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What Are the Best Paints for Decks?

calander Mar 12 , 2020 user-icon Nash Painting

If you want your deck to remain sturdy and beautiful for years to come, you have to protect it. Plenty of homeowners stain their decks for this reason. Deck stain provides a clear or semi-transparent layer that prevents moisture and other small particles from entering the wood while bringing out the wood’s natural grain. When properly applied and maintained, a quality deck stain can protect a wooden deck for a few years before needing to be replaced. That said, staining your deck isn’t your only option.

If you’d rather not recoat your deck so frequently, you might consider painting it instead. While stain seeps into the wood’s pores, paint lies on top of the surface, still providing crucial coverage that keeps the underlying wood safe from harm. Indeed, paint is thicker than stain, typically lasts longer, and comes in a wider variety of colors and finishes. So, what are the best paints for decks?

What to Look for in a Deck Paint

Like deck stains, deck paints come in a variety of options, making it difficult to choose the best one for your property. To help you make this decision, let’s break down the factors that make up a quality deck paint.

UV Protection

Even if you don’t live in a particularly sunny area, sunlight is one of the greatest enemies for a wooden deck. The heat from the sun’s rays expands the wood, which can warp and fracture its panels and open the material’s pores, making it vulnerable to intrusion. Sun radiation can also turn the wood gray, diminishing your deck’s vibrant appearance. With all that in mind, you want a wood deck paint that’s strong against the sun. Look for products that boast a high UV protection rating, and keep in mind that lighter colors reflect light while darker ones absorb it.

Mold and Mildew Resistance

Fungi can wreak havoc on a wooden deck, especially mold and mildew. Coating your deck at all will help prevent this infestation, but it’s best to choose a paint that can actively stop fungus in its tracks. So, prioritize deck paints that feature anti-mold and mildew films. If your paint or stain doesn’t feature mold-resistant technology, you can also apply a dedicated antifungal sealant after the coating has dried.


Another way to keep mold and mildew at bay is to choose a waterproof deck paint. After all, moisture is one of the key environmental factors that allow fungi to thrive. Of course, waterproof deck paint is a good choice for other reasons, too. By keeping water away from the wood, it can’t get inside its pores and expand or contract, which leads to warping and cracking. Excess moisture can also discolor your deck, so choosing a waterproof deck paint will keep your deck from losing its looks as well.

Overall Durability/Longevity

Generally speaking, deck paints last longer than deck stains. That said, some paint options are even more durable than others. In fact, the best products can stick around for a decade or so. In order to get the most out of your deck paint, you have to maintain it properly, of course. Ideally, then, you want a durable deck paint that’s easy to clean.

Aesthetic Outcome

One reason to choose a deck paint over a wood deck stain is that the former gives you more visual options in terms of color and sheen. Plus, because it’s thicker, paint can conceal surface flaws that might otherwise show up under stain. In this regard, the best paint for your deck depends on your personal preference. Do you want your deck to match or contrast with your exterior home painting job? Do you want to paint it white to keep it cool in the summer? Or a darker color to hide any marks and messes?


Deck paints can be either oil-based or water-based. Neither option is inherently better than the other, but each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. Oil-based deck paints are usually thicker and more durable, last 5-10 years on average, and delivers strong protection against moisture. That said, they’re also less environmentally-friendly than water-based deck paints, as they contain many volatile organic compounds (VOCs). On the other hand, water-based paints are slightly less durable overall, lasting about 4-8 years, but they’re more flexible, low in VOCs, easy to clean, and good at preventing fading.

The Verdict?

A quick online search of “best deck paints” will reveal numerous lists of great options by different brands. Ultimately, though, you want to keep the variables listed above in mind. The best paints for decks provide optimal protection from UV rays, moisture, and mold while offering the aesthetic options you desire. At Nash Painting, we exclusively use Sherwin-Williams SuperDeck products, a choice that we believe in and have seen perform exceptionally over and over again.

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