Time to paint, stain or oil your decking

It’s been battered by seasonal showers, coated in falling autumn leaves, frozen by the winter winds and scorched by the summer sun. Your decking has been through a lot, and now the weather is starting to warm, getting outdoors to enjoy feels like the escape we all need.

Don’t be disturbed by cracking, peeling or dull looking decking. You deserve to lay back and relax on boards that look as good as new. So, before you step back into the sun spend a little time restoring your decking with paint, oil, or stain. Follow our guide for all the advice you need to get the job done.

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What is the condition of your decking?

First, assess the condition of your decking.

If your decking is newly laid, we recommend leaving it to weather naturally for about six months before being stained or oiled. This helps to make sure that any existing treatment has eroded, allowing the new paint or stain to properly sink in and stick to the deck.

If it’s untreated, over six months old or previously stained or painted, you can start your restoration project.

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Choose your treatment

Choosing the right treatment for your decking will decide on what look you end up with, so we’ve put together some options below.

Paints

The advantage of paints is that they come in a huge array of colours from natural looking, subtle shades to bright and bold hues. Specialist decking paints like Ronseal Rescue can fill in small cracks and lock down splinters as well as colouring and protecting weathered wood.

Stains

Deck stains are more opaque than paint, so you can still see the natural wood grain with a layer of gorgeous colour. Ranges like Ronseal Ultimate colours, protects and waterproofs decking in one.

Oils

Decking oils penetrate the timber, waterproofing and replacing natural oils and resins that are lost over time. Oils leave a subtle colour that enhances the beauty of the wood, and they don’t crack as the deck expands and contracts.

Decking protector

If you’re happy with how your deck looks and just want to keep it from getting grey and weathered, try a decking protector. It’ll protect your decking from sunlight and rain, as well as resisting damage from foot-traffic, and being translucent it won’t change the appearance of the wood.

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Watch the weather

Keep a close watch on the weather forecast. You’ll want to wait for a few days of dry weather but avoid very hot temperatures. Intense sunshine may cause the product to dry too quickly and not be fully absorbed into the wood.

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Clean your decking

Before you start your chosen treatment, give your decking a good clean. A special cleaner and reviver is designed to restore the wood and remove moss, mould, and algae.

Tools for the job

Step 1

Clear everything off of your decking and use a stiff broom to give your decking a good sweep.

Check the surface of the deck for any loose boards or raised screws, use a screwdriver to secure them more tightly.

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Step 2

If your decking has layers of previous paint and you want to go back to a more natural wood look, sand them down using a belt or palm sander. This only works for smooth boards and not grooved ones. Always sand in the direction of the grain/ deck board. Now you’ll be ready to start your chosen treatment.

If you decide against sanding your decking, continue to step 3.

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Step 3

Apply your decking cleaner directly to the wood and start scrubbing it with a scrubbing brush. Rinse off thoroughly with clean water. Using a pressure washer on the minimum level will give you a great finish.

Allow the deck boards to dry for at least 24 hours before applying any paint or stain. If traces of any previous finishes, such as oil and stain, still show, consider using a decking stripper.

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Choose your tool

There are a few options to choose from when it comes to applying your decking paint or stain.

Brushes

Brushes are great for fiddly areas, such as between expansion gaps, and so can be a helpful addition to other tools. However, by themselves, they can take a long time to get the job done.

Rollers

To work more quickly, consider a roller. These allow for greater coverage in one application than a brush and can be fitted with extension poles for ease and comfort.

Paint pads

Like a roller, a paint pad can also be used with a pole and works well applying stain to both grooved and smooth decking. Paint sprayers The ultimate in convenience, a paint sprayer uses less product, and is the quickest choice.

Treating your decking with a paint brush

Step 1

Give your chosen deck paint, oil, or stain a really good stir before applying to make sure you get a consistent colour. Start in the furthest corner to ensure you have an exit path and work your way back from the painted deck.

Step 2

Work along the length of the boards with a generous coating on your brush. Paint three to four boards at a time from one end of a deck board all the way down to the other end. If applying a stain, only apply as much as the wood can easily absorb. Put some extra paint over any splits or cracks to help fill them in.

Step 3

Leave it to dry and then apply further coats as needed.

Treating your decking with a paint brush

Treating your decking with a roller or paint pad

Step 1

Rollers are more prone to splashing than brushes, so cover any nearby surfaces with dust sheets in case of overspray or drips.

Step 2

Give your chosen deck paint, oil, or stain a really good stir before applying to make sure you get a consistent colour. Pour the product into the tray or bucket. Start in the furthest corner to ensure you have an exit path and work your way back from the painted deck.

Step 3

Careful not to overload the roller or pad with treatment, apply your treatment. When using a roller, turn it as you apply. If you’re using a pad, push or pull in long strokes along the length of the boards. Go over it again for a consistent finish and to prevent paint pooling in puddles. Work along the length of the boards painting three to four boards at a time from one end of a deck board all the way down to the other end.

Step 4

Leave it to dry and then apply further coats as needed.

Treating your decking with a roller or paint pad

Treating your decking with a paint sprayer

Step 1

Sprayers are prone to overspray, so protect any nearby surfaces by covering with dust sheets.

Step 2

Give your chosen deck paint, oil, or stain a really good stir before applying to make sure you get a consistent colour. Start in the furthest corner to ensure you have an exit path and work your way back from the painted deck.

Step 3

Hold the sprayer by angling the pick-up tube in the pot to the bottom of the container to minimise the number of refills needed. Keep your arm at the same distance from the decking as you cover the decking (around 20 to 25cm) for a consistent finish.

Step 4

Leave it to dry and then apply further coats as needed.

Treating your decking with a paint sprayer