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Should you stain or paint your deck?

Last week we gave a few signs that it was time to redo your deck. This week we are going to go over the decision to paint or to stain.

In this area most people have wood decks so we will focus on that type for this article.



Wood decks need to be protected from the elements, but the wood also needs to be able to breathe. The problem with painting your deck is that is doesn’t allow the wood to breathe. If the wood doesn’t breathe the moisture gets trapped in the wood, and that moisture causes a host of problems. Moisture can cause mold and mildew, which can weaken and rot the boards, leading to extra expense of pulling and replacing the rotten boards. There’s also the obvious safety risk of having someone fall through the deck, even a fall from a low deck can severally injure a person or pet. Even if it’s not to the point of rotting boards, the moisture stuck under the paint is still causing problems. Many with painted decks often see the peeling and bubbling of the moisture trying to escape. Why choose a product that will be actively working against you from day one?



Stain is recommended for your deck since it allows the wood to breathe. In addition there are a lot of options to choose from. Solid-color stains for example hide the wood grain but let the texture show; since they have the most pigment to screen out the sun’s ultraviolet rays, they can protect wood better from surface damage than other types of stains, in addition they last the longest. Semi-transparent stains, with less pigment, give some UV protection but won’t last as long. Basically the less you can see the wood underneath the longer the stain will last.


Life Span

Around here it is to be expected that decks need to be stained every year. Although some manufactures offer products that claim to last 5-10 years there is more to think about on when considering these products. For one these products are more expensive then normal deck stains. These stains may not look as nice as using regular stain. Also they can be hard to apply, which in its self can be an issue.


What we recommend doing to get the best results, would to be to get your free estimate done by one of our qualified Century Painting estimators. They can come out at a time convenient for you and give you an estimate tailored to your specific deck and the unique conditions that you are dealing with.


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