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 the timber deck losing its shine which can make the space seem dull, and so, re-oiling becomes necessary.

If you are looking for some guidance on how to re-oil a deck, then you’re in the right place. 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

Timber decking is not expensive to install, which is why a ton of people prefer timber over concrete. However, it can be a little costly for special finishes like anti-skid or when you’re getting rid of termites. 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 is not to be done regularly, but the timing is quite important as the deck needs to be able to hold the oil.

Sometimes, people want to oil a brand new deck to give it an extra shine, but that is unnecessary. As important as it is to oil your deck, it is also crucial that it wears out in the sun a little. This 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. However, if you are still unsure, keep an eye out for the colour of the wood. Once the timber is grey, it is ready to absorb the oil and create a more effective coating.

Steps To Oil A Timber Deck

Prefectly Stained Lazy Susan

1. Prep The Deck

The first step in this process is preparing the deck for the 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 there is a need for a deeper clean, you can use a cleaning solution to scrub and leave it on for 15 minutes. 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.

2. Picking The Right Oil And Equipment

After the timber deck has been left to dry, you will have to pick a good quality oil. The ideal decking oil will highlight the timber and brings out the texture, grain and colour of the oil. Additionally, it should be easy to apply, water-resistant and, ideally, UV-resistant.

Picking a decking oil with these qualities will help with the protection of the wood. You need to choose the right kind of 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 of the area as possible. But, large brushes or rollers also work as a great applicator.

3. 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. Always remember to mix the oil properly before applying so that the coat is even. Also, make sure you read the instructions that come with the oil to determine the appropriate drying time.

The best way to coat the deck’s surface would be to apply the oil in a straight line. 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.

Once the first coat is done, leave the oil to dry based on the time given in the instructions. We recommend applying at least two coats, so 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 the deck has been coated once, it will not absorb as much.

We also suggest keeping a rag ready in case more oil is applied accidentally. This is because more oil will spoil the board and make it sticky. Additionally, the rag can be coated with any methylated spirit to help thin the excess oil.

And that’s it, you can apply 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 oil is the most crucial step in this process. This is because the oil guarantees a certain amount of protection and ensures the deck stays in good shape and colour for years to come.

When picking decking oil, there are mainly two to choose from- water-based and non-water based. These are to be selected depending on what wood the board is made out of. 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. In terms of benefits, the water-based oils ensure the board doesn’t flake or peel with time. 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.


In order 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 properly. 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. This can be a time-consuming process, but it is crucial, which is why 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 fully clean and free of dust before the oiling.

Summing It Up

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.

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

Until next time!

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