Matte or Wet-looking Decking oils?

After completion of a building project, often time individuals are torn between applying wet or clear matte looking decking oils. Although the two oils are confused from time to time, it’s paramount to know the difference, which will eventually aid in selecting the perfect decking finish. This article will discuss some of the top distinct differences between matte-looking and wet-looking decking oils.

First, it’s important to identify the difference between the two: wet-looking decking oils tend to enhance or maintain the natural colour of the decking boards. This means that although a little colour change may be noted the natural color of the board will still be distinct. On the other hand, matte looking decking oils contain less sheen and colour pigment which changes the appearance and natural colour of the wood.

Here are some distinct differences between wet-looking and matte-looking decking oils and all about its application.

  1. Use of the wet and matte looking decking oils

Wet looking decking oils are majorly used in natural woods, in which one would rather enhance its naturalness. The wet oils are meant to penetrate deep into the timber grain surface. This is to ensure the wooden deck is protected from within. On the other hand, matte-looking decking oils are majorly used as a varnish to coat the decking surface. Usually, this is used in situations which the owner may want to change the colour pigment of the wooden decking.

  1. Functions of the wet and matte looking decking oils

The wet-looking decking oils have a high concentration of wax and oil, this, as a result, helps in protecting the wooden deck from dirt and water, while at the same time offers a durable perfect finish which can be easily maintained. Thus wet-looking deck oils are resistant to water. Matte-looking deck oils, on the other hand, is used as a coat to protect and seal the wooden deck from elements like heat and sunlight. Additionally, it contains a plastic-like layer which is highly durable and protects the timber from intense foot traffic as well as weathering.

Industry paint

  1. Application of the oils

Matt- looking decking oils when applied dries fast and emits less odour on the decking board. Moreover, cleaning the equipment used in its application is easy as one can use water to clean the used equipment. Matte decking oils are often applied to the exterior decking boards since it’s durable to foot traffic and weathers naturally over a long period of time. On the other hand, wet-looking decking oils may take time to dry when applied. However, light foot traffic can be used on its surface after 5-8 hours once the wet-looking oil has been applied on the deck. Similarly, the wet-looking oils are less slippery compared to the matte-looking oils since it does not cover the timber with a plastic-like layer.

  1. Effect of oils on the wood

Wet-looking deck oils help in replenishing the timber natural oils since it sinks deep into the timber grains. As a result, the wooden deck is less likely to split, warp, or even crack. Matte-looking decking oils, on the other hand, reduce the grain of wood visibility due to the pigmentation of the oil applied between the surface and the timber. This ends up affecting the wood as it may peel or crack on its seal.

  1. Exotic woods

Some wet-looking decking oils can be applied on exotic woods like Iroko, Cumaru, and Teak, based on the fact that the woods are oily in nature and have dense grains. Therefore, a perfect wet-looking decking oil finish will have to be extra refined. Matte-looking decking oils cannot be easily applied on naturally oily woods like the above-mentioned woods. In such woods, therefore, it’s advised that before applying matte-looking deck oils, the wood be left to weather naturally so as to wade off some of its natural oils.


Despite the fact that the wet-looking and matte-looking decking oils have a number of differences, both oils also have several similarities that are essential to a decking board. However, you need to decide whether your wooden decking needs a wet or matte look based on your personal preferences and needs of the floor.