Help & Advice

Help & Advice

Should I oil or stain my timber?

Should I oil or stain my timber?

The same questions come up every summer; Sausages or burgers? Red or white? Oil or stain the deck? Oils and stains are very different products, suitable for different projects and purposes. Knowing which one to use can make the difference between a dream deck and a disaster.


Stains contain more pigment than decking oils, and are designed to change the colour of light-coloured timber, such as treated pine or cypress. Stains also provide a high level of UV protection. Cabot’s Deck & Exterior Stain  is highly durable and gives long-lasting results.


Oils are slightly pigmented, but are designed to complement and enhance the natural colours of darker timber, such as merbau, spotted gum or jarrah. Cabot’s Aquadeck will complement the natural colour of your deck, while Cabot’s Natural Decking Oil will nourish and protect your deck, leaving a semi-transparent, matt finish. 

Help! I’ve used an oil instead of a stain

Don’t panic. If you’ve accidentally dyed your light pine deck orange by using an oil, there are two easy ways back

  1. Apply two coats of Aquadeck in merbau tint to reduce the orange look.
  2. Or, apply one coat of Deck & Exterior Stain in merbau to darken the colour.

And, relax.

Help! I’ve used a stain instead of an oil

If you’ve used Deck & Exterior Stain on a wood such as merbau, you might be worried you’ve lost the look of the underlying grain. To rectify this, you can either strip the finish off completely and start again with an oil. Or, allow the stain to weather off naturally, safe in the knowledge your deck is well protected. Eventually you’ll be able to reapply the oil of your choice. But in the meantime, all you need to do is wait.

WATCH: How to oil a deck

How to stain a deck

For free, expert advice on decking, call Cabot’s on 1800 011 006, or message us by clicking on the Cabot’s Project Assistant button below.