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Painting or Staining A Deck: What’s Best For You

outdoor deck

When it comes to finishing or refinishing your deck, you can either paint it or stain it. While both accomplish the main goals of protecting and stylizing your deck, there are some key differences that you should think about before deciding on whether painting or staining is right for you.

More variety in paint

painting deck white

Painting allows you to choose any color you want for your deck. You can get pretty creative with how you want to have your deck painted, whereas staining is much more limited. With that said, you should be very thorough in the color selection process. A particular color may look great on a wall, but on a big, wooden surface like your deck, it may not turn out the way you imagined in your head.

Staining provides a more natural look

staining deck

If you enjoy the natural look of wood, staining is the option for you. Painting your deck will hide the grains and imperfections of the wood and give the deck a manufactured look. A quality stain can still make your deck pop without sacrificing natural beauty.

Paint lasts longer

peeling deck

Paints and stains are both prone to problems that can cause headaches. For paint, it’s chipping or peeling. For stain, it’s discoloration due to sun exposure. Generally speaking, a deck that is painted with high-quality paint can last up to 10 years before it needs to be repainted. A stained deck will usually need to be restained anywhere from 1-5 years depending on what kind of stain you use.

Staining is better for a DIY project

staining deck

Painting your deck is much more taxing of a process. Number one, the paint itself is more expensive than stains are. In addition to the paint, you will also have to apply primer and wood preservative, which will run the cost even higher and add more time to the project. Most high-quality stains contain a preservative in them. As far as application, staining usually requires one coat and is more forgiving when it comes to blemishes than paint.

Painting is a much more significant commitment

man sanding the deck in preparation of refinishing

Other than being more expensive and time-consuming than staining, painting a deck usually means that you will always continue to paint your deck going forward. If you want to transition from a stained deck to a painted deck, it’s relatively painless. The transition from a painted deck to a stained deck is a much more rigorous process that involves stripping the old paint and primer, thoroughly cleaning the deck, and sanding the deck before you can apply the stain.

A stained deck is safer when wet

wet deck

For homes with small children or elderly family members, staining is probably a better option. Because paint is thick and fills in gaps in the wood, it can become slippery when wet. Stain is thin enough where you should be able to have enough traction to walk on it without worrying about slipping.

As you can see, the difference between painting and staining is substantial. Both come with their fair share of pros and cons. However, it’s up to you decide which works best for you. If you want to meet with an expert who can walk you through what’s best for your deck, schedule a free on-site design consultation today.

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