7 Best Deck Paints of 2021

When you’re tired of re-staining your deck every year, painting your deck might be exactly what you’re looking for. But if you get the wrong paint, stripping it off and starting over can be a massive pain, and it can take a ton of extra coats to cover up the first one.

That’s why it’s essential you get the right deck paint the first time. It’s also why we took the time to highlight seven of the best options for you here. Not only that, but we came up with a comprehensive buyer’s guide and answered some of the most common questions out there.

We’ll have you ready to purchase the perfect stain for your deck in no time.

Best Deck Paints: Our Favourites

OUR FAVORITES

  • Tons of color options and sizes
  • Contains 55 percent recycled wood
  • Works indoors and outdoors
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  • Resists chips
  • It dries in just 30 minutes
  • Smooth finish and holds up well
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  • Very affordable
  • Dries in 2-hours
  • Easy to use – applies in one coat
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1. Rust-Oleum Enamel Paint – Best Overall

Top Pick
Rust-Oleum 1964502 Enamel Paint

It’s our top choice for a reason, and one look at the awesome results and it’s amazing price tag tells you why. It’s everything you want, and the perfect choice for your deck

Color: Colonial Red

Finish: Gloss

Size: 32 ounces

If you’re looking for the best overall deck paint, then look no further than Rust-Oleum Enamel Paint. It provides an outstanding mix of price and performance – which makes it the perfect choice for just about any project.

A single container covers up to 120-square feet, giving you a smooth finish that dries in just 30 minutes! Moreover, it resists chips and handles extreme weather well, which gives you tons of durability day after day and year after year.

However, if you’re expecting a single coat to give you a solid finish because of the product’s darker color, expect that you’ll need to apply at least two coats to get a high-quality finish. Since it dries in just 30-minutes, it’s not too big of a deal, but it does require a bit more time and work.

Pros

  • A great mix of price and performance
  • Resists chips
  • It dries in just 30 minutes
  • Smooth finish and holds up well

Cons

  • You need several coats

2. Retique It Liquid Wood – Runner Up

Runner Up
Liquid Wood for Gel Stain & Wood Stain by Retique

With tons of color and size options, Retique It Liquid Wood is sure to have exactly what you’re looking for to complete your project. Sure, it might be a little more expensive, but it’s worth every penny.

Color: Light Wood, Exterior Light Wood, Ebony, Kona, Dark Walnut, Briarsmoke, Traditional Pecan, Golden Oak, Black Cherry, Traditional Cherry, Carbon Gray, Weathered Gray, Antique White, Worn Navy, or Vintage Aqua

Finish: Stain

Size: 8, 16, 32, or 128 ounces

If you’re not looking for a red deck, chances are Retique It Liquid Wood has the color you’re looking for. Since Retique It Liquid Wood comes in 15 different color options and four different size options, there’s a choice for every project.

But with Retique It Liquid Wood, it’s about more than just the versatility and options. Retique It Liquid Wood gives you a fresh wood look without the need for fresh wood. While it’s a more expensive product, it’s the only one out there that has 55 percent recycled wood right in the product.

You can use it indoors and outdoors, and it’s easy to apply with absolutely no sanding necessary. Yeah, it’s expensive, but it’s also going to give you a top-notch product, and that’s worth every penny.

Pros

  • Tons of color options and sizes
  • Contains 55 percent recycled wood
  • Works indoors and outdoors
  • Easy to use – no sanding needed

Cons

  • More expensive

3. Minwax Wood Finish – Budget Choice

Budget Choice
Minwax Wood Finish

Sure it’s not a paint, but if you're on a tight budget a stain gives you the protection you need to tide you over until you’re ready to paint your deck for real.

Color: Maple

Finish: Stain

Size: 8 ounces

If you’re on a tighter budget but still need something to cover your deck, then Minwax Wood Finish might be the perfect choice for your deck. It’s an extremely low-priced product, and while it’s in a smaller container, each container goes farther than you’d expect.

As another perk, it dries in just 2-hours, and for each layer of stain you apply you get a darker appearance. But if you’re going for a lighter maple color, then a single coat can quickly get the job done.

Minwax Wood Finish is easy to use, goes a long way, and is available for a great price. It’s everything you could want and more. Just keep in mind that this is a stain and not a paint, and that means it’s going to soak into the wood, and it won’t provide the same external protection that a paint will.

This isn’t a big deal as long as you take the time to seal the deck after you stain it though.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Dries in 2-hours
  • Easy to use – applies in one coat

Cons

  • Smaller container size

4. Valspar 27 Porch & Floor

Best for Interior/Exterior
Valspar 27-1500 QT

Our best for interior/exterior pick is White Porch and Floor Latex Satin Enamel, used for painting supplies, working well without primer.

Color: White

Finish: Satin

Size: 32 ounces

If you want a classic white finish for your deck, then nobody does it better than Valspar. Their Porch & Floor paint is extremely easy to use and often covers your deck in just one coat! This saves you both time and money, since each container will take you twice as far if you don’t need a second coat.

But even with its excellent coverage area, it’s still a slightly more expensive product, so if you do end up needing a second coat, you can expect to end up spending a little bit more.

As a final perk, Valspar makes their Porch & Floor paint in the United States, so if you’re looking to support local manufacturing jobs and businesses, Valspar is an excellent choice.

Just keep in mind it provides a satin finish, so if you want something with a little more pop to help set your deck apart, then this isn’t what you’re looking for.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • White enamel covers well
  • Made in the United States

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive

5. Wolman Outdoor Furniture Paint

Premium
Wolman Outdoor Furniture Paint

It’s ridiculously expensive and you’ll need a ton of it, but it’ll also give you the best possible results. If price is no object Wolman Outdoor Furniture paint might be what you need to get the job done

Color: Granite, Colonial Red, Navy Blue, and White

Finish: Flat

Size: 32 ounces

While the Wolman Outdoor Furniture Paint might give your deck the best possible finish and an outstanding look, when you look at the price and how much it covers, it’s not something you want to use for large projects.

Still, it’s extremely thick and provides you with the best possible protection, and even comes in four different colors for you to choose from. And not only does it look good, but it also extends the life of the wood and gives it a completely waterproof exterior.

Wolman Outdoor Furniture Paintworks on all types of hardwood, but expect that it can take up to four hours to dry. Combine that with the fact that a 32-ounce container only covers about 20 square feet, and it’s not hard to see how it can end up costing you an arm and a leg to use Wolman Outdoor Furniture Paint for your entire deck.

Pros

  • Very thick for maximum protection
  • Waterproof and extremely durable
  • Extends the life of the wood
  • Works on all types of hardwood

Cons

  • Doesn’t go very far (20 square feet per quart)
  • Can take up to 4 hours to dry

6. Rust-Oleum Weathered Wood Accelerator

Best Rustic Appearance
Rust-Oleum Varathane Weathered Wood Accelerator

Looking for a more rustic appearance? Look no further than Rust-Oleum Weather Wood Accelerator. Not a true paint, but it can give your deck the perfect look in no time.

Color: Weathered Gray

Finish: Stain/weathered

Size: 32 ounces

Sometimes you want your deck to look brand new, and other times, you’re looking for a more rustic appearance. With Rust-Oleum’s Weathered Wood Accelerator, you can get that rustic appearance in the blink of an eye, and it doesn’t wear down your wood in the process.

It’s an extremely affordable option that reacts with any type of wood and dries in just one hour! It’s extremely easy to use, but keep in mind that it does not work on painted or treated wood. This might not seem like a big deal, but many decks use treated wood – so double check before purchasing this wood accelerator.

Finally, Rust-Oleum Weathered Wood Accelerator only comes in one color, and it doesn’t seal the deck in any way. This means you’ll need to apply a sealant after you treat the wood, but the good news is that the accelerator dries after just one hour of use.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Reacts with all types of wood
  • Easy to use
  • Dries in one hour

Cons

  • Does not work on painted or treated wood
  • Does not seal the deck

7. Varathane Premium Fast Dry Wood Stain

Good Alternative
Varathane Premium Fast Dry Wood Stain

Practically the same product as Rust-Oleum Weather Wood Accelerator. But if you can’t get Rust-Oleum on order, this will get the job done - but it does cost a bit more.

Color: Weathered Gray

Finish: Stain/weathered

Size: 8 ounces

There’s Rust-Oleum Weathered Wood Accelerator, and then there’s Varathane Premium Fast Dry Wood Stain. But the more research you do, the more you learn that these two products are almost identical in every way.

In fact, Rust-Oleum owns Varathane, which means there might be no difference at all between these two products. Both have the same weathered gray appearance, both dry in just one hour, and both react with all types of wood.

Moreover, both products don’t seal the deck and don’t work on painted or treated wood. So, what’s the difference then? Mainly the price.

Varathane Premium Fast Dry Wood Stain is a bit more expensive than Rust-Oleum Weathered Wood Accelerator, and that’s why it fell a bit further down our list.

But in the end, if you’re in a pinch and can’t get a hold of Rust-Oleum Weathered Wood Accelerator, Varathane Premium Fast Dry Wood Stain can do the trick – and it probably won’t look any different.

Pros

  • 1-hour dry time
  • Covers in one coat
  • Easy to use
  • Reacts with all types of wood

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Does not work on painted or treated wood
  • Does not seal the deck

Buyer’s Guide

If you’re still a little confused about what deck paint you need after reading the reviews, you’re not alone. That’s why we came up with this comprehensive buyer’s guide to walk you through everything you need to know to help you pick out the perfect paint for your deck the first time.

stain vs paint

Stain vs Paint

If you’re looking to finish your deck, there are two popular options to choose from – paint and stain. But if you’re new to finishing and protecting your deck, you might be wondering about the differences between them, and which one is right for you.

Let’s start with appearances. Stains keep the wood grain look of your deck, while simply changing the color of the wood. Paint, on the other hand, covers your deck entirely. This means you won’t see the wood grains. Instead, you’ll simply have a solid color on your deck.

While there are significant differences in appearances, there are also differences in how they work and the benefits of each. Stain soaks into the wood, and while this might make it easier to apply, it also doesn’t seal or protect the deck at all.

To get that protection, you’ll need a sealant, but even then, it doesn’t work as well at keeping out UV rays that can wear down the wood.

Meanwhile, paint does a great job at sealing the deck, and it provides a decent amount of UV protection to extend the life of your deck. But while you don’t need to apply a sealant after applying the paint, you will still need to prime before painting, which means you’ll likely end up applying two coats either way.

Prepping Your Deck for Painting

Prepping your deck is a multi-step process, and it will take a few days to do the job right. You need to start by applying a deck wash to strip off any old sealants, dirt, grime, or just about anything else on your deck.

Scrub the deck wash in, then clean the entire deck thoroughly, letting the deck dry for 48-hours before moving on to the next step.

Once the entire deck is dry, go ahead and sand down the deck with 80-grit sandpaper. Focus specifically on rough edges, chips, and any other ridges. Once everything is smooth, remove any dust that got kicked up from the sanding by sweeping it off the deck, then move onto the primer.

Apply the primer over the entire deck, then give it plenty of time to dry. Keep in mind that while the primer might feel dry to the touch after only an hour, you need to wait a minimum of 3-hours before applying the paint.

But before applying the paint, ensure that the primer has an even surface without any excessive drips. If the deck does have drips from the primer, go back over it with the 80-grit sandpaper to give it a smooth appearance.

Any drips and bumps on the primer will show up with the paint, and if you’re taking the time to do the job, you should take some pride in it and do it right!

Once the primer has completely dried, you can then start painting the deck. Allow the paint to completely dry before applying a second coat or walking on the deck.

How Much Paint to Buy

While it’s relatively easy to look up each paint and see how far they expect it to go, a good rule of thumb to follow is that a gallon of deck paint will usually cover about 400 square feet of wood. But this is usually for a single coat, so if you need to apply multiple coats, you’ll need even more paint.

Just make sure to double-check the recommendations for your product, and always err on the side of a little extra so you don’t run out or need to try and stretch the last bit of paint farther than it should go.

Drying Time/Picking the Perfect Day

deck drying time

Unless you have a completely covered deck that’s protected from the elements, you need to keep an eye on the weather before heading out to paint your deck.

For starters, you need to check the weather the day you plan to paint your deck. Not only do you need to avoid rain while you’re painting, but you need to give the paint time to dry before any precipitation falls from the sky.

If you check the weather and see a chance for rain that day – push off the project to a better day. But while that’s a great place to start, it’s not the only thing you need to check with the weather.

You also need to keep an eye on the weather for at least 48-hours before your project. That’s because the deck needs to be completely dry before painting. And since wood is notorious for trapping in moisture, if you don’t treat it, you need to give it plenty of time to dry after a rainstorm.

Once again, just because the surface appears dry doesn’t mean you’re good to go. The center of the wood can still have trapped moisture, and trapped moisture can ruin your wood.

Picking a Color for Your Deck

While the primary reason most people pick out a color for their deck is for the appearance, there are a few other factors you need to consider. First is how much heat it traps. If you opt for a black deck and live somewhere with high temps, you might find that your deck is unusable during the warmer months.

Meanwhile, a lighter color like white or gray might keep it cooler, but if you have kids, then it can show signs of their activity sooner than other colors.

So, go ahead and pick a color you like for the appearance, but also consider if it’s the right choice for your environment and family before pulling out the paintbrushes.

How Long Does Deck Paint Last?

When you’re looking at how much money and work goes into painting a deck, you can easily start to wonder if it’s all worth it. But when you break it all down, there’s no better bang for your buck with both price and longevity than painting.

When you take the time to apply paint correctly, it can last up to ten years, which is far longer than a stain lasts. And since it does a great job at protecting your deck, that’s ten years of a great-looking deck and ten years of protection before you need to repaint.

Cost to Paint a Deck

If you’re stressing out over the cost of each product and wondering if it’s worth just bringing in a professional, chances are you’ll want to save the money and do it yourself.

That’s because the cost to paint a 300 square foot deck yourself is about $100 to $200, but if you’re bringing in a professional, that cost can skyrocket to just over $1,000!

While it’s a lot of work to do it yourself, you’re also saving yourself a ton of money. Just take your time, and there’s no reason you can’t do it yourself and save yourself a ton of cash.

Treated vs Untreated Decks

If you’re shopping for paints, you need to determine if your deck has treated or untreated wood. While any product can go on untreated wood, that doesn’t mean you’re better off using untreated wood for your deck.

Even though treated wood has more limited options for products that you can use on it, it also lasts far longer. An untreated deck will usually last anywhere from 10 to 30 years – although if you paint it, chances are you can get closer to the 30-year mark.

Meanwhile, a deck that uses treated wood can easily last 50-years, and if you’re properly taking care of it, you might even be able to get it to last 60 to 70 years! So sure, the treated wood is a little more expensive upfront, but there’s a good chance you’ll be able to make it last twice as long – and it’s not twice as expensive.

Brushes vs Rollers

Brushes vs Rollers

There’s an age-old debate between brushes and rollers when you’re painting your deck, but the truth is that both brushes and rollers have their use in the process.

You should use a roller when you’re covering larger areas, as they allow you to get a more consistent finish and they work far faster. Meanwhile, if you’re looking to paint corners and other details, you want a brush.

Because while rollers can cover wide swaths of the deck in no time, they lack the nimbleness and versatility to hit smaller areas that you can get to with a brush. So, if you’re painting your deck, don’t choose between rollers or brushes, get rollers and brushes.


FAQ

You’re bound to have a few questions when you’re looking to purchase paint for your deck, and that’s why we took the time to answer some of the most frequently asked questions here.

Whether it’s your first time painting your deck, or if you’re just trying something new, these are some questions you’re bound to come across.

Can You Both Paint and Stain a Deck?

If you already have a stained deck, you can certainly paint over it without any concerns, but if you’re looking to apply stain to a painted deck, it’s a more labor-intensive process. You’ll have to strip both the paint and primer before you can apply the stain.

That’s because the stain soaks into the wood, and you can apply the paint straight on top of it, but since paint sits on top of the wood, the stain can’t penetrate to give you the coverage you want.

Also, keep in mind that while you can apply paint over the stain, there are no added benefits, since the paint covers the stain entirely.

What Is the Best Paint To Use on a Deck?

If you’re looking for the best paint to use on a deck, go with Rust-Oleum Enamel Paint. It’s our top choice here for a reason. It provides a perfectly smooth finish, and is available for a great price. It’s this combination of price and performance that really makes it stand out from the pack.

Do I Need To Prime My Deck Before Painting?

Absolutely! Unless you’re using a paint and primer all-in-one, a primer is absolutely essential to give you the results you’re looking for on your deck. Primer helps give you an even and smooth coat, but that’s not even the most notable perk.

Primer helps the paint adhere to the surface you’re painting, so if you skip the primer, your paint likely won’t last nearly as long, and it’ll start chipping sooner rather than later. This is especially true in humid environments, but it can happen anywhere. So, whatever you do, don’t skip the primer!

Is Stain or Paint Better for a Deck?

While a lot of it simply comes down to personal preference, paint does have a few advantages over stain. For starters, it helps prevent UV damage and provides more protective benefits than stain alone.

However, if you apply both a stain and a sealant, there’s not much difference in benefits between stain and primer.


Final Thoughts

There’s nothing better looking than a freshly stained deck, and there’s nothing more distracting than a deck that isn’t well taken care of. That’s why it’s essential that you use the right product and paint your deck as soon as possible.

Because every season you leave your deck unpainted wears it down a little more, and that’s one season sooner that you’ll need to replace it. Meanwhile, a freshly painted deck not only looks great, but it also extends the overall service life too!

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