yard deck painting and stain

Best Deck Paint

Since it’s one of the best places for a festive family gathering in your home, the deck sees a ton of traffic. And, even when the party ends, it continues to take a beating from the elements. So, if you’re seeing some peeling paint or aged wood, it’s nothing unusual.

Even though such flaws may not be a big eyesore now, you shouldn’t just leave them be. The longer you wait to repaint or stain your deck, the harder it will be to maintain it.

Deck paint will restore your weathered deck to its former glory. It provides protection against harsh outdoor conditions and hides imperfections. It can make your deck blend in or stand out by matching or contrasting your home’s siding.

Deck Pain Reviews

But, what exactly is the best deck paint? It depends on what you are going for as well as the condition of your deck. However, no matter how old your deck is, what type of wood it is made of, and how it is designed, one of these products is sure to be the perfect paint for your deck.

1. Best All-Purpose Paint: KILZ Enamel

Best All-Purpose Paint: KILZ Enamel
  • Colors: Silver gray and slate gray
  • Coverage: 200 – 400 sq. ft.
  • Type: Water-based

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If you have an old deck or patio, you can’t go wrong with enamel. It’s an excellent choice if you are looking to spruce up your porch, deck, or patio. This product packs a protective punch against water, mold, mildew, and UV rays.

This latex floor paint from KILZ is durable and easy to maintain. The two gorgeous colors look even better in person. The paint comes in two neutral colors (silver-gray and slate gray). The low-luster finish is super-long lasting.

On smooth surfaces, it can cover 300 to 400 sq. feet. If you want to paint a rough surface, you’ll be able to cover 200 to 300 sq. feet. Many users claim that the KILZ enamel is an excellent choice for sealing out stains.

It can withstand frequent sweeping and high traffic. You can easily apply the paint by roller, brush, or spray gun.

Pros

  • Takes just 1 hour to dry
  • Covers up to 400 sq. ft.
  • Durable
  • Protects against mold and mildew
  • Beautiful silver-gray finish

Cons

  • Comes in two colors only

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2. Best Paint for Slippery Decks: In the Swim

Best Paint for Slippery Decks: In the Swim
  • Colors: 6
  • Coverage: 90 – 125 sq. ft.
  • Type: Water-based

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The In the Swim non-slip coating is a great option if you have an above-ground or in-ground pool near your deck. This specially formulated additive will keep slips and falls to a minimum. It works well on pavers and concrete just as well as it does on wooden decks.

One gallon of In the Swim can cover 100 to 125 sq. feet. Even if there is a lot of wet foot traffic in the area, the coating will last for a few years without losing its properties. It works equally well on old and new structures.

However, if you decide to go with In the Swim, be sure to use an oil-based primer. It is available in six different colors: white, granite, ivory, taupe, putty, and buff tan.

Pros

  • Can be applied to a damp surface
  • Non-slip finish
  • Great for concrete and pavers as well
  • Durable
  • Comes in 6 different colors

Cons

  • Pricey

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3. Best for Cedar: Olympic/PPG Architectural Fin

Best for Cedar: Olympic/PPG Architectural Fin
  • Color: Cedar
  • Coverage: 250 – 350 sq. ft.
  • Type: Water-based

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If you want to show off your good-looking cedar deck, this Olympic stain and sealant may be your best option. It does a great job of accentuating the personality and color of cedar.

The solid color of this stain will give your deck an opportunity to show off its finest features at any time of day. It will make your deck easier to maintain, too.

The formula soaks into the wood, offering protection that will last for years to come. You can use it on weather wood, pressure-treated wood, new wood, or old wood. You can also use it on previously painted or stained decks. It offers UV and water guard protection.

Pros

  • Highly durable
  • Cleans easily
  • Low VOC
  • Offers great protection against the elements
  • 10-year warranty

Cons

  • Finish may look uneven if it is not applied very carefully

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4. Best Stain: Sherwin-Williams Superdeck

Best Stain: Sherwin-Williams Superdeck
  • Colors: Transparent
  • Coverage: N/A
  • Type: Oil-based

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Any product from Sherwin-Williams’ line of tins, stains, and paints will complement the exterior of your house more than well. However, this particular formula will deliver an exceptionally beautiful finish.

It enhances the vibrant hue of redwood and shows off its natural beauty at the same time. If your deck is surrounded by natural elements, the Superdeck stain is a great option. It offers great protection from UV rays, water, mold, and mildew.

Apart from decks, you can use it on fencing, siding, and outdoor furniture. It’s a great solution if you want everything in your backyard to match. The deep penetrating formula will ensure your deck is protected for years to come.

Pros

  • Durable, deep penetrating formula
  • Beautiful hue
  • Great for cedar
  • Emphasizes the natural beauty of wood
  • Easy to apply

Cons

  • Pricey

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5. Best for Treated Wood: Defy Extreme

Best for Treated Wood: Defy Extreme
  • Colors: 7
  • Coverage: 100 – 150 sq. ft.
  • Type: Water-based

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Even the sturdiest deck is not impervious to cracks and splinters. Treated wood is designed to take a beating from the elements, but it can still use an extra layer of protection.

If you want to give your treated wood deck a gorgeous finish and protect it from damage, the Defy Extreme is an excellent choice.

The formula contains resins that prevent discoloration. It will add shine to dull, old decks as well. This opaque finish will stand up to water, UV radiation, and mold and mildew.

The stain contains oxide-based nanoparticles that protect it from flaking and peeling. Summer after summer, as the sun beats down on it, your deck will hold up to fading.

Pros

  • Protects against water, UV rays, fungi
  • Prevents flaking and peeling
  • Long-lasting
  • Holds up to fading well
  • 7 color variations

Cons

  • Coverage could be better

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6. Best Texture Paint: RTG

Best Texture: RTG
  • Colors: White, sand and clear/amber
  • Coverage: 80- 100 sq. ft.
  • Type: Water-based

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The RTG deck, porch & patio anti-slip paint offers a unique finish that can endure harsh weather and heavy foot traffic. This paint dries very fast, so it’s a great choice if you want to get back to your usual business as soon as possible.

No matter which color you choose, it will stand out. Each of the colors is a great solution for a deck that is surrounded by a lush, vibrant landscape. You’ll be able to move around your grill and furniture without any issue as the coating can withstand impacts without getting damaged.

Pros

  • Comes in a variety of neutral colors
  • Fast drying time
  • Inexpensive
  • Durable
  • Easy to apply

Cons

  • Poor coverage per gallon

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7. Best Primer: Benjamin Moore Fresh Start

Best Primer: Benjamin Moore Fresh Start
  • Color: White
  • Coverage: 400- 450 sq. ft.
  • Type: Oil-based

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If you want to create a smooth surface before you apply a heavier coating, the Benjamin Moore Fresh Start primer will do the trick. It can repair all dents, dings, and splinter banisters.

All it takes is one coat of the Fresh Start primer and all the imperfections will be gone. Due to very low levels of VOCs, the primer has a surprisingly low odor.

It is easy to apply and dries very quickly. The primer also does a great job of sealing weathered decks. You can use it on new or previously painted surfaces.

Pros

  • Low VOCs
  • Great coverage
  • Dries quickly
  • Great for covering flaws
  • Easy to apply

Cons

  • Only available in white

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8. Best Weather Protection: Rust-Oleum

Best Weather Protection: Rust-Oleum
  • Colors: 9
  • Coverage: Up to 100 sq. ft.
  • Type: Oil-based

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If you live in a particularly rainy region, or your deck is in the direct path of your sprinkler, the Rust-Oleum is an excellent choice. It comes in a wide range of colors, each offering extra water-resistance.

Options include white, semi-gloss white, oyster white, black, sand beige, battleship gray, bright red, deep green, and navy blue. The durable coating provides UV protection and protects against extreme weather conditions.

You can easily apply it by spray, roller or brush. However, you will have to use a solvent because it is an oil-based paint. On top of offering great protection from water, it also protects against UV rays and fungi.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Extra water-resistance
  • Comes in 9 colors
  • Long-lasting
  • Easy to apply

Cons

  • Requires the use of solvent
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9. Best Eco-Friendly Deck Paint: Montage Signature

Best Eco-Friendly Deck Paint: Montage Signature
  • Colors: 15
  • Coverage: N/A
  • Type: Water-based

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The Montage Signature is an extremely versatile deck paint that is available in 2 beautiful finishes and 15 different colors. It is the best deck paint for the eco-conscious homeowner.

There are no toxic fumes to worry about and the VOC levels are extremely low. But, the Montage Signature is more than just an eco-friendly alternative to traditional deck paint—it has many other brilliant qualities.

The cleanup requires nothing more than water and sope, and it can be done in a jiffy. Whether you plan on using a roller, a bush, or a sprayer, applying it is easy. It offers mold, mildew, moisture, and UV ray protection.

Pros

  • Very low VOC levels
  • No toxic fumes
  • 10-year warranty
  • 15 different color options
  • 2 different finishes

Cons

  • Can take 4 coats to get the desired result

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10. Best for Deck Restoration: KILZ Over Armor Smooth

Best for Deck Restoration: KILZ Over Armor Smooth
  • Colors: Redwood and chocolate brown
  • Coverage: Up to 75 sq. ft.
  • Type: Water-based

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This durable formula from KILZ will restore your old, weathered wood to its former beauty. And, it will make sure it stays like that for quite a while. This thick coating comes in two styles and two finishes.

Whether you want a smooth surface or want to get a bit of texture, KILZ has got you covered. It hides splinters, cracks, and other imperfections by covering them with a smooth, slip-resistant finish.

The coating is thick as tar. As such, it is one of the best solutions for bridging gaps. It may be a bit challenging to apply due to its thickness, but it is definitely worth it.

Pros

  • Slip-resistant
  • Great for weathered wood
  • Long-lasting
  • Gorgeous redwood color
  • Fills cracks up to 1/4″ wide

Cons

  • Difficult to apply

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Deck Paint Buying Guide

Picking out the best paint for your deck isn’t so straightforward. The average deck is roughly 400 sq. ft. large. That’s a lot of surface that needs painting, so you would want to avoid doing it more than once. To be sure you’re making the right choice, here’s what you need to consider.

Water-based vs Oil-based Deck Paints

There are two main types of deck paint: water-based and oil-based. Each type has its pros and cons. Oil-based paints are easier to use and they offer great durability, so they are in greater demand today.

Not so long ago, water-based paints were the more popular option, and they still have some advantages over oil-based products.

Water-based deck paint…

  • Is available in a variety of colors;
  • Protects against fading;
  • Is low in VOCs;
  • Dries quickly;
  • Cleans up easily with water and soap;
  • Sees less peeling and cracking;
  • Lasts from 4 to 8 years (the more acrylic it contains, the longer it will last).

Oil-based deck paint…

  • Offers optimal moisture protection;
  • Lasts 5 to 10 years;
  • Provides a durable finish;
  • Requires the use of a solvent;
  • Is higher in VOCs;
  • Is available in a wide range of colors;
  • Takes up to 24 hours to dry.

Choosing the Color

Even though the main purpose of deck paint is to offer protection from temperature extremes and the elements, you want to go with a paint that complements the look of the wood as well.

The best way to go about this is to test a few different colors on a hidden spot on your deck or on a spare piece of wood. Most paints aren’t very expensive, so buying a few different paints to try out can pay off.

If you can afford to, don’t rule out an option before you try it out. To see what a particular color actually looks like, you will have to wait for a couple of hours after you paint a spot on your deck with it.

The same color will look far different after it dries. You don’t want to paint your entire deck only to end up completely disappointed the day after.

If you want to use a stain, you need to consider the wood’s natural hue. For instance, pine has a green undertone. Once you apply the stain, the undertones of the wood will change.

So, depending on what you are going for, you want to choose a color that will enhance the green undertones of pine or cancel them out.

Deck paint enhances the grain pattern of the wood. So, the amount of grain in the wood is another element you need to consider as it can affect the overall look of the deck.

Don’t forget to consider the age of your deck, too. The condition of your deck deteriorates over time, mostly due to damage and staining. If your deck is very old, it is best to go with darker and more opaque paint. Darker colors do a better job of hiding imperfections.

Paint Sheen

Each type of deck paint offers a different surface finish. Some formulas contain more gloss ingredients than others.

  • High gloss: If you paint your deck using a high gloss formula, it will be incredibly easy to clean. Spills will be easy to wipe and dirt and dust will blow right off.

But, this type of surface finish will highlight flaws in your deck as high gloss paints contain 70 to 89% of gloss. Every chunk of missing wood and every nail hole will show, so it’s best not to use it on older decks.

  • Enamel: Also known as “semi-gloss,” it is a great choice if you want to be able to easily wipe and clean spills. Enamel paints contain 40 to 69% of gloss. If you want an exact match to your trim, it is best to choose-semi-gloss. Most people use it for exterior trim work, shutters, and doors.
  • Satin: Because it offers a muted sheen, this the most popular choice for outdoor decks. Satin contains 30% gloss content. It is also called “low sheen” and “low luster.” It allows you to easily remove dust and dirt, yet still hides many imperfections.
  • Eggshell: Since it contains a low level of gloss (10%), eggshell is the best option if you want to hide flaws in your deck. However, it’s a better choice for enclosed decks than open decks as it collects dirt very quickly.

Durability

If you want to make sure the new paint will stand up to the elements, make sure it’s labeled as exterior paint or deck paint. You can use them to paint both the flooring and the railing on your deck. Interior paints don’t have proper fade- or weather-resistant qualities, so you should avoid them.

Added Protection

To protect your deck from temperature extremes, harsh UV rays, as well as mold and mildew, most deck paints contain certain additives. For the longest-lasting color and the best protection, opt for a formula that contains all three additives. Some products only offer protection against one or two of these elements.

Is Your Deck Stained?

If your deck already has stain applied to it, you need to consider the look and the condition of the current stain before you paint it or apply a new stain. The color of the new paint or stain may change even if the old stain is just a tint.

For instance, a blue-tinted stain can change the look of a red-tinted stain. So, color theory is very important if you want your deck to look great.

It’s a good idea to pressure-wash your old deck before you apply new paint or stain. You should also apply a wood preserve before you paint the deck. Then, you can test color samples to see how the new finish will look like. A deck is one of the best ways to make your yard more inviting.

Takeaway

Overall, the KILZ Enamel is the best deck paint. It is durable, easy to maintain, and has a gorgeous low-luster finish. On top of that, it comes at a very attractive price point and offers impressive coverage per gallon.

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