This is a fairly tricky question to answer, because to be honest, there are pros and cons for each option. However, if we had to answer the question we would say that deck stains are better…
But of course, there are many factors that can influence how long a paint job or a stain job would last on your decking. Climate and moisture of course, but also the amount of exposure to the sun.
Here are a few of the reasons why we prefer deck stain to deck paint.
A thick layer of paint on your decking is more prone to peeling, thanks to the expansion and swelling of deck boards under changing weather conditions. Whereas deck stain in contrast seeps inside the wood grain, which allows the wood to expand or contract without compromising the outer coating.
A thick coating of paint can also trap moisture inside the wood, and this can in turn lead to wood rot.
Altering the decking’s appearance after the fact would be more tiresome if you were to use paint rather than stain, because you’d have all that extra scraping and sanding to do before you could make a start on re-coating it.
A layer of deck paint will also hide the wood’s natural grain and texture. Whether this is a good or a bad thing depends pretty much on personal preference.
Is solid deck stain the same as paint?
If you’re wondering whether solid deck stain is the same as paint, we certainly get why you would ask. They’re certainly very similar…
Solid deck stain is designed to place a new solid layer of stain on your decking that is designed to completely mask the grain rather than to enhance it, as other stains might do.
A solid deck stain will completely hide the wood grain, and it’s naturally occurring color and replace it with a new color superimposed on top.
Like paint, solid deck stain works by forming a film on the surface of the decking. And a coat of deck stain can indeed look very similar to a coat of paint.
Moreover, the consistency of solid deck stain is much thicker than other stain finishes, which also helps pass it off as a coat of paint.
However, technically solid deck stain and paint are not the same, despite all their similarities.
There are some significant differences between solid deck stain and paint…
The most obvious difference between the two being how different the color ranges are. You can have just about any color of paint for your decking, whereas in contrast, your color options for solid deck stain are much narrower.
The other difference lies in their peeling. Both solid deck stains and deck paints will peel, but solid deck stain doesn’t peel as badly as paint.
Moreover, solid deck stain also tends to last longer than other stains, because the thicker coating provides better UV protection.
What is the difference between deck paint and exterior paint?
First off, we should explain by saying that deck paint is in fact a type of exterior paint. So we can’t always argue that the two are different…
However, there are some notable differences between paint that’s designed specifically for wood and decking, than the paint intended for the exterior walls of a house.
Deck paint is specifically designed for the kind of wear and tear caused by frequent and regular walking over it. It is specially formulated to avoid the kind of chipping and wearing this would cause.
Paint intended for exterior walls however does not have to have this important feature, and as such may not last as long on your decking as dedicated deck paint would.
So, we would advise that if you were to paint your deck, that you use dedicated deck paint.
What lasts longer deck stain or paint?
On the whole, a good quality professional paint job on your decking would last noticeably longer than a good quality professional stain job…
And this difference is in spite of all the differing factors that can affect how long such treatments will remain at their best.
We think that this is because paint is not only more rot resistant and does a better job of preventing mold, but also because it offers better protection against damage from the sun’s UV rays.
A paint job on decking can last for many years. But, as we have mentioned, this is quite variable depending on the weather conditions etc. Deck stains will have to be redone every three to four years…
But at least when you do come to touch up a stained deck, you don’t have as much work to do as if it had been painted. No painting or scraping to worry about whatsoever.
Can I paint my deck instead of stain?
We are pleased to report that you can certainly paint your deck rather than stain it if you so wish. And we’d certainly get why you would want to. You get far more color options to choose from…
However, we would argue that deck stain makes for a better option than deck paint on the whole. And there are several reasons for this, as the answers to the earlier questions have shown.
Here’s a quick recap. Paint is more prone to peeling. Paint is more likely to lead to wood rot. Paint hides the natural grain of the wood. Paint is more effort to remove if/when you decide you’re ready for a change.
If however you do decide to go with paint rather than wood stain, you should choose a color that you won’t grow too tired off. And you will have to apply at least two coats of paint for best effect.
One of the best ways to apply paint, or stain for that matter, to decking is to use a paint gun. That way, not only do you avoid getting any nasty brush strokes, but it’s a far easier process, and you will get a very nice, even finish.