Is it Better to Stain or Paint an Old Deck?

Wood Staining | June 20, 2023

Refinishing your deck can make a massive difference if you want to sell your home or enjoy a new outdoor space. But, when it comes to updating an old deck, homeowners often need clarification on whether it is better to stain or paint their decking. At Dunbar Painting, we often receive questions from homeowners looking to revamp their old, worn-out decks. One of the most frequently asked questions is whether it is better to stain or paint an old deck. That is why we have put together some information to help you make an informed decision.

Learn more about what to consider when staining a wooden fence.

4 Key Differences Between Staining and Painting an Old Deck

1. Appearance and Aesthetics

Staining allows the natural beauty of the wood to shine through. It enhances the grain and texture of the deck, providing a warm and organic appearance. It comes in many colours, from transparent to semi-transparent and solid. This variety enables you to achieve the desired look for your deck while preserving its natural charm. On the other hand, painting provides unlimited colour options and a solid, uniform coverage that can hide imperfections and match the house’s exterior. It offers a uniform and opaque finish, covering defects and providing a consistent appearance across the deck surface.

2. Protection and Durability

Stain offers superior absorbency compared to paint, allowing it to penetrate deeply into the wood’s pores and provide protection against moisture, UV rays, and rot. Stain tends to wear instead of flake, but it requires recoating every 1-3 years to maintain effectiveness. Stains also allow the wood to breathe, reducing the chances of peeling or cracking. On the other hand, paint provides better overall protection as it completely seals the surface, preventing moisture from penetrating and damaging the wood. Paint lasts longer requiring less repainting but involves more extensive preparation, such as scraping, sanding, and priming, to ensure proper adhesion and longevity.

3. Maintenance and Upkeep

Cleaning the deck and applying a new coat of stain helps maintain its natural beauty. The stain gradually fades with sunlight exposure, giving the deck a graceful and natural appearance. This fading process reduces the need for extensive maintenance. Although staining may outlast painting, it requires regular maintenance sometimes, which is relatively easy compared to the laborious task of stripping and repainting a failed deck due to moisture retention under the painted surface.

Painting, on the other hand, can be more demanding in terms of maintenance. Paint is prone to chipping and peeling, often necessitating touch-ups or complete repainting. Sanding failed paint can be challenging, resulting in an uneven deck surface unless it is fully stripped. As a result, painting is typically recommended only for decks that have already been painted.

If you want to know more about our painting and staining services, contact the Dunbar Painting team. You can quickly contact us by filling out our online contact form. We will gladly respond to any inquiries you have about our services.