5 of the best decking oils

Waterproof, sun-proof and even anti-algae: the best decking oils can do more than you might have first thought...

TODO alt text

Decking paints will transform a garden that's been battered by winter, but which finish to choose? With an increasing amount of crossover, it’s understandable that there’s often some confusion around the right product to buy for decking. 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. So, if you know it’s the latter you’re after, let’s get on and find the best decking oil for the job. 

That’s obviously not to say that there aren’t colourful options out there: with the largest range of shades to choose from as well as, most importantly, a high level of protection, our top pick is Ronseal Ultimate Protection Decking Oil. However, each of our choices easily earns its keep, with some boasting better UV protection for decking that stays bright across the seasons and some with lower-odour formulations for peace of mind, so keep reading to find that one that will best suit your needs. 

The best decking oil

1. Ronseal Ultimate Protection 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 

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. 

Cuprinol UV Guard Decking Oil

2. Cuprinol UV Guard 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 

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. 

Manns Premier UV Decking Oil

3. Manns Premier UV 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 

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 product’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. 

Everbuild Lumberjack Wood Preserver

4. Everbuild Lumberjack Wood Preserver

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 

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? 

Barrettine Decking Oil

5. Barrettine 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 

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.

Read more