The Best Stains & Sealers For Pressure Treated Decking

By Thomas O'Rourke - 5th January, 2019

Pressure treated wood is a popular choice for decking. It lasts longer and needs fewer treatments than untreated lumber. It’s only that when it comes to staining, not all products live up to expectations. A standard decking stain may not adhere to a treated surface, or it could peel or flake.

Only a stain specifically produced for use on pressure treated lumber can guarantee the successful outcome of your project. But if you’re not an expert, how can you tell the difference between regular decking stain and pressure treated decking stain?

We know it’s not easy, that’s why we’ve selected the best stains and sealers for pressure treated decking, tested and rated them. Check out our top picks below.

In this guide - top products for your pressure-treated deck, including...

#1 Best Product

ronseal ultimate protection

1. Ronseal Ultimate

Our #1 pick pressure treated wood stain – provides ultimate weather protection and resists high-traffic wear and tear.

Cheapest Option

cuprinol uv guard

2. Cuprinol UV Guard

A budget-friendly formula developed to provide reliable protection to pressure treated lumber without breaking the bank.

Worth Considering...

liberon medium decking oil

3. Liberon Medium

A high-quality decking oil formulated to nourish, protect and enhance the natural beauty of your wood. Beautiful, rich colour.

ronseal ultimate protection
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Hard-wearing decking oil protects and nourishes all types of smooth or grooved wood.

Our favourite pressure treated decking stain, Ronseal Decking Oil, comes from a brand renowned for the quality of its paint products. And it doesn’t disappoint. A hard-wearing and long-lasting formula provides superior protection on all types of wood.

It is ideal for smooth planed and rough sawn softwood or hardwood, adhering beautifully to all treated lumber. Formulated to last twice as long as other decking oils, the product provides excellent nourishment to the wood, maintaining your decking like new for years.

This water-based stain is easy to apply and developed to resist foot traffic, protecting the surface from scratches and scuffs.

We also liked the generous colour choice comprising seven natural hues. All colours are translucent and highlight the natural grain of the wood, but you can choose from lighter or darker shades to find the one that best fits your space.

Formulated for easy application in temperamental weather, the product becomes rainproof in only 90 minutes and can be re-coated in four hours. Perfect for protecting all pressure treated surfaces and easy to apply (even for a less experienced DIYer) this decking stain offers all you could hope for from a best-in-class pick.

Pros

  • Hardwearing formula lasts twice as long as standard decking stain, stopping wood from greying and splitting.
  • Water-based decking oil replaces the natural wood oils lost through weathering, preventing cracking.
  • Generous coverage of up to 8m²/litre also brings value for money. The product is supplied in 5 litre tins.
  • A lightly tinted finish gives a sophisticated look to the deck and highlights the natural grain of the wood.

Cons

  • Coverage may drop depending on the porosity of the wood.
cuprinol uv guard
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Water-based decking oil is formulated to replace the natural wood resins and oils lost from outdoor exposure.

Homeowners looking for a budget-friendly alternative to our top pick will be pleased to know Cuprinol Decking Oil is a valid option. Like Ronseal above, this decking oil also boasts a water-based formula developed to nourish weathered wood and restore the lost resins and oils.

It covers up to 16 square metres per litre and comes in 2.5 and 5 litre tins. Easy to apply with a brush or sprayer, this decking oil goes a long way and provides a lightly tinted finish that will look good for quite some time.

Ideal to apply on smooth plane and rough sawn wood, this pressure treated decking stain also gives a new lease of life to weathered decking by revitalising its original colour with one of four natural hues. With oak, cedar and pine, Cuprinol has a decent range, while their fourth colour is ideal for all other types of wood.

Formulated to penetrate the wood and protect from the inside, this decking oil also provides UV protection, preventing the wood from fading & greying.

Pros

  • Lightly tinted formula revitalises the colour of wood while highlighting its natural composition.
  • Water-based oil is easy to apply and can be re-coated after only six hours. It is recommended to avoid applying it in extreme weather or on rainy days.
  • Once dry, the product provides a non-slippery surface that withstands heavy footfall.

Cons

  • Its real coverage is lower than advertised, but a tin still goes a long way.
  • May not adhere well to pressure treated lumber that has not been weathered properly.
liberon medium decking oil
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An excellent alternative – a pressure treated wood stain designed to restore and revitalise lumber decking.

Liberon Decking Oil is less versatile than our two other choices in terms of colours but does an amazing job in protecting your decking from footfall and outdoor elements. It has a water-based formula developed to provide long-lasting protection to exterior pressure treated lumber.

Its UV filters prevent the decking from greying while the translucent hues integrate in all décors seamlessly regardless of their tonality.

One of the best features of this stain is its impressive resistance to wear and tear. It is ideal for high-traffic areas near a hot tub or pool and provides a non-slippery surface you can enjoy throughout the year.

Another nice feature is the coverage. A litre of oil covers up to 10 square metres, depending on the surface porosity. In the worst-case scenario, you’ll still have enough product to cover a smaller deck, while the formula is non-toxic for children and pets once dry.

The only drawback of this product is its incompatibility with certain hardwood decks. Some oriental hardwoods like Balau, Ipe, and Iroko are rather oily on their own, and Liberon’s product won’t adhere to these surfaces.

Pros

  • Three lighter or darker shades integrate with all landscapes and highlight the natural beauty of your pressure treated wood decking.
  • Water-based oil is easy to apply with a paintbrush or sprayer and cleans easily from brushing instruments.
  • Suitable for all exterior wood surfaces, not just decking. You can use it on wooden hot tubs, gates, fences and outdoor furniture.
  • The stain maintains its colour over time without fading.

Cons

  • The UV filter could lose its properties in a few seasons, which is why it’s recommended to apply a fresh coat of oil every year.

How To Stain Pressure Treated Timber Decking

Staining pressure treated timber is a straightforward process even for the less experienced DIYer. You will need:

  • A broom or blower
  • A dustpan
  • Pressure washer
  • Decking oil / staining product
  • Paintbrush, roller, or sprayer

Step 1 – Cure the timber
Pressure treated wood needs time to cure after it’s installed, or the stain may not adhere well. Leave it to weather for at least two months before staining it.

Step 2 – Clean the surface
It is essential to apply the decking oil on a clean surface free of dust, debris and vegetation. Use a broom or blower to remove larger debris and dust, then clean any moss, mould or lichens with a pressure washer and a specific decking cleaner. Leave the surface to dry before staining it.

Step 3 – Apply the stain
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and apply a coat of stain with a brush, roller, or sprayer. Leave it to dry as instructed, then apply a second coat. Water-based oils can be re-coated in four to six hours, whereas oil-based stains may require up to 24 hours between coats.

Once stained, leave the surface to dry for at least 24 hours before walking on it.

That’s it! You can now enjoy your new pressure treated decking!