Wooden decks have become quite popular in modern homes. The integration of wood into a home’s exterior adds a layer of elegance and warmth that can boost its curb appeal and improve its value.
However, as a natural material, wood on an outdoor deck means it is constantly exposed to the elements, which can degrade the material over time. That’s why applying finishing is crucial, as it adds a layer of protection over the wood against UV light, moisture, and other elements and prolongs its life.
Staining and painting are two of the most popular options for wooden material finishing. But is it better to stain or paint a deck? While both methods have their merits, the decision over deck paint vs stain will depend on what kind of look you want to create, the level of protection you need, and the amount of time you’re willing to put into the project.
In this blog, we’ll explore the pros and cons of applying deck paint vs stain to help you make a more informed decision on whether to paint or stain deck wood.
The Pros and Cons of Painting a Deck
Paint is popular among homeowners who want a uniform look on their property. Once applied, paint covers the entire surface of the material, which masks the natural beauty of wood but can also hide its imperfections, giving it a brand new look.
Paint is a versatile material, offering a wide range of color options that helps in the creation of a complementary look. It can even mimic the natural look of wood by choosing an organic color scheme, such as browns, taupes, and sandy hues.
There are two types of paint that you can apply to your wooden deck:
- Enamel (Oil-Based) Paint. Enamel paints typically adhere easily to wood and offer a smooth finish. They provide long-lasting protection against moisture and daily wear and tear.
- Latex (Water-Based) Paint. Water-based paints like Latex are best used in areas with higher temperatures because they offer significant protection against UV. They also emit less odor and have a shorter drying time than enamel paints.
- Offers considerable protection against sun damage and moisture
- Typically lasts up to 10 years before needing refinishing
- Provides complete masking of wood surface for concealing imperfections
- Wide range of color options for customizability
- Easy to clean
- Glossy finish creates a slippery surface
- High tendency to chip and peel over time due to the expansion and contraction of wood
- Conceals the natural beauty of wood
- The application process is more time and labor-intensive considering the extra steps required, which include treating the wood with water-repellant wood preservative, applying a layer of primer, coating it with an additional layer of paint if necessary then sealing it with clear polyurethane.
- Eliminates the possibility of wood staining in the future as it requires more extreme measures to remove from the wooden deck
- More expensive than staining
The Pros and Cons of Staining a Deck
Deck stains are popular among owners who prefer a rustic or natural look. They are an excellent choice for wood finishing as they protect the material, while also avoiding common issues with paint.
Wood stains offer complete protection against the outside elements while highlighting - and even enhancing - the natural beauty and elegance of wood. When applied, wood stains penetrate the material, creating a transparent film on the surface and adding a barrier on the inside that prevents water absorption.
There are several options available when it comes to wood stains. These include:
- Solid Stains. Solid wood stains look similar to paint as they also cover up the wood’s natural graining patterns while still providing the complete protection of natural wood stains.
- Semi-Transparent Stains. Contains a slight hue that adds a slightly deep color to the stain while allowing the natural graining patterns of the wood to show.
- Clear Stains. Provides a clear coating over the wood, allowing its natural beauty to shine through.
- Highlights the natural wood grain patterns on wood, which adds a layer of elegance when allowed to shine
- Stains that contain sealers can be readily applied to any wooden surface, cutting the workload considerably
- Readily repels moisture
- Offers complete weatherproofing and UV ray protection
- Stained wood decks are less slippery than paint when wet
- Less expensive than paint
- Clear stains provide less protection from sun damage and moisture than solid or semi-transparent stains
- Doesn’t hide imperfections on old or weathered wood
- Some wood varieties may not hold the staining material very well
- May require reapplication after a few years
Make the Smart Choice with Ready Seal
Knowing the pros and cons of deck paint vs stain will help you make a more informed decision on whether to paint or stain deck boards on your home’s exterior. So, after looking at the list above, is it better to stain or paint a deck? Make the smarter choice by choosing to stain your wood deck. It provides more protection against the elements while preserving any wood material’s natural beauty and elegance, giving you a timeless look that doesn’t fade. Check out our product gallery for home staining ideas you can incorporate into your next home project. If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call at (972)-434-2028 or contact us through this form.
Ralph Hornbeck says
If a choose to do a second coat how long should I wait?
sharon watts says
does Ready Seal sell the stain and sealer in one
Jim F says
Stain on decks that are decently clean and in good condition. Paint when its old or has layers of stubborn stain remaining. We contracted with a deck company and they threw some knowledge my way.
Tom eddens says
Can you suggest a brand of tank sprayer that will apply your product? I’m only seeing water based tanks.