Staining vs painting has plenty of differences when it comes to cost, ease of application, maintenance, durability, variety, and longevity
Wooden decks enhance the beauty of your house. You can host meals, parties or just sit around and spend quality time with your friends and family members there. Not to mention, a deck can also increase your curb value.
Anyone who has a deck knows that it needs to be cleaned and maintained otherwise it loses its beauty and usefulness very soon. Other than normal sweeping, there are two ways you can make your deck look brand new.
You can either paint or stain it. There are some significant differences between painting and staining but before that, let’s look at what deck painting and staining are all about.
A deck stain is a product that is used on the surface of a deck. It helps preserve and protect the natural look of the wooden deck, by preserving its original wooden textures, grains, and natural beauty.
Properly staining will keep your deck moisture-proof. However, your average stain will not provide sun protection. Meaning, over time the deck will be sunburned and discolored. For that, you can use tinted or semi-transparent stains to restore the deck’s original opacity.
As for the tools, you will need a stiff broom for scrubbing, a hand sander, a pole sander, oil or water-based stains, and a tarp. Most of these are common items that you should add to your woodworking toolkit if you are a DIY enthusiast and want to do the staining by yourself.
Deck painting is a good option if you want to add a fresh coating of color or completely change its original color. Most people paint the deck after a few years, once it loses its texture and glows.
But painting is not always the best option since the thick coating is prone to peeling off. Due to harsh weather conditions, the wood can expand and swell causing the paint to peel off. But there are high-quality paints that are much durable and will not peel that easily. Of course, they will cost more.
As for the tools, you will need brushes or rollers for painting, a power washer, plastic sheets, and a broom
6 Major Differences Between Staining & Painting A Deck
Now that we know the basics of painting and staining, let us look at the major differences that set these two methods apart-
If you are looking for a quick budget-friendly fix then go for stain because you will find stains at a much cheaper price anywhere. Just visit your local hardware shop, and see the difference.
A gallon of stain on average can cost about $35, but a gallon of paint can cost roughly $65. If you decide to paint you will also have to purchase primer that can cost $10-$40 per gallon and wood preservatives for another $10-$40 per gallon.
As for stains, you do not have to make these extra purchases since stain does not need primer.
2. Natural Appearance
If your deck has become very old and lost all its natural beauty then painting is a better option. However, if it has only been three to five years and will only need a little touch up then go for staining.
Painting adds a thick coat of a completely new component. This masks your deck’s original textures and covers up any imperfections. But if you stain it, then it will seep into the grains of your wooden deck and preserve its original look.
3. Ease Of Application
Both staining and painting require almost similar tools and applications. For both cases, you would need to clear the deck, clean it, scrub, replace or repair broken or damaged boards and then some light sanding.
After the initial prep work, add your paint or stain. Applying stain is much easier. The stain has a runny consistency and automatically seeps into the grains and textures of the wood. Since the stain is also transparent and light, it does not create any blob on the floor and only one coating will suffice.
However, when you apply paint, you have to be more careful because the paint is much thicker and can leave blobs if you do not apply and brush it properly. You will also need to add primer and wood preservatives and not to mention, two coatings of paint to finish the job.
Paint also makes future renovations harder because scraping off paint takes more time and effort than stain.
4. Wood Quality & Longevity
Paint slows down your decks’ wear and tear. It offers protection from most exterior impacts. So if your wood is very old and prone to damages then you should paint it to increase its longevity.
Paints also last much longer than stains. If you properly paint your deck with oil or latex-based paints then it will last for about 10 years without the need for repainting. Stains, on the other hand, would only last a couple of years
Wood stains are designed to preserve the natural look of the wood that is why there is less variety. With paint, you can completely change the look of your wooden deck. You can use chocolate brown, black, forest green, or even crimson blue to design your deck more creatively.
Painted decks are easier to maintain since they are more durable. They dry and become a slick surface and stains dry to a matte finish. Painted surfaces are much easier to clean even when you use a pressure washer.
But be careful when you use it. Do not exceed the PSI over 600 otherwise, it will gouge the wood.
Both staining and painting have their perks. If you are looking for a long-term solution and want to change the look of your wooden deck then paint it. But if your deck is only a few years old, has minimal damage, and you want to preserve the natural look then stain it. And remember, a stained deck can always be painted later on, but the opposite is much more difficult.