Answer: Both finishes have their advantages and disadvantages. Oils are easy to apply and can be re-coated with little surface preparation, but generally don’t last as long as varnishes. On the other hand, varnishes are more laborious to apply and will crack and peel if not maintained. Of course, the level of exposure plays a big part. Timber under a verandah or pergola will need much less maintenance than timber that is fully exposed to the weather. If you decide on a film-forming coating (varnish), pick one that contains UV absorbents and has a good track record in the Australian climate. For an oil based product we recommend Cutek CD50 which is extremely easy to apply and with its range of colour tone options you can make the choice whether to allow your timber to weather to a silver grey or maintain the natural timber colour.