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Deck Maintenance Tips: Painting or Staining Your Deck to Make it Last Longer

In the Northeast, especially, the benefits of painting or staining your deck are worth the time, effort, and cost in the long run.

Pressure-treated wood deck boards are made to resist moisture, insects, fire, and other environmental hazards. But, paint or stain is that extra layer of protection. And either of which are recommended for many reasons.

Is it Better to Paint or Stain a Deck?

The answer is: it depends - each has its pros and cons.

In short, some benefits of deck painting include:

  • Paint provides more color and style options
  • A painted deck is easier to clean and maintain
  • Paint is great at hiding surface flaws

Some benefits of deck staining include:

  • Stain brings out the natural beauty of your wood deck
  • Stain seals your deck from moisture
  • Stain won't chip or crack like paint

Below, we list more pros and cons of each.

We hope this blog will help you finally know whether you should have your deck painted or stained.

Painting vs. Staining Your Deck - Pros and Cons of Each

Whether you choose to paint or stain your deck to help it withstand our region’s ever-changing weather depends on a variety of factors. So, let’s take a look at the different reasons you might paint vs. stain (or vice versa) your deck to keep it in great shape for years to come.

There are pros and cons to each, and in some cases, it just comes down to preference.

A Matter of Style

Many people prefer staining to painting simply because of they prefer the way the wood grain shows through the stain with this method.

Whereas painting covers the wood design entirely, staining leaves the natural look of the wood, which many enjoy.

Staining provides a more rustic look. Is this what you’re going for? If so, stain may be the way to go.

A picture containing wooden, table, tool, sitting	
	
Description automatically generatedPlaying it Safe

Paint can sometimes make for a more slippery surface vs. stain, particularly when wet

Do you want to avoid using an outdoor rug or are worried about people slipping and falling on the deck? If so, stain might be a better solution for you.

Faster to Apply

When it comes to covering a deck surface, staining generally takes less time than painting.

Are you looking to get your deck covered and ready for use, but don’t have all day? Staining might be the way to go.

Plus, if you miss a spot here or there, it’s less likely to stand out with stain, while paint is much less forgiving.

Better, Lasting Coverage

Staining may take less time than painting.

But painting often does a better job at filling the cracks, covering imperfections, and providing longer-lasting protection.

Paint also is typically more rot resistant and does a better job of preventing mold and sun damage.

Choice of Color

Whether you’re starting with a blank slate, an already painted deck, or an already stained deck, paint allows you to completely cover the previous color. With stain, on the other hand, your options become more limited if you’re working with a deck that has already been covered with paint or stain.

Easier to Clean

Paint wins again when it comes to the ease of cleaning.

When good quality paint is used and applied properly, it is typically easier to wash off dirt from a smooth, painted surface vs. a rough, stained surface.

A Long-Term Commitment

Once you’ve decided to paint your deck, it’s likely that you’ll stick with paint for the life of your deck.

It’s much easier to start with stain and change to paint, vs. the other way around.

Before You Paint or Stain

No matter what you choose to protect your deck with, it’s important to prep your deck accordingly before applying paint or stain. If you skip this step, you aren’t likely to get the results you’re hoping for.

A picture containing building, outdoor, floor, wooden	
	
Description automatically generatedPrepping Your Deck for Paint

Before applying paint or stain to your wood deck, it’s important to do some research to find the best product for your outdoor deck, especially in the Northeast.

Next, clean your deck well. Scrub off any mold, dirt, and/or peeling paint as best you can.

Rinse and let the wood dry before applying any paint or stain for best results.

Don’t forget to replace rotted and/or damaged boards. You'll also want to make sure any nails or screws are hammered in all the way.

And, before you begin, make sure you have the right amount of paint or stain to cover the desired area.

Check the Weather

Be sure to check the weather before you begin!

If rain is expected within 24 hours or less, you might want to reschedule your painting or staining plans.

For latex-based paints, the ideal temperature is between 50-70 degrees F.

For oil-based paints, you have a slightly wider ideal temperature range – between 45-90 degrees F.

For best results when staining, apply in the shade or on a cloudy day

 The ideal temperatures for staining are between 50- and 90-degrees F.

A wooden bench in front of a building	
	
Description automatically generatedMake Your Deck Last

Now that you know the pros and cons of painting vs. staining, and what to do before you apply these materials to your deck, the choice is yours.

Either choice is a great one if you’re looking to make your deck last.

Left untreated, your deck is much more likely to succumb to damage from rot, sun, mold, insects, and more. Paint and stain help keep your deck looking great, and structurally sound so you can enjoy it for longer.

Do you need help with deck painting, staining, power washing or repairs? My Handyman of Dover, Portsmouth, and Rochester can help!

Contact us today for a quote!