Which is the best coating for my deck?

By August 3, 2015Uncategorized
  • Water based coatings are easier to apply in cooler temps. (e.g. Intergrain Ultradeck/Natural Stain). Dry faster for quicker re-coats
  • Oil based are easier to apply in warmer to hot temps. (e.g. Cutek and Sikkens) Dry slower, normally re-coat after 24-48 hours.
  • Darker tinted coatings last longer but can be more challenging to get an even finish.
  • Lightly tinted coatings show the grain more, are easier to apply evenly, but are less durable.

There are many different coatings on the current market and there seems to be new products appearing nearly every month, making great new claims.  One thing for sure is, that there is no perfect finish for exterior wood. Australia has some of the harshest weather conditions for timber to endure. High UV, hot temperatures, high rain fall, sea salt etc. all contribute to significant weathering and every product has its “pro’s and con’s”. Most products are designed to either penetrate/preserve the timber or create a protective film over the wood. Below is just our observations of some of the coatings on the market.

Some general rules to consider

Timber Coatings




Totally penertrating coatings/wood preserver

Cutek CD 50 and Extreme

  • Easy to apply, minimal skill required
  • Can be applied on hot sunny days
  • Excellent water repelency
  • Stabilizes timber from cupping/splitting
  • Protects the timber from within
  • Will never peel or crack as no film
  • Less likely to attract mould
  • 1-5 days is required before appling 2nd coat
  • It does not give a deep lustre look to the timber
  • Raised grain can appear after rain on some timbers
  • Very matt/natural looking finish
  • The finish is an aquired taste, some people will not expect such a flat look.
  • A re-coat is required every 9-12 months in exposed areas.

Film forming coatings

Intergrain Natural Stain

  • One of the more durable acylic coatings
  • Provides an attractive semi transparent  finish
  • Dries fast to apply 2nd coat
  • Available at every Bunnings store
  • Easy to use in cooler weather
  • Water wash up
  • Like all acylic coatings, can peel and crack if timber is too hot to coat
  • Good allround timber finish

Intergrain Ultradeck

  • Looks great when first applied
  • Expect to re-coat after 6-8 months in exposed areas.
  • Very popular finish, sold at most hardware stores

Intergrain DWD

  • Can be extremely durable
  • Dimension 4 primer required
  • Can be very difficult to maintain
  • Once it breaks down it de-laminates, bubbles and becomes flaky
  • A complete sand back is often required when this happens.
  • One of the most difficult coatings to remove
  • It can trap moisture into timber, when it breaks down

Cabot’s Aquadeck

  • Budget priced water based decking oil
  • Expect to re-coat every 4-5 months in exposed areas
  • Shiny finish

Cabot’s Deck and Exterior Stain (waterbased)

  • Durable timber stain
  • Hides marks
  • More than 2 coats can look like paint.

Cabots Timbercolour

  • Excellent durability (many years between coats)
  • Hides many marks
  • As it’s a paint it will hide the grain and can hold moisture in timber to cause rot.
  • Great if your deck is looking very tired and you do not mind not seeing the grain.

Spa n deck (Floods)

  • Well proven acrylic coating
  • Very durable when 3-4 coats applied
  • Water repelency teads to breakdown after 6 months.
  • After 4 coats looks almost like a paint (tint hides grain)
  • Can become sticky if re-coated too soon between coats
  • Light finishes tent to look “orangy” in colour

Decking Oils

Intergrain Nature’s Timber Oil

  • Looks fantastic initially
  • Expect to start darkening after 3 months
  • Clean/Re-coat every 4 months in exposed conditions

Cabot’s Natural Decking Oil

  • Budget focused
  • Can be difficult to clean back to bare timber to re-coat.

Feast and Watson (wide varety of coatings both and oil and water based coatings)

Film forming oil based coatings


  • Attractive
  • Durable
  • Great to coat during hot weather in direct sun
  • Well know established brand
  • Expensive
  • Wait minimum of 24 hours between coats (3 coats required)
  • Problematic if becomes wet after coating
  • Can crack when breaking down.
  • Hard to remove by sanding