How to Treat Decking Timber: The Greyscale Edition

How to Treat Decking Timber: The Greyscale Edition

Grey decking

Two years ago, Joe built garden decking from scratch at the back of our house. This Autumn, the wood needed treating and we decided to ditch the lighter wood look.

I’m not completely au fait with the likes of bulding products – it’s really more Joe’s area. But I’ll share what I can and if you have any questions you let me know in the comments.

So why did we treat the wood TWO years after building the decking? Well, most decking timber will be pressure treated when you buy it, however a manufacturer treatment usually has a shelf life – just about enough for you to build something and for it to last a season or two of Winter.

And that’s about where we stood until this Summer. Then, Sadolin got in touch and asked if I wanted to try their Ultimate Wood Protection. Talk about perfect timing!

Products Used

Grey decking

Grey decking

We were advised that we’d need to use the Sadolin Ultimate Wood Treatment for the most long lasting protection. It protects against wet and dry rot, kills woodworm, and penetrates deep into the wood, drying clear. With our decking being exposed to the elements, these features were key to make sure all the hard work Joe put in actually lasts for years to come.

The second product we received was the Sadolin Classic Wood Protection. Now, this is where is gets exciting. This comes in all sorts of great colours and I must admit, I was tempted to go REALLY bright. However, we’ve started painting some of our garden features in pastel shades (such as our lilac garden planters) so we instead chose Volcanic Ash to balance it out.

It’s a beautiful shade of grey, almost slate in colour, and it closely matches the recycled rubber garden edges we’ve used elsewhere in the garden.

So let’s see how well it applied.


The best way to get a good finish is to start off with a clean and dry surface. For decking, it’s best to jet wash all the grime away – and in our case, Autumn leaves! Use an appropriate wide brush, paint thinly and wait until it’s completely dry before applying another coat.

Because you do need a dry surface for the very best finish, I feel like we were at a disadvantage doing this in the Autumn. It was difficult to find a day when we knew it wouldn’t rain, and in the end, a frosty night disrupted the job a little as you’ll see in a minute. Here is the ‘Before shot’ as I stand in my kitchen looking out the French doors to the decking in its natural state.

Grey decking

Coat 1

This particular product was pretty thin in consistency. I’d actually describe it as quite watery. The images below almost look as though I’ve used flash (I didn’t) but it’s simply the reflection from the paint. Perhaps our wood was just particularly ‘thirsty’ but the initial coat of colour didn’t adhere all that well sadly, mostly puddling into the decking crevaces, and as you may be able to see, it dried quite patchy – although the colour is lovely. You can still see some of the original wood colours shining through the grey but we wanted an opaque finish so kept painting. And yes, Joe used tinfoil to protect our French doors. Creative, no?

Grey decking

Grey decking

Grey decking

The Finish

Our decking area is around 3 metres squared – a reasonable size! Coat one took up a 5 litre tin which really surprised me. A second tin meant we could add a second and a third coat, which it really did need, especially to get the grey to be a solid block colour.

I actually think it would have welcomed a fourth coat but weren’t sure if this would be overkill or not, but there is certainly still a hint of the previous wooden colour which peeps through the grey.

I must say, I LOVE the colour. It’s a true slate colour and in many lights almost has a blue sheen to it which is right up my street.

If we could go back and do it again I would have done this at a different time of the year. Whilst we were lucky to get a few days of dry weather to do the painting, the cold temperatures overnight meant that some areas just couldn’t dry properly and have gone sticky and peeled.

Grey decking

Grey decking

Grey decking


Grey decking

Ladies, think about when you paint your nails and you smudge it before it’s fully dried. It’s kind of like that. Sadly, we had to protect the wood before the Winter really set in so it was done out of necessity but learn from our mistake!

I’ll likely do a progress report next Spring when we start tarting up the garden again, but for now, what do you think to the colour? Also, you lucky lot get to have a sneaky peak of Luna’s new climbing frame!

Thanks so much to Sadolin who saved the day and provided us with the decking treatments just in time.


Grey decking

  • katyatapartmentapothecary

    Oooo, looks fab! I love the way plants look against grey, especially silvery plants like Eucalyptus. I might need to treat mine soon (think it’s been a bit too long!) x

    • Thanks lovely! Ooo i don’t envy you. It’s just one of those jobs that we put off for ages isn’t it? x

  • fabricofmylife

    Ahh, looks fab hun! Very chic and contemporary xx

    • Thanks hun! It turned out much better than I thought!

  • Old Fashioned Susie

    I like the darker look!! Bet you want to paint it all now!

    • Thanks lovely! Haha I do, but I think I’m all painted out for now. Might have to wait until Spring 😉

  • maxine

    I really like the grey – much smarter and a better colour to use as a backdrop for your plants

    • Thanks Maxine! I was worried it would be a little dark but once there is green next to it, it’s love lovely!

  • Love the look! I love the blue-ish grey tone, such a nice colour and really stands out!

  • Bec

    I really like the colour choice – so much better than the typical brown tones x

    • Thank you! That’s what I was thinking. Always good to mix things up 🙂

  • Stacey Sheppard

    I love that you went for grey. It still looks really nice despite the issues you had.

    • Thanks Stacey! Yes we had a few problems but to be honest, if we’d have waited until we had a dry day in England, it might never have got done haha x