which is better decking oil or stain

Which Is Better – Decking Oil or Stain? The Right Solution for Preserving

Are you looking for a product that will help you preserve your deck?

Decking oils and decking stains are products that make it easier for you to preserve your deck. While these two products are used to treat wood, they have some slight differences that affect their overall performance.

So, which is better – decking oil or stain? Which decking treatment gives you better results?

Well, in this post, we are going to give you an insight into these two products. By the end of this article, you’ll know the difference between the two. Let’s get right into it.

What Is Decking Oil?

Decking oil is a decking finish that is used to nourish and preserve timber surfaces. Not to mention, it restores some of the natural wood oils that might have been lost in different ways.

Decking oils also protect wood surfaces from rotting, splitting, and warping. It also saves wood surfaces from nasty scratches. Decking oil doesn’t change the look of a timber deck. However, it may darken a wooden surface after restoring the natural oils. Not to mention, different decking boards require different decking oils. For instance, decking boards made from hardwood might need a special type of decking oil.

There are two types of decking oils: water-based and solvent-based.

What Is Decking Stain?

As the name suggests, this is a wood preservative that changes the wood surface’s overall look. Apart from that, it protects wooden decks and garden furniture from UV rays. This decking treatment is available in different shades and can be used to coat a wooden surface and protect it from harsh climatic conditions.

Advantages of Decking Oil

To further illustrate the difference between these two treatments, let’s discuss first the benefits of decking oil.

1. Waterproof

Deck oil penetrates deep into a piece of wood and protects it from water damage. It has an element that repels water, protecting your wooden surface from wet conditions. If water splashes on your wooden deck, it will slide off from the surface without wetting your deck.

2. Good Traction

Unlike other wood preservatives, decking oil has good traction. It is not too slippery. Instead of forming a thick film on deck boards’ surface, it penetrates deep into the pieces of wood. The texture makes it easier for you to walk without slipping.

3. Protects Decking Boards From Ultraviolet Rays and Sun Damage

UV rays can destroy the surface grain of garden decking boards and trigger various wood defects. For example, UV rays can cause wood cracking, cupping, and board warping.

Most decking oils have an element that can protect decking boards from UV rays. Decking oil also slows down the effects of UV radiation, preserving your deck for a long time. In short, decking oils are UV blockers and UV filters.

Decking oils that make decking timbers darker are more effective than those that don’t change a wooden deck’s appearance.

4. Easy to Apply and Covers a Huge Area

Applying decking oil on a wooden surface is an easy process. Not to mention, decking oil takes a short period to seep through a wooden surface and nourish it completely. Some can handle light traffic after a few hours.

It also covers a large area. For instance, one litre of decking oil can cover about 10 square metres. Moreover, other decking oils can cover more than 20 meters square/litre. Additionally, it gives your decking board a natural finish.

5. Protection from From Algae and Mould

Decking oil penetrates the interior parts of a deck, filling all the wooden pores with oil. This prevents the growth of algae and mould on the surface of your timber deck.

Advantages of Using Deck Stain

Now, let’s see if staining your deck can offer more.

1. Can Change the Colour Pigment of a Wooden Surface

Since deck stains come in different shades, they can be used to improve a wooden surface’s appearance.

This also makes it easier for you to give a wooden surface an attractive finish that blends smoothly with your home’s overall look.

2. Preserves Wood and Enhances Its Durability

Decking stain covers a wooden surface completely, protecting it from any harsh climatic condition. It prevents a wooden surface from cracking and rotting. Covering a wooden surface with a decking stain prevents the growth of algae and mould. In short, deck stains can improve the durability of a timber decking board.

3. Waterproofs Surface and Protect It From Water Damage

As mentioned earlier, deck stains can form a thin coat that protects a wooden surface from water ingress. This saves your deck from wood rot.

If your wooden deck is not maintained properly, water can seep through the deck and damage it completely. For instance, if water manages to penetrate the surface in the winter season, it might freeze and split your garden decking board.

Disadvantages of Decking Oils

1. Limited to a Certain Type of Wood

While decking oil can be used to preserve wooden surfaces, some are not ideal for hardwood decking boards. Hardwood decking boards made from Teak, Cumaru, Massaranduba, Balau, and Iroko require a special deck oil type. Decks made from those hardwoods have a denser grain than others.

2. Cannot Be Coated With Another Preservative Such as Paint

It’s quite hard to use another preservative on a surface that has decking oil. If you want to apply paint or deck stain on a surface with decking oil, you have to wait for the decking oil to weather off completely.

3. May Alter With the Color of Your Decking Board

Some decking oils may slightly change the colour of your timber decking board. For instance, some of these may darken various deck boards.

And another thing, solvent-based deck oils and water-based ones cannot be used on the same surface.

Disadvantages of Decking Stains

1. Might Hide the Natural Wood Grain Appearance

Decking stains may form a thin film, which might hide a decking board’s natural wood grain appearance. Not to mention, some decking stains have a deep shade that hides the wood completely.

2. May Not Offer Complete Protection

A decking stain forms a thin film that covers your timber decking board. If the thin film is exposed to severe weather conditions, it may crack or peel off the timber surface. This may expose your deck to harsh elements that may cause rotting and cracking.

3. Cannot Be Applied to a Deck That Has Been Oiled

Since oil repels various materials and liquids, it might be quite hard to apply a deck stain on a wooden surface treated with decking oil.

4. Re-Applying Decking Stain On A Wooden Surface Can Be Quite Cumbersome

If you plan to re-apply a decking stain on a wooden surface, you have to remove the previous decking stain you had applied earlier on. Once you finish removing the previous decking stain, you can recoat your wooden surface with a new one.

5. Applying Decking Stain on Some Hardwoods Can Be Hectic

Applying deck stain on some hardwood can be quite hectic. Examples of such hardwoods include Cumaru, Teak, and Massaranduba. If you want to apply a decking stain on hardwood, you have to let it weather first. It might take about six to ten months to weather completely.

Which Product to Use?

If you want to maintain your wooden deck’s natural look, decking oil might be the suitable choice. It gives your wooden deck a natural finish, making it easier for you to see the wood’s grain.

But if you are looking for a preservative that will help you change the colour of your wooden deck, a decking stain is recommended. Not to mention, decking stains are available in different colours.

Which Is Best Decking Treatment

applying a wood treatment solutionWhile the two preservatives have some similarities, they are quite different. For instance, deck oils can penetrate the pores of different timber decks. On the other hand, decking stains form a thin film that protects the surface of your wooden deck.

Now, here’s the thing:

The thin film that decking stains form is not quite effective in preserving wooden surfaces from strong weather conditions. It may peel off from the surface, exposing your deck to harsh elements.

Decking oil doesn’t lose its functionality easily. It doesn’t crack or peel off from a wooden surface like decking stains. Due to this, it is quite effective in preserving and nourishing a wooden surface.

The Verdict

So, which is better – decking oil or stain?

Well, by now, you have a solid answer. Decking oil is suitable for nourishing wooden surfaces, while decking stain is ideal for changing your deck’s appearance. Decking stains are available in different shades and can be used to add some style to your deck. It can also blend beautifully with the overall look of your home.

While these two preservatives have some differences, they are quite effective in preserving a wooden deck. However, they cannot be applied on the same surface. You have to choose one and apply it to your decking board. Make sure that you re-apply the decking preservative after a certain period.

Do you have any other tips on preserving wood decks? Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!

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