Is Deck Stain or Deck Paint Better?

If you have decided to spruce up your decking, then you might be asking yourself – “Should I stain or paint?” – and for good reason, too.

When it comes to decking, both deck paints and stains are great options to consider, and can both help to elevate the exterior of your home with a uniform and tidy appearance.

However, which one is better? The ultimate choice will depend on your own taste, as both types of deck products offer a slightly different finish.

On one hand, you could choose to use paint for your decking, which will color the entirety of your decking in one consistent color.

On the flip side, you could choose to use deck stain, which offers a much more natural finish and allows the character of the wood to shine through.

Decking stains can be purchased in a variety of finish and color combinations, and are mainly intended to enhance the natural color and character of your decking, although you could opt for a decking stain with color pigments within its formula that would be able to slightly manipulate the color of the wood without covering it in the way paint would.

This makes deck stains a great choice for those that would like to protect their decking while also enhancing its natural beauty.

In contrast, deck paint will completely cover up the surface of the decking, which means that the natural color and wood pattern of the decking will also be totally concealed.

Many people prefer this as it helps to create a more uniform appearance, although, for people that want to ensure the surface of the wood remains visible, deck paint might not be the best choice.

Is solid deck stain the same as paint?

Though they might look somewhat similar in appearance, solid deck stain and deck paint are very different, so it’s important not to get the two mixed up!

Unlike standard deck stain, which is often only intended to subtly enhance the natural beauty of the wood surface while also protecting it, solid deck stain is able to offer a slightly higher level of coverage.

When in use, solid deck stain will be able to form a film across the surface in the same way that a deck paint would, however, the biggest difference between the two is that paint tends to be a lot thicker in consistency than solid deck stain.

Due to this, this can mean that deck paint is at more of a risk of peeling (from high levels of humidity or moisture) due to the thicker consistency across the surface of the decking, which means that it might not be the best choice for homeowners that want a low maintenance option that’s going to last.

This compares greatly to solid deck stain, as its thinner consistency means that it is much less likely to peel, meaning that it won’t require much upkeep.

Another main difference between solid deck stain and deck paint is the coverage.

Deck paint is able to conceal the surface of the decking in one uniform color, while solid deck stain will allow the natural characteristics of the wood decking to shine through.

This is very important to consider when choosing what type of decking product to use, as the removal process if anything goes wrong can be an arduous task.

What is the difference between deck paint and exterior paint?

If you’ve decided that you would like to tidy up the overall appearance of your decking area, then you might be torn between using deck paint or exterior paint, especially as deck paint can be quite costly.

Although exterior paint can, in theory, be used on any type of outdoor surface, we do not recommend that you opt for it when painting your decking.

Though many people may recommend the use of exterior paint (especially if you’re looking for the most cost-effective way to paint your decking), it’s important to keep in mind that decking is a vertical surface, and the majority of exterior paints are specifically designed for use on horizontal surfaces only.

This is an extremely differentiating factor, as it means that exterior paint will not be able to withstand some of the issues that vertical surfaces can face, such as puddles of water after it has rained.

For this reason alone, you can assume that an exterior paint will not be able to last as long as a deck paint, simply because it has not been formulated to effectively withstand water for long periods of time.

Therefore, if you’re currently in the process of trying to decide how to paint your decking, we recommend that you stick to paint, stain, or oil that has been specifically designed for use on vertical surfaces such as decking.

What lasts longer deck stain or paint?

Generally speaking, both deck stain and deck paint come with their own unique set of drawbacks, including discoloration, peeling, and the chance of chipping from everyday wear and tear.

However, when it comes to the battle of durability, deck paint is generally considered to be the most long-lasting out of the two, and the main reason for this comes down to the thickness of its formula.

If correctly applied, you can expect the paint to last on your decking for a period of around 10 years before needing to be reapplied, while deck stains often require touch-ups much more frequently.

Can I paint my deck instead of stain?

Though the debate between whether to use a deck paint or deck stain is a longstanding one, there really is no right or wrong as both are designed for use on decking and have each been formulated to offer durability and protection to the wood surface.

When it comes down to picking which one you’d like to use, you should consider what type of finish you would like.

Deck paint is much thicker than deck stain, which makes it an ideal choice for anyone that would like to cover up the surface of their wood decking in one color.

However, if you don’t like the sound of that and would prefer something a little more natural, then a deck stain is probably going to be your best bet.

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