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Should you Paint or Stain Your Deck? Pros and Cons of Each Choice

paint or stain your deck

Decks are sort of like an extension of your kitchen, aren’t they? On warm days, they allow you to bring your living space outdoors with you. They provide a laid-back location for sharing the fun of a summer afternoon with your loved ones. There’s the sound of the kids playing on the lawn, the mouthwatering smell of meat on the grill, the warm feeling of the sun on your face and the comfortably worn wooden planks under your bare feet. What could be better?

If you love that feeling, like we do, then you know it takes regular maintenance to keep your deck looking great summer after summer.

So, when it comes to refinishing your deck this year, should you paint it or stain it?

Both Paint and Stain can Protect Your Wooden Deck for Years of Use

In a sense, your choice comes down to preference. Both painting and staining will help your deck last longer than it would if it were left untreated. Both materials keep water out of your wood and protect it from sun damage. We certainly recommend that you treat your wooden deck so that you can entertain friends and family outside for years to come.

There are slight differences between paint and stain, however, that may make you lean one way or the other. Below, we list the pros and cons of each choice.

Painting Your Deck: Pros and Cons

Painting has a few benefits over staining that you’ll want to keep in mind:

  • Paint has a thicker finish than stain. It can fill little gaps in your deck, so it’s a great choice if your deck already has a little wear and tear.
  • Darker paint can be easier to clean than light-colored paint or stain. If paint is treated correctly, it protects your wood so that dirt washes right off. If you’ve got pets or kids, this may be a big benefit to you.
  • Speaking of protection, paint is better at resisting rot and mold, as well as blocking sun damage.
  • With paint, your color choices are endless. If you’re into adding pops of color to your home or yard, paint might be your best choice.

As with any choice, painting comes with some drawbacks as well:

  • It’s not the most natural looking choice. If you love the look of hardwood, you may want to consider a stain instead of covering up all of that beautiful wood grain with solid color.
  • If you do go with paint, keep in mind that you’re making that choice forever. It’s extremely difficult to switch from paint to stain. You’ll most likely end up repainting your deck from year to year.
  • Most of us aren’t color experts. A color that looks great on an interior wall won’t necessarily look great under your feet. Yes, there are lots of color choices. There’s also the chance that you could create extra work for yourself by choosing wrong.
  • With paint, you may have to be extra careful when it’s wet or icy outside. Depending on the sheen of your pain, your deck can become very slippery. If you’re concerned about slips and falls, you might want to simply stain your deck instead.

Staining Your Deck: Pros and Cons

If you rule out paint, you’ll want to consider either a semi-transparent stain or a clear sealer. There’s a lot to choose from in this category, but a few general benefits apply across the board:

  • Do you love the natural beauty of wood? Stain allows that beauty to shine through. With stain, you keep that lovely variety and texture of wood grain.
  • Generally speaking, stains aren’t as slippery as paint covering. They give you a flat surface that lightly protects the wood without completely covering it up with a polished sheen.
  • When you paint a room, do you ever miss a spot? If you’re not great with a brush,  you might want to consider staining. It’s easier to apply and a bit more forgiving than paint.
  • If you prefer stain but also want plenty of color choices, you’re in luck. Stain now comes in a variety of shades. Just be sure to consider the color of the wood itself as you pick your color.

No choice is perfect. Here are a few drawbacks to staining or sealing your deck rather than painting it:

  • Choosing stain? Get ready to reapply! Stain may not last as long as paint does, so you may have to recoat your deck more often. If maintenance really isn’t your thing, go with paint instead.
  • Is your deck a little worse for wear? Stain doesn’t fill cracks as easily as paint does. It’s simply thinner than paint. So if your deck has some trouble spots you’d like to cover up, paint might be a better choice.
  • If you’re not a fan of the rustic look, you might want to choose paint rather than sealant or stain. Stain won’t really cover all of wood’s imperfections. If you don’t care for the look of wood grain, make a different selection.

SNL Painting, Inc. can Paint or Stain Your Deck. Call on Us for Friendly Service and Expertise

If you’d rather not do the job yourself, our professionals at SNL can make your deck look great for you. We first power wash your deck to both clean the surface and get your deck ready for a new coat of stain or paint. Then we hand-brush your entire deck. We don’t spray your deck; we believe hand brushing makes the job look better and last longer.

If you have questions about what we can do for you, please don’t hesitate to reach out! Our pros would love to take your summer space from good to great this year.

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