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Which Is Better: Painting or Staining Your Deck?

Home improvement - handywoman painting wooden plank outdoors

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Painting or staining a newly built wooden deck or re-painting or re-staining an older one will refrain from the moisture or environmental damage from happening to the deck and it will also outstretch the deck’s lifespan- if you wait for the deck paint to dry properly

You can either paint your deck or stain it, both of the methods will do the job perfectly, however, these two finishes differ in appearance, durability, and application.

While both exterior paint and wood stain can do the job, the two popular finishes differ in terms of appearance, applications, quality, and expenses.

Staining is better for saving

Stain ranges from around $15 to $25 per gallon whereas paint which is required for the deck ranges from $30 to around $65 per gallon. In addition, painting requires extra prep material too such as wood preservatives which costs around $20 to $30, and wood primer which ranges from $15 to $25 per gallon.

Wood stains, on the other hand, have already preservatives inside them therefore they do not require extra products for priming the deck to adhere.

Staining is suitable for a natural look

Stains are transparent to semi-solid in opacity. Wood stains do not fill the pores of wood instead form a very thin film over the deck which allows all the natural patterns and facile cracks on the deck to be visible, an ideal option if you’re looking for an extremely natural look.

Paint has a very high percentage of pigment and resins which fills the pores of the deck and dries to an opaque surface that covers all the patterns and cracks. The look seems precisely manufactured.

If you want a natural look but you want to hide some imperfections then a dense stain would be a suitable option.

Paint offers a variety of colors

Paint is available in numerous colors ranging from browns, hues, neutrals, and greens to crimson red, royal blue, and many more eye-catching colors. Wood stains are prepared to enhance the qualities of the wood and are restricted to neutrals or a few shades of browns.

 Home improvement - handywoman painting deck

Paint is long-lasting

Both of the options: paint or stain have cons. Paint is prone to peeling, chipping, and staining to discoloration because of heat radiation. But comparatively, paint often comes out as a more long-lasting option than staining. Paint lasts for around 10 years or even longer. Even in paint, oil paints are considered a very good option because they’re able to retain moisture and consequently oil paints can last longer.

Staining on the other hand is considered temporary because it requires reapplication. Stains that are denser are considered a better option because they can easily resist UV rays and can retain moisture but thin stains aka transparent stains provide very limited protection from moisture and UV damage.

Paint requires less maintenance

Paint is like a thick layer that adheres to the surface therefore it makes it easy to wipe off dust, dirt, or debris. Stain dries to a matte finish and requires extra effort while cleaning. Often homeowners use a pressure washer to wash their stained decks but the force can result in damaging the wood. It is advised to not exceed the washer limit i.e. 600 psi for softwoods and 1500 psi for hardwoods.

You will have to clean your deck thoroughly every once a year whether it is painted or stained. The deep cleaning process requires; deck cleaner by roller, scrubbing harsh stains, and then rinsing it clean with a garden hose.

You can easily paint your stained deck

You can easily repaint or re-stain your already stained/painted deck to give it a new shade or to hide imperfections. Painting a stained deck is a very easy process. You will have to dull the color of the stain by rubbing it with sandpaper. Then you will have to sweep the deck with a de glosser to prime it and in the end, you can top it over with the paint of your choice.

It is pretty easy to paint a stained deck but it requires a lot of hard work to stain a painted deck.  Converting a painted deck into a stained deck requires a lot of intense work. You will first have to strip the paint from the deck and then prime it with sandpaper or commercial paint. After that, a thorough cleaning is required to sand some imperfections. Once the process is done then you can stain the deck.

Summing it up!

The key differences between deck paints and stains are the aesthetics and the ease of use. Painting your deck will cover all the imperfections, blemishes, or any other spots you don’t want people to see, and most importantly paints are available in a variety of colors and shades. Stain on the other hand is like a thin film on the wood and therefore it fails to hide imperfections, and stains are only available in neutral shades. However, stains are easy to apply and are also affordable whereas deck paints are expensive and application is time-consuming as well.