Osmo Oil Review and product guide

Updated Feb 17, 2024 | Posted Apr 21, 2020 | Product Review, Paints | 26 comments

Osmo oil hit the British market around 20 years ago and since then it seems to have taken over!! It is everywhere!! In this review I’m going to talk about the Osmo products I’m most familiar with and give you my honest opinion based on my experience  as a Professional Decorator. As well as giving you my Osmo oil review, I want to talk about the best place to buy Osmo oil. I hope you find it useful.

One thing you need to remember when using Osmo oil is it doesn’t work too well over previously sealed timber. You can use it on bare timber, or you can use it over the top of itself. Avoid using it over anything that already has stain or varnish on it.

 

Osmo Polyx-Oil Review

 

Osmo Polyx-oil is for interior use. It is available to buy in satin or matt finish. You can pick it up in clear or even anti-slip. Recoat time is around 16-hours which is the same as most oil-based products.

My preference is the satin over the matt, as I think it gives you the most dramatic impact. The best thing about any Osmo oil is how rich it makes your timber look!! Osmo brings out the grain like no other product I have used in my professional career, except maybe Fiddes Hard Wax Oil. Even when using tinted Osmo oil you loose nothing in the way of character and charm from the wood.

You need to work and manipulate the first coat of Osmo oil into your timber. The second coat flies on. A clear satin has the same effect as putting “wet look” gel into your hair, but for timber. You’ll understand what I mean by that when you get cracking. Clear satin is probably my favorite to use. Click here to see online prices.

 

Using Osmo Oil on Veneered Doors –

It may sound like I’m getting carried away, but I genuinely have a passion for woodcare products. It’s art and the results really are stunning! A lot of other Decorators I know use Osmo oil on veneered doors, the idea being the oil will not penetrate deeply enough to lift the veneer.

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They have a point, and Osmo does work well, however you do need to be careful not to apply too much product or work it too heavily onto your wood. If you do either of those things, there is a chance of lifting that veneer and ruining your door. That being said, it is safer than most other products on veneer and a lot of suppliers recommend it.

 

Using Osmo Oil on Old Floorboards –

I live in a Victorian seaside town with a lot of old houses. One of the services I offer as a Professional Decorator is the renovation of old floorboards. Now old floorboards were never meant to be on show when installed and they’re often very beaten up. I quite like that though as it just adds to the character. Osmo Polyx-Oil is my product of choice for coating the floorboards up for a few reasons. The rich, deep, subtle finish has the perfect affect to suit any older house or farm cottage. The finished product seems to last for years and years.

Click here to see online prices.

 

Osmo UV-Protection Oil Review

 

I could basically copy and paste the description for Polyx-oil as far as the finish goes. My favorite to use is still the clear satin, however the tints look good too. Osmo looks amazing external cedar but it also suits hardwood such as oak windows and doors.

There is a couple of downsides to choosing Osmo oil on an exterior over other products. The first, you need to give your timber extra coats of oil!! The more protection you can give external timber the better, so bare timber should get at least 3, maybe even 4 coats of Osmo oil. The second is your timber is going to need topping up with Osmo every year or 2 or it won’t last. One plus point is Osmo UV-Protection oil remains microporous, meaning you can apply additional coats further down the line without the need to sand.

Top tip – Although you need additional coats Osmo UV-Protection oil, make them thin. Work your first coat into the timber, give it a quick sand down to get your surface nice and smooth, then just skim over it with a couple more thin coats after that. If too much oil sits on top of the timber it will blister and fail over time. Once this has happened it is hard to restore your timber to its former glory. A great alternative to Osmo UV-Protection Oil is Fiddes HD wood oil.

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Osmo Top Oil Review

 

I use Osmo top oil on kitchen worktops. All you do is prepare your surface, tip a little bit of the product on, then work it into the timber with a lint free cloth. There is a nack, you need to keep a wet edge and you need to be conscious not to apply too much oil. Give it a quick sand after the first coat (use wire wool and go with the grain), then apply again. Another thing you need to be conscious of is dust settling on the worktop before the oil is dry, but that is the same with any product. A worktop will need 3 or 4 coats of oil to be fully protected, then a coat of oil every couple of years.

Osmo Top Oil does look good, but it doesn’t last, or protect your timber very well. For this reason, I tend to look at the alternatives.

 

Best Place to Buy

 

Osmo oil is basically everywhere, including most of the main trade centres. I buy mine from the Decorating Centre Online because the products are in one place and they’re all reasonably priced. Click here to see online prices.

Osmo Oil Review – by Mike Gregory

 

What do Other Decorators Think?

I like using Osmo oil inside, particularly on veneered doors and even floors. I think it brings out the grain of the wood brilliantly. I don’t like the fact you can’t coat a previously sealed surface with it, but other than that I think it’s brilliant.

I don’t like using the top oil on worktops in a kitchen. Even after applying 5 or 6 coats it just doesn’t last!! You need to keep going back to it every year or even less to maintain it. It doesn’t give you enough of a colour change to hide imperfections either, so you’d only ever use it on a new worktop anyway.

I don’t use osmo oil outside for similar reasons. Although it does look awesome, you must apply additional coats and then re-coat it every year. They can’t claim “exterior protection” if the coating itself fails after such a short time, surly?

Osmo oil has it’s place and it is a very popular product. I think people need to understand the limitations of the product though

Andrew Buck

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I absolutely love Osmo Oil and so do my clients!! It brings the grain out in the timber, but still keeps everything looking natural. I know there are a few issues with longevity outside, but as long as you stay on top of the maintenance, Osmo oil is still the best thing to use on softwood. It’s a no brainer for me. There’s a reason Osmo is so popular, it’s because it looks amazing when it’s on!!

James Screen

I love Osmo Oil for interior work such as veneered doors and stuff like that, but I wouldn’t use it outside. It just doesn’t last, and their customer service is a joke. They can’t even tell you how long a product is going to last. Fiddes HD wood oil is much better.

You can’t use Osmo Oil over previously sealed surfaces either. Plus, it isn’t very good on worktops.

It comes into it’s own on internal trim like oak doors and skirtings. If I was going to write a comparison review on the best products to coat interior oak, then Osmo would be number one!

James Dawe

There is a reason Osmo Oil is so popular, and that is how it looks! It is fantastic on any new timber, and no one can say otherwise. The only issue is the longevity of the product, which is naff!!

Lee Thornton

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Osmo oil is great on interior timber. I can remember the first time I used it years ago; it was an interior designer who specified it for a job. It took some working in, but I couldn’t believe how good it looked. We used loads on a job on different surfaces and different colours.

I went back to the job a couple of years later. The timber we had coated inside the building still looked fantastic, but we also used the Osmo UV on thousands of pounds of exterior cedar, and it had all failed. The wood was ruined! There were water marks all over the place.

I wouldn’t use it on any exterior work now. I have much more faith in Fiddes HD, which seems to penetrate the timber a lot deeper.

John Frost

Updated Feb 17, 2024 | Posted Apr 21, 2020 | 26 comments

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26 Comments

  1. Jon

    Great article! Would you recommend Polyx-Oil or Top Oil for an oak desk worktop?

    Reply
    • Hilary Bower

      I have been using Osmo polyx oil Matt on an untreated oak engineered floor and have applied 3 coats with an Osmo brush and I am still getting an uneven finish and lots more Matt looking brush marks. Any advice please ? I have applied it thinly and stirred regularly .

      Reply
  2. Jaime Jehnonn

    It’s a pain to work with and seems to need constant maintenance. It just isn’t what I expected for the cost.

    Reply
    • Steve

      Been using this for more than 20 years. Two things to bear in mind:

      1. As Mike says don’t use on previously treated timber. Best on bare wood.
      2. Apply very sparingly. Just two coasts needed.

      As for maintenance, a wipe with a damp soapy cloth is all I’ve ever needed, comes up like new even in high traffic areas!

      Reply
      • Bill

        Steve/Mike,
        I take your entirely valid point about applying Osmo oil to previously lacquered or varnished surfaces. Would it be ok to apply Osmo to a previously OILED floor (type of oil unknown) without sanding back?

        Reply
  3. Di Dean

    I usually use Osmo satin oil which is great, but I am looking for something similar which will not darken the oak as I have sanded down old kitchen cupboards and want to keep them a light colour. Any suggestions please?
    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Gabby W

      Osmo have a product called Polxy-Oil Raw 3044 which provides a nearly invisible appearance, no ‘permanent wet effect’and light coloured wood stays light coloured! Hope that helps! 🙂

      Reply
  4. richard

    I am extremely vary about applying Osmo on oak venner doors. Howdens data sheet says ok but l am paranoid that too much applied and lift the venner and the soon to be poor old painter gets blame..
    Dont fancy even risking paying a joiner buy and rehang 7 /8 oak doors. £1k odd.
    Qd varnish for me.

    Reply
    • Pippa

      I bought oak veneer doors from Howdens too, and my builder / carpenter advised me to use Osmo. I applied with a cloth, gave it a sand while oil still seeping in and then oiled it again followed by a rub off with a clean cloth. The doors look really lovely so I would recommend. I’m a female and have no wood experience and found it really easy to apply.

      Reply
  5. Tim

    Would you recommend it on engineered wood flooring (from Howdens) which I don’t know if it is pre-sealed or not?

    Reply
  6. Tracey

    Can I use the Top Oil on Howdens Doors instead of the Door Oil as I already have some left?

    Reply
    • Sarah Holding

      Yes top oil is much the same. I used it on floor as like you I had tons left 🤣

      Reply
  7. Anand Dave

    Would you recommend Polyx-Oil or Top Oil for beech block kitchen worktops? tia

    Reply
  8. Gareth Williams

    Applies Osmo UV protection clear to oak front door and it is now orange… very disappointed

    Reply
  9. Peter Docker

    We have used the top oil on our work tops With th promise of keeping it pale which it has.

    In terms of protecting the wood it is TERRIBLE! total total rubbish…. I guess ill have to sand it off and treat with traditional Tung oil….Do not even think it will work…

    Reply
  10. RE

    If you choose Osmo, always check for errors with their product, because if they make mistakes, you’ll get stuck with the bill.

    I tested out and chose Osmo topoil in “naturell” for my new table, but when I started to apply it, the wood turned black and grey. Osmo could confirm that a batch of their darkest tinted oil, “graphite”, had been mislabelled. They had not warned the hardware stores about it, so it was still on the shelves.

    They offered me a replacement bottle, but they were not at all interested in helping me sort out the damage already done. They told me to sand it off by hand. I did try, but it was a large sheet of wood and it would be a difficult task under normal circumstances. I happened to be 8.5 months pregnant and couldn’t risk it. I ended up paying for a simple machine and finishing the job myself when, by law, I could have billed them for a new table or for a professional carpenter.

    If you do choose Osmo, do yourself a favour and check that you got the correct product. You will clearly get no help from them, even if they accept that the blame is on their end.

    Reply
  11. M. Smith

    Has anyone used OSMO PolyX oil K2 Pure, which is VOC Free.
    I know it requires a professional to do the work as it requires scraping.
    Anyway is there anyone out there that’s used it and how does the finish look?
    I have problems with chemicals so for me no VOC is great idea.
    If not can anyone suggest a genuine low VOC wooden floor oil. Some say it’s low voc because it’s just below the EU standard, buts that not a low VOC. Thanks if you have any comments

    Reply
  12. MJ

    Will product 3032 and 3332 (Original, clear satin and Express, clear satin) give the same finish? Is it just the drying time that is different for these two products?

    Reply
  13. Ian Cumming

    We have refinished our original hardwod floors and used Duracell (true black) to color (true black) looks beautiful with the stain . Can we and has anyone used Osmo over a stain floor for sealing and protection?

    Reply
    • Roy

      Hi I’m looking at putting Osmo Top oil onto a dining table, can I put a polyurethane varnish over the top of this to make it hard wearing?

      Reply
  14. Sue monk

    Hi. My floor was done with Cosmo oil about 5yrs ago. It now badly needs redoing. Can I just wash the floor and then apply. Or is there something special I should wash the floor with. As I said it already has Cosmo 3032 satin on it.

    Reply
    • Mike Cupit

      You should be able to apply Osmo oil on top of itself, but I’d check with their tech team to be sure

      Reply
  15. Joyce

    Can I apply a stain over Osmo Polyx oil?

    Reply
  16. Westy

    Do I really need to wait for two weeks for the top oil to cure in my worktops so I can use them ? Is there anyway I can tell I’ve put enough Osmo on initially prior to the two weeks so I’m not having to wait another two weeks again if it needs a further coat ?

    Reply
  17. Ben

    What do you recommend as an alternative for Kitchen tops?

    Reply

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