8 Tips for Oiling a Deck

If you’re cleaning your patio for the season or a big backyard party, you’ve likely wondered about oiling a deck. If you’re wondering if you should oil your deck, chances are the answer is yes.

But if you’re still not sure, here are some common signs that your deck needs oiling (or re-oiling):

  • Fading
  • Gray spots
  • Cracks
  • General wear and tear
  • Growing algae, moss, or mold

A fresh coat of wood oil not only makes your deck look nice, but it helps keep the wood strong and prevents further damage — both of which are necessary to enjoy your outdoor space for years to come.

How exactly do you oil a deck? We’re sharing these helpful tips and steps to get your deck in great shape, so you can spend more time enjoying it.

1 - Clean your deck

First thing’s first, you’ll need a clean surface before oiling your deck. Once you’re finished sweeping away last year’s leaves and dirt, you’ll want to do a deeper clean to remove any algae, mold, or moss that may have grown during the wetter months. Plus, cleaning helps open up the wood’s pores so it can fully absorb the oil.

Our go-to cleaner? WOCA Exterior Cleaner, which is the perfect solution for your wood deck (and other outdoor surfaces, like siding, furniture, concrete, brick, pavers, and outdoor tile). All you have to do is dilute the solution to clean your deck thoroughly and prep it for oiling. What’s more, WOCA Exterior Cleaner is safe to use around plants (when diluted), so you can clean your deck at any point in time.

Photo of outdoor wooden deck.

2. Let it dry for 24 hours

Before oiling your deck, you’ll want to let the wood dry for at least 24 hours. This helps ensure the best conditions for proper oil application. If you’re into specifics, the moisture content of the wood shouldn’t be more than 17%.

3. Sand down any splinters or rough areas

With our method for oiling, you don’t have to spend hours sanding down your entire deck. This is especially true if you’re just refreshing your color for the year. That said, if you notice any rough wood fibers anywhere (like splinters, cracks, or rough patches), simply sand them down with 120 grit sandpaper.

4. Choose a safe wood oil

Not all wood oils are created equal, which means not all of them are the best option to work with. However, WOCA Exterior Oil is a water- and plant-based oil that’s not only safe for you and your family but is safe for the environment. Some of the other reasons we love WOCA Exterior Oil? - It absorbs deep into the wood - It hardens and strengthens from the inside out - UV protection - Tough against other harsh elements - Offers color and protection in just one step

Pro tip: You can use WOCA Exterior Oil on all wood species, including cedar, redwood, ash, oak, and more!

5. Do a test patch

If you already know which wood oil color you want, go ahead and skip to the next step. But if you’re still not sure, we recommend doing a test patch. With WOCA Exterior Oil Testers, you can try any one of our 14 colors to make sure you choose the right one for your outdoor space.

6. Apply the wood oil

Oiling your deck with WOCA Exterior Oil only takes a few simple steps. Remember: You can only apply it in dry weather when it’s above 59°F outside. Also, try to avoid applying it in direct sunlight and high temperatures. 

  1. Stir your oil well before use.
  2. Apply an even and thin coat using an oil applicator, brush, or paint roller. Treat the end grain wood first.
    Pro tip: The wet oil may have a white shade. When the water has evaporated after a few minutes, the wood will appear oiled.
  3. Wipe off any excess oil with clean cotton cloths after no more than 5 minutes.
  4. If the wood doesn’t appear saturated with oil, repeat steps 2 and 3.

7. Wait at least 48 hours

WOCA Exterior Oil needs at least 48 hours to harden thoroughly. This, of course, depends on the weather conditions and temperatures outside. During this time, don’t expose the wood to any water (unless, of course, you can’t help it due to rain). Once the wood is completely dry, you can polish it (if you want!) with a polishing pad or machine.

8. Re-oil every 12-24 months

Depending on the elements and how much you use your deck, you should aim to re-oil it every 12 to 24 months. Thankfully, you won’t have to remove the previously applied oil or do any sanding. All you have to do is clean your deck (Step 1), then re-apply your oil (Steps 6-7). It’s as simple as that!

Oil your deck with ease this summer with WOCA Woodcare Oiling your deck doesn’t have to be a dreaded chore. With the right products, and helpful tips, you can get your deck summer-ready and keep it looking great year-round. Explore all of our exterior wood solutions to get started now!

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