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Deck Painting vs. Deck Staining

calander Jun 29 , 2020 user-icon Nash Painting

Wooden decks are beautiful additions to any home, but without proper protection, these exterior features can quickly deteriorate from multiple environmental forces -- moisture, harsh sunlight, extreme temperatures, pests, fungi, and more, all pose a threat to your deck. The best way to mitigate all of these harmful factors is by properly coating your wooden deck, either with deck stain or paint. But which option is better, and what makes them different?

Here we will explore the similarities and differences between staining vs painting your wooden deck, and the good and bad aspects of either choice.

The Pros and Cons of Painting Your Deck

When it comes to visual variety, deck paint boasts a much wider array of color options than stain does. As such, paint is often an appealing option for homeowners looking for a specific color for their deck. Additionally, many deck paint products do a good job of covering up the wood’s grain and texture, which is desirable or undesirable depending on who you ask. Deck paint offers more than just aesthetic options, though. When compared to wood stains, deck paints tend to last longer, and these coatings are also easier to maintain.

That said, even the best wood deck paint is not without its downsides. Unlike stain, paint does not penetrate the wood’s pores -- rather, it rests on top of the material. This means that as the wood expands and contracts due to changes in temperatures, the paint will not move at the exact same rate, which can result in moisture becoming trapped between the wood and the paint. Eventually, this moisture and movement can cause the paint to peel and chip. So, while paint products last longer than stains, they can fall apart under enough pressure.

The Advantages and Drawbacks of Deck Staining

So, what about deck stain? The primary purpose of deck stain is to permeate the wood, sealing it from the intrusion of moisture, bacteria, fungi, and small pests, while also providing surface protection of UV radiation and impact. All of these practical benefits aside, though, deck stain also enhances the natural beauty of a wooden deck, emphasizing the grain and providing additional sheen and color. You have some options in terms of how much or little grain you want to poke through -- a solid deck stain, for instance, will cover most of the grain, while a transparent stain will reveal most of it. And the more solid your stain, the more color options you have (just not as many options as deck paint offers). Generally speaking, deck stain is also cheaper than deck paint, and because it’s thinner, it’s usually easier to apply and dries much faster.

As for the drawbacks of deck stain, regular maintenance is required to keep up the protective value and appearance of the stain. And even then, it’s usually necessary to re-stain your deck every 2-3 years. Not only that, but a proper stain job often requires a significant amount of prep work, such as power washing, sanding, repair work, and more. Much of this prep work also applies to deck painting, but it’s more important for staining because the stain must be able to penetrate the wood, not simply cover it. For these reasons, it’s often wise to hire deck staining services to handle part or all of the job.

Deck Painting vs. Deck Staining: The Verdict?

Both deck paint and stain will help protect your deck from nature -- but to varying degrees. Plus, each option comes with its own pros and cons that can help inform your decision based on your needs and preferences. In other words, neither option is inherently better or worse than the other. It’s really a matter of context, and how much time, money, and effort you’re willing to pour into deck maintenance. And if you’re struggling to make a decision, Nash Painting can help. Not only that -- we will help you at every stage of the coating process to ensure you end up with the best-looking and longest-lasting results.

To learn more about us, our services, and our values, call us at 615-829-6858 today!