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Should I paint, stain, or seal my wood deck?

Decks are the perfect spot to relax outdoors, either by yourself or with family and friends. Whether you're having company over or not, it's always a nice touch to have your wood deck in tip-top condition. By this, we mean having you deck freshly painted, stained, or sealed.

As many homeowners come across this issue, it's a common question to ask: should I paint, stain, or seal my wood deck? Over time, all three of these options will wear out in one way or another, meaning you'll have a new project on your hands. Learn the difference between each one below to get the results you want.

1. Painting

Just like painting a room in your home, there are many color options to choose from before painting your deck! This wide variety of hues will give you unlimited options for how you want your deck to look. Paint also lasts longer than stain or sealant, usually 10 or more years before needing a reapplied.

Paint is the best at keeping its color too, since it's more protected from UV rays and color fading. Although the color of paint lasts longer, paint tends to chip and peel over time, unlike stain and sealant which does not.

Paint is also more expensive and time-consuming, since it requires multiple layers when applying. If you are looking for the most opportunities in terms of color and pigment longevity, paint is definitely for you!

2. Staining

If you want your deck to have more of a natural look, but would like some sort of tint to help your wood pop, staining your deck is your best bet. Staining your deck is easy to apply because of its runny consistency, which usually only takes one coat to finish. Buying wood stains are also less expensive than buying paint, which is great for those trying to stay within a low budget.

Although stains have more color options than clear sealants, stains don't have a wide variety of hues like paint does. Stains color also wear out faster with exposure to UV rays than paint, therefore having to reapply stain more frequently. Depending on your preference though, staining your deck may be what you love best!

3. Sealing

If want your deck to look more natural, sealing is your best option. Unlike paint or staining, sealing is a clear deck coating that gives it extra shine and protection. Whether you are painting or staining your deck, it is recommended to use some type of sealant anyways to help shield it from water damage, mold, and mildew.

Since sealers don't have any hues or tints in them, the shine and color of them wear out much faster than paint or stain. Since there are no tints to protect your deck from UV rays, the natural color of your wood will tend to fade faster. This means you'll have to reapply sealant more frequently than paint or stain.

If you are looking for some sort of color tint while also wanting to protect your wood from both UV rays and water damage, there are 2-in-1 stain and sealant options available.


Remember before doing any of the above to your deck, you must clean off any dirt, dust, pollen, leaves, and other outdoor debris that may be on the surface. You want to make sure you have a clean, smooth surface to work with for the best looking results.

For more information on all your painting and staining needs, click here.

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