Hardwood Decking Oil Finish Review

By Ben Nystrom, 04/18/11

It's a fact: No matter what type of material you use or how well it's built, a hardwood deck will naturally wear over time. Even such naturally decay-resistant varieties as Ipe decking are vulnerable to the elements, and prolonged exposure to varying weather patterns and UV radiation will inevitably lead to discoloration, checking and cupping. The good news, however, is that there are many high-quality deck finishes available that help prolong the life of any hardwood deck.

While many solid and opaque finishes offer great protection against the elements, most homeowners choose hardwood decking because of its appearance. The best way to protect a deck while maintaining its original look is to use a clear, high-quality oil finish. A penetrating oil finish with UV inhibitors will offer great protection against the elements without covering up the natural beauty of the hardwood. The following are a few of the top brands of oil finish, their strengths and weaknesses, and what to expect when using them.


The professional grade transparent stains and sealers from Superdeck feature three high-quality oils, including linseed and tung oil, that offer great protection against harsh weather. The transparent oxide pigments in the Superdeck formula protect against harmful UV rays without covering up the wood's natural appearance. Superdeck Transparent Stain & Sealer also comes with a satisfaction guarantee.


This oil-based finish is perfect for those who want a protective coat with an even appearance. While Messmer's UV Plus finish does change the color of the deck, it does not affect the texture or cover up the grain pattern. The finish is offered in two attractive colors, natural and red mahogany, and is great on denser hardwoods, such as Ipe decking.

Penofin Performance Coatings

Penofin is the leading choice for environmentally friendly exterior wood stains. Penofin Verde contains all-natural ingredients, including vegetable ester solvents, plant-based resins, and Brazilian rosewood oil – no petroleum or heavy metal compounds here. It offers 99% UV protection and is safe for inside use.


Olympic's line of clear waterproofing sealants feature a custom penetrating oil formula, two-way waterproofing protection, advanced UV protection, and their exclusive Scuff Guard ® protection formula. This is a great finish if you're looking to protect against mildew and wood rot and works best when applied to new or pressure-treated wood.

Tune in next week when we'll discuss tips for before, during, and after the application of an oil finish to hardwood decking.

By Ben Nystrom, 04/18/11

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