Liberon Decking Oil Medium Oak 5Ltr
Like this product
When I built my deck in 2012 I wanted a product that would keep it looking good. I didn't want something that built up too much or detracted from the appearance of the wood (OK, it is only a treated softwood 6x1 deck board).
I started with 2 coats of medium oak Liberon in August 2012. My plan was to maintain it with one coat twice a year; one in spring to make it look at its best for the summer, and one in autumn to give it maximum protection for the winter.
That plan is working well. My original 5 litres covered my 25 sq m with some left over. Because I didn't want to darken it any more, I switched to clear Liberon at the start of 2013. But now intend to use a mix of clear + medium oak at about 4-to-1 (or less) to provide just a maintenance level of colouring (I just keep mixing new clear with what was leftover from previous year's oil).
I have just prepped for this year... pressure jet to remove any dirt (especially in the grooves) and surface algae (deck is partly shaded during the winter). I use the fan jet (I think the rotary muck blaster is OK for slabs, but a bit too aggressive for wood.. it lift the grain too much). Allow a day or so to dry (depending on the spring weather!). On a dry sunny day, at least a couple of hours before the risk of evening damp (which can leave a white bloom in the oil, but normally goes when there is more heat in the sun) apply one coat. With a deck board in front of me and a reach of about 1.5 metres of board length, a 5mm dip of my 100mm brush is sufficient to coat that section of board in 10 seconds and leave the surface free of excess oil. With brushing and shuffling around on my knees, my 25 sq m took under 90 minutes. No-one would describe me as young, and I am not rushing to achieve that, and it isn't hard work.
Coverage: you would obviously use more for a new surface, but this year's maintenance used just over 2l (for the 25 sq m), so about what they claim. Just remember when applying, you want to apply wet enough for it to be absorbed, but want to leave the minimum behind on the surface.
How does it look... well I don't need much colour in the oil, because the original colour is still strong with no signs of greying. The deck sheds water and dirt well. The jetting and oiling is maintaining the surface, without any worries about future build-up (no worries of needing any sort of strip-back in the future).
All-in-all, the effort required is not much, especially as I can see that it will work in the long term.
Hope this helps...
12 Apr 2015
Oil versus Finish products
I bought this along with the Liberon Water Based Advanced Protection Decking Finish (LWBAPDF) for a comparison. I also wanted to avoid any Ronseal products and have had a good experience with other Liberon products.
Unlike Ronseal decking oil, this actually is more like an oil which gets absorbed into the decking. I have previously had bad experience with Ronseal decking oil lasting less than 12 months after 2 coats (applied with a brush and starting from a thoroughly cleaned and dry decking). The Ronseal decking oil seems to create a film over the decking which eventually flakes off, looks terrible and takes ages to clean-up.
The stated coverage (c.9sqm/l) of the oil seems about right. It can be sprayed, brushed or rollered on to the decking. The best application method seems to be with a brush which takes longer but gives a better finish and minimises any product waste.
The coverage for the LWBAPDF was much less than that stated: c.60% of the stated c.11sqm/l, even using a brush. It cannot be applied by spraying: it is much thicker and more of a paint than an oil. It is also more difficult to apply to the decking (by brush) and needs to be carefully painted on (e.g. like paint) as opposed to brushed on and absorbed (like oil). This is worth noting for any grooved decking surfaces. It is also much more expensive than the oil and, given the price, it would probably be cheaper to buy new decking every 3/4 years as opposed to using the LWBAPDF.
The 'Medium Oak' (oil) actually gives a much darker finish than the colour on the tin would suggest. After 1 coat it's more of a teak appearance; after 2 coats it's more like dark Indonesian hard wood furniture. This was the result even though the product was applied with a brush and the decking had been wire brushed, power washed and 'restored' back to its original pressure treated pine/softwood colour. This colour might lighten after some time, but it is the wrong hue to look anything like oak.
Conversely the 'Medium Oak' in the LWBAPDF is more like medium oak (after drying). It seems odd that the same stated colour from the same manufacture could vary so much between two products designed for such a similar purpose. Watch out if you intend to use one product for decking and the other for e.g. garden furniture because the colour won't be the same.
With this product (oil) any rainfall forms beads on the surface of the decking and either runs off, can be brushed off, or remains as beads until dry: it does not soak in to the decking.
With the LWBAPDF product, rainfall appears to be absorbed by the decking and the colour of the decking changes slightly darker confirming this. Given that the product is water based it seems an obvious consequence. However, it does mean that the decking stays wet for longer and the water cannot be brushed off in the same way. It also seems to imply that decking treated with LWBAPDF is more likely to discolour after time and usage and be more difficult to clean if stains are absorbed into the decking.
I haven't had sufficient time to review the performance of the products. After an initial review I expect the oil to last longer than the LWBAPDF (given the water absorption issue).
I would choose this oil again. I have marked it down on the rating because of colour [and price].
In general, this oil seems better than the LWBAPDF and other manufacturers' products (e.g. Ronseal). It is more like an oil used to treat a fence than the typical film which sets over the surface of the decking. For this reason I would expect it to last longer.
The colour of the oil is much darker than the medium oak illustrated; I think this could lighten over time in the same way that an oil treated fence would, but it seems unlikely that it will ever be a medium oak colour.
I expect any future decking treatments to be much easier with this product: it has been absorbed into the decking and therefore cannot flake off (e.g. as per Ronseal). More likely it will simply fade through time and be a straightforward clean-up process and re-application as opposed to the previous nightmare.
18 Jul 2014