What Everyone Should Know About Finishing Oak


Welcome to part 2 of our series on wood types. This week I’ll be discussing Oak & oak wood treatments. If you haven’t already read part 1, feel free to go check it out here: All about Pine Wood.

A little history of Oak

Oak (or quercus as it is known in Latin) is a hardwood with some 400 known species. It has always been a popular wood in The UK, but in recent times it is even more widely used in construction and also as internal fixtures in clubs and gyms etc. For furniture construction, oak has become ever more the wood of choice, a trend expanding year on year since the year 2000 when China, India and Indonesia substantially increased their export markets. Pine has been the wood to suffer from oak’s popularity as it is more widely available in the Far East.

The flowers of many oak trees are known as catkins and they are produced by oaks when they reach their reproductive age which is typically aged 20. They are triggered by rising temperatures in spring. Ultimately it is the catkins of many oaks that turn into the acorns, so maybe that popular phrase… ‘mighty oaks from little acorns grow’ should be ‘mighty oaks from little catkins grow’ although it doesn’t quite have the same ring does it?

Acorn of the mighty oak tree

Treating Oak wood

With regards to finishing and treating oak, there are numerous possibilities but there are certain requirements that are asked for time and again… Often we are asked how external oak can be kept looking natural. Whilst the question is easy, the answer is not so straight forward. These are the necessary considerations: –

  • When water penetrates oak it reacts with the high tannin content within oak, resulting in ‘blackening’.
  • The Sun’s UV rays will turn the oak to a silvery hue over time.
  • Clear products are inevitably not completely clear so they tend to ‘bring out’ the natural colours of the oak, normally making it a bit darker and warmer.
  • The levels of rain, wind and sun will make a difference to how quickly the oak changes colour.
Oak turned grey / silver by UV rays & water damage
Oak Barrels traditionally used for Whisky and Beer

If the requirement is to keep the oak looking as natural as possible, whilst preventing blackening or silvering as much as possible, then the following is the best system we know of: –

Osmo 420 extra offers UV resistance and also contains biocide which is important for external timbers as it prevents the wood from becoming diseased with wet rot, dry rot and blue stone etc. The oil also repels water, thus preventing it from going black.

If the requirement is to protect the oak whilst keeping the silvery appearance then the following is the best:

Tung oil is one of the clearest oils on the market and doesn’t offer UV resistance.

If the exterior oak needs to be coloured then the following system is recommended:

If blackening on exterior oak needs removing then scrub with a fungicidal wash such as Barrettine Mould and Mildew C leaner is recommended. On the other hand, it may be the silvering that needs removing. If so, a scrub with Osmo Wood Reviver Gel (which contains oxalic acid, amongst other active ingredients).

One of the most common enquiries we get is how to keep internal oak looking natural. This is not just a case of simply applying ‘clear products’ as they bring out the natural colours of the wood, thus making it a little darker and more golden. A very good indication of how your oak will look once it has been finished with a ‘clear’ coat is to dampen an area by applying some water with a clean cloth or sponge. The look achieved when the wood is damp/wet is very close to how it will look once a clear varnish or a clear oil has been applied.

Some customers like the way oak colours when clear coatings are applied to it whilst others want it to be as close as possible to how it looks in its natural state. A more natural look can be achieved by using wood oils that have been specifically formulated to retain the natural appearance of interior Oak. These products include: –

Clear wax polish is the one exception to the above… If a clear wax polish is applied to bare oak (or just about any other wood for that matter) then the colour is kept very natural indeed, it’s just a question of whether a wax polish is going to be durable enough. Internal doors, for example, are considered, by most people, to be ideal for finishing with wax, whereas a floor will look nice once waxed but regular maintenance is required, so most people don’t opt for wax for this reason.

If the oak needs to be made darker then Osmo Polyx Oil Tints or Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Tints are ideal because they colour and protect the wood in the same application. It is always good to try and finish with a clear coat if possible because if the wood gets scratched it is the clear coat that scratches before the coloured coat and therefore the scratch is not as noticeable.

Oiling Consideration

If oak is being oiled it is a good idea to sand it with sandpaper that is no finer than 150 grit. The reason for this is that the pores of the wood are more open thus allowing the oil to sink into the wood better. Better absorption equals greater protection.

Interesting Oak Stats

  • Oak bark is rich in tannin and is used by tanners for tanning leather.
  • Acorns can be used for making flour or they can be roasted for making acorn coffee.
  • Tannin dissolves and escapes from the wood. Wine barrels are made from oak and it is the tannin that helps to give the wine its’ colour.
  • Sessile oaks of Europe and can reach heights of up to 40 metres.
  • Oak trees regularly live to be 500 years old, although 1,000 years old oaks are also known.
  • A mature oak tree can produce up to 50,000 acorns!

Need help finishing a project made with oak?

For more help and advice on how best to finish Oak contact our team of resident experts who are always on hand to help with project advice and product recommendations. Alternatively, see our FAQ page which covers many of our most commonly asked questions about working with oak.

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

Other great oak related blogs to consider

  • Oak Floor Maintenance – Top Tips for Finishing Oak

    1. I am restoring a garden bench. Cast iron ends have been media-blasted and painted. I have prepared oak slats/staves which have been sanded to 240 grit but can be ‘un-sanded’ to 120 if required! I want to retain the natural oak colour. I read your suggestion above but I don’t need a 5 litre clear wood preservative. What would you suggest I use that can be supplied in say 750ml? I will also use the Osmo uv oil as I love their products. Thanks, John

    2. Hi
      I have just had a brand new solid oak front door made. It obviously is in its raw state with no product yet applied. Can you tell me what I need to use to protect it? I have had new pvc oak windows fitted and would like the front door to blend with these.
      Many thanks

      • Hello Jess,

        Thank you for getting in touch. I always recommend a wood preservative first and we have a wide range of products to choose from. If you are looking for a clear natural finish then I would recommend a basecoat of Osmo WR Basecoat to give additional water protection which also protects from mould, mildew and rot. And then a top coat of Osmo UV Protection Oil Extra to protect the door from the bleaching effects of UV rays from the Sun.

        If you have a read up of these products and see if they are suitable for your needs. And if you have any further questions, I am here to help.

        All the Best Samantha.

    3. Hi Sam,

      Thanks for great information centre, tho I admit I couldn’t find that I needed after reading 50 or so posts, so figured I’d just ask. We have had fitted 5 beautiful oak fire rated doors. However I have 3 clumsy and boisterous children and I would like to know how make the doors child proof! Kids prams, dinosaurs and lego wars I’m afraid are going to damage the doors. Can you recommend anything treat the doors with please. Also we have oak tread stairs, what would recommend do these? All new wood. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks, your namesake! Sam

      • Hi Sam,

        I know that feeling, kids have a way of leaving fingerprints in the most unusual places. There are two options here and which one will depend on your needs. A varnish such as Manns Extra Tough Interior Varnish will give a tough surface seal to the wood that will last longer and be easy to clean. If the seal breaks however it is difficult to patch repair and would need sanding back and re varnishing.

        The alternative and still a very durable finish is Fiddes Hard Wax Oil or Osmo Door Oil (3060). These wood oils soak into the surface of the wood and leaves it looking and feeling very natural. They are also easy to clean and maintain with the key benefit that any marks, scratches or stains that may occur can be easily patch repaired.

        Both products have benefits and both will be suitable for interior doors and stairs. It’s worth watching some of our YouTube Video’s for product advice and application tips but feel free to come back to me if you have any further questions.

        Kind Regards Samantha.

    4. We have a piece of light oak furniture in the hall which has what I assume are water stains on the top and drawer fronts. I don’t know if it was oiled or waxed when we bought it. Is there any way of removing or covering the stains? I thought perhaps waxing would make the piece of furniture slightly darker and therefore make the stains less noticeable? Or perhaps oil would be better?

      • Hello Linda,

        There are a couple of tests that you can carry out to help determine what is currently on there. The first is to put a small drop of oil, somewhere inconspicuous and leave it for 30 mins to an hour. If it remains unmoved then you are likely to have a varnish on the wood. If it moves or soaks in then you are likely to have an oil on it. You can also scrape a nail on the surface somewhere inconspicuous and see if any product comes away or it scratches easily this will indicate that you may have a wax on there.

        Once you have established this I can give you further advice on how to move forward with your project. If its easier you can email me at wood@finishes.direct, reminding me of this post and any photos you may wish to add along with your test results. And I will be happy to help you further.

        All the Best Samantha.

    5. Hi!

      I have bought an extendable solid oak table (sits 10, but extends at both ends).

      It is now in our conservatory with has a floor-heating system.

      My questions:

      1] Oil to use on oak wood –

      1.1 I have initially used Wood Silk with Bees Wax and purest oils (additionally, the product claims to be “the original non-silicone”. Should I continue using this?

      1.2 If treating oak wood for protection, how often should it be done (no matter what product one uses)?

      2] Table leaf extensions

      2.1 Would table leaf extensions benefit from them being out (extended) all the time as I heard that wood should be allowed to “breathe”?; also so that the leaf extensions will ‘age’ and develop the same colour with the main table top?

      3] Use of table leg pads

      1] As I have mentioned earlier, the dining table stands in our floor-heated conservatory.
      Is it necessary that I place table leg pads to protect the table legs from the floor heating? If so, where can I buy them? The size of the table leg each is 8-1/2 cms x 8-1/2 cms.

      Our conservatory is north-facing, so there is no worry about the natural sun hitting the it all day (as I also draw the blinds to protect the table in the morning when the sun) for added protection from the heat.

      • Hello Jo,

        Thank you for your Enquiry, and to address the first question, a hard wax oil such as Fiddes Hard Wax Oil is going to be a great option for your dining room table. And with a table that big I suspect you have a fair few dinner parties or gatherings and so protecting the wood from stains will be vital. The Hard Wax Oil is moisture repellent and durable, and should any stains or marks occur it is super easy to clean and patch repair. Top up coats will depend on how regularly the table is used, but I would not expect you to need to apply further coats for around 2-3 years.

        The Wood Silk Non Silicone Furniture Polish with Beeswax, is not a product that I am familiar with, however I would not expect it to give as much durability as the Hard Wax Oil, rather a more aesthetic finish, and it may well prevent the oil from penetrating the wood. So removing all the polish before you apply any oil will be necessary. This can be done with Woodleys Wax and Polish Remover and Woodleys Finishing Pads.

        You have stated, however, that the conservatory is north facing and has limited exposure so I would not expect fading to be a considerable issue for you. However, it would be fair to say that any areas more exposed to the sunlight will fade quicker than the more hidden areas. To maintain an even look to the wood it will be best to have all wood exposed equally and maybe turn the table every so often if possible.

        And finally in regards to pads for the table, I would not expect the heat to be an issue with the table legs, if oiled this will help to prevent drying out. The pads may help prevent possible scratches occurring during movement of the table and so although they will give some benefit may not be necessary. It is worth checking with the company who installed the under floor heating to see if they have any recommendations.

        I hope that help and covers your questions, if there is anything further that I can help with please do let me know. Always try a test area first.

        Kind regards Samantha

    6. Hi, I’m thinking about using some 4″ slabs of green oak I’ve found as kitchen work surfaces, but wonder how to finish them to withstand water/detergents in such conditions, bearing in mind green oak will need to shrink? I’d like quite a simple, rustic/dark finish to go in a simple Welsh cottage. Would appreciate your advice. Best wishes, Mark

      • Hello Mark,

        We tend not to make recommendations for Green Oak because of the high moisture and tannin content it usually has. Sealing it with a varnish will trap the moisture in the wood causing problems long term. An oil may not penetrate properly due to the high moisture content meaning that the wood will only have limited protection against marks and stains.

        We nearly always recommend no treatment until the wood has dried to a more reasonable percentage such as 15 – 18 % and then you can consider products like Holzol Worktop Oil or if a tinted or coloured finish is preferred, Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Tints or Osmo Polyx Oil Tints to give the protection you require.

        These wood oils go a long way and must be applied very thinly to allow absorption.

        I hope that helps and if you have any further questions I am happy to help.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    7. Hi Nick I am doing up a barn conversion and have oak external front door along with a farrow and ball blue windows.
      I want the door to look as natural as poss and remain light.we done a test on Osmo uv natural the one with a white hint going through it and i thought i liked it so off we went and painted the door and the door frames and foot sills etc.
      I hate it its made the wood go to red.it hasn’t completely dried yet its been on 4 days already tho so cant see the colour changing loads it would have to change drastically to make me like it.
      What can i do?do i sand it all off and put Osmo raw on it which is for in door but will give me the look?if i keep on top of it will it not silver?

      • Hello Ceri,

        If the product is not dry after 4 days this would indicate over application. The Oil is designed to soak into the surface of the wood and so requires two very thin coats. Any that does not absorb, sits on the surface of the wood and will have a very slow drying time, it will also not be as effective in its protection. I would recommend removing the excess oil by wiping down with a good quality white spirit such as Barrettine White Spirit.

        The UV protection Oil Extra in Natural is designed to leave the wood looking as natural as possible, rather than changing the colour. It will bring out any natural tones in the wood and this may be why it has gone a little red in colour. The Interior product, Osmo Polyx Oil Raw is designed to give the same effect as the oil you have already used but for interior wood. I would not recommend it for exterior use.

        If you wipe down with a cloth dampened with white spirit, see how it looks, you might find the finish more to your liking. Do this on a small test area first before doing the whole area. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.

        Kind Regards Samantha.

    8. Hi

      We’ve inherited an old trunk that I believe is oak and in the region of a hundred years old. It has a very dark brown stain/finish. We want to put it under permanent glass cover outside to store cushions/blankets. Is there a product you would recommend that doesn’t require us removing/sanding down the existing finish but would protect from condensation, mould etc?

      Thanks so much,


      • Hello Wendy,

        Its difficult to recommend a product to go on top of the existing one without knowing what the existing treatment is. If you are able to tell me what is currently on there, and oil or varnish ? Then hopefully I will be able to advice you further. You can email me at wood@finishes.direct

        There is also a small test that you can do, and that is to put one small drop of oil on the surface of the wood and leave for about 1 hour. It is remains unmoved then you have a seal such as varnish on there. If it moves or soaks in then you may have an oil or the previous treatment has worn away. Feel free to sent me some photos if you think that may help.

        Kind regards Sam.

    9. Hi
      What’s the best finish on an oak worktop that I’ve already stained? I don’t want it to look any darker but want it protected.

    10. Hi Nick
      I stained my oak worktop with Manns oak stain. I want to protect it now without darkening the colour. Can I use the Osmo Polyxx oil raw over this stain?
      Many thanks

      • Hello Warren,

        Thank you for your inquiry. As it is a darker stain you have applied I would not recommend using Osmo Polyx Oil Raw (3044) as it contains a small amount of white pigment, when applied to dark or medium tones the white gets highlighted and can leave a milky effect on the surface. The standard Clear Osmo Polyx Oil is a better option for a top coat product, it may darken and enhance the colour very slightly but this is usually preferred.

        We always recommend doing a small test area with both the stain and top coat before starting any project to ensure that the final finish and colour is suitable.

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

        All the Best Sam.

    11. Hi, we produce presentation pieces using various woods. We are have serious problems when the wood chosen is European oak and the finish required is wax; we use a good quality bees wax based polish. We also have to attach a polished brass plates to the finished piece and finding that the brass is tarnishing exceptionally quickly within the final packaging, sometimes within a matter of hours. We have tried, sealing the brass plate with varnish, but that detracts from the polished surface. We’ve tried using neutral tissue paper, absorbent packing foam, silica gel sachets and masking the brass plate. Nothing seems to work. The only option we have left is to seal the wood and then wax over. What type of sealer would you recommend?

      • Hello Derek,

        I am sorry to say that I do not know the answer to your dilemma. The problem seems to be with a reaction between the brass and the finishing products. I would recommend trying a Forum as often people will know about things like this, or even approaching another trophy making company to see how they treat their wood and if they have any similar problems. Sorry that I cannot be of more help.

        Kind Regards Sam.

    12. Hi, I have an extension which consists of anoak frame with patio doors and windows. The external side of the frame (including patio doors) has black staining and also some areas of the frame have faded in colour (grey look) giving a very patchy look. The exterior has previously been coated in tung oil. How would you recommend restoring the exterior to its previous oak look. Thanks.

      • Hello Andy,

        The first products I would recommend would be the Mould and Mildew Cleaner from Barrettine and the Osmo Wood Reviver Power Gel. These two products will get rid of any surface mould and algae and with a bit of elbow grease can restore the natural colour of the wood.

        Once the wood is clean and colour restored it’s time to protect it with a good quality, clear wood preserver to help prevent mould, mildew and rot. Then apply top coat of the Osmo Uv Protection Oil Extra to give water repellency and UV protection. Regular top ups of the oil will help to maintain the wood and prevent the silvering caused by sunlight. Have a read up on these products and let me know if there is anything further that I can help with.

        Kind regards Sam.

    13. Thank you Sam. Have decided to try the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil , as looks easier to apply & also I like the ‘easier to maintain’ aspect
      Kind Regards

    14. Hello Sam,

      As a small council in Cornwall, we are looking to implement a ‘green’ policy for the growing number of public seats around the parish.

      To this end we are considering standardizing on benches made locally with locally sourced oak for new purchases, with minimal on-going maintenance. We would like these to have an expected life-span of 10 to 15+ years, but are in two minds whether to go with untreated oak, or oiled.

      N.B. We have a good number of donors approaching us every year wanting to sponsor memorial benches, so we would expect to replace old benches as soon as the maintenance costs become unreasonable.

      Your advice would be appreciated.

      Best wishes, Alan

      P.S. We will also be proposing colourful recycled plastic ‘wood’ benches too (expected life-span 30 to 50+ years). Sorry.

      • Hello Alan,

        For ease of maintenance and the environmental factor, I would recommend the Osmo Ranges. These are made from natural oils and Osmo are ranked one of the highest for producing and packaging environmentally friendly products. For a clear protective finish there is the Osmo UV Protection Oil Extra very thin application is required and so a little goes a long way. It is easy to repair and maintain over time. Simply ensure the surface is clean and dry and then re coat with another thin application of oil.

        Should you wish to add some colour Osmo Natural Oil Woodstain is a great option and is very similar to the product above. If there is anything further you would like to know or anything that I can help with please do not hesitate to get in touch or you can email me at wood@finishes.direct

        Kind Regards Sam.

    15. Hi Sam, we have a finished oak front door. It has black spores on it and has faded. How would I treat this to bring it back?

      Many thanks

      • Hello Shauna,

        Barrettine Mould and Mildew Cleaner would be ideal for removing black spots and stains from the surface. Are you able to tell me what is currently on the door and if you are looking to retreat it as it is?

        If you have a read up on the recommended product and let me know if you have any questions and I will be happy to help.

        Kind regards Sam.

    16. Hello could I have some product advice please.

      Exterior- I have just had a green oak timber frame garage built with fresh larch cladding and exposed soft wood rafter feet. Also, a green and dried oak porch with a sheltered solid oak door. The porch is on the damper north side of the house. I was advised to either leave it all untreated to age over time or apply light creosote to keep it all an even colour. 

      I would like it all to remain one even colour and I’m concerned the wood may blacken with the damp. Can I seal new damp fresh oak?

      Interior- How should i best protect the inside of the front door, porch frame, dried oak window boards, oak veneer internal doors and green oak beams? I would like to keep it all the same light/medium colour and limit the shrinkage and maintenance cycle. I’d rather not use a varnish that will need to be stripped off eventually.

      Thank you for your help.

      Ashley Green


      • Hello Ashley,

        For your exterior project I would recommend the use of a good quality wood preservative to protect from mould, algae, mildew and rot. And then an exterior wood oil to give water repellency. Osmo WR Base Coat is a great preservative to use under Osmo UV Protection Oil Extra which will prevent water penetration and protect the wood from UV damage.

        These wood oil products will darken the wood slightly to give what we call the ‘damp look’. Exterior wood oils are easy to maintain as they simply need a quick clean and a top-up with a fresh application of oil as and when required, usually around 2 years dependent on weathering. Always do a test area before starting any project.

        For the interior project, I would recommend Osmo Polyx Oil. It is a durable, hard wearing finish that will give a close if not matching finish to the exterior treatment.

        Both these oils soak into the surface of the wood allowing it to flex and move naturally. Both require very thin application and are easy to repair and maintain. If you have a read up on the products and let me know if you have any further questions, I will be happy to help.

        Kind Regards Sam.

    17. Hi Sam

      Have recently had a new oak internal staircase fitted, like it so much that have decided not to carpet. I want to leave it looking natural and one of the fitters said to apply two coats of good lacquer but the other said varnish, What would you recommend,please
      Thanks for any advice

      • Hello Angela,

        Varnish and Lacquer are very similar in finish, they are both surface sealers creating a plastic like film on the surface of the wood. They are durable and hard wearing and I would recommend the Manns Extra Tough Floor Varnish as a good option. It will darken the wood slightly and I would always recommend a test area first, to ensure that you are going to like the finish.

        For a more natural look and feel to the wood I can recommend Fiddes Hard Wax Oil which is a product that soaks into the surface of the wood. It is hard wearing although not as much as varnish, but is easier to maintain and repair over time.

        If you have a look at the products that I have recommended and let me know if you have any further questions.

        Kind regards Sam.

    18. Hi Sam, I have an old oak secretary desk that was sanded, washed then oil with coconut oil. Unfortunately it was blackened more and more. Maybe 2 months since it was oiled. Will I need to bleach this? Thanks much, Alice

      • Hello Alice,

        Coconut Oil is a non curing Oil, it will not dry hard and so over time can start to go off or react to the air and go black. You should try wiping over with White Spirit to remove the oil. If this doesn’t remove it all then you will need to sand back what is left. This can be tested by wiping the wood with a slightly damp (not wet) cloth. Where the wood darkens due to the moisture penetrating the surface its safe to say the oil has been removed. If however the water does not darken the wood, it means that oil is till present and will require scrubbing with white spirit again and sanding.

        Once you are back to bare wood I would recommend something like a traditional Tung Oil or Danish Oil that will give better protection to the wood and will not go black. For better durability and longer maintenance periods, consider a hard wax oil such as Fiddes Hardwax Oil or Osmo Polyx Oil. I hope that helps and if you have any further questions please do let me know.

        Kind regards Sam.

    19. Hi Sam.
      Great site and full of useful stuff !

      I have had a new oak door (barn door style) fitted to back door and it needs a few joints filled before treating with Danish oil. Please can you tell me which of your products is best for filling in terms of colour matching and will take Danish oil
      Thanks in advance.

      • Hello Tony,

        Thank you!!

        If it is an interior area that you are treating then you could have a look at the Fiddes Wood Filler gel which requires a 50/50 mix with wood dust, preferably sanded from the same wood to be filled. Alternatively, we sell a wide range of interior and exterior wood fillers which are available in single part and two pack formulations and in a range of colours. Its worth remembering that any finish applied over the filler is likely to change the colour to some degree.

        Always do a test area first. And if you have any further questions please do let me know.

        Kindest regards Sam.

    20. Hi Sam, This is a great website, with loads of really useful information! Our farmhouse has 22 oak window frames that were installed circa 25 years ago. Most of them were treated from new with woodstain (Sikkens HLS and Cetol Filter 7, in light oak), and have been retreated sporadically a few times since, so they are now pretty dark in colour. (With hindsight, the decision to stain them was probably a mistake, as the oak has weathered quite badly, especially on the sills, so any new topcoat tends to crack and peel quite quickly, but I guess we’ll just have to live with that). However, four of the frames were never stained – they were just treated with wood preservative and left to weather naturally. They are now badly weathered – very silvered, with deep fissures along the grain, and some rot in the joints underneath the casements. I’m trying to resurrect them by sanding them down (although the cracks are much too deep to remove altogether) and filling the rotten bits. I had intended to go down the Sikkens route again, but I wonder whether the Osmo UV Protection treatment might be a better bet? Does it work over two-pack filler? And if I were to use, say, 3 coats of 425, how much would this darken the oak? (It would be nice to match the colour of the other windows). Would it make more sense to use an oil-based woodstain first? Sorry for such a long post! Many thanks, Gareth

      • Hello Gareth,

        The Sadolin is a more durable finish that will protect for longer, but as you have experienced, it may crack, peel and flake over time if the substrate is unstable or the finish not maintained regularly enough. At this stage the only option is to remove all of the product, sand the wood smooth to sound, stable wood and fill any holes or splits in order to effectively re-coat the surface. The Osmo UV Protection Oil Extra is a good option and far easier to maintain over time. The oil penetrates in to the surface of the wood so will not peel and flake. To maintain the surface, simply clean and re apply a fresh maintenance coat as and when required, usually every 2 years or so depending on weathering and the exposure the property has to the elements.

        If the window sills are not sloped to allow water run off, any finish is going deteriorate quicker than a finish on a sloped window sill. For surfaces that are prone to standing water, damage is inevitable without continual care. For the colour, a test area is recommended as the natural colour of the wood will have an effect on the overall colour of the finish. Osmo Oils are available in sample sizes for testing product suitability and colour. For areas that require filling, take a look at these wood fillers taking care to ensure that you pick one that is suitable for exterior use. Two part fillers provide the best strength and durability, can be sanded smooth, nailed and screwed if required. I hope this helps and feel free to let me know if you have any further questions.

        Kind regards Sam.

    21. Hi,

      I have bunk beds made from oak from the look of the picture above it looks like my beds are finished oak. My carpets got wet and the legs of the bed have soaked up some water because the legs are looking black and has green mould on it. Is my bed ruined now and would cleaning it with vinegar be enough? Thanks for your input.

      • Hello Mannie,

        Water ingress will often cause mould to develop and we have a really good cleaner that will help. Barrettine Mould and Mildew Cleaner is an effective cleaner that will remove mould, algae and kill the spores within the wood. Once treated allow the wood to dry out before resealing. If the mould has stained the wood you may find that the effected areas may require a light sanding and then retreat the legs with whatever is currently on the rest of the wood i.e a wood oil or varnish. Feel free to email me with some photos and further advice at wood@finishes.direct

        Kind regards Sam.

    22. Hi
      We have just purchased a golden oak Edwardian dining table, it had a few blemishes and an uneven colour.We have sanded it back to the original ‘bare wood’state ,but are now a little unsure how to finish it.My thoughts on reading your blog post are a stain to give it back its golden colour and then a wax/oil of some sort to seal it and give a sheen to the top.But I am slightly bewilderd by the choice. Any advice would be great, on the best products to use to ensure the table is well sealed and a good colour. Many thanks

      • Hello Ellen,

        You could have a look at the Fiddes Hardwax Oil Tints which will colour and protect the wood. It is easy to maintain and to patch repair should the need arise.

        If there is not a colour in that range that you like, you could have a look at the Manns Classic Oak Wood Stain to give the colour and a top coat of Fiddes Hard Wax Oil. Test areas are the key to getting the right finish and all the recommended products are available in sample sizes. If you have any further questions, please do let me know.

        Kind regards Sam.

    23. Hi,

      I need help to fix a scratch on my distressed oak white washed dining table which is finished in a clear non shiny lacquer. when I scratched it I wiped a furniture oil on it which was made the scratch darker and more red. How can I fix this so it doesn’t compromise the look of the table but not draw my eye to it.

      Thank you!!!!

      • Hello Rebecca,

        Are you able to send me a photo of the scratch and a larger area of the table without artificial light shining on it to our email address which is wood@finishes.direct and I will be happy to take a look and see if there is anything that I can suggest.

        Kind regards Sam.

    24. Advice please ! I have an oak garden bench,20 years old,in my garden. I think it is time to clean and oil,and remove the green algae from underneath the slats. I am tempted to use my new pressure washer on the special”wood cleaning “programme (very low pressure using the Karcher wood cleaning solution).Is this advisable ?Which oil should I use when the bench is completely dry ?Thank youfor your help.

      • Hi Vivienne,

        Yes we often recommend the use of a pressure washer for cleaning wood, just take care not to hold too close to the surface of the wood and as this can damage or splinter it. Once clean and dry you could have a look at a good quality clear wood preservative treatment and then Barrettine Garden Furniture Oil to protect.

        If you find areas affected by mould and mildew, use Barrettine Mould and Mildew Cleaner to clean the wood and kill off the mould spores prior to using the wood preservative. I hope that help and if you have any other questions please do not hesitate to let me know. And we always like to see before and after photos which you can send to wood@finishes.direct

        All the Best Sam.

    25. Hi, bought a house with oak window frames and the sun has gone grey. Would like to get it back to the natural colour and treat it with the osmo 420 oil but sanding it back still leaves some of the black in it. Is there anything we can treat with so the black disappears or has it gone to deep into the wood. Do we need to use heavy grid sand paper.
      Some of the other windows have still a bit of the natural colour on it. Do I need to sand it down or can I treat it with some chemical to get the oil off and get back to the natural wood as there are some whitish/greyish spots on the frame that seem not to take on the oil and therefore dont turn into the natural colour. Apologies for the long story!!

      • Hello Brigit,

        Thank you for your inquiry, unfortunately it is likely that more sanding is the answer to getting the black off. If it is fairly deep then a mould and mildew cleaner is unlikely to remove the stain. I would be happy to take a look at some photos and advice you further if you would like to send them into wood@finishes.direct Scrubbing with some White Spirit may be the answer to removing any oil, but again sanding is likely to be the best option. Do let me know if you have any further questions.

        All the Best Sam.

    26. Hi I have an oak duckboard for my shower area and wondering what the best thing to water proof the oak would be don’t want to darken the oak just what the look when it’s wet?

      • Hi Mike,

        Any wooden fixture or fitting in a high moisture area such as a shower area is going to need regular maintenance. I believe that the best treatment for ease of maintenance would be a Hard Wax Oil such as Fiddes Hard Wax Oil or Osmo Polyx Oil. Both of these products will give the wood a slightly darker, damp like appearance as well as enhancing the natural colour and grain of the timber.

        Hard wax oils are water resistant and very easy to apply and maintain. When you notice that the wood is starting to lose its water resistance, simply apply a fresh coat of oil and allow to fully dry. Both of these products are also available in a raw or natural formulation which will keep the wood looking natural (No darkening or damp like appearance).

    27. Hello,

      I have oak stairs (interior) that are oil-based stained. I would like to seal…again. Used a water-based polyurethane but it since has worn off. What kind of varnish or what do you recommened. Also I would like something durable since I have children.

      Thank you,


      • Hello Tyne,

        My apologies for the delay in getting back to you. If you are able to email me directly at wood@finishes.direct and let me know exactly what product is on the stairs currently and hopefully I can advice you from there.

        Kind regards Sam.

    28. Hullo! We are buying a house with a lot of oak panelling all dating from around 1870 and this is in really good condition but a bit dark as it has been stained. We would like it to be lighter as it is oppressive. Can we do anything? There is big room and a little one and up the stairs so could be serious work. At least it all must be cleaned and perhaps polished. Have you any thoughts please? J & J

      • Hello Patrick,

        Lightening dark wood can be difficult, and other than adding an Opaque finish such as Osmo Country Colour which is and Oil that soaks into the surface of the wood and creates a paint like finish, but this would need top be applied to bare wood. You may find that sanding back reveals a lighter wood but short of Bleaching which is not my field of expertise I’m afraid finishing with an opaque is the best option. I am sorry I could not be of more help but feel free to let me know if you have any further questions or email me direct at wood@finishes.direct with some photos and I will see if I can offer any further advice.

        All the Best Sam.

      • Hello Anne,

        You could try scrubbing with some White Spirit and a finishing pad and if that does not work you will need to sand it back. I hope that helps and if you have any other questions please do let me know.

        Kind regards Sam.

    29. Hello,

      I’m wondering if you can help me?? We’ve just had a kitchen fitted and upon reccomendation used Colron refined Danish oil in ‘natural’ to protect it. However, the wood is now much too ‘orange’ for me and I’m worried that short of sanding down the whole of the two work tops there’s nothing I can do!! … Do you have any advice for this situation, could I perhaps do a final coat with something with a ‘white’ colour in it as you mention above??? …. Any help at all would be greatly appreciated as you seem very much to know what you are talking about!

      Many many thanks in advance,

      • Hello Sarah,

        Thank you for your inquiry, it is a common question and often the application of a clear product, varnish or oil, will bring out the natural tones of the wood which in your case is the orange but it can also be green. It can be difficult to avoid and using a product that has some white is not always the solution as this can highlight the problem even more. But it is worth trying a test area with a sample sachet of Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural to see if this works.

        A small test in an inconspicuous area will show if the oil will improve or highlight the problem. You could also look at trying Morrells Tung Oil. This wood oil is food safe and will change the colour less than Danish Oil. I am sorry that I can not give you a more definitive answer but the natural colour of the wood can only be changed by adding another colour. If you have any other questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.

        Kind regards Sam.

    30. Hi,

      Looking for some advice on how to prepare and finish a slightly unique oak piece. We have a good size 4′ x 2′ slice of oak that we are planning to use as something for our guests to sign at our wedding which we can then hang on the wall and maybe even incorporate it into a piece of furniture in the future. The plan is to let people sign the oak with a permanent marker, however I would like advice if possible on what to use to seal/prepare the oak with so a good surface exists for signing on then what would be the best way to seal over this again to create a finish that will retain the signatures. Looking to achieve a relatively natural finish but not too worried about bringing out a warmer finish.

      Kind Regards.


      • Hello Jon,

        My apologies for the delay in getting back to you, I was looking into what would be the best product and application method for you to use. I believe that for a permanent marker pen you would be best off sealing with a water based varnish such as Manns Extra Tough Interior Varnish if you have access to a spray machine for application. I think Spray application will be the best option to avoid pulling the pen out but I would strongly recommend running a test first to see if the varnish makes the pen bleed or smudge.

        If you are not able to get your hands on a sprayer then you could have a look at the Morrells Nitrocellulose Lacquer Spray, again I would strongly recommend running a test first.

        I would be interested to see the end result, its a great idea !!

        All the Best Sam.

    31. Hello, we have just purchased some brand new untreated oak garden furniture. Is there any exterior protection matt non-yellowing varnish that you could recommend for use please, that will leave the oak looking a light colour and new .

      Many thanks

      • Hello David,

        You could have a look at the Osmo UV Protection Oil Extra Natural (429). This is an Oil rather than a varnish that will soak into the surface of the wood and leave it Microporous, it will not peel and flake over time and is easy to maintain. The natural has a minute amount of white pigment in it to counteract the darkening effect that you get with most clear oils or varnishes, leaving the wood looking as natural as possible.

        Test areas are always recommended to ensure that you are going to achieve the look that you want and regular maintenance will help prevent silvering over time.

        Please let me know if you have any further questions.

        Kind Regards Sam.

    32. Hello, What an informative site. I am presently building an Oak fireplace using some weathered French Oak that had previously be used as benches. It has come up quite well after sanding. I would like to keep the finish as natural as possible whilst at the same time protecting and preserving the wood. What would you suggest to achieve this finish and importantly be fireproof and resistant to heat.

      Thank you


      • Good Afternoon Jim,

        Thank you for your inquiry, you could have a look at the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural this is a protective, hard wearing oil that will not darken the wood like many other clear products do. This is because it has a minute amount of white pigment it.

        This product is not guaranteed ‘fireproof’ but is suitable for use on fire surrounds with many of our customers using it in this situation. Test areas are always recommended to ensure that you are getting the finish that you require. I hope that helps and if you have any other questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.

        Kind Regards Ben

    33. Hi

      We have a fairly new solid oak staircase that is inside but leads up to an external garden door that is often left open so rain can sometimes enter. When originally constructed the staircase was varnished (presumably with an interior varnish) which has blistered and let the rain stain the timber. We have sanded back and it looks good but wonder how to protect it (we want to keep the natural finish – not let it fade to silver). Finish needs to be resilient (it is a well-used staircase) but protect from occasional rain.

      What would you recommend?

      • Hello Nigel,

        Thank you for you inquiry, you could have a look at applying an oil product to your stairs. This will leave the floor looking natural, and offer a good level of water repellency to the wood. It will not water proof the wood however, there is no product that will do that, but it is also easy to patch repair should any stains or marks occur.

        I would recommend a clear Decking oil such as Holzol Decking Oil is a great product to look at as it is suitable for interior use also. Regular maintenance coats will help to keep water repellency good and it has some UV filters in it also. Do let me know if you have any other questions.

        Kind regards Sam.

    34. I love all the advice …..
      But first what can I do to get a horrible coloured gloopy wood stain off my garden furniture that some fool has slathered on it!
      Is there a wonder product out there,or a tried and tested method available, to add to elbow grease?!
      Thank you.

      • Hello Tracey,

        Without knowing exactly what the product applied is, it would be difficult for me to advise further but if you can find out what it is and tell me a little more about the wood and finish that you would like to achieve then you can email me directly at wood@finishes.direct

        Kind Regards Sam.

    35. Hi, I have a reclaimed oak farm table that was a gift, made for me by a cabinet maker that my husband does business with. The table is beautiful, however they sprayed it in their shop with some kind of coloured varnish that i absolutely hate. I was dreaming of a much more natural finish that would age well and offer protection from spills yet still allow the wood to remain more natural looking and patina over the years. I think I am looking for some kind of oil product. I have a couple concerns, first how is the best way to remove the coating that is on the table now, I am worried that if I sand the finish off that I will destroy the reclaimed look of the wood, so maybe a chemical stripper would be the best? If I use a chemical stripper do I need to use a wood conditioner after? Secondly, can I stain the wood before using an oil, and what kind of maintenance will I need to keep the wood aging beautifully? Thank you for your time and help.

      • Hello Jennifer,

        Thank you for your inquiry, we have a great Sample Pack of Peelaway, an effective varnish and paint stripper from Barrettine. It’s a poultice based system that is applied like a paste then left to dissolve the paint or varnish. Always do some test areas first to judge the required thickness and time required for the poultice stripper to work and to ensure no adverse reaction. I would think that the Peelaway 7 would be suitable.

        Once you are back to bare wood you could look at a tinted wood oil such as Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Tints that will colour and protect in one treatment. If there is not a suitable colour in that range then you could consider a Manns Classic Oak Stain to colour and then a clear oil such as Fiddes Hard Wax Oil

        Test areas will be vital in helping to achieve your desired colour. I hope that helps and if you have any other questions please feel free to get back in touch.

        Kind Regards Sam.

    36. Hi Sam, I am glad finding your blog. We moved in a new house that has a solid oak front door. It was oil treated when it was installed 7 years ago but hasn’t been properly maintained. It has a lot black spots over it and the bottom of the door is in a silver colour. It was swell in winter time. I would like to ask for your advice on how to redcoat the door to make it water tight again. I am not sure how to remove the black spots and remove the silver coloured patch. Overall the door has a light golden colour but I would not mind if it turns a darker colour after treatment. Many thanks

      • Hello Lily,

        Apologies for the delay in getting back to you. I would firstly recommend treatment with Barrettine Mould and Mildew Cleaner to clean away the black marks which are likely to be mould as a result of moisture ingress. Once this is done you can use a restorer product to bring the grey areas back to an original state Osmo Wood Reviver Gel (6609) is a good option and just requires a bit of elbow grease.

        Once the door is clean and dry it’s ready for a clear wood preservative treatment. This will protect the door from Mould, algae, mildew and rot. Although the wood preservative will be touch dry in just a couple of hours, it should be allowed to fully dry for 24 to 48 hrs before applying a clear exterior wood oil such as Osmo UV Protection Oil Extra. This combination of products will give a good level of water repellency and UV protection whilst leaving the wood micro porous.

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

        All the Best Sam.

    37. Hello,
      We have bought an apartment in London where all the skirting boards and door surrounds are of white oak. These fittings are untreated and have been in place since the 2003.
      We believe the wood needs some treatment but wish to retain as much of the natural look as possible.
      Is there a recommended product and does the fact that the fittings are over 10 years old have any bearing on what to use or how many coats may be applied.
      Many thanks

      • Hello Hugh,

        For a product that protects but leaves the wood looking as natural as possible you could have a look at the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural. It a hard wearing and durable oil that requires 2 thin coats for application. Use a natural bristle brush for application. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to get back in touch.

        All the Best Ben.

    38. Hi

      I am thinking of making some quirky chunks of furniture/door stops/small coffee table etc out of big squares and lengths of green sawn and planed oak. I guess it will slowly dry out in the house and crack etc (which is fine) but will the timber weep onto the flooring or anything else? Or will it just happily sit there and just slowly dry out?

      Many thanks for any input


      • Hello John,

        Freshly cut green oak will naturally leach out tannin’s and how long this can go on for is anyone guess as each piece of oak is different. I would avoid having it in contact with your flooring as the tannin’s are likely to stain. I would like to say more but this is not really my field of expertise I’m afraid.

        All the Best Sam.

    39. Hello,
      We have put oak shelves in our bathrooms. In order to keep a pale and natural finish we were advised to apply several layers of Satin Oil. They look ok but are susceptible to water marks. What can we do to fully protect the surface from water damage but not end up with either darker or very glossy wood? Thank you for your help.

      • Hello Lucy,

        Can you give me a little more information about the Oil that you have used and the application process. Often if the Oil is applied too liberally it has not soaked into the surface of the wood as it should have done, it may not be doing its job properly.

        It is also worth noting that although most oils are water repellent, standing water over long periods will soak in and mark the wood. Patch repair is relatively easy however and this is one of the key benefits to using oils. You can simply sand back the marked areas and re oil. The oil will blend with existing oil. If you have any questions or would like to discuss further, please feel free to contact us of email to wood@finishes.direct and speak to one of our advisers.

        Kind regards Sam.

    40. thanks sam .I have wiped with white spirit but nothing happens no mark on rag its just as if it has cleaned the panel of dust.

    41. sam I have purchased some parquet floor panels. I want to darken the colour but they have had a coat of uv oil on them. Could I treat the panels with something as I want to stain them and apply a junkers product HP performance top coat laquer as there will be a loot of traffic as they are going in front of my bar. I have heard a wipe down with white spirit will do before I stain the panels . IS THIS PROCEDURE OK. Thank you Dayne.

      • Hello Dayne,

        The key here is to make sure that you get all of the oil out of the surface of the wood. You can wipe with White Spirit and this should get all or most off but a light sanding is recommended to ensure that all of the oils is out. Once done go over the floor with a damp (not wet) cloth and if there are areas that repel the water (doesn’t darken the wood) and leaves water beaded on the surface, scrub those areas again with White Spirit and lightly sand until the water penetrates.

        Once you are back to bare wood, make sure that you carry out a test area with the stain and varnish to ensure that you are going to achieve the look that you want. The Junkers HP Commercial Lacquer is a tough and durable product to go for. And the good thing about our Manns Classic Oak Stain is that you can add more coats until you get the required depth of colour or you can lighten by adding water. Please let me know if you have an more questions.

        Kind regards Sam.

    42. Dear Sam, We have put up a large European Oak Glulam frame with European Oak windows. We would like this to appear untreated and to weather gradually. We specified two coats of Barretine Premier Wood Preservative with two coats of clear Log Cabin Treatment. However the Contractor has just applied the two coats of Preservative and wants to leave it. Do you foresee any problems with this? Could you advise on maintenance (i.e. does the preservative need to be re-applied in the future)? Many thanks indeed. Tom

      • Hello Tom,

        Many people do just use Barrettine Premier Wood Preserver as a stand alone product, but we recommend applying Barrettine Log Cabin Treatment or other suitable exterior wood oil over the top. This will provide better protection for the wood preservative and a better level of water repellency. The oil will feed and nourish the timber and will help to prevent the wood from cracking, splitting and warping over time.

        Exterior wood oils soak into the wood to replace the natural oils produced by the tree when alive. As they penetrate into the surface of the wood rather than forming a film or layer on the surface, they do not crack, peel or flake. Maintaining a wood oil is easy as it just requires a fresh coat as and when needed, usually every couple of years dependent on the location of the structure and weathering. If you keep the oil well topped up then the preservative will be protected for around 6-8 years. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any further questions.

    43. Hello,

      We have recently moved to a house with a Oak porch and a Oak structure at the back of the house like a conservatory I guess best way to explain it. I was wondering if you could please advise us the best way to treat it? The porch looks like fairly new maybe a year old and the back conservatory a few years old gone a bit black on the bottom and silvery colour. I am assuming we need to oil the Oak to protect it? Your advise greatly appreciated. Thank you Jazz

      • Hello Jazz,

        The first thing to ask is if the wood currently has any treatment on it already as this can effect what you choose to apply to it now. If you are applying to bare wood then the first thing to recommend is a wood preservative treatment this will protect from Mould, mildew and rot and then if you are looking to keep the wood natural and the colour unchanged then a top coat of Osmo UV Protection Oil Extra is a great option.

        We do tend to recommend for a better level of UV protection and to avoid the silvering effect that you apply some colour to the wood. The darker the colour the better the UV Protection and so Osmo Natural Oil Woodstain is a good product to consider.

        I have recommended oils as these will soak into the surface of the wood and not peel and flake over time. And they are easy to maintian by just adding another coat when you feel that the wood needs it. Please let me know if you have any further questions – All the Best Sam.

    44. Hi ,I have just bought 3 pieces of oak furniture originally from M&S Hemsley Range.The info papers say it is European oak in its natural state with a simple stain and oiled finish to enhance its rustic appearance …..I followed your advice with other pieces of oak veneer sanding then using poly raw…great success …can I achieve a similar finish as this is a much darker /rougher type of wood, reading previous advice you have given I am thinking to use white spirit and sanding..before using Poly Raw …but thought I would check with you first,…Great to read all your advice….Thanks Carol

    45. I have an indoor oak dining table, next to a window. What’s the best way to protect it from UV rays and “bleaching” (other than shutting the blinds!)?


    46. Hi
      We have an oak panelled hallway. The wood is mainly veneer and has been varnished at some point and is now a horrible orangey colour. I have stripped one panel using Peel Away 7 and it has come up a lovely light oak. I would like to keep it looking as natural as possible with a matt finish but protect it as it looks very dried out. What would you recommend?
      Kind regards

      • Hello Katie,

        You could have a look at the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural. This is a hard wearing and durable finish that is designed to leave the wood looking almost as if it has nothing on it. A test area is strongly recommended and this product is available in sample sizes. An alternative would be to look at the Osmo Polyx Oil Raw which is a similar product.

        These oils will soak into the surface of the wood and leave it microporous, allowing the wood to breath, whilst still making it water repellent and protected. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

        Kind regards Sam.

    47. Hello and thanks for posting this very helpful article.

      Probably a stupid question. I have an oak indoor dining which is about due for re-oiling. Should I oil just the top or do I need to do the underside and legs as well?

      Many thanks

      • Hello,

        Thank you for your inquiry, it may not be necessary to oil the underside to be honest, unless this is likely to get dirty or scuffed in any way. I would recommend the legs are oiled as these are exposed areas and can be subject to spillages and knocks. Also re oiling will enhance and renew the wood on top and to keep the visible finish of the table even you would need to treat all the exposed areas. Please let me know if that helps or you need any guidance of which oil to use as for the table.

        Kind Regards Sam.


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