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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. While pressure treated wood deck boards are made to resist moisture, insects, fire, and other environmental hazards, that extra layer of protection in the form of paint or stain is recommended for many reasons.

Painting vs. Staining Your Deck

Whether you choose to paint or stain your deck to help it withstand our region’s everchanging 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.

  1. 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. It provides a more rustic look, so if that’s what you’re going for, stain may be the way to go.

  1. 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. If you aren’t planning to use an outdoor rug or are worried about people slipping and falling on the deck, stain might be a better solution for you.

  1. Faster to Apply

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

  1. Better, Lasting Coverage

While staining may take less time than painting, painting often does a better job of filling the cracks, covering imperfections, and provides longer lasting protection. Paint also is typically more rot resistance and does a better job of preventing mold and sun damage.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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, scrubbing 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, and check 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!