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Paint vs. Stain on Wooden Decks

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With summer quickly approaching and the good weather making more frequent appearances many people are starting to think about refreshing an old wooden deck or maybe even building a new one.

There are many things to think about when deciding to use paint vs. stain on wooden decks. Wood has many great features and characteristics making it a favourite for many opting to build a deck. As there are so many different things to consider we thought we’d help you out by highlighting the pro and cons of each method.

Leaving your deck unfinished is an option with certain types of woods but generally we suggest applying a sealer, stain or even paint to protect your surface. Unfinished surfaces tend to crack, warp and even rot earlier than if the wood had been protected. Spending a little more money early on can save you lots in repairs and maintenance in the future.

Painting Your Deck:

Pros

  • Paint gives you many different colour options and can thoroughly cover old colours if the deck has been painted in the past.
  • Depending on the finish and colour of the paint, it may make it easier to clean the deck. (Light coloured paints are going to be more difficult to maintain)
  • If there are any imperfections in the wood paint can mask this and fill any grooves as it is often thicker than stains and sealers.
  • If you’ve had to add new boards paint will hide them as though they were never replaced.

Cons

  • Once you choose to paint your deck it’s very hard to undo that decision without labour intensive work so be sure that paint is what you want before putting on that first coat.
  • Paint will hide the natural characteristics of the wood. We often choose wood for its natural beauty and paint will hide this.
  • Painted surfaces often become slippery when wet especially if glossy or semi-gloss paint is used so be aware of the finish you choose.
Painted Deck - Image from http://davidjfestacarpentry.com

Painted Deck – Image from: http://davidjfestacarpentry.com

Staining / Sealing Your Deck

Pros

  • Stain maintains the natural beauty of the wood
  • Stain creates a less slippery surface than paint
  • The application of stain is often easier as it is thinner than many paints and is more forgiving if you are to miss a section. In general stain is easier to work with in this type of application.

Cons

  • Paint will often stand up longer thus stain requires more frequent reapplications.
  • If you’re looking to hide any imperfections stain will not often do so as it enhances the colour of the wood versus hiding it. (What is a pro can also be a con depending on what you are looking for)
  • You have to be careful with your colour selection and application of stain. If you have replaced some board and are using a light colour you will see the colour variation clearly.   As well, you need to be careful when first staining the crevices because if too much stain gets on the top surface the colour along the edges will darken.
Stained Deck - Image from: http://members.nadra.org

Stained Deck – Image from: http://members.nadra.org

As you can see both options have some great characteristics. When choosing between paint and stain you need to look at your needs and what suits your outdoor space the best.

At Domain Decorating we love the natural beauty of wood and often look to enhance it using stains and sealer but paint is another great option depending on your needs.

We are always here to help no matter your painting needs so feel free to contact us if you are looking to update your outdoor living space and want to leave the work to the professionals.