintenance is all a part of enjoying the stunning look and feel of your perfect outdoor space. We have put together some information on applying oil on a timber deck to make the process easier for you. Hopefully, this guide will thoroughly prepare you for the inevitable renovation day.

Now, without further ado, let’s get right to it!

When Should You Oil Your Deck

Installing timber decking is not expensive, which is why a ton of people prefer timber over concrete. However, it can be a little costly for special finishes like anti-slip or when you’re getting rid of a termite infestation. Additionally, it can lose its lustre with time due to all the movement and activity on the wood.

If you want to keep the deck looking new and fresh, oiling is a must. We suggest oiling your deck once every 12-24 months and sanding when necessary. It does not need to be done regularly, but the timing is essential as the deck needs to hold the oil.

Sometimes, people want to oil a brand new deck to give it an extra shine, but that is unnecessary. As crucial as oil your deck, it is also vital to wear out in the sun a little as it allows the timber to weather and ensures the tannins and oils in the wood are drained out.

Weathering the timber can take time, but the exact period depends on the timber and your climate; here in Sydney, this period is typically 6 to 12 months. However, if you are still unsure, keep an eye out for the colour of the wood. Once the timber is grey, it can absorb the oil and create a more effective coating.

Outdoor decks receive direct UV rays from the sun and may require sanding and require oil regularly to maintain their glistening shine, and a new layer of oil is just the thing for it.

Steps To Oil A Timber Deck

Prefectly Stained Lazy Susan

1. Sanding & Pre-Prep

Sanding is by far the longest and most tedious part of re-oiling a timber deck, and it’s messy and often requires a lot of elbow grease. Starting with an orbital sander and 80-120 grit sandpaper, begin sanding a single board at a time.

If you’re around a pool or something that cannot get sand in it, make sure you’re using a vacuum attachment and a ventilated mask. An older deck will require more time and attention to ensure the old oil has been completely removed.

If you have access to a belt sander, this will make sanding hard spots a little easier, sanding is a dusty process, but it’s essential to make sure any old decking oil is removed.

If you have a painted deck, start with paint remover and return to sanding.

2. Prep The Deck

The first step in this process is preparing your timber decking for oil. We suggest doing this when there is no possibility for rain and the weather is relatively dry. Once the timber has appropriately weathered, you will have to clean or scrub it. The best way to do it would be to use warm water, light soap and a stiff-bristled brush.

If you need a deeper clean, you can use a cleaning solution to scrub and leave it on for 15 minutes; a quality deck cleaner and your standard garden hose will do the trick. After that, rinse the timber deck with a water hose and allow it to dry. Usually, the drying time can range between one to four days, after which you can apply the oil or wood stain.

3. Picking The Right Oil And Equipment

After the timber deck is dry, you will have to pick a good quality oil. The ideal decking oil will highlight the timber and brings out the natural grain, texture, and colour of the oil. Additionally, it should be easy to apply, water-resistant, and, ideally, UV-resistant. If you purchased a quality oil, this wouldn’t be a problem.

Picking a decking oil with these qualities will help protect the wood, giving you long-lasting results. You must choose a suitable applicator to ensure the oil is applied thoroughly. Since decks are usually quite large, we recommend using pads with a pole to cover as much area as possible. But, large brushes or rollers also work as a great applicator.

Your local timber supplier will have an extensive range of wood stain and decking oil options available to you. If you’re in Sydney, call our friendly team, and we will happily help you find an eco-friendly oil for you.

4. Applying The Oil

After the deck cleaning is over and the waiting period has also gone by, you can finally apply the first coat of decking oil. Remember to mix the oil properly before applying it to the coat. Also, make sure you read the instructions that come with the oil to determine the appropriate drying time.

Using appropriate safety equipment is highly recommended, and decking oil can be a toxic product, so safety gloves and glasses are advised.

The best way to coat the deck’s surface would be to apply the oil straight in long continuous strokes. This is usually much easier to do with a pole if the surface area is large, but you can also use a brush. Keep repeating it, row after row, until the deck has been thoroughly coated. However, try avoiding the edges of the deck. We will apply oil here later.

Once the first coat is done, leave the oil to dry based on the time given in the instructions. It’s now time for the next coat, and we recommend applying at least two coats. Consider a second coat or a third if you have heavy foot traffic or want a longer lifespan. You will have to repeat this process eventually. The good thing is that it will not be as time-consuming since you need less oil. Plus, once you have coated the deck, it will not absorb as much. If you’re applying a fresh coat, be sure not to add too much oil as it won’t absorb.

We also suggest keeping a rag ready if more oil is applied accidentally. More oil will spoil the board and make the deck surface sticky. Additionally, the rag can be coated with any methylated spirit to help thin the excess oil.

And that’s it, you can apply a coat around the edges for added durability and another coating if you feel the wood has deteriorated a lot, but usually, two coats are more than enough. Now, all you need to do is let it dry and enjoy your newly oiled outdoor deck.

Man Applying Stain On Deck

Decking Oils

As we mentioned before, picking the right deck oil is the most crucial step in this process because the oil guarantees a certain amount of protection and ensures the deck stays in good shape and natural colour for years to come.

There are mainly two to choose from when picking decking oil- water-based and non-water based. These are selected depending on what type of wood.. Some of the most common timbers people use are Spotted Gum and Merbau.

You can pick either water or non-water based treatments, depending on the budget and the final look. With water-based oils, you will be giving the deck a natural look instead of a dark one. The water-based oils ensure the board doesn’t flake or peel with time in terms of benefits. Additionally, there are some non-toxic options as well.

However, if you are looking to darken the colour of the wood, we suggest going for a non-water based decking oil. Since they are more common, they are less expensive when compared to water-based ones. It also creates a much stronger layer, and since these oils penetrate better, the timber does not dry out.


There is a chance that you might have to restore the deck before re-applying any oil. This usually happens only with older decks that have been around for far too long. Decks like these need a little more work but can always be brought back to life.

We recommend finding a professional service to help you out with this. Trained professionals are better equipped to deal with restoration of this kind. However, that does not mean that it is an impossible DIY project.

If you plan to restore the deck yourself, the first thing would be to buy protective gear to maintain safety. Also, buy some protective covers for any furniture or plants that may come in the way.


To restore the deck properly, you will have to sand it to make it smooth after washing. Sanding the deck will cause residual dust to fall over deck furniture and plants, so make sure you cover them correctly. Also, we strongly suggest doing this only if you are comfortable using a belt or palm sander.

While sanding, make sure all the fungus or mildew is removed, and the area is spotless. Although this can be a time-consuming process, it is crucial, so the smoothening has to be done right. Proper sanding prevents potential damage and makes your deck last longer.

Once the sanding is over, all you need to do is sweep the area with a brush or broom. If the space is large, you could also vacuum the remaining dust away. The idea is to ensure the deck is spotless and free of dust before the oiling.

Now It’s Your Turn: Let Us Know How Your Re-Oiling Went!

And there you have it, a short guide on how to re-apply decking oil. We hope this has been informative and will help you bring your deck back to life.

Before we leave, we would like to share some advice. Always remember that the timber needs to dry after oiling, so you will have to wait for at least a week before bringing those deck chairs out. Also, it is not necessary to do this by yourself as there are plenty of professionals available.

Our professional service can help make this job a lot easier for you. From planning an outdoor maintenance schedule to ensuring an appropriate cleaning solution beforehand, our experienced timber deck builders in Sydney are here to help. If you would like any assistance staining your deck in Sydney, contact our team.

On that note, we shall sign off. But, we will see you very soon with many more guides.

Until next time!

It’s a Match

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