Deck Stain Vs Deck Paint

Often are the times when people have had numerous questions on which is the most suitable finish between a paint and a stain. This article tries to compare slight differences that may clarify to the reader about the best choice to make between the two. However, Tool Starter’s deck stain recommendations are also a great guideline for anyone with questions relating to a dark stain vs. deck paint.

One thing we all must agree on is that finishing a wooden deck protects it from weather-related damage which in turn prolongs its life. It is, however, worth noting that the appearance given when the paint is used is different from the appearance when a stain is applied. We’ll explain the few main differences here.

Stains are pocket-friendly

At any given time, stains have shown to be cheaper when compared to paints. When one is using a paint they will have to incur extra cost to purchase a primer. On the contrary, most stains usually have a preservative and therefore eliminate the need of a primer which cuts in the budget making it cheaper than paint.




Stains give a natural look

Usually, stains give a natural look. Stains fill the pores of the wood and form a thin film over the deck. This makes the superficial cracks in the wood and natural grain pattern to show through giving it an ideal natural look. This is not so with paint, which fills the pores of the wood and dries hiding the cracks and subsequently gives the surface a manufactured look.

Ease in application

When compared, a stain is easier to apply than a paint. The preparation process involves first sweeping the surface clear, scrubbing with a deck cleaner, repairing any damaged boards and sanding surface ridges. This is followed by application of the stain whose runny consistency prevents globs from pooling while its transparency ensures there is no appearance of lap marks.

Deck stain Vs Deck Paint - painting

On the contrary, before painting a deck has to be treated with wood preservatives, then coated with a primer in addition to applying two coats of oil-based paint or latex paint. In the final, the thick consistency of paint ends up globing the finish with the lap marks also cropping the finish. The paint also has to be sealed with a polyurethane sealer.

Paint last longer than a stain

Whether a paint or a stain deck finish, both are prone to problems unique to either. This may include heat-related discoloration, chipping or peeling among others, but when compared a paint has shown to be more durable than a stain. A paint can last up to 10 years or more, unlike stain finishes which are short-lived.


Ease of maintenance

Naturally, paints dry to a slick surface that eases sweeping away of dirt, debris, and dust, unlike stains which dry to a matte finish that makes cleaning more difficult. This makes it easier to maintain a painted deck than one that a stain is used.

Repainting is easy because paints are available in many different colors. As such, one can cover an old color with a new color something that is virtually impossible with a stain.