Stain or Paint: What’s the Right Finish for Your Deck?

Wood is beautiful, durable, and a great decking material. It’s also a material that expands and contracts with changing temperatures, is vulnerable to sun damage, and is porous so moisture can get in and cause further damage. Unprotected wood? Gets ugly fast. That’s why most decks (and most wood exteriors, too) are either painted or sealed with stain.

painted deck versus stained deck

But which finish option to choose… there are positives and negatives to both. See?

Paint, for instance, is the longer-lasting option because solids in the paint form a protective film, but the natural beauty of the wood is lost as multiple coats cover up the grain. Painting is also the messier option – one that requires much more effort in the form of prepping and priming the wood. It’s also more difficult for the amateur to achieve good looking results.

Water-repellent stains, on the other hand, won’t provide a finish that lasts as long or offers as much protection as paint, but will keep the wood stable while letting its natural beauty shine through. And speaking of looks, stain won’t ever crack, peel, or flake off, though like paint it will eventually fade.

One other thing stain has going for it is the ease of application. Painting a deck may prove overwhelming for the well-intentioned homeowner, while staining often requires little prep and as little as a single coat.

As for what both deck paint and stain have in common, they need to be reapplied as necessary to ensure that wood is protected season after season. Both can fail if not cared for. Provided you plan to repaint or re-stain when needed the choice between paint and stain really comes down to which you think looks better.

Did you know that Jerry Enos Painting offers deck refinishing and restoration? We can breathe new life into even the most weather-beaten deck! Call us to find out more.