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For your home, picking up color theme and floor material can be a tough decision. Off course you make your home with whole heart and its inner material should be as amazing as its outer look. How about timber floor? How about a terrace of timber deck?

So what to choose…decking oil vs stain for timber decking. Wait…atleast explain what is decking oil? What is decking stain, how much decking oil do i need or what is the difference between decking oil and stain?

At Planet Ark, we on and off discuss about decking oil or stain as which is best? This question itself is tricky to answer because decking stains and oils can sometime works as same and sometime pretty differently. Obviously, it is confusing but don’t worry. Let us explore together about all the basics of decking oil or stain.

Decking oil or stain – which is best? Though both decking stains and oils come in a wide range of natural wood tone, color and features but only decking oils offer clarity and natural characteristics. Clear decking oil products enhance natural color of decking wooden.

Tip: For the answer of what is the difference between decking oil and stain, always look for how timber deck will look and how the oil or stain will last?

Decking Oil or Stain: Guide by Planet Ark

Difference between Decking Stain and Oil:

Should I use an oil or a stain on my deck? Decking oil vs stain, what to choose? is a most common question. Either your deck looks like mate, glossy, dark, light or natural, problem is how to understand the difference between stain and oil. How to figure out which is deck oil or which is deck stain?

We at Planet Ark would like to answer in easy words to help you choosing the best for your need. Both oils and stains have their own properties. These can easily identify by deck appearance. Stain changes the deck’s color while an oil will enhance the natural look or current color of wooden deck. People choose oiling a deck oftenly when they consider the wood look as it is means natural. For just a quick example if you have deck of merbau, teak or jarrah go for clear decking oil and if you are gonna consider pine go for stain which changes the color to achieve more rick and solid look.

  • Oils enhance natural colour, stains will change it

Decking oil will always refine the natural look of timber whether stain can make it opaque. Oil is always recommended to enhance the natural look of the timber color and grain. However, stain contains mild pigmentation and particularly design to change the color of your timber deck.

For a light appearance of timber that lost natural features like color, a stain can be the best choice to provide rich color and bold look.

  • The stronger the pigment, the longer it will last

Deck oils contain small amount of pigmentation which ensures the timber is completely protected for UV effects, foot traffic or any other damaging effects. On the other hand, a stain contains extra pigment and offer more protection from harsh and wild weather conditions.

Decking oils usually comes with two types which includes water and oil based. Each types has its own characteristics. Water based decking oils last longer as it sits on the top of the wood for long time. Else, decking oil clear penetrates into wood giving it more traditional look. Water based products get dried easily and quickly instead of oil based products.

Decking stains offer another feature of color variations which mean you can select colors for your wooden deck according to your choice and home theme. In an easy words, wood stain or decking stain is any product that uses color pigment to change the natural color and appearance of the wood. Basically, alternate coating type product.

Decking Oil

Decking oil is specially designed to maintain the natural health of timber deck. Deck oils are usually available in natural and colored formulation. Particularly designed to penetrate the timber surface and grain to protect from damages. It is easy to maintain the finishing look of timber deck with oil.  The high concentration of decking oil allows board to be resistant to water and dirt. It is a durable option.

What Are The Benefits Of Decking Oils?

  • It has excellent coverage on deck floor ranging from 8-12 square meter per liter.
  • Some decking oils cover 24 square meters per liter.
  • It is rainproof and used for light food traffic around 5-8 hours depending on decking oil brand and products used in it.
  • Many of the decking oil clear brands and products used UV filters to tackle the effects of UV to timber wooden floor.
  • Darker colored decking oil provide more protection than lighter one to the damages.
  • They help to maintain the natural look of timber and keep the wooden nourished and shiny.
  • It helps in prevention of cracking, splitting and warping of boards.
  • Decking oils are pretty easy to apply, clean and maintain.
  • It is easy to take out patch repair to worn areas particularly for high traffic surroundings.
  • Deck oils will not peel, flake or blister or crack from surface.
  • They help to safe the area of wood from mould and algae.
  • Decking oil is less slippery than stains and it is not cover with plastic like firm. It has strong grip.

What Are The Potential Decking Oil Issues?

Remember not every decking oil is suitable for hardwood decking floor like iroko, balau, massaranduba, teak and cumaru. As they are already rich in oily features. You may require highly refined or extra thin decking oils.

Decking oils cannot be over coated with decking stain or decking paint until the decking has completely and thoroughly stripped. It depends on weather conditions over time periods. The final look after oiling deck can be a bit different than the original of timber or not even shown on the timber oil tin.

Tip: It is important to note that water-based and solvent-based decking oils are incompatible and should not apply on top of one another. Make sure to read the instructions on the tin. Read the brush cleaning directions on the tin. Brush cleaners that call for water are water-based. If white spirit is to be used, it is a solvent-based substance.

Decking Stains

Decking stains are often varnish-like substances that cover the deck’s surface. They frequently offer variety of lovely wood tones and do an excellent job of protecting the wood from the outdoors. It’s important to keep in mind that colored decking oils are frequently referred to as decking stains. Timber oil, often referred to as decking oil, is a protective coating that helps nourish the wood and shield it from the elements.

What Are The Benefits Of Decking Stain?

  • Surface protection Decking stains cover or seal the deck with a covering that resembles plastic. The decking timbers shield from weathering and foot activity by a coating of extremely durable sealant that is applys to the surface.
  • The colour pigments in decking stains assist to lessen the amount of UV exposure the wood receives, protecting the wood from the sun’s UV rays’ impacts that cause fading and greying.
  • Decking accessories like hand rails and spindles look fantastic and function well after being stained with decking stains.
  • Stains offer enough coverage and colour depth.
  • Many decking stains dry quickly, are resistant to rain, and are used within a few hours.
  • Decking tints prevent mould and algae from growing on the deck’s surface.

What Are The Potential Decking Stain Issues?

Issues of decking stain contains the visibility of wood grain issues due to high pigmentation between surface and timber.

It can eventually starts cracking, peeling and flaking in link with moisture.

During re-coating, the initial coat should be fully removed. It also depends on if you are changing the type and colored otherwise it shows as broken and degraded. Decking stain can be difficult to strip from grooved decking.

It cannot easily applied to the decking which previously used oil coat. Decking stain creates issues for like iroko, balau, massaranduba, teak and cumaru as they are new and oily hardwood. These types of wood requires natural weather exposure for 3-6 month.

Tip: not every decking stain is compatible. Must check the manufacturer before applying and decking treatment over one another.

Top Tips for Applying Decking Oils and Stains

Always fully mix the tin’s contents, preferably for a few minutes, before using. This makes sure that the product’s key elements, such as colour pigments, are evenly disperse throughout the container and not gather at the bottom.

Before beginning any repair, always perform a test patch and let the decking oil or stain completely dry. This gives you the chance to view how the product will appear after drying.

Apply only in temperatures above freezing and when the forecast calls for dry conditions for at least the minimum drying period indicated on the tin. Single digit temperatures, damp, or wet circumstances might have a negative impact on how the product is applied and finished overall.

For those who want to add a touch of elegance to their outdoor haven, consider exploring black stained deck options. Black decking oil and stain can create a stunning and modern look, giving your deck a sleek appearance that stands out. Planet Ark suggests opting for a high-quality black stain that not only adds a touch of sophistication but also provides excellent protection against weathering.

Oils and Stains are both Semi-Transparent

Making a colour choice is crucial, and changing it after a paint has been applied on wood requires a lot of work. The first thing to understand is that both oils and stains are semi-transparent, allowing the character of the underlying wood to show through while also affecting the final appearance depending on the colour and condition of the underlying wood. Always test a colour on an offcut or in a discrete region with 2-3 coats before covering the entire area.

How to Choose Decking Oil, Paint or Stain?

Keep it natural

Look no farther than a decking oil if you desire to preserve the lovely natural hues and texture of the wood. A decking oil intends to maintain wood without significantly altering its appearance. Since decking oil is naturally colored, it will somewhat improve the colour of the wood. Even light hues considers to bring out the colour in wood types like Merbau and Jarrah. For the greatest results if your deck is composed of hardwood, we advise applying oil.

Adding colour

If you enjoy brighter hues and truly want to give your outdoor space some personality, consider experimenting with decking stains. Compared to decking oils, decking stains include more pigment, changing the colour of the wood. For treated pine, restoring the colour of worn wood, and harmonizing wood with home and landscape design, we highly suggest decking stains.

Shades of grey

The current trend for decks is all about the grey, if that interests you. A range of grey themes are currently in style, from naturally wearing greys that are evocative of seaside architecture to charcoal grey stains. The latter, although providing a lovely tactile surface, does need additional upkeep in order to keep the wood safe.


In this whole blog post, Planet Arks aimed to offer you all the basic and necessary knowledge of decking oil and stains. We hope it is easy for you now to choose the best for your decking timber. We always suggest something that has sustainability and natural essence. At our shop you can get various options like organ oil, decking oil, ark oil. We offer Livos kunos counter top oil and Livos natural decking oil along with Organ oil hard burnishing oil.

If you are looking for sustainable solutions with natural and organic product, without any further delay tap to our website “Planet Ark”. Planet Ark recommends selecting a decking oil that is labeled as environmentally friendly and made from sustainable ingredients. This way, you can enjoy your outdoor space while knowing you’re making a positive impact on the environment. For more information about decking oils and decking stains contact our team of experts and get free consultancy.

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