How to Paint a Deck

Do you wish to alter the appearance of your home? But unsure what’s required to modify the look of your property? Don’t worry; a few coats of paint on the deck may transform the appearance of your house completely. The process of painting a deck is not difficult, but there are some things you need to do to ensure the job goes smoothly and the results are attractive. This article will outline the steps necessary to paint a deck so that it looks great and lasts for years. How to Paint a Deck?

Paint a deck is a great idea to make your deck look good and protect it from the elements. You can use many types of paint for painting a deck, but be careful with oil-based paints because they do not allow moisture to pass through them and may eventually damage the wood below. Semi-transparent or opaque stains are usually the best choice when painting a deck.

Staining vs. Painting: What’s the Difference?

People always get confused between the terms staining and painting most of the time. In actuality, these two words have different meanings people need to know. When it comes to exterior finishing, the difference between those two is quite easy to understand. Painting refers to applying a coat (single layer) over something, and this layer serves as a protective film or covering for that object that is getting painted. On the other hand, stretching is a more complex process to be done first before painting the object.

Staining consists of three basic steps: Cleaning, Preparing and Applying. Cleaning involves removing dirt that has accumulated over time or any existing coat of paint if there is one already that needs to be removed. Then you would need to sand and rough up the surface to prepare it for the coat of stain. Lastly, you would apply the stain onto that prepared surface to serve as a color/dye base before applying any paint.

Performing these basic steps will ensure that no debris or grit floats in your newly stained deck. And when done properly, your deck will enjoy a nice finish that won’t chip or peel off easily. Plus, the new color on the deck will add more to the beauty of your home exterior for everyone to see and appreciate.

When it comes to painting tasks at hand, you would need to do these things first: Prepare a surface by filling up holes, scratches, and dents on the surface—priming it with paint primer to supply you with a good base for painting—applying the first coat of paint onto the surface with an angled brush or roller. And if needed, apply more coats until your desired level of finish is achieved.

How to Paint a Deck?

Although many types of paint can be used for painting a deck, stains are by far the best option. A good semi-transparent stain will not prevent the wood grain from showing through but still provide excellent UV protection. Plus, it is easy to apply with no need for primer or an elaborate preparation process. You can use many types of paint for painting a deck; however, be careful with oil-based paints because they do not allow moisture to pass through them and may eventually damage the wood below.

Steps for Painting a Deck:

  1. Start by thoroughly cleaning your deck. Sweep away any dirt, leaves, or other debris from the surface of the deck. Fill in all cracks and holes with an exterior grade filler. You can use a paintable wood filler or patching compound to seal the cracks, while an exterior grade grout made of sand and cement will fill in larger holes. Please leave it to dry for several days before you go on to the next step.
  2. Inspect the deck boards to see if they are in good condition. If any of the boards are badly damaged, splintered, or warped, you will need to replace them before painting the deck. If your deck is made of composite material, you will need to remove the old boards. Of course, if your deck is made of wood like cedar or redwood, it will be easy to sand the old finish off and stain or seal new boards in place of the old ones.
  3. Clean the deck again with a surface cleaner to remove all greasy dirt and grime from the existing finish, as well as any remaining sand from the filler.
  4. Pour some paint stripper solution on the deck boards. Wait for 8 to 10 minutes before scrubbing off the old finish with a long-handled brush or roller extension. Rinse thoroughly with water again after removing all the old finish. You can use a plastic scraper to slough off stubborn bits of finish, but be careful not to gouge the wood.
  5. Allow the deck boards to dry thoroughly before applying the new finish coats. If it’s particularly humid outside, you can use a fan or dehumidifier on your deck to speed up this process. Otherwise, prepare patiently while waiting for the wood surface to dry completely.
  6. Apply an oil or water-based primer, whichever is recommended for the finish coat you are using. If you are unsure about which type of primer to use, consult your local hardware store staff members or product labels. Work in generous sections with a paintbrush or roller until no white residue remains on the surface of the deck boards. Allow this to dry before continuing with the next step.
  7. Read the instructions on your can of stain for how long to wait before applying the first coat. Use a clean paintbrush or roller to apply an even layer of finish onto the deck boards. Allow it to dry completely, then inspect your work. If you notice any bald or dark spots in certain areas, go back and even out the coats.
  8. Wait for 24 hours before applying a second coat of stain with a clean brush or roller to avoid over-application and running. Allow it to dry completely, then lightly sand the surface with fine-grit sandpaper (220 grit or higher). Vacuum up any dust particles, then apply a third and final coat.
  9. Allow the deck to dry for at least 48 hours before applying a sealant with a paintbrush or roller onto the deck boards. You can use an exterior-grade polyurethane if you want your deck to be particularly durable and water-resistant, but there are many other types of sealants available for different purposes. Spray sealants are also a good choice for covering large areas on your deck. Be careful not to over-apply the sealant, as this can cause dripping and pooling. Use a paint scraper or putty knife if you do end up with any drips or uneven patches of finish.
  10. If you want to add a striped effect to your deck, you can use painter’s tape to mask off the edges of the boards, so they are not coated. Let the sealant dry before removing the tape, and enjoy your newly finished deck!

Materials Needed to Paint a Deck

Painting a deck requires a lot of supplies, but luckily you can purchase most of it in one place. You will need:

  • Deck Cleaner- This is the first step when painting your deck; make sure to use this as soon as possible as it will help remove any old stains and finishes.
  • Paint Roller- You will need a paint roller if you don’t want to apply your paint with a traditional brush. If you plan on going this route, make sure to find a durable quality one and won’t leave bristles behind as it rolls the coating onto the deck boards.
  • Painter’s Tape- This is essential to have for painting your deck. If you want the finish line of your painted boards crisp and clean, make sure to mask off anything that shouldn’t be coated with paint, including rocks, the ground, plants, etc.
  • Paint Brushes- You will need a brush if you do not use a paint roller. This is the only instrument that will touch your deck boards, so make sure to purchase a quality brush that won’t leave stray hairs behind as you work.
  • Drop Cloth- This is necessary if you are painting inside or outside your home; it also helps protect the floor beneath you from drips and spills while painting.

Learn How Much Paint to Buy

When it comes to buying paint, it’s best to buy as much as you need instead of not enough. To calculate how much paint you need, make sure to measure the total square footage of the rooms (length x width) and divide by thirty-two (thirty-two will represent one gallon). Remember that this is only an approximation; it’s best to buy more than less.


Now that you know all the necessary supplies and how to calculate how much paint you need, it’s time to get started on your deck painting project! Make sure to follow the steps outlined in this article, as well as the specific instructions on your chosen paint or sealant. If you have any questions during the process, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Painting a deck can be a daunting task, but you’re sure to have a beautiful end result with these guidelines.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you prepare a deck for painting?

To prepare the deck for painting, you need to do a professional pressure wash to remove the loose debris from the surface; make sure to use a power washer that can reach at least 3″ away from the decking without damaging it. After you clean your deck with a pressure washer, you need to rinse your deck completely of all residue and allow it to dry for 24 hours. Please read the article to get more tips about it.

What is the best way to paint the decking?

When painting decking, you have to understand that proper surface preparation is very important to get a professional finish. Many products can help with this process; these include wood cleaner, wood brightener, caulking gun, putty knife, and paintbrushes. After your deck is clean and dry, you need to decide if you should use paint or a stain, read the article and understand everything.

Do you need to prime the deck before painting?

Yes, it would be best to prim the deck before painting it. If you use a primer first, it will give added protection to the wood and even additional pigments; this is why priming your deck is a must before starting your paint job.

Do you need to sand before painting a deck?

Yes, it would be best if you sanded before painting a deck. If you want to have the smoothest finish, the best recommendation is to sand your deck before painting. You can use a hand sander or an electric one; it depends on how much work you are willing to do.

Also See: Preparing Home for Listing | Backyard DIY IDeas | How to Paint Textured Wall

Written by

Rostislav Shetman is the founder of 9Kilo Moving. He has been in the moving and relocation industry for more than 25 years, making him an expert in his field. Rostislav started as a helper, dispatcher and driver and has worked his way up to owning his own company. He takes great pride in his work and enjoys helping people relocate across the United States of America. When he's not working, Rostislav enjoys spending time with his family and friends. They are the light of his life and bring him happiness every day.