Can I use a sprayer to apply decking oil?

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You probably could, if you don't mind covering every surface in the vicinity of your deck with oil as well, but you won't get a very good finish. Really you need to wipe it down a few minutes after application to ensure correct coverage, so just apply it how it is meant to be applied - on your hands and knees with a lint free cloth. A soft broom helps spread it out on a large deck, but you still need to wipe it.

(Make sure you securely store and dispose of the used cloths as they can spontaneously self-combust even when dry.)
xdave, thanks for the useful feedback.

I received the oil can yesterday and it says "sprayable" on the side. Yay! The specs for the oil did not mention this online. Because the decking area is quite large and because I am somewhat lazy I am going use the oil in the sprayer after all since it will be much faster and easier to apply it that way.

It still remains to be seen whether this particular sprayer works with decking oil because the sprayer's specs do not mention oil anywhere, only paints and stains. I am positive that it will work because the oil should be about the same viscosity as paints. I will report back after I have used it.

I plan to apply 2 coats and after I have given them a day or so to dry I will wipe off the excess oil with a clean cloth.

I plan to apply the decking oil to our new garden furniture too and that will be with my hands using a lint-free cloth as you recommended.

Coats should be applied after 15 minutes but ideally before an hour has passed. In hot, dry weather that time may be reduced. The reason for using a cloth (or brush) is because timber is not a uniform product and some areas will absorb more oil than others. The wiping ensures that every surface gets an adequate coating. If you just pour/spray it on and don't wipe it over then you will find it pools in some places and soaks away completely in others. With softwoods it is even more important because there is a lot of variation in the density.

It doesn't have to be hard work - the kind of flat microfibre mop you use to clean hardwood floors is ideal.

From the newer label you have posted it appears that they have changed the formula but kept the same sku so it is probably an EU reduced-VOC version. (I can only find the original product data sheet.) A lot of decking oils have been replaced with water-based products since 2010 which are essentially a water-based stain with some extra polymers and UV stabilisers added and can be easily sprayed. However - it will still make an almighty mess of anything in the vicinity such as walls, paving and plants, and will need reapplying every 12 months or so as they sit closer to the surface than true decking oils.
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I will get a mop and do as you suggested.

Should I mop after each coat i.e. coat 1 --(15 mins)-- mop 1 --(15 mins)-- coat 2 --(15 mins)-- mop 2?

Or should I just mop after both coats have been applied i.e. coat 1 --(15 mins)-- coat 2 --(15 mins)-- mop?

From your comments I gather that you know a lot about these things. Picking on your wisdom once more I would like to ask a few more things -
(a) Is the decking oil I have picked a good one?
(b) Should I use a brush (or some other method) to apply the oil to the "sides" of the planks i.e. the faces other than the one at the top?
(c) Also if I were to apply once a year and take good care of the decking will it last 10-15 years?
(d) Do you recommend applying it more than once a year?
(e) What other steps can I take to keep the decking in good condition and make it last longer?

Thank you.
A quick update. I finally applied oil to the decking and wanted to capture my experience here for people who may visit this thread in the future.

I used the sprayer mentioned in my original post and it worked fine as long as high pressure was maintained. After spraying a section of the decking I still had to use a brush to spread out the sprayed paint but the initial spraying made the job faster and easier than if I were using only a brush to apply the paint.

I applied 2 coats (within 30-45 minutes of each other) as recommended by xdave and also as suggested by the instructions on the paint tin. After allowing the second coat to dry for about 1.5 days I wiped off the excess oil with a bundle of lint-free cloth bought from Robert Dyas.

Even though the oil I used was marked as "clear" the decking did become significantly darker than the original colour of the decking. This was mentioned on the paint tin but I had not expected it to become as dark as it did. I am not sure if rain and weather will lighten it in the future.

On the whole this project went off very well except for the decking looking darker than I wanted to.
Hello Russell

I was just wondering - more than a year on, how the decking had performed and the treatment lasted?

I am about the treat mine for the first time, and your updated experience would be a very useful one. From the reviews I'm looking at, Ronseal Decking Oil seems to be the best (if defo not the cheapest) oil out there at the moment, but am somewhat concerned by reading xdave's comments on the changes in formulation these days from EU directives?

I want a "proper" oil, that is penetrative and long-lasting. Not some wishy washy EU spoilt water-based crapola product that wouldn't stand up to a light shower - any advice or experiences would be warmly received!
Hi rjsdavis!

On the whole I am very happy how the treatment has performed. It has been only 1 year but the decking looks almost as good as new. It looks fresh and clean. I might have to re-apply it next year but I am sure it will look fine for at least another year.

The decking boards (decent-quality decking boards from Wickes but definitely not the highest quality) that went into the construction of the decking were also used to construct a shared fence. The neighbour's side looks all pale, bleached and weathered. My side is a clean brown. This despite the fact the the neighbour's side is north-facing and does not receive the full brunt of the sun.

I chose Liberon Oil for the treatment as it was supposed to be much better than its competitors. Do you mind sharing why you think that Ronseal Decking Oil is the best?

Thanks Russell, that's really useful to hear.

Like you, to save myself a lot of work, I wouldn't mind an oil that is sprayable initially to get it on the wood, and then brushed or mopped on to work it into the wood after. We've got a massive decking in the middle of one of our lawns and the thought of kneeling down for an entire day, if not more, to hand-brush it on fills me with dread - especially as the uneven / ridged surface of decking planks are not forgiving on hands & knees after a very short while!

My short-list is either the Ronseal oil product or the Liberon oil. Both seem to have overall pretty decent reviews from what I can find (and it's hard to find good, independent online reviews other than those on Amazon). Here's an example:

Whilst I appreciate that some of these reviews are written by idiots that would probably complain if a little man didn't jump up out of the tin and paint the product on for them, you need to give these reviews a small pinch of salt and take them as a general overview.

What is clear to me, from others experience, is that you should never bother using some sort of decking stain, I've read story after story of stains coming up / peeling in patches after a winter's treatment. What I'm hoping to uncover is a long-lasting, properly penetrative oil, that leaves the wood in a natural (ish) colour finish and makes the rainwater bead on the wood surface and run off for as long as possible after application. I don't think I can reasonably hope for anything more or better than this from a good product!

My decking is already power washed and ready for some treatment with something - just trying to work out which is best so that I don't balls it up with a bad choice and have to attempt to remove it and do it over again!

Just need to wait for a good few days of clear dry weather now that the Summer seems to have buggered off, so that what I do put down goes down on dry timber....
Just a word of caution - the sprayer I used is a cheapo sprayer (that I gave away after the job was done) and requires frequent pumping to make the oil come out as a decent spray. My wooden decking is quite small - about 15-20 sq. meter. so it did not bother me too much. If your decking area is much larger you might want to get a proper sprayer.
Thanks Russell

Does the rainwater visibly bead off the surface of the decking timber after your treatment of Liberon? And continue to do so even now?

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