Decks add value to your home and also provide an extension of your living space. They sure beat having a simple and boring yard.
However, many people wonder whether a deck should be painted or stained. There isn’t one simple answer to end this conversation because painting and staining both have their own pros and cons.
Painting Your Deck
- Painting makes your deck easier to maintain. A professionally painted deck can last up to 10 years before it needs to be repainted.
- There are more color choices. If you want the deck to match the color of your home, or make it stand out, neither is a problem with painting.
- Paint can hide flaws. Old decks can look new with professional painting because paint is perfect for masking the flaws of a wooden deck.
- Paint can trap moisture. The horizontal areas of your deck may be sites for pooling water. Over time, all that moisture can permeate the wood and be trapped in it. If this happens, the expansion and contraction of the moisture in the wood can lead to paint cracking and peeling.
- Your wood deck may look less beautiful. Wood decks are beautiful because the material has uniqueness. If you paint over it, you’re essentially hiding that natural beauty.
- Paint is permanent. When you paint your deck, it’s not easy to change your mind and go with staining. Suffice it to say, you’ll always be painting.
Staining Your Deck
- A solid stain is dark and uniform. It covers the natural elements of wood, but also makes them look better.
- A semi-transparent stain allows the natural characteristics of the wood to show. It also protects the wood from the weather and from ultraviolet (UV) rays.
- A clear wood preserve is a perfect choice for rich cedar and redwood, which are simply lovely. Most preserves have fungicide that keeps mold and mildew away. You can also find a clear wood preserve that offers UV protection.
- You can choose how much of the wood is visible when you stain it.
- To penetrate the wood grain, choose a high-quality stain. This can protect the wood from moisture penetration and rot.
- Stains highlight the wood’s natural beauty. Unlike paint, which hides wood, stains highlight what your wood deck already has: its natural great looks.
- Stains are less slippery. You can choose a flat, less slippery stain for safety, unlike paints that are usually slippery.
- Stains don’t last as long as paints. It’s not unusual to stain a wooden deck every year.
- If there are cracks, a stain won’t fill it in because stains are generally thinner than paint.
- Some dense woods like tropical hardwoods don’t hold stains very well.
- Stains don’t hide flaws well. If your deck is old and weathered, painting may be better than staining it.
No Painting or Staining
If you’re not too excited about the prospect of painting or staining your deck, you have other choices, such as TimberTech® AZEK® decks. These wood composite decking materials can still be painted or stained, but the manufacturer does not recommend either because these products are designed to be low maintenance.
If you have a TimberTech deck, it’s a good idea to wait for about 10 weeks so the deck material has completed its weathering process. Then, you can decide whether you still want to paint or stain it.