Australia’s harsh weather presents a unique problem for outdoor timbers such as decking and furniture. The sun and storms take their toll on these surfaces, leaving them dry, cracked and dull.
There are a few ways you can protect timber, but exterior decking oil is one of the most effective. Timber oils soak into the grain of the wood and protect it from the inside out. This prevents moisture, dirt and UV rays from damaging your decks and shortening their lifespan.
There are lots of exterior decking oils on the market. They all perform similarly, and in this article we’ll explore some of Australia’s favourite products.
Preparing for Deck Oil
Decking oil is an excellent way to protect timber from the sun and weather. These oils act like the natural oil contained in the timber, preventing moisture, dirt and UV rays from damaging the grain.
But decking oil is not a permanent coating. The oils will be gradually worn away by weather and normal use, and they need to be reapplied every 12 months or so.
For best results, and to ensure your deck is adequately protected, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s preparation instructions. In most cases this involves:
- Sanding away any damaged or rough sections of timber.
- Washing the deck with a hose to remove water and sanding dust.
- Using an exterior timber cleaning product to remove dirt, grease, stains and existing oil coatings.
- Washing the deck to remove soap residue.
- Allowing the deck to dry completely before applying decking oil.
A fresh coat of decking oil can restore old and dry timber to its former glory. Timber that is excessively damaged or cracked may need to be replaced. In some cases, dry and cracked timber can be restored using specialist products.
Australia’s Favourite Decking Oil Brands
Cabot’s products are affordable, easy to use and readily available. Their exterior decking oil is one of Australia’s best products, although it is oil-based, which makes it less environmentally friendly and more difficult to clean up.
Unlike the other products on this list, Cabot’s decking oil tends to form a protective layer over top of the timber, which slightly obscures its natural beauty. This is rarely an issue for decks, screens, pergolas and outdoor furniture, but it’s something to keep in mind.
Intergrain’s water-based decking oil is a high performance coating that is suitable for areas with lots of foot traffic. It provides a durable finish that is resistant to dirt, mould, fungus and UV rays.
One of the major advantages of Intergrain’s timber oil is that it is compatible with Intergrain’s timber restoration products. For exterior wood that has become overly dry or damaged due to neglect, Intergrain’s timber restorer can bring your surfaces back to life, avoiding the need for costly replacement.
While Intergrain is a high performance option, it does require 3 coats in areas with lots of sun exposure.
WOCA is a European brand that specialises in durable timber coatings. WOCA’s exterior decking oil is among the more expensive products on this list, but it’s very effective, easy to use, easy on the environment and suitable for all outdoor timbers.
This water-based timber oil is especially suited to DIY projects. It can be applied with a simple applicator pad, requiring only two coats to achieve full coverage on weathered timber.
CUTEK makes a penetrating timber oil that offers some of the best performance on the market. It’s the most expensive product on this list, but it comes with a host of benefits and is very long lasting.
As a penetrating wood oil, CUTEK soaks into the grain of the timber, providing protection with very few maintenance requirements. CUTEK also has a self-healing quality that allows it to withstand the bumps and scrapes of everyday life.
This product is excellent for anyone looking to enhance the natural beauty of their outdoor timbers. It pairs nicely with some of Australia’s favourite timber species, such as Merbau and Jarrah.
The most sophisticated product on this list, Sikkens decking oil is a 3-coat system often used by professionals.
Sikkens timber oil cures to form a protective layer over the top of the wood. This layer is resistant to weather, UV rays, dirt, mould and mildew.
One of the major benefits of the Sikkens system is that Sikkens produces multiple topcoat options. Sikkens timber oil can be applied as both a basecoat and topcoat, or it can be paired with alternative finishes. This gives you greater flexibility to achieve a matte, satin or gloss finish, as well as to introduce stains and other colours into the mix.