Decking Finish Problems – Sticky Issues


We’ve covered decking finish problems in some detail already. But some issues are more common – and cause more grief – than others. This week we’re going to look at the common problem of stickiness, where for some reason the decking oil you’re applying just isn’t doing what it says on the tin. We’ll also look at how to remove old finishes so you can re-apply lots of lovely oil, and provide sensible advice about what NOT to do!

Wooden Decking
Wooden Decking

Sticky garden decking – What to do about it

You’re doing the decent thing, keeping your garden deck in apple pie order. But when it comes down to actually applying the decking oil, or re-applying more coats, everything seems to be going pear-shaped. It’s sitting on the surface instead of being absorbed, and you’re getting into a right pickle. So what’s all this horrid stickiness about, and how do you fix it?

4 reasons why decking oil goes sticky

  1. Over-application – where the oil isn’t penetrating the surface properly
  2. Issues around using an oil over a non-compatible product like a decking stain, varnish or paint
  3. Not enough preparation – for example trying to use a decking oil over mould or algae
  4. Problems with new hardwood decking, which is already naturally oily

What’s the problem?

If the decking oil you’re applying has gone sticky and isn’t being absorbed properly, your number one reason – assuming it’s new decking – might be the type of wood the decking is made of.

If it’s a brand new deck, is it made from hardwood? If so, it might already be naturally oily. Which means there’s probably nothing wrong at all – the wood might be oily enough in the first place or even pre-treated with an oil. Some new hardwoods, especially exotic ones, are naturally very oily indeed, and you might find they absorb very little oil if any at all, at least until they’ve aged a bit and seen at least 3 months of our famously awful British weather!

Over-application is a simple one. If your deck has been happily absorbing plenty of oil then suddenly stops, it’s probably because the timber is already ‘full’ and can’t absorb any more. All you need to do is stop trying to apply more and wipe off any excess with a lint-free cloth.

Some people try to take short-cuts, or don’t fully understand how various decking products work, for example, trying to add an oil over the top of a non-compatible decking stain, a varnish or even a paint. If that’s what you’re thinking about doing, stop right now – it simply won’t work! Decking oils will only work on bare wood or on decking that has been previously oiled. If your garden deck has been treated with a product that forms a protective film on the surface, sometimes characterised by cracking, peeling of flaking, it will have to be fully removed before adding a decking oil.

decking oil applied
Decking Oil Applied

The same goes for mould and algae. It might be tempting to just paint decking oil over the top and hope it disappears, but it won’t work. Mould and algea tend to penetrate into the surface, they don’t just sit on top of the wood. And oiling them won’t kill them off, they’re living things and they will only die when treated with a special wood fungicide and mould killer, such as Barrettine Mould and Mildew Cleaner.

Many of the best anti-fungal products for wood kill the mould or algea and also prevent it coming back, which is an excellent idea and buys you more time in between maintenance sessions.

How to remove decking oil

If you’ve taken things too far and need to remove decking oil, or you want to remove a old decking oil and use a different finishing product like a stain or varnish, how do you do it?

Oils soak into the wood rather than just sitting on the surface, so while it’s easy enough to sand them off at surface level, it’s very difficult to get the product out of the grooves. If your deck is oiled, it’s best to use another oil rather than try to remove it and replace it with a stain or paint. Oils are, after all, the best product for decking because they penetrate the wood and protect it so much better, for longer, than something that just sits on the surface, and they let the lovely natural wood grain show through.

There’s a lot of talk online about getting rid of decking oil and replacing it with stain or paint, but the advice is always the same – it’s a huge challenge and you’re probably best off letting it lie. You could try white spirit or a jet washer but even they are far from ideal. Your best bet is to stick with oils. Here’s why…

  • Sanding only works when the deck is smooth, not grooved, and it won’t remove oil from the grooves
  • You can use a jet washer to clean decking finished with oil but it comes with risks of its own – you could damage the wood surface or contaminate the soil as the powerful jet of water pushes the finish out of the wood onto plants and into the ground
  • If you really want to re-treat your decking with a sealer (even though sealers aren’t the best idea for decking) you might be able to remove your oil-based finish with white spirit… on the other hand you might not, and it’s an awful lot of work
Restored Timber Decking
Restored Timber Decking

The easy way – Replacing other decking finishes with oil

Rather than try to remove an oil finish and replace it with something that won’t do as good a job – like a stain or varnish – it’s  always easier to remove a non-oil finish and replace it with decking oil. A decking stripper, for example, is a great way to get rid of many decking stains and paints so you can replace it with a lovely oil.

Make life easy with a good decking oil

If you want to re-treat a previously oiled decking with a fresh coat of oil – which is what we’d recommend – it’s a much easier job. You won’t even have to remove all the old oil. Just clean the surface thoroughly using a good quality decking cleaner, which will get rid of the dirt, then re-oil it. 2-3 coats should do the trick. If you’re looking for a great quality decking oil, we highly recommend Holzol Decking Oil.

How to maintain a perfect decking oil finish for longer

As a rule, the better you maintain your deck, the less frequently you’ll need to re-oil it.

  • You can’t beat a simple brush for a start, keeping the wood surface free of mud, soil, leaves and so on. Regular sweeping makes a huge difference to the life of a deck
  • Cleaning is your next job, regularly using a
  • to get rid of moss, mould and algae and prevent regrowth for as long as six months
  • Re-finish your deck with oil whenever it starts looking tatty or worn, to help prevent damage before it starts to happen

Need help with your decking project?

For more information about decking treatments and their uses, contact our team of resident experts who are always on hand to help with project advice and product recommendations. Alternatively, see our decking treatments FAQ page which covers many of the most commonly asked questions about decking treatments.

We love to see before, during and after photos of any decking, project. If you would like to share your pictures with us and our followers, send us your photos or share on our Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram pages.

Other great blogs that discuss decking

  • Decking Oil or Stain, Which is Best?
  • How to Make Decking Non-Slip
  • 7 Common Decking Problems and Solutions

    1. Hi
      We’ve had a new deck built using Vitex hardwood. It’s been left for 4 months. We have now oiled it using Cabots Aquadeck deck oil (Natural). It was come out yellow. I was wanting it to look it’s natural colour. What can be done please?

      • Good Morning Karen,

        Here at Wood Finishes Direct we always recommend test areas first, the wood you are applying to can have quite an impact on the finish that will be achieved, products that penetrate the wood in particular will enhance the grain and can highlight the natural tone of the wood, often bringing out colours that were not visible before application.

        Decking Oil once applied can be difficult to remove, you can scrub with White spirits and try a pressure washer to to remove much of it, however there are no guarantees that this will work. I would say hold off for 6 months to a year and allow the oil to wear and naturally disperse over time and then consider an oil with a light colour that will tone down the yellow that you currently have. Again a test area with what ever you use to ensure that the right finish is achieved.

        For further product advice please do not hesitate to get in touch contact us

        All the Best Samantha.

    2. I washed my decking with Ronseal Decking Cleaner, I left it to dry out overnight. I then applied Ronseal Ultimate Decking Oil. As per instruction on the tin I waited for just over 4 hours before applying the second coat, the surface of the initial application was very lightly sticky. I applied the second coat to dry overnight. Eight hours had elapsed before the rain came. It is obvious that the oil has not fully absorbed into the wood and it is creamy in colour. The rainwater is lying on the top of the oil.

      What do I do next. Do I leave it in the hope that it will eventually dry, or do I attempt to remove the second coat and start again?

      Any assistance that you can give me will be much appreciated.

      • Good Morning Len,

        My apologies for not getting back to you sooner, can you email me and tell me how the decking is now ? It does sound as if the initial coat had not fully dried, perhaps some slight over application or if there was a previous treatment that was slowing down or preventing the oil from absorbing as well as it could. This may have impacted on the drying time of the oil, however I would expect it to absorb and dry eventually. If the water is beading on the surface this is a good sign that oil is doing its job.

        If the oil is still tacky to the touch after this period of time you may need to think about wiping over with some White Spirits, however if you could email and let me know how the decking is currently, what type of wood the decking is made of, any previous treatments and how old they are or if they have worn away?

        And perhaps I can help further.

        Kindest Regards Samantha.

    3. Hi, quick question… I put plywood floors downand used a walnut colored timber oil stain and forgot to mix the can at all. It applied well and is a pretty redwood color. I was aiming for the dark grey walnut color. I was wondering is the unmixed timber oil still effective? Is it just missing the color pigment?

      • Good Afternoon Travis,

        I would expect the remaining oil to be a different colour to that which you have already applied. You will still be able to use it, you must bear in mind however that if lining up against the already applied there is likely to be a variation that will show. If going over completely then you are likely to cover the existing finish okay, but in the different tone.

        For further advice please do not hesitate to get in touch via our contact us
        page or by calling on01303 213 838 and speaking to our friendly advisers.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    4. I have deck stain that isnt soaking in leaving sticky stain oil stuff 3 coats first 2 let it dry for month then did another layer to even out color

      • Hello Ruth,

        Can you get in touch with me via our contact us page with details of the product that you have used and I can try to advice further, also if you are able you could send some images. Details of type, age and condition of wood along with preparation and application methods will all help.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    5. Hi. We had a small wood deck installed four years ago and had not sealed it. Last week I cleaned the deck with a bleach/detergent/water mixture, hosed it off, waited 24 hours and then applied a coat of a water-based clear sealer. I waited three hours (the instructions said to wait at least two hours) and then applied a second coat. The deck has been tacky ever since, and now it has been eight days. The weather has been hot and very humid, including serious rain 4 days after I applied the sealer, but it never dried to touch. Suggestions on how to fix the problem? Thanks.

      • Good Afternoon Larry,

        Could you please get in touch via our contact us page with some details of the brand and name of the product you have applied ? The type of wood the decking is made from? Your location and any other information that you feel may be relevant.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    6. I’ve had an pie deck for about 8 years . I have successfully stripped and restrained it each year. This time i waited about 2 years because the deck was still looking quite good. I had great difficulty stripping the old coating , but finally was reasonably satisfied that is was ready for the new stain. I used Bio Wash natural deck oil. I have used 2 thin coats in the evening, but next morning the deck looks a little blotchy in some parts. Could it be I used too little oil? Can I give a 3rd coat and if so when? as the sun is now shining on the deck and it getting hot

      • Good Afternoon Jules,

        Thank you for getting in touch with your enquiry. The answer very much depends on the what type of wood the decking is made from and the oil you are using. More often than not decking wood will not take a third coat and I am not familiar with the Bio Wash Decking Oil.

        Feel free to get in touch via our contact page with further details.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    7. I’ve got a totally decked large garden which looked like it has not had any restoration for years. I’ve cleaned and power washed the deck to remove the grey colour and it is a little patchy in areas (very light grey/brown or natural colour planks with a few stubborn stains). Can I use tinted oil on it or is more preparation required? Hours into the project so far! 😀


      • Good Morning Adam,

        Thank you for getting in touch with your enquiry. Grey or silvered wood is the result of UV damage, its the natural process of aging wood and for may people the desired look. More and more people are looking to maintain the natural colour of the wood or restore back to the original state.

        Osmo have a great product for this called Osmo Wood Reviver Gel it does require a bit of elbow grease also but can work wonders on many exterior projects.

        Once you have the wood as you want it, be it revived or silvered but clean, my first recommendation will be for a good quality preservative such as the Barrettine Premier Universal Preservative this will help to prevent wood boring insects, wood rotting fungi and blue stain.

        Then Barrettine Decking Oil will give excellent water resistance – beads rain thereby stopping water ingress. It will also slow down further silvering. If you use a colour on silvered wood the colour result is likely to be quite different to the swatches and what ever the condition of the wood I would recommend a test area first.

        I hope that helps and if you have any further questions please do let me know.

        Kind Regards Samantha.

    8. Hi

      I’ve recently laid my first decking! Quite happy with the results! After toying with staining over decking I decided that oil was the best idea. Not so sure it was now! It has become sticky after one coat. Also have milky white patches appeared. Even though we didn’t have rain for 2 days. I’ve researched and it said it’s due to water in the oil and leave to leave it alone. It should disappear. But it hasn’t. What should I do now?


      • Good Morning Karl,

        My apologies for not getting back to you sooner. If you are still having an issue with your decking please get in touch via email with some photos of the problems that you are having and details of the product used? Method of application ? Type of wood and if there was any previous treatment on the decking? And I can see if I am able to help get this rectified for you.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    9. Had new Redwood deck installed in September of 2017. Waited until October to have Penofin oil based redwood stain applied. Morning were pretty moist after my guys applied the oil so some areas took (though sticky) and others areas didn’t where there was moisture.

      Fast forward to las week. Had same guys come back out and loom at deck. They applied another coat of the Penofin to the deck. The deck now looks much more uniform in color due to proper application but the big issue I have now is the whole deck is STICKY to the touch and under foot.

      What can I do to remove the sticky/excess oil that is not absorbing into the deck. Is there a product that can break down the excell and allow me to wipe off?

      Thank you in advance for your recommendations.

      • Hello Robin,

        The sticky feel that you have is an indication of over application. Wood will only absorb so much oil before becoming saturated. Any excess oil will remain on the surface and although it will dry, it takes longer and will not give the most effective protection for your wood.

        You can scrub the surface with Barrettine White Spirits to remove the excess. Or use a scouring pad to lightly sand the surface.

        If you have any other questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.

        Kind Regards Samantha.

    10. Hi applied ronseal deck oil using their perfect finish pad. Thort the excess would soak in. It haven’t and now I’d have dark stickiness in the grooves. What’s the best way to remedy it?

      • Hello Antony,

        My apologies for the delay in getting back to you. Have you been able to resolve the issue ? If not I am happy to advice and you can get in touch via our contact us page.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    11. This is a great site.

      Last year I used Cuprinol UV decking oil, can I use Ronseal Decking oil this year, will they agree with each other ?

      • Hello John,

        Generally speaking manufacturers will not recommend their products with that of alternate brands. That said if they are both solvent based oils then they are likely to be compatible. The best way to tell is carry out a test area first, this will show if you like the finish to be achieved and that there are no adverse reactions.

        If there is anything further that I am able to help with please do not hesitate to get in touch.

        Kind regards Samantha

    12. Hello I have recently coated the outside of a timber clad building in a waterbased wood treatment oil, I ran out half way through and now I need to give a second coat with a different oil. So I bought ronseal ultimate decking oil natural. I am wondering is it OK to do a second coat with a different wood treatment brand if they are both waterbased?? Would one be OK on top of the other or can they react different? Thanx

      • Hello Winnie,

        I would like to say yes it will all be fine, but the truth is you will not know under you carry out a test area. The Ultimate Decking Oil from Ronseal is a water bourne oil and so may not be compatible with a water based product. Or they could be fine together. The test area will let you know if there are any adhesion issues or adverse reactions.

        I hope that helps and if you have any questions or want to share the results please feel free to get in touch.

        Kind Regards Samantha.

    13. Hi there,

      Some very good tips on here. Having recently used a decking cleaner&reviver then piling the deck I was initially happy with the result. I was however left with a small patch that I did just after the other parts and which got rained on about an hour after application. This became milky and would quite often sit with a layer of water when the rest of the decking didn’t. After reading the comments on here I re-used the decking cleaner&reviver on this one area and re-oiled it. The milky effect has now gone but that area is lighter than the rest of the decking and still seems to have a layer of water on it most of the time. Any ideas?



      • Hello Jack,

        Standing water can cause damage even with the toughest of finishes. If this area has even a slight dip that results in hold water you may find this to be a continuous problem and may need to consider adjusting the decking in this area if possible.

        Water ingress before the product has cured will give a slight milky effect and this will often disperse naturally as the area dries out or there is a warm period. A fresh coat of oil may also even out the finish in the spring.

        I hope that helps and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to let me know.

        Kind Regards Samantha.

    14. Hey
      Great site and info!
      I need a little help.
      Just laid a new deck consisting of acacia inter locking deck tiles.
      They came already treated with oil but they looked too orange for our taste so we bought ronseal dark oak decking oil and did our 1st coat.
      2 questions really.
      Firstly it rained 15 hours after applying and there is a milky substance on the tiles, will this disappear when it warms up?
      Secondly how can we darken the tiles once oiled?
      Many thanks.

      • Good Afternoon Alan,

        If the decking is already oiled then there is a reasonable chance that the wood is saturated and will not accept any further oil other than that which you have already applied. The milky effect that you have is due to the oil not being cured before the rain came along. Some of the moisture has absorbed under the oil and normally it will disperse when a few hot days occur. If it does not then you may have to consider sanding back and re oiling once dry.

        The Dark Oak in the Ronseal Range is one of the darkest oils available, however for a really dark finish you could have a look at the Osmo Decking Oil but you will need to allow the wood to weather a little before it will accept any further coats.

        I hope this helps and if you have any other enquiries please do not hesitate to get in touch.

        All the Best Samantha.

    15. Hi,

      we have just had some new decking put down. We have waited for it to dry and treated it with Robseal decking oil. We have so far done one coat. A section of decking along the edge on one panel was not drying no matter how long we left it. This we tried to help dry using cool air which seemed to help it to become the same colour as the deck ready for treating. It rained an hour after treatment and the decking looks ok but still damp. We will wait for this to dry before treating again.

      However – the area we couldn’t get dry and tried to help has gone more of a grey colour and is a lot wetter than the rest. Is this because it is wet again? We tried to help? We know from before it won’t dry.

      Do you suggest we do anything? What can we do for the colour. The rest of the deck will be ready for a second coat but not too sure about that section. Thanks x

      • Hello Charlotte,

        Are you able to send me a photo of the whole decking/ garden and also the effected area and I will take a look and see if there is any reason I can see for the problem that you are having. Can you include any details of previous treatments on the decking, how the oil was applied and what preparation was carried out. You can email FAO Samantha to

        Kind regards Samantha.

    16. Hello
      Could you please advise if your Holzol Decking Oil color chart is after one coat or the recommended 2 coats. As just trying to gauge how dark the oak would be. So can decide if should get 2 x Oak or 1 x Oak + 1 x Clear.
      Thank you

      • Hello Russel,

        The swatches are with two coats of the product. How it looks on your decking may vary however as it will be impacted by the type and condition of the wood. This is why we always recommend a test area first. I hope that helps and if you have any other questions please do not hesitate to let me know.

        Kind Regards Samantha.

    17. Just had new decking – believe its hardwood, with ridges – oiled it with Cosmo decking oil on grey. did 2 thin coats – plenty of time to dry in-between.

      she weeks later we are now experiencing patches where excess oil from he natural wood appears to be coming through -its very sticky and in some places is turing white. Its looks mess.

      Suggestions welcome.

      • Hello Jodie,

        Are you able to send me an email with some photos of the effected areas and I will be happy to take a look for you. I am not familiar with the particular product that you have used but may be able to offer some advice. You can email me at

        Kind Regards Samantha.

    18. Hi,
      Just yesterday I put a waterproof over my deck however, I think I over applied the waterproof. The deck is very sticky. What is the best way to fix it without having to buy more products?

      • Hello Jacey,

        Can you email me with the details of product you have used and when and how you have applied the product. You can email me at and I hopefully I can help you to resolve your issue.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    19. Hi, just used a decking oil to treat my sun worn decking
      The first coat went on really well though there were over brush marks leaving darker patches as they had technically had two coats, no problem I thought, I will just give it a second d coat when it dries but now it won’t accept any more to soak in and am left patchy
      Haw can I now get an even shade finish

      • Hello Steve,

        Are you able to tell me a little more ? What type of wood is the decking made from? What oil has been used? And what preparation you carried out? Or you could send me an email at with all the details and some photos, I will be happy to take a look.

        Kind Regards Samantha.

    20. Hello

      I have just spent 2 days refilling my decking with ronseal protector, it was washed first.
      we have just had a heavy downpour and now in certain places it looks likes the oil hasn’t taken and left dark patches which look horrible and dirty !
      any ideas why?


      • Hello Julie,

        Are you able to email me with some photos please, and I will happily take a look to see if I can make any suggestions. Also some details of preparation and application methods.

        Kind Regards Samantha.

      • Hello Kev.

        It may be possible to apply a coloured Decking Oil over the top but a test area should be done first to see if the wood will accept more oil and is not already saturated. If the wood is a tropical hardwood, such as Ipe or Irokom then you are unlikely to get another coat of oil into it yet and you may have to wait for a year to allow the current oil to naturally disperse a little.

        For more advice please feel free to email me with further details of your project and I will be happy to guide you in the right direction. You can email me at

        Kind regards Samantha.

    21. Hi My husband has just applied the first coat of oil to our deck which was installed in May 2016.
      We chose Rustins decking oil in Natural Oak & to my horror not only has it come up very dark indeed it has also seemed to pool into some darker & also slightly tacky areas.
      It looks terrible & now regretting having done anything to it! I only wanted to bring up some warmth of colour in the wood but it is very brown indeed.

      Can we get the Rustins oil off a all? Is there anything you can suggest?

      Many thanks Susan

      • Hello Susan,

        Decking Oil can be difficult to remove, you could scrub with White Spirit or use a pressure washer to remove. Take care if using a pressure washer not to damage the wood by holding the nozzle too close.

        A clear oil will darken the wood slightly to give what we call the ‘wet look’ and you can get an idea of this by wiping a damp cloth over the bare wood. Oils are recommended for decking as they are easier to maintain over time and decking is the most exposed exterior wood that is susceptible to water ingress.

        Tacky areas indicate that the oil is not soaking in to the wood and not drying correctly, this could be the result of something in the wood preventing penetration, a previous treatment perhaps.

        You could have a look at the Barrettine Decking Oil as an option. It will darken the wood slightly again as will all clear products. Preparation of the deck before application is key. Removal of all pre existing products first and then ensuring the decking is clean and dry.

        I hope that helps and feel free to come back to me if you have any further questions.

        All the Best Samantha.

    22. I, have a deck that is 5 years old, yesterday I applied the 3rd coat of stain in those 5 years. I, use
      Cedar Tone stain, now it is dry with a slight sticky touch too it. I hate it looks like it is wet but it’s not. Please help me what can I do to get rid of this shinny wet look.I am disabled and can’t do hard sanding or anything like that.

      Ronald Griffis

      • Hello Ronald,

        Can you tell me the full name of the product and which brand it is, hopefully I can help.

        Kind Regards Samantha.

    23. Hello,

      3 years ago i had new decking installed i coated it with Cuprinol Natural Ceder decking oil. I dont think it ever really soaked into the wood as the decking is very patchy and large areas dont appear to have any oil on them at all. Ive spent months reading about oils and stains etc. I feel like my oil has acted like a stain (stayed on the surface, because the wood was new) and now looks awful. I want to sand my decking back hopefully removing the oil coating, so that i can start fresh and just apply a protector and keep the natural wood colour. What do you suggest? Does my plan sound like a good idea? If not, can i apply a dark stain over the top and hopefully just make good what currently looks terrible. Your advice on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Stuart.

      • Hello Stuart,

        I think it would be fair to say that we recommend oils for exterior finishes, more often than not. Decks are particularly exposed area of the garden and are probably the most used area so a treatment that is easy to maintain is best. Oils, when correctly applied will give great protection for one or two years before a top up coat can be needed.

        If the oil has not absorbed correctly but rather sat on the surface of the wood, it will peel and flake over time and be ineffective in its protection and this may be what you have experienced. It will need removing before a follow up treatment can be applied.

        Once back to bare wood you can apply a good quality Preservative to help prevent mould, mildew and rot and then a clear Decking Oil to give repellency and UV protection.

        I hope that help and if you have any further questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.

        kind Regards Samantha

    24. I recently cleaned (7 Days ago) the decking and applied 2 coats of Cabots decking oil 24 hours apart, since the second coat was applied the decking is sticky under foot.

      Please advise what is the best product and technique to remove the oil and the tacky residue.

      • Hello,

        I am not familiar with this particular product, however slow drying and tackiness is an indication of over application. The oil has not been able to absorb into the wood. To remove you can wipe over with some White Spirit and Finishing Pad.

        I hope that helps and if you have any further questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    25. Hi Sam,

      Thanks for that, two final questions – 1)how often does the oil need to be reapplied?

      2) Should the first coat of oil be thinned with turps 5/10%?


      • Hello Simon,

        My apologies for not getting back to you sooner. Sanding in the direction of the grain is going to give you a better finish. Sanding against the grain may be highlighted when treatment is applied. But yes essentially you will need to find a way to get into the gaps as well. All existing product needs to be removed in order for the preservative and oil to be able to absorb into the wood.

        Once back to bare wood and clean and dry you are ready to begin application of the treatments. So one or two coats of the preservative and then two coats of the Decking Oil. As long as the oil is kept maintained you should not need to redo the preservative for around 6- 8 years.

        As you are treating Oak, you will only need thin application of the decking oil. And I strongly recommend a test area first. Applying a colour will increase the UV protection levels for sure, the darker the colour the more protection you will get. I hope that helps and if you have any further question please feel free to get back in touch or email

        All the Best Sam.

    26. Hi Sam,

      Thanks for getting back to me. The decking is smooth – when removing finish is it best to use a belt sander rather than a rotary one? a friend of mine suggested a power planer? And what about the sides of the boards, there’s a roughly 5mm gap between them.

      If the correct prep and application is done, how often would Barrettine have to be reapplied, given the decking here is oak, flat, exposed and south facing? Would using a coloured oil significantly increase this recoat time?


    27. The story here is external south facing oak decking (apparently not pre treated) was laid at client’s (I’m a decorator working on their interior) home in february this year. A coat of (the client thinks) pure linseed oil was applied (apparently dry weather over this time), then a month later 2 coats of cuprinol uv guard decking oil was applied by brush. Then the client noticed whitish areas appearing on the surface, which disappeared when the sun hit the decking. A third coat of cuprinol was applied by spray in may.
      Now more than 50% of the surface has greyed, the area under the table is in reasonable condition.
      Any ideas what would have caused this?
      What’s the best course of action? I’m assuming it’s a sand back to wood and retreat? The client wants to keep the ‘golden’ look of the oak and wants something as low maintenance as possible.
      From what you’ve advised above the whitish patches were water suspended in the oil, and as the cuprinol uv guard is waterborne it didn’t work with the linseed oil. So in this case the surface needs to be sanded back – including the sides of the planks? Should a wood preservative be applied after sanding, then the decking oil? What would you recommend as a finishing product for a low maintenance cycle?

      • Hello Simon,

        Yes you are right it is likely to be a product compatibility issue with the Linseed Oil and the Cuprinol. And so stripping off is the best option, can you tell me if the decking is grooved or smooth ? You may need to use a pressure washer if it is grooved to try to get the products off.

        Once you are back to bare wood, you have suggested the right combination of products in the Preservative and Decking Oil. The silvering is a result of the sunlight on the wood and unfortunately even the best clear products with UV Filters will only give limited protection and would need regular top ups to maintain the UV filters. For better UV protection you need to consider applying a coloured oil, the darker the colour the more UV protection the wood gets.

        I would recommend the Barrettine Premier Wood Preservative and then the Barrettine Decking Oil. Depending on amount of use the decking gets and how exposed it is to the elements will determine how often you need to re apply a coat of oil. But maintenance is really quite simple. You should always carry out a test area. If you have a read up of the products that I have recommended and feel free to let me know if you have any further questions.

        Kind Regards Sam.

    28. Hello – We had a large deck made of spotted gum built in early 2015. After letting it weather I applied two coats of Intergrain natural decking oil (not water based). The deck extends beyond the pergola and so part of it is not undercover. Two weeks ago I cleaned it and applied two more coats of the same oil. I thought I had left re-oiling for too long because the part of the deck that is fully exposed to the weather was already very grey – however the rest of the deck had kept its colour and was still looking good. Well, after two weeks the deck is still very sticky- except for the part of that is fully exposed to the weather. I understand from the useful comments above that the problem is that I have applied too much oil, which hasn’t been able to soak in. Should I just wait and let it dry with time? or try to remove the excess? if so, how?
      There is a real contrast between the part of the deck that is exposed to the weather and the ‘sticky’ part. The ‘sitcky’ part is shiny, whereas the exposed part, while having been brought back to a good colour, is dull looking and looks like it could take another coat! How to achieve and maintain a good, even look? Thanks for any help!

      • Hello Jim,

        The area that has not dried due to over application can be wiped back with some White Spirit to remove that excess. It will dry eventually but on the surface of the wood and so over time is likely to peel and flake.

        The area that has greyed significantly is has done so because it is exposed to more UV than the rest and this seems to have happened very fast. Protecting from UV can be difficult and many clear products do have Filters in them to help with this, but it would be fair to say that applying a colour will increase the level of protection and the darker the colour the more protection the wood will get. I hope that helps and if you have any further questions feel free to get in touch.

        Kind Regards Sam.

    29. Hi Sam,

      I’m using teak decking as horizontal slatted fencing (reversed to have flat planks).
      When installed, the contractors coated it with Rustins Decking Oil, and I used the same oil when applying a second coat a year later.

      However, when I went to apply another coat this year, I ran out of the Rustins oil part-way through the job. Unfortunately, I was unable to find the same make, and bought Cuprinol UV Guard Decking oil in it’s place (thinking, in my ignorance, that all decking oils are the same). It was only when I went to clean my brush that I realised the Cuprinol was water based – but I thought no more about it.

      Next morning, I checked the fence, and the ‘Rustins’ section looks great, but the ‘Cuprinol’ section looks just as worn/tired as it was before i applied the ‘oil’. I feel as if I’ve made a big mistake with the Cuprinol.

      Reading above, it looks like I cannot simply apply an oil-based product over the top of the Cuprinol UV Guard – correct?
      So, should I remove the Cuprinol, and, if so, what is the best method/product to use?

      Thanks for any help!

      • Hello Brain,

        Unfortunately you will need to remove the Cuprinol that has been applied. If it has dried on the surface of the wood you may find that a pressure washer removes some or all of it. If not you could be looking at sanding back to remove. It’s not ideal I know but a waterbourne oil cannot go over a standard decking oil. It is a common issue with decking finishes these day, in the last couple of years a number of products that have come onto the market are waterborne and cannot be used in conjunction with the oils.

        We have a good selection of Decking Oils that can be used once the Cuprinol is removed, although if you are sanding back to bare wood it opens your options up to use either.

        I would recommend the Barrettine Decking Oil as a good option. But if you would like further advice, please do let me know.

        Kind regards Sam.

    30. For the ipe Deck that’s already oil and looks great, can I vanish it after to protect it longer? I know it takes eight months before I would have to sand and reoiled again. But is it safe to vanish the deck after dried.

      • Hello,

        My apologies for the delay in getting back to you. I would not recommend a varnish over your decking. If the deck is oiled already then this should offer good protection to the wood already. Ipe is also naturally high in oil content and this is often why weathering is recommended.

        Varnish is unlikely to adhere to the surface because of the oil. We rarely recommend varnish for decking as over time it can peel and flake and then require removal before re treatment. Good quality Decking Oils should give UV protection and water repellency to the wood. It will be easy to maintain and repair over time. If you would like further advice please feel free to let me know.

        Kind regards Sam.

    31. Hi,

      New softwood decking which I have now given two coats of liberon decking oil, natural colour. Unfortunately the last part of deck was finished at about 7pm and there was then a heavy dew overnight. The deck boards in this area have dried in places a white milky colour, is this the water getting into the oil? Will it go in time????? need to know before the wife gets home and kills me!

      • Hello John,

        My apologies for the delay in getting back to you, I hope all is well !! It sounds like the oil has absorbed some of the water as it had not had enough time to dry. It may disperse of its own accord on a warm day. If not then you may be looking at having to remove the effected areas with a pressure washer and then re-oiling. Let me know if you have any questions.

        Kind Regards Sam.

    32. Hi have just laid new decking on top of decking that has been down over ten years and had become a mess,. Any way brushed Ronseal Natural oil on it …and the edges of the planks look green !! Hopefully this will go ?

      • Hello Joan,

        Green is often a sign of Algea and can be washed off using Decking Cleaner. It will clean the wood and also help to prevent a slippery deck. Do let me know if you have any further questions.

        Kind regards Sam.

    33. Okay here goes – New to DIY. Had deck installed 3 years ago. Never treated it, and started to look a bit worn. Bought Ronseal deck cleaner and gave it a good clean up. Looked fantastic. Yesterday decided to oil for long lasting protection. Bought Ronseal Ultimate Protection Natural (with applicator). Instructions on tin say 2 coats. Applied first coat, dried for 4 hours – looked and felt great. Then applied second coat and let dry overnight (finished at about 18:00) Great weather. This morning at 8:00 noticed the deck slightly shiny and a bit tacky. Should I be worried? Does this wear off – should I think about doing something? So new to this haven’t a clue, but convinced with a little elbow grease maybe I can fix it??

      • Hello Sean,

        It may be slight over application as this can cause slow drying time or indicate over application, the tacky issue is similar to oils but as it’s more of a film building product it’s likely more to do with a bottom coat being trapped than too much on surface (like oils). In time it still cures but can take a few days. See how it goes and do let me know if you have any further problems or questions.

        Kind Regards Sam

    34. Re John on 24 July and Cuprinol UV Guard Decking oil. I used this on a completely resanded 15-year old iroko deck and it is useless. It simply sits on the surface of the iroko and re-emulsifies in the rain. In addition, the surface scratches very easily, revealing black marks when it next rains. It may be great on softwood but not on iroko. I’m now removing it and applying Sikkens solvent -based Cetol Plus.

      • Hello Bill,

        Thank you for your feedback, It sounds to me like the oil simply has not absorbed into the wood. Iroko is a tropical hardwood and has a very tight grain. This means it is hard for oil to be absorbed into the wood and when this is the case the oil will simply sit on the surface of the wood and dry there. Causing it to peel and flake at a later date or as you have encountered have problems when it rains.

        We recommend thinner oils for such tropical woods such as Teak Oil as these will absorb better.

        I would not necessarily recommend the Sikkens for decking as I am not sure that it is a suitable finish for large horizontal surfaces. Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or would like any product advice.

        kind Regards Sam.

    35. Hello

      I usually treat my deck with Liberon decking oil, but one year I couldn’t get any and used a product called Cuprinol Decking Oil and Protector. I am wondering whether I need to competely remove this before retreating with oil – it looks flaky in places. Could you suggest the type of product I would need to use to remove it, if necessary?

      Thanks very much

      • Hello Felicity,

        As it is peeling I would recommend removing all the product and starting again with a Decking Oil. Using a pressure washer is likely to get much of the product off and sanding is the best option for getting anything left on there off.

        Once you are back to bare wood you could look at applying a Preservative and then a Decking Oil which will protect and make the decking water repellent. I hope that helps and if you have any other questions please do let me know.

        Kind regards Sam.

    36. Hello. I applied two generous coats of cultural natural decking protector to my new deck. The boards were green pressure treated standard stock off the shelf. In hot weather the boards appear to be tacky under foot. I’m loathed to remove anything as I want as much protector to soak in as possible but also don’t want the tackiness when we get round to using the deck. Any ideas?

      • Hello Jamie,

        Can you confirm for me what brand and type of product you used and hopefully I can help further. Also if you can let me know when and how you applied the wood, if there was anything on the wood previously and what type of wood is the deck ?

        Kind regards Sam.

    37. Have just had new decking done and it was treated with cuprinol and when it dried theres lots of dark patches.its a mess could u help with any ideas thank you

      • Hello Liz,

        My apologies for the delay in getting back to you. Are you able to send me and email with some photos of the effected area. And details of your preparation and application methods, also what type of wood you have applied to and if there was any previous treatment on the wood. And hopefully I will be able to help you further.

        Kind regards Sam.

    38. Hi,
      I spent 3 days stripping and removing Ronseal decking protector in preparation of re-treating it with an oil.

      I have just applied 1 coat of Cuprinol UV Guard decking OIL. To my surprise the product appeared very similar to the Ronseal protector. I also noticed that where the Cuprinol oil had dried on my paint kettle it formed a film, rather than appearing as an oil.

      My question is, “is Cuprinol Decking Oil actually an oil finish or is it more like a film forming decking protector or stain ?” And can I re-apply a proper oil over the top of the Cuprinol product, or do I have to start the stripping and sanding again?


      • Hello John,

        The Cuprinol UV Guard Decking Oil is a waterborne oil which is a bit technical to explain but it works in the same way that an oil does when it comes to soaking in and protecting the wood. You cannot over-coat with a standard decking oil with this product.

        It is a relatively new product to our website and so feedback is limited, but early indication show that it is a very good product and it should not peel and flake over time. I hope this puts your mind at rest and if you have any other questions please feel free to let me know.

        All the Best Sam.

    39. Hi,
      My husband has just finished staining our deck (laid last summer but fully cleaned and prepped for staining) at the weekend. The first coat was applied and dried fine. The second coat was applied 24 hours later in warm sunny weather. Unfortunately there was a light / moderate down pour for a short period of time about an hour after applying. (There was no rain forecast, only sun). This morning, 20 hours after the second application, the deck is still tacky to touch. He used Wickes own brand solvent based oil stain.
      We are now concerned that all the hard work and prep has been ruined and are unsure what to do next. There is a heat wave forecast for the next few days – will this help or will it exacerbate the situation? We have a 14mth old so having the deck (a large part of our garden) out of order is not really an option in the long term!

      Thank you in advance for your help / advice

      • Hello Jane,

        Would you like to email me direct to let me know how the deck is now. I am not familiar with the Wickes brand of Oil but I would not expect a light shower to cause too much problem with the oil applied. It is possible that over application is the problem and that the wood has not absorbed the second coat effectively. Could you send me some photos and details about preparation of the decking and what wood it is made from. Hopefully I can help resolve the issue for you. You can email

        Kind regards Sam.

    40. Hi
      We had new decking put down and my husband applied 2 coats of decking oi and now the decking looks wet and is sticky under foot – how best to overcome this?

      Many thanks

      • Hello Caroline,

        Would you be able to email me with some more details, such as the name of the product you have used, how it was applied, was there any treatment on the decking already and how many coats where applied. You can email FAO Sam to and I will be happy to help further.

        Kind regards Sam.

    41. Just finished a large staining project with Sherwin-Williams Superdeck oil based stain… The 1st coat had a good 24 hours to dry and cure but about 4 hours after the 2nd coat was applied, we had a prolonged period of light/moderate rain. The stain had begun to tack but was not completely dry to the touch when the rain started. I’m worried that the whole project has been ruined. Am I going to have to start from scratch?

      • Hello Matt,

        Unfortunately I am not familiar with this particular product as it is not one that we supply, but I would suggest that you leave an see if it dries okay. Most oils although take a few hours to dry will become water repellent fairly quickly and if it was only a small amount of rain you may be okay. You may find that you have some water marks however and so if you do you may need to wipe over with Meths or lightly sand and re oil. But test areas for all of these, as I said before I am not familiar with the Sherwin Williams products.

        Kind regards Sam.

    42. We just completed a huge deck project. Cedar We used Thompsons Deck Oil. it’s beautiful. the instructions say one coat. The professional at Sherwin Williams told us to apply a second coat. we oiled every board before they were installed. we then did a second coat. despite wiping and rubbing there is still residual oil and our deck is slick. not sticky a week later. we’ve had good weather. will time heal this wound? or ant ideas to fix the slickness?

      • Hello Tammie,

        I am sorry but I am not familiar with this product and so it would be difficult for me to suggest why you have a slickness on the surface. Sherwin Williams may be able to offer a bit more help if they recommended the use of the product.

        All the Best Sam.

    43. Hello,
      just bought a house that has a fairly large deck. I don’t think its’ been treated in the last 5 years at least. I jet washed it, cleaned it and used a product from Cuprinol that oils and restores. At this point I didn’t like the color the was looking pretty yellow/greenish and decided to sand the whole thing. After sanding about 1 mm off the top, now the decks looks really good. Now I would need a bit of guidance please on how to protect it. I still would like to give a slight color to the wood, so I was thinking about a Ronseal tinted oil or a Sadolin stain and protector. Any advice? Assuming that the wood has still some oil from the previous application before sanding, is there a problem using a tinted oil or a stain?
      Thank you

      • Hello,

        Thank you for you inquiry, it is likely that you have removed most or all of the oil so you are basically back to bare wood which does open up your choices. That said we tend to recommend oils for decking areas as they are easy to keep maintained over time and will not peel and flake. To add a bit of colour you could have a look at the Barrettine Decking Oil which has 4 popular colour choices in the range, or the Ronseal Decking Oil which also has some natural colour ways.

        Applying a coloured oil can prolong the UV protection of the oil but for best practice, keep the deck clean and swept and give a maintenance coat when you feel the wood needs it. And don’t forget your test area.

        Kind regards Sam.

    44. I put first coat of decking oil on top of water based Germany vanish, it’s has been due 16 hours and still wet & stick, now I really regarded buy too late:-( did you suggest to use other oil to cover current oil or use white spirit to clean the dealing oil and then use another oil product? Really appreciated if you could point me out to right direction…

      • Hello Nancy,

        I am sorry to say but you can not use an oil over the top of a Varnish. The Oil is supposed to soak into the surface of the wood and seal from the inside, leaving the wood micro porous and flexible. The varnish creates a seal on the surface of the wood and will prevent the oil form being absorbed. To remove the oil you will need White Spirit as it is unlikely to dry or if it does it will flake off the varnish fairly quickly.

        The varnish should be a finishing product and you should not need anything else to go on top of it. I hope that helps and please feel free to get in touch if you need any further help. You can email me at if you need to.

        Kind regards Sam.

      • Hello Mark,

        I am sorry to hear that you are having problems, please could you email me with all of the details and some photos and we will happily take a look for you.

        Kind regards Sam.

    45. Hi ,

      Got new decking its Swedish
      Soft wood Green treated decking.

      What to keep it from graying and natural

      Should I preserver with barrettine premier universal treatment then osma oil extra?


    46. Have just cleaned my deck and put the first coat of ronseal decking oil on. To my horror it started to rain about an hour afterwards. Now some areas have a milky look. Will it dry ok or will I have to strip it and start all over again

      • Hello Ann,

        Try not to worry, I would wait for the weather to warm up and they may well disappear. Its water suspended in the Oil which should evaporate away when it warms up. Wait for this to happen before applying any more. If after a couple of days of warm weather the milky patches are still there then you may be looking at having to remove and start again, but I feel sure that that this will not be the case! The Oil needs at least 2 hour before it is rain proof, but preferably longer especially if you are expecting heavy rain – Sam.


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here