Help & Advice

Help & Advice

What’s the difference between decking stain and decking oil?

What’s the difference between decking stain and decking oil?

If you want to avoid turning your beautiful light deck orange, or hiding the grain in your merbau timber, then you need to know the difference between a stain and an oil. Both have their places, depending on what you’re trying to achieve.

I want to change the look of my deck

Use: Decking stain

Decking stains contain higher levels of pigment than decking oils, so are great for changing the colour and look of timber. They work particularly well on light-coloured timber such as treated pine or cypress. Stains also provide a high level of UV protection.

Try: Cabot’s Deck & Exterior Stain. This highly durable stain comes in both an oil and water base, depending on your needs. It’s designed to rejuvenate and transform the colour of all exterior timber, and gives a long-lasting result.

I want to enhance the look of my deck

Use: Decking Oil

Decks made from rich timbers such as merbau, teak or jarrah often need enhancing to bring out their natural grain and look.

Should I use water based or oil -based decking oil?

Oil-based decking oils penetrate the pores of the timber, giving a traditional, warm look to timber. They leave a slight film on top of timber, which protect against water and UV rays. These oils need regular maintenance, and often need a re-coat every three months.

Try: Cabot's Natural Decking Oil. This is a penetrating oil that nourishes and protects the timber. It gives a semi-transparent matt finish to wood. It provides high UV protection, is water repellent, and dirt and mould resistant.

Water-based decking oils don’t penetrate timber as deeply as oil-based products. However, they leave a very protective film on the surface of the timber, which lasts a lot longer than oil-based products. This protects against UV rays and water soaking in. They are highly durable, with a low odour.

Try: Cabot's Aquadeck. This water-based oil provides exceptional durability to all exterior surfaces. It gives a semi-transparent, natural finish to wood. It has a recoat time of one hour, and lasts twice as long as traditional decking oils.

I’ve used the wrong coating. Now what?!

Applying an oil instead of a stain to a light deck can turn pine and cypress an orangey colour. But there is a way back. Either apply two coats of Aquadeck in merbau tint to reduce the orange look, or apply one coat of Deck & Exterior Stain in merbau to darken the colour.

If you’ve used a stain instead of an oil, the texture in the wood might look as though it’s disappeared – but you can reclaim the grain. Either strip the finish off and start again using an oil, or let the stain weather off naturally. Once it’s faded, you’ll be able to apply the oil of your choice, bringing your deck back to how you like it.

WATCH: How to oil a deck

WATCH: 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.