Building a Deck - Oiling the Deck

We'd always planned on oiling the deck and because we'd used pressure treated pine rather than hardwood for the decking we'd also wanted to color the deck. Pressure treated pine tends to fade to a rather unattractive pale grey with age. With my eventual aim to put up some hardwood batten screens around the garden I'd wanted to get the deck surface a reddy brown color to match some of the hardwoods I'd seen about the place. Going to my local hardwood store I took a look at the colored deck oils and read the instructions on each one. Oiling the deck required the following steps:

  • Cleaning the deck surface with a pressure cleaner
  • Pre-treating the deck with a chemical cleaner/pre treater
  • Applying the first coat of oil
  • Applying a second coat of oil

Cleaning and Pre-Treating the Deck

I borrowed a Karcher high pressure water cleaner from my fathers work and used this to clean of the decking. To be honest it was quite clean anyway (after all it is new). Using a stiff broom I then applied the pre-treatment solution and allowed it to rest for 30 minutes before cleaning it all off using the high pressure cleaner. Apparently the pre-treatment is supposed to clean off any remaining oil based gunk on the surface of the decking and also open up the pores of the wood to better accept the deck oil.

Applying the First Coat of Decking Oil

I bought a deck oiling pad on a long pole to save my back some work using a brush. We chose Cabots 'Jarrah' colored decking oil. A quick tip if you're planning on using colored decking oil, make sure it's mixed thoroughly before proceeding. When I say mixed, I mean mixed, don't just shake it up, actually stir it up with a stick or a screwdriver. When applying the first coat I used a 'flood' coat, which is a fancy way of saying a put a whole lot on. After 30 minutes of drying I then went over the whole lot with a rag to remove the excess oil. As an amusing aside, the deck looked horrible after the first coat, a bright reddy orange color. My wife and I were seriously considering hiring a sander or something to take the color off but we gave it a day or two to settle down before taking any drastic action.

Applying the Second Coat of Decking Oil

The gaps between the decking had not been coated properly by the colored oil and the green colored timber showed clearly. Before applying the second coat I went up and down the deck with a brush and the decking oil and brushed oil into the gaps using a rag to remove the excess. Once this was complete I was ready to apply the second coat of decking oil. This was applied more lightly than the first coat and again I went over the whole surface with a rag to remove any excess.

How it Looked a Week Later

Great. The timber now has a real read/brown earthy tone to it, and while it certainly doesn't look like jarrah, it certainly looks like hardwood of some description.


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