Best decking oils: our 6 top buys to nourish and protect your deck

These are the best decking oils to protect your deck from water and sun damage, give anti-slip properties and even prevent algae growth. And, they will make your deck look good, too

Decking oil
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The best decking oil is the product you need to nourish your deck, making it more resilient and supple. Old wood particularly benefits from oiling, especially if you're beginning to see cracking. New decks can also greatly benefit from being oil, particularly when the new wood is very light – the oil will add a richness that will help the deck blend in more with your house. 

All the decking oils in our guide do a great job of saturating and protecting your deck – some even have a bit more of a tint to them if you want an even richer colour. Not all are quick-drying, so we've indicated drying times for each products. And, our clever pricing widget will ensure that you're seeing the best up-to-date prices. And if you need more advice on oiling your deck, there are plenty of tips at the bottom of the article. 

Don't miss our buying guides to the best decking paints and the best decking stains too.

Best decking oils

The best decking oil: Ronseal decking oil

(Image credit: Ronseal)

1. Ronseal Ultimate Protection Decking Oil

The best decking oil: with an impressive set of specs to its name, this one really does do what it says on the tin

Best for: All woods
Volume: 5ltrs
Drying time: 90 minutes
Colours available: 7
Reasons to buy
+ Really easy to apply + Fast-acting protection 
Reasons to avoid
-Larger sizes are expensive

Softwood, hardwood; smooth or grooved; bare or pre-treated; this Ronseal decking oil not only works on all manner of decking, it works wonders. Its specs are impressive – rainproof in just 90 minutes and up to twice as resistant as other decking oils – and reviewers gave it the praise to back them up, saying that this oil seemed to last forever and that rain instantly beaded off, adding that it was easy to apply, fast-absorbing, and cleaned off tools smoothly. All this, plus a choice of seven colours and a low VOC content, make it fantastic all round deck oil. 

Best weather-proofing decking oil: Cuprinol UV Guard Decking Oil

2. Cuprinol UV Guard Decking Oil

Best weather-proofing decking oil: guard against British weather, come rain or shine, with this weatherproof decking oil

Best for: Weather protection
Volume: 2.5ltrs
Drying time: 6 hours
Colours available: 4
Reasons to buy
+ Spray or paint application + Lightly tinted oil boosts natural colour 
Reasons to avoid
-Some might not like the gloss finish

The formula of this Cuprinol decking oil means it can be spray-applied as well as painted on for an even faster finish, but it has more cleverness to offer still. It’s designed to penetrate deep into the wood to replace the natural oils lost over time through weathering, and to offer deep-seated protection against splitting and drying, while the tinted oil brings out colour in greyed wood for a fresh look. Reviewers loved the rich, almost glossy look it imparted to their boards, and said that rainwater just beaded off, proving its weatherproofing prowess. 

Best UV-resistant decking oil: Manns Premier UV Decking Oil

3. Manns Premier UV Decking Oil

Best UV-resistant decking oil: water-proof and protect your deck from the sun with this UV-resistant decking oil

Best for: UV protection
Volume: 5ltrs
Drying time: 12 hours
Colours available: 3
Reasons to buy
+ Long-lasting protection + Effective anti-UV 
Reasons to avoid
-Only three colours

A steal at around £30 for 5 litres, reviewers were left impressed by the excellent value of this decking oil, and found that it performed especially admirably for the price, offering great coverage, easy application, and effective waterproofing straight off the bat – one user commented that water now runs off their deck like off a newly waxed car. Longer term users were pleased with this deck oil’s longevity too, and found that its UV-protective formula kept wood from bleaching or greying in the sun, or weathering at all over a harsh winter. 

Best eco-friendly decking oil: Everbuild Lumberjack Wood Preserver

4. Everbuild Lumberjack Wood Preserver

Best eco-friendly decking oil: with fewer solvents, lower odour, and a quick drying time, this one’s great for busy DIYers

Best for: Low-odour
Volume: 5ltrs
Drying time: 48 hours
Colours available: 5
Reasons to buy
+ Fungicide- and algaecide-infused + Low-solvent and low-odour 
Reasons to avoid
-Will need to reapply after a few months

Possibly the most eco-friendly decking oil on our list, Everbuild Lumberjack wood preserver is a low-solvent and low-odour solution, which not only means fewer harmful fumes released into the atmosphere, but also fewer toxic nasties for you to breathe in while you’re applying. If you suffer from a respiratory disorder or are just a bit nervous about using harsh chemicals on your deck, this one is a good bet. Plus, it’s fast-drying, can be applied to wet timber without losing any of its mojo, and penetrates the wood deeply with a fungicidal, algaecidal and anti-decay formula – what’s not to love? 

Best fast-acting decking oil: Barrettine Decking Oil

5. Barrettine Decking Oil

Best fast-acting decking oil: with this fast-acting decking oil, it’s one and done

Best for: New decking
Volume: 5ltrs
Drying time: 24-48 hours
Colours available: 6
Reasons to buy
+ All-in-one formula+ Durable finish 
Reasons to avoid
-Takes a while to dry

Start as you mean to go on with this decking oil by Barrettine, our best for newly-laid and untreated planks. Its all-in-one formulation is designed to nourish, protect and stain in a single step, leaving you more time to enjoy the sunshine. When the weather does inevitably take a turn, the water-resistant formula means that rain will bead and run off without having the opportunity to soak into the wood, reducing the risk of splitting, while the finish is said not to crack, peel or flake away, leaving long-lasting protection.

Liberon decking oil

(Image credit: Amazon)

6. Liberon decking oil

Best decking oil for a natural finish: subtly enhances while protecting your deck

Best for: A natural finish
Volume: 5 litres
Drying time: 24 hours
Colours available: 3
Reasons to buy
+Easy to apply+Natural finish+UV resistant+Multi-use
Reasons to avoid
-The teak colour is a bit orange

The Liberon is a hardworking decking oil that delivers impressive water-repellant quality, as well as protecting you deck from UB radiation. It's easy to apply with a brush and the first coat is dry within just 15 minutes – the final result after the second coat then takes about 24 hours. Apply and enjoy watching water bead up on top without damaging you deck. A standard five-litre tin goes a long way and can also be used to oil your fence, furniture, or hot tub, making it a very versatile product. We recommend using the clear version, as it delivers a beautifully natural finish. The same can't quite be said about the teak colour, as it's a little orange.

Which is the best decking oil?

We think the best decking oil you can buy is Ronseal decking oil. It's available in seven different colours and takes only 90 minutes to dry, and it's also very easy to apply. Read more below.

How to buy the best decking oil

Which finish? 

In a nutshell, if you’re looking to add some colour to your planks, decking stains offer the widest range of shades in both solid and translucent finishes, while decking oils are best if you’re after a colourless treatment that sinks into the wood to protect from within rather than forming a layer on top. That’s not to say that there aren’t colourful options out there, as our top pick shows. 

UV protection

Some decking oils boast better UV protection for decking, keeping the wood bright across the seasons.

Low odour

Some decking oils offer lower-odour formulations – look out for these, too.

Water based or oil based?

Not all products marketed as 'decking oils' are actually oil based; some are water based, and work slightly differently from oil-based decking oils. Water based products will penetrate less and form more of a layer on top, performing more like a stain. They will also dry much quicker than oil-based products. 

Which wood are your treating?

If your deck is made from an expensive hardwood, for example teak, you definitely want to use a decking oil to enhance the natural look and texture of this type of wood. Cheaper decking materials such as pine will do better with a decking paint. 

Decking oil, decking paint, or decking stain: which do you need?

There's a wide range of decking treatments out there, and it can be confusing. As a general rule, we'll say that decking oil are primarily for nourishing and restoring your deck, not altering its appearance. Of course, as our guide shows, they can have additional properties such as UV protection or an anti-slip effect, but the primary purpose of a decking oil is to deeply penetrate the wood and protect it from weather extremes. Stains go one step further by subtly tinting your deck; paints are more suitable for a complete transformation with colour.  

What is the best time of year for oiling your deck?

The truth is, there's no one perfect time of year for oiling your deck – it's more about the humidity in the air during the week when you decide to apply your deck treatment. The whole point of the oil treatment is to nourish the wood while stopping moisture from getting in, so you need environmental conditions that are as dry as possible. Dry heat is fine (provided you do the oiling in the morning or evening, avoiding very hot lunchtime sun) as is dry cold weather; early summer and early autumn are probably the worst times for applying any sort of treatment to decks, because high humidity combined with warm temperatures increase the amount of moisture that gets into your deck before you've applied the oil. A cool week without rain in late autumn or early spring is our favourite time to oil a deck. 

How to oil your deck

1. Clean: the quality of your finished deck is directly dependent on its condition before oiling so, for best results, give your deck a thorough clean first (use one of our best decking cleaners).

2. Repair: use exterior wood filler to repair any cracks or holes in your deck. Always do the patching up before applying the oil.

3. Apply: sim for evenly and in one go per coat; don't do the job piecemeal, as it will show in the finish.

Is decking oil eco-friendly?

The most eco-friendly option is to just treat your deck with linseed oil. It will nourish the wood, although it will not have dirt-repelling or fungicidal benefits, so be prepared to do a bit more cleaning. If you're going for a commercially available eco-friendly option, choose one that says 'solvent free' or 'low solvent'.  

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Anna Cottrell
Anna Cottrell

In 2018 Anna moved into the world of interiors from academic research in the field of literature and urban space and joined as Staff Writer. She has a longterm interest in space-making and the evolution of interior style. She can also be found looking for the latest innovations in sustainable homewares or buying yet more bedding.