Liberon Decking Oil Medium Oak 5Ltr
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