Garden & Lawn

Top 5 Best Decking Oils For Protecting, Enhancing & Reviving Your Decking

Last updated on January 11th, 2022

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It is important to protect your wooden decking from weathering, warping, swelling, drying and splitting. We look at 5 of the best decking treatment oils to seal the wood and protect it from moisture and algae

Through the four seasons of the year, your decking faces different temperatures and moisture levels. This may leave the wood looking dry and damaged, and, in most cases, this tends to be an eyesore over time as well as dangerously slippy. To protect your decking from the elements means relying on the best decking treatment you can find and it should ideally be applied once a year.

Admittedly there are more than several reliable brands but the mission is to find the best decking paints for your specific deck. There are several factors to put into consideration before you purchase the decking paint or oil. These factors will be discussed in the buying guide below, in the meantime, let us look into the best possible decking oil currently available.

From our in-depth research, we found that the Liberon 5L Decking Oil is the product that stands out from the crowd and is a good choice. Taking only 15 minutes to dry in between coats, these wood oil tints not only enhance the appearance of the decking but can be used on other wooden structures, such as garden sheds and gates. It covers up to 8-10m2 per litre which is acceptable and is available in three colours – clear, teak and oak so it should suit nearly everyone, which was something we felt our best pick needed to do.


Liberon DOCL5L 5L Decking Oil
Give your decking some royal treatment with this decking oil. It is able to enhance the natural pattern of wood and this decking oil will leave your deck protected from the elements. We think it is one of the better oils out there because not only does it come in three different colours, it is suitable for use on other wooden garden structures. Covers 8-10m2 per litre. This decking oil also offers both UV and water damage protection.

Our top 5 recommended decking paint/oils for treating decked areas

  1. Liberon DOCL5L 5L Decking Oil – BEST PICK
  2. Ronseal DPN 5L Decking Protector – RUNNER UP
  3. Ronseal DRPEO25L 2.5L Decking Rescue Paint – GREAT PICK TO RESTORE OLDER DECKING
  4. Cuprinol 5122409 Anti-Slip Decking Stain
  5. Ronseal RSLDOCL5L Decking Oil

Decking Protector Buyer’s Guide

You may just have installed a new deck or want to give your old deck a lease of new life, regardless, you need to fetch products that meet the needs of the decking you are preparing to treat. To get the best decking treatment is to understand how the different products work. Some products seep into the wood, nourish and protect the timber from UV/moisture damage. Some products sit on the surface of the wood and form a barrier against UV/water damage.

Staining vs Painting

When it comes to wood treatment, you can choose whether your deck is in need of staining or painting. Both of these methods have advantages and disadvantages that shall be addressed below;

Staining allows the natural tones of the wood to shine and also provides protection against mould and algae. Stains with high opacity offer protection against both UV and moisture damage. Transparent stains will keep water damage at bay but they will offer little in terms of UV protection. Stains can be water-based, oil-based, tannin-based etc.

Pros of staining

  • More economical as stains are not expensive and tend to cover wider areas.
  • They typically enhance the natural colour of your decking.
  • They are easier to apply using a brush or a roller.
  • Usually, stains come formulated with anti-slip features to avoid possible deck accidents.
  • Contain chemicals that deter algae and mould growth.
  • Staining dries quicker compared to painting.

Cons of staining

  • Does not have a long shelf life in comparison to paint.
  • Stains are thin in nature and may not be able to fill in wooden cracks.
  • Cannot be applied onto decks that have been oiled.

Painting gives you access to a wide range of colours to select from. The paint seeps into the wood filling cracks and keeping the wood from greying. Paints offer both water and UV protection to your deck. Whether they are oil-based or latex-based oils, your deck will be in good condition for a long time.

Pros of painting

  • Comes in a wide range of colours to select from, which is a big advantage if you want an unnatural coloured deck.
  • Paint seeps in to fill the in cracks in the wood, holds down splinters and cover up grey wood making it appropriate for old decks and giving it a new lease of live.
  • They are easy to clean depending on the colour you selected.
  • They tend to stay for longer compared to stained wood.
  • Depending on the quality, paints may stay a while before they start peeling/cracking.

Cons of painting

  • Paints may make the deck slippery when it is wet.
  • You tend to loose that natural look.


Ronseal DPN 5L Decking Protector
For someone trying to protect a new deck, this product works just fine. On top of enhancing the natural colour of the wood, this paint can be sprayed on the decking, therefore, facilitating easy application. Most importantly, it effectively prevents the growth of mould and algae. This is perfect if you want to protect your decking but leave a more natural look rather than staining or painting it.

Deck condition

You need to assess the condition of your deck. If it is a new deck, you can choose to stain it or paint it depending on the finish you desire, you can even use the decking protector above by Ronseal that leaves a natural look. Old decks need restorative and protective paints to keep the wood from facing more damage from sunlight and moisture. Old decks with mould/algae damage can consider using algaecide fortified oils, paints and stains.

Type of wood in use

Is your decking made of hardwood or softwood? This will help you select the best decking treatment. Some decking oils, paints and stains are designed to cater to specific woods so it is best to check first. You will find products that manage to serve both types of woods but specific woods like Iroko, Teak and Cumaru may need refined oils.

Weather protection

The weather can get vicious and your wooden deck may not stand any chance without some protection. If you leave in sunny areas then getting decking treatment with UV protection is a must. Those residing in humid areas need a decking treatment offering strong waterproof protection. To be safer, you can always select a wood treatment product that offers both, which we would always recommend.

Desirable finish

Give regard to the type of finish you want. There are those who prefer to give the deck a matt finish whilst others prefer a smoother, shinier finish. If you have young children around make sure that the finish you desire doesn’t make the surface slippery. As children love running around, a non-slip finish is recommended to keep accidents from occurring.

Drying time

Consider how long the deck will take to dry from the layers of wood treatment applied. In many cases, the manufacturer provides how much time it should take before applying another coat. The manufacturer also tells you how long you should let the entire deck dry out before encouraging human traffic.

Drying times may be affected by the climate in your area. In hot areas, the coats of wood protector tend to dry up faster compared to humid areas.

Slip resistance

This is more of a safety feature to guarantee that you won’t slip when the deck is wet. If you have ever slipped on a wet deck you know the pain of crashing down. For your family’s safety, look for wood paint or stain that offer anti-slip features like the Cuprinol 5122409 Anti-Slip Decking Stain.


Ronseal DRPEO25L 2.5 Litre Decking Rescue Paint
Those struggling with old decks, maybe you moved to a new house with an existing decking that has not been treated for some time. You will love this product as it can be used to seal cracks and hide greying wood, leaving a fresh, rejuvenated layer on top of your existing deck. Furthermore, it covers an area of up to 10m2 per litre, meaning you can give your deck a much deserved double coat. It is also offered in a variety of colours so you can have fun with it.


Even for wood treatment products, there are a few features that make life a tad easier. Features such as:

Handles on large containers permit simple handling of the tin.  Easy to pour handles make operations convenient without recurring spills.

Anti-scuff functions keep your wood protected from furniture and human traffic. Whether it is a pointed shoe or a metal chair missing its rubber stoppers, wood care products with anti-scuff functions will save your hardwoods/softwoods.

Spray functions

If you have a large deck, you may want wooden decking treatments that can be sprayed, such as the Ronseal Decking Protector. Sprayable products make applications faster saving time but you may waste more than using a brush or roller due to overspray. Personally, we would always advise using a good old brush or roller as you can really brush it into those hairline cracks.

Preparing your deck for treatment and application tips

  • Old decks need to be pressure washed or stripped before applying any wood treatment so as to ensure a successful application.
  • New decks can be scrubbed using a brush to clean up the surface and open up the wood.
  • Let the deck dry first before applying any treatment.
  • Always stir the components of the container before application. This is to ensure that the mixture applied has an equal measure of pigment.
  • Always carry out a test patch to see if you are satisfied with the effects.
  • Allow the coats to dry before further application. This ensures that the paint, oil or stain has enough time to settle on the timber.
  • Check the decking often to see if any sections of the deck are peeling and need reapplication.

Top 5 Decking Paint Reviews

It isn’t always easy to spot the best decking paint on the market, between the thousands of other similar products that are also available, so it can be crucial to first go through the product reviews and see just what previous customers thought. The products below have been formulated to give your decking the best protection. They come in different sizes and cater to specific decking needs.

1. Liberon DOCL5L 5L Decking Oil


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Liberon Decking Oil 5 Litre - Clear


  • Offers UV protection from the sun that may cause wood damage.
  • Able to enhance the natural appearance of wood.
  • Can be applied using a brush or roller. A roller with a long handle is usually the easiest method.
  • You are able to colour wood if the coloured decking paint versions are applied.
  • Can be used on other wooden structures in the garden, such as garden furniture or even sheds and fences.
  • Covers 8-10m2 per litre making it economical in the long run.

The Liberon decking oil we have looked at comes in a 5L container and this will cover approximately 8-10m2 per every litre used, so it will cover quite a large deck. Found in clear, medium oak and teak colouring, this decking oil will enhance the patterns on your wooden decking and can have an amazing effect on new decking that has not previously been treated. Packed with wood nutrients, this decking oil leaves your wood rejuvenated and can add a bit of colour to old wood.

Because it is intended for decking, sun protection is unavoidable. Offering UV filters, this decking oil prevents your wood from irreparable sun damage. On application, it takes 15 minutes to dry before you are able to apply another coat so it’s fairly quick drying. When you have layered the number of coats needed, you do need to wait for 24hrs for the decking oil to dry and be fully soaked up into the wood for maximum protection.

Also effective on fences, garden sheds and garden furniture so it has a range of uses, this decking oil needs a brush or a reliable roller for effective application. We think this is the best way to apply it. However, it is also sprayable should you prefer that type of application, but we think it’s best applied using a roller to reduce waste that using a sprayer is renowned for. You would also need a professional paint sprayer as a cheaper sprayer would probably become gummed up.

Purchased at a reasonable price, this decking paint can offer valid protection through the four seasons and we think it’s probably a good choice for most people, especially as it’s available in clear, oak and teak.

Compare the best prices from available sellers below

2. Ronseal DRPEO25L 2.5 Litre Decking Rescue Paint


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RONSEAL DRPEO25L 2.5 Litre Decking English Rescue Paint - Oak


  • Ideal for using on decking that are not in as good a condition as they once were or are damaged.
  • Offers a variety of colours to suit personal preferences.
  • Sold at an affordable price therefore attainable to many.
  • 2.5L container is able to cover a 10m2 area if two coats are applied.
  • Gives grey wood new vibrancy.

The Ronseal Decking Rescue Paint is intended for wood that has already undergone some damage and for older decking that has not been treated and doesn’t look as good as it once did. It is designed to seep into the wood in order to fill small cracks and to keep the wood from splintering some more. The rescue paint saves your deck by sealing down the cracks and giving your grey wood a new appearance.

What we like about this rescue paint is that it comes in a wide variety of colours. If you did not drift towards the oak colour, you can always select another one from charcoal to warm stone. You can expect a long-lasting finish and no scuff marks in sight. Per every 2.5L container, you can apply two coats on a 10m2 area, so it gives fairly good coverage overall.

If you are dealing with ridged boards, the 2.5L container should cover around 12m2. If you have new decking or even older decking that is just a little dry and faded but still in good condition, we would recommend using an oil such as our best pick. If the decking is past its best, this is a great solution to treat your decking. Just remember to properly clean your decking and let it dry before applying as the paint can start to flake if it is not clean and dry before applying. The same goes for oil but it is even more important when using paints.

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3. Cuprinol 5122409 Anti-Slip Decking Stain

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Cuprinol 5122409 Anti-Slip Decking Stain Exterior Woodcare, Natural Oak


  • A water-based stain that offers a long lasting protection from the weather.
  • Provides an anti-slip finish thanks to its invisible microbeads design.
  • Features an algaecide to keep any moss and algae growth at bay.
  • Comes in three shades that are natural, natural cedar and natural oak.
  • Covers 8m2 per litre for a 2-coat application.
  • Takes 2-6 hours for all the layers of the paint to completely dry, which is fast compared to others.

Do you need a wood treatment product that offers an anti-slip finish? The Cuprinol Anti-Slip Decking Stain will work just right and is an excellent stain for decking. Offering protection all year round, the decking stain protector will give your deck a refreshed look and protect it against algae and mould growth.

Staining your wood with a dark brown colour you may be able to give old dull wood a new lease of life. The decking stain comes in three shades that include natural, natural oak (which is obviously slightly darker) and country cedar. You can choose which suits your type of decking the best, however, clear is always a good choice if you are trying to retain the current shade of your decking but still providing protection.

The water-based decking paint takes about one litre to cover an area of 8m2 using two coats per section. You need about an hour and a half in between applications to achieve a good result. When all the coats are applied, the layers will take an estimated 2-6hrs before it is completely dry. If you are expecting company in the evening, you could always start applications earlier in the day so that it dries in time, assuming it’s a warm day.

This is not a sprayable product and thus, you can only rely on a brush or roller to get the work done, which will work for most people. The best thing is that this decking paint contains an algaecide, therefore, mould and algae are kept at bay and the microbead design means it’s also more effective at providing a non-slip surface.

Compare the best prices from available sellers below

4. Ronseal DPN5L Decking Protector


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RONSEAL DPN5L Decking Protector Natural 5 Litre


  • This decking protector will protect wood from both water and sun damage.
  • Keeps UV rays at bay that contribute to sun damage.
  • Discourages the growth of algae and mould.
  • Can be sprayed on for faster area coverage.

Use the Ronseal Decking Protector to protect the natural colour of your wood. The wood protector acts more like a sealer rather than adding colour to your deck. The deck protector keeps moisture from seeping into the wood and this is known to cause the warping, splitting and drying of the wood. Nobody likes the sight of damaged wood, especially with moss and algae creeping in so it is worth noting it does also discourage algae and mould.

It also helps in preventing the greying of wood that decking tends to do when it is left untreated for any length of time. This indicates that the wood protector features both UV and moisture damage protection. For easy application, you can choose to use a roller, foam sponge or even by spraying, but as we have already mentioned, we would recommend avoiding spraying because of overspray. However, for large decks, spraying may be more effective in terms of completing the job in a faster time.

If you have two or three coats of the product, give it 12-24hrs for it to completely dry. It may take a while longer for the layers to dry in humid weather. The only possible downside is for those who prefer not to use water-based protectors, this is water-based and they tend to not last as long as oil-based alternatives.

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5. Ronseal RSLDOCL5L 5L Decking Oil

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Ronseal Decking Oil Natural 5 Litre RSLDOCL5L


  • Comes in a metallic tin with a re-sealable lid for easy storage.
  • Protects the wood from UV and moisture damage.
  • Can be used on both hardwoods and softwoods.
  • A 5L container covers 20-24m2 with two coats applied and gives a semi-translucent matt finish.
  • It comes with easy to pour handles for easy user interaction.

Another decking oil worth considering is the Ronseal Decking Oil that has a semi-translucent matt finish. Through the different seasons of the year, the wood oil seeps through providing a barrier against moisture and sunlight damage. The alternating temperatures cause wood to warp, splinter, dry or swell and this can be avoided by using such deck protectors.

Appropriate for both hardwoods and softwoods which is a big plus, the tinted oil is able to cover 10-12m2 per 2.5L container so a 5-litre container should cover just over 20mwith 2 coats applied. Depending on the rate of wood absorption, you may want to use a few coats but two coats is usually about right for most decking areas, especially if it’s treated once a year.

It won’t make much difference to the finish, but it also comes with a resealable lid that will allow you to store any remaining liquid safely. It also possesses handles that you can use to pour out the amount of decking oil you need, we think is a great idea and it just makes the job a little bit easier. It is good to note that this should be worked in with a brush for better absorption. It’s also worth noting that spraying is not recommended when using this particular decking oil.

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Final Conclusion

From the five products presented, you can see that each serves a different need. There are some like the Ronseal Decking Rescue Paint that can bring an old deck back to life. Think of where you live, the surrounding climate and then consider the kind of wood your decking is made of. As a result, you will be able to select the best decking paint or the best decking oil without batting an eyelid.

For most people, if you have a new decking or a decking that is in good condition and has previously been well maintained, a decking oil is probably the best choice. Alternatively a decking protector for a more natural finish in terms of colour, maybe a water-based protector.

However, if your decking is looking past its best and you need to hide the imperfections rather than feed the wood, then decking paint will be a better option as it hides everything from cracks to splinters and can make an old decking look like new.

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Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at

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