How To Oil A Mahogany Deck For the First Time


It is important to remember that no matter how new your hardwood deck is and the source of your mahogany lumber, wood is an organic product and depending on how much exposure it gets to the elements, it will slowly turn to a silvery-grey. Last month, we talked about the different benefits of using oil on your deck. So if you are unsure why you would oil a mahogany or hardwood deck, start there.

Now, as promised, we are going to tell you how to oil your deck for the first time after installation. If done properly, you will really be able to bring out the beauty of your hardwood mahogany deck.

Preparing the Deck for Oiling

Even if your genuine mahogany deck was built only a few months ago, it is very important to properly prepare it for an application of oil. To begin with, you should give your deck a sanding with 80 grit. This will help with oil absorption. Next, give it a thorough cleaning before you apply any oil finish to it. This will help remove any dirt or debris from transport, construction and foot traffic.

A common method for cleaning decks is using a power washer with water. While this method is certainly effective, and can be used at your prerogative, Green World Lumber recommends that you avoid using a power washer. The reason for this being that the high-pressure can have a sand-blasting effect and even tear wood fibers.

For best results, use a simple soap or a wood cleaner made for mahogany. Apply the soap with water (or follow the cleaner directions) and use a stiff brush to give your deck a thorough cleaning.

Once you have cleaned your deck, you will have to let it dry for 2-4 days so make sure your local forecast does not call for any rain.

GWL ProTip: If you have any wood leftover from the construction of the deck, take a small piece and clean it in the same fashion as your deck. Make sure you also leave it outside to dry. This is going to be your test piece.

Tools Needed To Oil a Deck

Thankfully, for the actual application of the oil to the wood, there is not a lot of equipment or product needed. Essentially, you are going to need an oil, an application method, and cleanup materials.

Choosing the Best Oil for Your Hardwood Deck

This will be the single most important decision you make in this process. Selecting the right oil for your deck will keep it protected, help give or maintain colour, and help keep your deck lasting as long as possible.

It is important that you choose a high quality oil. Using a cheaper oil may save you money at the outset, but you will either not get the desired effect you want, it won’t protect the wood as well as a better quality oil, or you may have to reapply it more often than you would like.

That being said, at the end of the summer and fall season, keep an eye out at your local lumber supplier or hardware store for end of season sales on high quality oils.

As we mentioned last month, clear, untinted oils work best for genuine mahogany. Oils with pigments for colour or heavy doses of UV tint will have to be reapplied more often and may sometimes peel if they are exposed to a lot of sunlight.

Here at Green World Lumber, we still maintain our unaffiliated opinion that Cutek’s clear oils are the best choice when oiling your genuine mahogany deck.

It is at this point, you should take your test piece of wood from the Preparation Stage and apply a coat of your selected oil to your wood. Let it sit overnight. Ask yourself:

  • How does it look and feel?
  • Do I want my deck to look and feel like this?

Once you have answered those questions you can determine if you want to apply your selected oil to your entire deck or to select an oil that works better with your wood.

What You Need for Deck Oil Application & Cleanup

For the application of the oil, you have some choices.

  • Natural bristle brush
  • Foam
  • Roller
  • Decking Brush

You will get the best results by using a natural bristle brush as that will help push the oil into the wood for better penetration into the fibers. Natural bristle brushes and foam are a little more labour intensive, but the extra effort is worth it.

Rollers and decking brushes also work. These are especially good for people with specific pain or mobility issues as you can use pole extensions to make it easy to apply. If you are using aroller or deck brush, try and find one that fit over a single plank. When applying the oil it will be important to have a smooth and even coat so you will not want your roller give the plank beside it an extra half coat.

A paint tray and a rag will also be important. A paint tray will allow you to easily access the oil and to mix oils if you are using more than one canister (this will ensure a consistent colour). The rag you will need to wipe off any excess oil.

Lastly, you will need some turpentine for cleanup and spills.

Applying The Oil To Your Mahogany Deck

It is important that you have sufficiently waited for your deck to dry and that you are applying your oil on a day in the double digits. Days from 11-22℃ are perfect application temperature.

Whether you have added a colour/tint to your oil or not, use a stir stick and give it a very thorough stirring.

Apply the oil as directed by the oil’s manufacturer. This is very important as some oils may call for different temperatures or wait times. Start with the hard to reach places, then work out to the large flat surfaces.

No matter what tool you decided to use for application, the best method is to go board by board, using continuous, even strokes. You can get away doing two, maybe even three boards at a time but if you do too many, your oil will begin to dry and you will start to notice “lap lines” where you stopped then continued to apply the oil.

You want to concentrate on coating each board evenly. You want to make sure your strokes are in the direction of the grain. On your second coat (if you choose to give it one) you can go side-to-side in order to get all areas of the wood fully coated. If you find that you put too much on in a coat or it has pooled, use a rag to wipe it off in a smooth stroke – don’t just dab it as it could dry in an awkward blotch!

If you are putting a coat on after the first, wrap your brush, foam, or roller with plastic wrap and remove all the air. This will ensure it is ready for you on the next coat.

Once completed, allow each coat to have plenty of time to dry. The manufacturer’s directions will tell you how long the oil needs to sit.

Cleanup Time

Congratulations, you have oiled your genuine mahogany deck! Now comes the cleanup.

Use turpentine to clean your brush thoroughly. Let your brush sit in it for a few minutes then give it a manual clean and rinse it with water. Be sure to wear gloves, safety glasses, and a dust mask when working with turpentine.

If you are using a roller, you can try the same method, but they are usually inexpensive and can be left to dry, then tossed.

Your selected oil should also have cleanup instructions on it and they should be closely followed.

***Please do not dump any harmful chemicals down the drain into your local water source. Follow all disposal instructions as per the manufacturer instructions!

Enjoy Your Newly Oiled Mahogany Deck

We are sure you don’t need us to tell you to enjoy all the hard work you have put into your backyard paradise. Green World Lumber hopes this How To helped in making your home feel more comfortable.

For any questions about genuine mahogany, do not hesitate to contact us

We also have a GWL Installation Guide for a quick reference of how to maintain your genuine mahogany.