Does Staining A Deck Make It Last Longer? (Painting Vs Staining)

Every time spring comes around, we get a fountain of questions from people regarding what they should do with their decks. After a long winter, it can easily look run down and in desperate need of a spruce up, ready to make the most of during the warmer spring and summer months. 

A new paint or stain job will help your old deck look brand new again and will also protect it from the elements and help it to stay in good condition for a couple more seasons.

Does Staining A Deck Make It Last Longer (Painting Vs Staining)

However, should you stain your deck or paint it instead? 

Well, there are pros and cons to both and in this article, we’ll be running you through all of them and recommending what one is best for your deck and your needs.

Benefits of Painting Your Deck

More Versatile

Paint offers more versatility in terms of colors for your deck. Whilst most people will stick to natural wood colors like brown or dark green, you can still opt for light sage green or sky blue to add a pop of color to your yard.

As paint is more opaque these colors will stand out more against your home whereas stains are more of a tint than an opaque color and won’t be as prominent. 

Lasts Longer

Paint has a longer lifespan than stain does but this is not to say that it is completely permanent. Paint will be more chipping or cracking and will eventually start to come away from the deck, especially with heavy foot traffic and bad weather. However, deck stains are prone to fading from the sun and heat.

A painted deck could last for over 10 years when maintained properly whereas a stained deck may only last around 8 years and will start to look worn down early on. Most people will end up staining their deck every 2 years, whereas those who paint their deck may only need to think about painting it after 5 years. 

Easier To Maintain

Painted decks are a lot easier to clean and maintain than stained decks. When using good quality paint that is allowed to cure properly before using, it’ll create a hard surface on the deck which will make it easier to brush and wash away dirt and debris from the elements. However, if you paint your deck with white paint then it’ll be a lot more difficult for you to maintain. 

Hides Flaws

If your deck is old, tired-looking and displaying some obvious imperfections then painting will help mask these issues and help your deck look brand new again. However, there are some things that paint won’t hide, so if your deck has structural issues then it may be time to consider repairing or replacing it entirely. 

More Protective

Paint is considered to be more rot-resistant than stains and also offers more UV protection from the sun so the deck will stay in better condition for longer. 

Benefits of Staining Your Deck


Staining your deck is a lot more budget-friendly compared to painting your deck. The average price of a deck stain can start at $20 whereas deck paint can start at around $30. Deck stains also contain a preservative in the formulation so you won’t have to splash out on buying an additional one like you would with a deck paint. 

As staining is relatively sheer anyway, you won’t have to paint as many coats and go through more gallons as you would to achieve the opaque color with paint. 

More Natural

Staining your deck still allows the natural grain pattern and cracks to show through the color whereas paint will fill the pores and dry to an opaque color which covers the natural definitions of the wood. 

Easy To Apply

Regardless of if you choose to paint or stain your deck, it’ll still require some preparation beforehand to make sure the surface is smooth and clean. However, a stain can easily be applied with just one coat and as it’s more transparent there won’t be marks where you’ve gone over an area as there would be with paint. 

Although, more than one coat of deck stain is recommended to keep your deck protected and also to achieve a nice finish that will last a bit longer than normal. 

Less Commitment 

If you stain your deck, the color will eventually fade after a few years and it’ll be unnoticeable, however, if you paint your deck, once the paint starts to chip and come away, it’ll make the deck look worn and you’ll need to strip the paint and then re-do it. You won’t need to strip deck stain when you want to redo it again, so the process is much easier. 

You can’t use a stain over paint, however, you can paint over deck stain, so you’ll have more flexibility when it comes to re-doing it as you’ll be able to use both stain or paint. 

Does Staining A Deck Make It Last Longer?

No, staining does not make a deck last longer, especially when you compare it to the more long-lasting protection that paint offers. Paint is more resistant to rot and prevents mold and sun damage better than stain does, therefore your deck will stay in better condition. 

How To Prepare Your Deck For Painting Or Staining

Before you even consider painting or staining your deck, you’ll want to make sure the deck is structurally sound and there are no damaged boards or loose screws that could make it dangerous to use. 

Next, you’ll need to thoroughly clean your deck by scrubbing all the dirt off and peeling any chipped paint off it. It’ll need to be rinsed and then dried off completely. 

Ideally, you should wait for a cloudy or shady day to paint or stain your deck and also make sure that there is no rain forecast for around 4 days after you’ve painted or stained your deck. 

Early or late spring (depending on where you live) is recommended as the best time to paint/stain your deck as the days may still be a bit cooler but there are more chances of having consecutive dry days.