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How Much Does it Cost to Paint or Stain a Deck?
The two most common ways of finishing a deck are staining or painting it. Whether your deck is brand new or several years old, it will need to be painted or stained regularly to help protect it from the elements.
Decks should be stained every 2 to 3 years, or painted every 8 to 10 years. Both paint and stain will help protect the wood of your deck from moisture and UV rays while helping it also look its best.
The average cost to paint or stain a deck is $300 to $1,20, with most spending about $850. The typical cost for staining or painting a deck is $2 to $5 per square foot.
Both options have advantages and disadvantages, and it’s worthwhile to find out what influences the costs of each.
Cost to Paint a Deck
Before buying the paint, you need to know the size of the deck so you can buy the correct amount of paint for the coverage required.
You do this by calculating the square footage and then finding out the average coverage of the exterior paint you intend to use.
The average coverage of exterior paint is between 250 and 400 square feet per gallon. The average deck size is 300 to 400 square feet, so one gallon will likely be sufficient for each coat. If you want to do several coats, you might need additional paint.
You should also consider buying a bit extra to allow for spillage and the possibility of needing many coats in some areas.
The cost of paint is typically between $50 and $100 per gallon, depending on the quality of paint you choose. Keep in mind that if your deck is made of cedar or redwood, you will need to prime it first before painting.
This is because the sap from these woods can stain the paint in a process known as “cedar bleed”. A good quality primer will prevent this from happening, but will raise the cost of the project and the amount of material required to complete the paint job.
Cost to Stain a Deck
The cost and coverage of exterior wood stain is similar to that of paint. However, you will probably not need as many coats, as many people choose stains so that they can retain the natural pattern or texture of the wood.
There are several different types of stains on the market, including some that are transparent, semi-transparent, and solid or opaque. Semi-transparent stains can tint your deck a different color or enhance the existing color while still letting the grain show through.
Fully transparent stains impact the appearance of the wood the least, while solid stains are closer to paint in appearance and will obscure the grain of the wood. Solid stains are often the best choice for older decks, while transparent stains look best on new wood.
Stain costs $30 to $50 per gallon. The total cost of staining your deck could be as little as $60 for materials, even when using a premium stain.
It should be noted, however, that staining a deck has to be done every couple of years. Paint is the more durable choice, so long-term costs for staining will add up.
Additional Project Costs
Don’t forget that before you paint or stain a deck, you may consider treating the material with anti-infestation or anti-mold chemicals. A primer may also be needed before painting.
When doing the project yourself, it’s also important to consider painting supplies such as brushes, rollers, paint trays, rags, and drop cloths. These supplies are important to consider and often missed when estimating.
If you are repainting or staining, keep in mind that you will need to wash the deck. Pressure washing is common for this, as it helps remove and loosen the old paint or stain as well as dirt.
If you are having your deck professionally painted or stained, you may have an added fee for this service. If you are painting or staining yourself, you can rent a pressure washer for the job at a rate of $60 to $80 per day in most areas.
Before painting or staining is a perfect time to conduct any repairs, since new deck boards and balusters will blend right in with the rest of the deck after being finished. Use our deck flooring estimation calculator to estimate how many boards are needed to repair a section of flooring and look for any balusters that may need to be replaced.
Project Preparation Costs
Before starting the project, it’s important to thoroughly clean the surfacer to allow good adhesion of the paint/stain and to get a quality finish.
Using a Pressure Washer
Using a pressure washer is a great way to clean the surface of the deck, but beware, using too powerful a pressure or the wrong selection tool can damage your wood. Softwoods are more likely to be damaged by a pressure washer than hardwoods.
Test the pressure washer on an inconspicuous area of the deck first, and always begin with the lowest pressure settings that will get you results. You might already have a power washer, but if you don’t have one, you can also rent one.
The average cost for a medium-duty pressure washer is roughly $70 per day. Renting on the weekend is a good time to consolidate all the power-washing jobs you need to do, as you can probably devote more time to it.
Depending on the condition of your deck, you might be able to get away with a simple cleaning. Take an outdoor brush with a good quality synthetic bristle and some cleaning solution that will not damage the type of decking you have.
Make sure you take the time to remove not only surface dirt, but also any loose paint or stain. Rinse the deck well with clean water when you are done, and let it dry completely before painting or staining.
Always carefully check the label to make sure the solution is suitable for the purpose. A synthetic bristle is hardier than a natural one, as some natural bristles may be dissolved by the cleaning solution you use.
If you are unsure if the cleanser can be used on your decking, you can test it in an inconspicuous place. If it softens, splinters, or discolors the wood, be sure to avoid its use in the future.
If you want to hire a professional, labor costs will likely cost a few hundred dollars as staining or painting a deck can be a solid day’s work. The average price of labor is $25 to $100 per hour per painter, and the entire process might be six hours or more.
Labor rates vary in different parts of the country, and some contractors charge more than others, so we recommend getting several estimates before beginning your project. Professionals can also take care of prep cleaning, but this will impact the price significantly.
Keep in mind that any time cleaning needs to be done, the deck then needs to dry completely before the painting or staining can happen. So if you hire a professional, be prepared that it may take them at least two visits to complete even a straightforward project.
DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
The cost of hiring a professional is more than tackling the task yourself, as are most home improvement tasks. However, a professional will understand the proper way to prepare the surface and apply a good-looking finish.
A professional who specializes in exterior painting will be able to carry out the project more efficiently and likely has high-quality materials and equipment to work with.
Many professionals that handle these types of jobs will also carry out needed repairs. They are often able to spot issues that you may not have noticed, giving you better, longer-lasting results.
All pricing information on this page is based on average industry costs, and is subject to variance for project-specific materials, labor rates, and requirements.
- The Home Depot, Deck Painting, https://www.homedepot.com/services/c/deck-painting/352078c28