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How to use decking oils

Decking oils are designed to enhance the natural beauty of the wood while providing a protective layer against the elements. When it comes to protecting outdoor decks, furniture, and fencing, decking oils are a popular choice.

It’s important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of using wood oils to make an informed decision for your outdoor wooden structures. Read on to explore how decking oil works, how to choose the right one for you and how to apply oil to your deck.

Decking oils soak deeply into wood to replace natural oils lost in the weathering process. Keep in mind that wood oils are not 100% neutral in colour. Oils affect the tone of pale woods with fewer tannins the most.

Consider your specific needs, climate and desired level of maintenance when choosing a wood oil for your outdoor decks, furniture, and fencing. The oil seals the wood fibres as it soaks into them to reduce the risk of rot, warping and cracking caused by exposure to moisture. This ultimately extends the lifespan of outdoor structures.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is it better to oil or stain a deck?Decking oils enhance and highlight the current look of your wooden deck. A wood stain can colour your deck to give it an entirely fresh look.
  • Can you oil an old deck?Of course. Consider using an oxalic acid-based cleaner to remove the top greyed and damaged layer of wood before application.
  • Can I put decking oil on top of stain?This is possible but not advised. Oil may not be able to absorb deeply into wood once impregnated with stain.
  • How often should you oil a wood deck?Applying decking oil once a year should be enough to keep your wooden deck in perfect condition.
  • How long will decking oil last?Decking oil soaks into the wood of your deck. It’s there forever once it’s been applied. Its effects can fade over time so reapply decking oil annually.
  • Can you put too much decking oil on?Apply a thin and even coat of decking oil to your decking. A sticky and overtly wet finish means you have applied too much. Wipe away any excess with a lint-free cloth.

Types of decking oil

Linseed Oil

Linseed oil and a bowl of linseeds on a white wooden background.

Linseed Oil is derived from flax seeds. It is considered a natural and environmentally friendly wood treatment option. It does not contain harmful chemicals or the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) commonly found in synthetic wood finishes. 

Linseed oil enhances the natural beauty of the wood to provide a warm and natural-looking finish. It leaves a subtle sheen that can range from matte to low lustre. Linseed oil may darken the wood slightly over time and take on a yellowish hue as it ages. It requires periodic maintenance.

Tung Oil

Blossoming Tung-oil Tree (,Vernicia,Fordii,) With White Ball

Tung oil, also known as China wood oil or nut oil, is a natural oil derived from the seeds of the tung tree (Vernicia fordii). The tung tree is native to China and other parts of East Asia. Tung oil has been used for centuries as a finish and protective coating for wood surfaces. It gives wood a warm, rich and deep amber colour.

Tung oil forms a hard and durable finish on wood surfaces. It is resistant to scratches, abrasion, and general wear and tear. Additionally, it is less prone to yellowing over time compared to some other finishes like Carnauba wax. However, tung oil takes a relatively long time to soak into wood compared to other types of oil and finish.

Tung oil is a popular choice for wood finishing due to its durability, water resistance and ability to enhance the natural beauty of wood.

Drying oils caution

Linseed oil and tung oil are both classified as drying oils due to their ability to harden to a strong and solid water-resistant coating after room temperature exposure to the air. These types of oil generate heat when they dry. Cloths and rags saturated in drying oils should be fully submerged in water, cleaned thoroughly and dried out in the open air to avoid spontaneous combustion.

Mineral Oils

Decking Mineral oil being decanted into a pot before application

Mineral oil is a type of oil that is used by woodworkers for interior furniture and outside decking alike. It provides a rich and deep colour and protects wood from UV damage. 

Mineral oil is very flexible in use – some types are food-safe and can even be used on wooden cutting boards.

Mineral decking oils are absorbent but do not dry to a hard coating. A finishing product like Roxil Wood Protection Cream can be applied atop provided the oil has sufficiently soaked into the deck.

How to apply decking oils

The different types of oil can all be applied in the same way.

Tools you will need:

  • Decking Oil (like Roxil Enhanced Decking Oil)
  • A medium-pile roller or wide-bristle brush

Before application

Decanting Decking Oil into a paint tray
  • Ensure that the decking surface is clean and free from coatings (varnish, paint), clumps of dirt, leaves or any other debris.
  • Use an appropriate biocidal wash (like Roxil 100 Wood & Patio Cleaner) to remove any biological growth on the surface.
  • Allow the wood to dry thoroughly.
  • Decant the decking oil into a manageable pot or paint tray.


Always test a small area first

  • Apply to a test area to ensure that the Roxil Enhanced Decking Oil suits your deck.
  • This step will help you determine the desired results and the suitability of the product for your decking.
  • Keep in mind that Roxil Enhanced Decking Oil is designed to deepen the tone of wood. Weathered, tannin-rich wood darkens significantly on more than on fresh new wood. Wood knots turn darker. This will fade over time.

First Coat

Using a roller to apply decking oil
  • Apply a thin and even layer of oil to the entire surface of the decking in the direction of the wood grain. Dip only the tip of the brush into the oil to avoid drips and over-saturation.
  • Ensure complete coverage, but avoid over-application to prevent pooling or dripping.
  • Allow the first coat to dry until it is touch dry before applying the second coat.
  • The drying time may vary depending on the type of wood and atmospheric conditions. Leave at least 24 hours.

Second Coat

Decking Oil Application 2
  • Wait until the first coat is touch dry. Apply the second coat of Decking Oil using the same technique as before.
  • Apply the oil evenly and ensure complete coverage of the decking surface.
  • Allow the second coat to dry fully before using your deck as usual.

Cleaning, protection and maintenance

  • Roxil Enhanced Decking Oil will start providing protection against water ingress as soon as it dries.
  • Note that the initial colour enhancement may fade slightly once the coating has fully dried.
  • To maintain a clean surface, ensure you sweep regularly to keep away dirt, leaves and debris.
  • The colour enhancement will fade over time. Simply apply an additional coat of Roxil Enhanced Decking Oil to restore it.

Roxil Enhanced Decking Oil

Roxil Enhanced Decking Oil protects against the three main threats to timber:

  • Rain, liquid and moisture damage
  • UV damage from sunlight exposure
  • Biocidal hazards like mould, algae and rot

Oil naturally repels water. Roxil Enhanced Decking Oil forms a hard-wearing protective film that absorbs into wood to keep it weatherproof. Water cannot soak into oil-protected timber. 

Rain beads on the surface and makes it easier to wipe away or dry quicker naturally than an untreated deck.

For more information call
01403 210204