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Should you Stain Your Deck, or Paint It?

Should you Stain Your Deck, or Paint It?

With Spring officially upon us, many homeowners are looking at their decks and wondering what to do. It needs fixed up and protected, but should they do it with stain or paint. Each of these options has various advantages and disadvantages, so today, we decided to look at both to give you a balanced opinion.


Staining is used exclusively on wooden decks, or decks made with some sort of wood-based materials. It’s usually used to highlight the colour of the wood and give the deck a rustic, traditional feel.

Staining Pros:

1. Stain is an effective barrier against moisture, which can protect your deck from rain and water damage, and deteriorating when soaked for long periods of time.

2. Stain is also very easy to apply, much easier than paint. It usually only takes a couple of coats and doesn’t require primer.

3. As stated, stain gives your deck a very natural look that can highlight the beauty of the wood.

Staining Cons:

1. Stain requires a lot of prep before application, including sanding and even stripping before applying a new coat.

2. Most stains last only a year, two at the very maximum, and so you will get very used to re-staining every year.

3. Stain doesn’t cover up, so any blemishes or unsightly aspects of your deck will still look that way after a good staining, even with the best products available.


Painting a deck is often more labour intensive, but it can also yield longer lasting results. Plus, paint can be applied to more than just wooden surfaces and comes in multiple colours. So if you have a particular design in mind, paint can help unify your vision.

Painting Pros:

1. Painting typically last longer than staining, usually by a few years. A quality paint and paint job can last anywhere from 3 years and up.

2. Stain comes in a few colours: grey, brown, those sorts of colours. Paint comes in nearly every colour under the sun.

3. Being opaque, paint will cover up blemishes and stains on your deck completely, which can give you extra time on old or unsightly deck wood that’s still structurally sound.

Painting Cons:

1. Deck painting is no easy task. It will require multiple coats, and plenty of preparation. It will last longer, but it’s no small feat painting a deck.

2. And despite lasting longer, painting isn’t as moisture resistant as staining. If you live in a wet climate, paint may actually be a bad idea and cause your deck to deteriorate more quickly.

At an average cost of $2-5 dollars per square foot for each of these products, you can choose to stain or paint your deck on other factors, like look and frequency of maintenance. Just be sure that, no matter the material you choose, that it is applied properly and, most importantly, safely. Follow the safety instructions, and always make sure you leave the new coat of stain or paint time to soak in and dry.

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