Finishing a newly installed wooden deck or refinishing an older one will protect it from moisture- and weather-related damage and prolong its lifespan. While both exterior paint and wood stain can do the job, the two popular finishes differ in terms of appearance, applications, durability, maintenance, and cost. Read on for a comparison of painting vs. staining to learn which offers the best defense for your deck.
Stain is more budget-friendly.
Stain runs between $20 and $35 per gallon, while exterior paint suitable for decking ranges from $30 to as much as $60 per gallon. Plus, if painting, you’ll have to factor in an extra $15 to $40 per gallon of wood preservative and $15 to $30 per gallon of primer. Most commercial wood stains already contain a preservative and therefore don’t require a primer to adhere.
Stain offers a natural look.
Wood stain, transparent to semi-solid in opacity, partially fills the pores of wood, forming a thin film over the deck that lets both the natural grain pattern and superficial cracks in the wood show through—ideal if you like a natural look. Paint, with its high percentage of pigments and resins, fully fills the pores of the wood and dries to an opaque surface that hides cracks and covers the distinct wood grain, resulting in a more refined, though more manufactured, look. If you aim to disguise imperfections yet still retain a rustic appearance, a solid wood stain, which is highly pigmented and virtually opaque, is a good choice.
Paint affords more variety.
Paint is available in a host of hues, from neutrals like chocolate brown or forest green to eye-popping royal blue or crimson for a more contemporary vibe. Because wood stain is designed to accentuate the native qualities of wood, it’s typically limited to clear varieties or shades of brown.
Stain is easier to apply.
Either painting the deck or staining the deck will require preparing the surface by sweeping it clear, scrubbing it with a store-bought or homemade deck cleaner, repairing or replacing damaged boards, and then lightly sanding any surface ridges. Then, stain can be directly applied by brush or roller in a single coat. The rather runny consistency of stain prevents globs from pooling, and its transparency minimizes the appearance of lap marks in the finish. Furthermore, when you choose a two-in-one stain-and-sealer there’s no need for an additional clear top coat.
Conversely, prior to painting, a deck should be treated with wood preservative and then coated with a quality primer. A minimum of two coats of latex or oil-based paint is usually needed, and the thick consistency of paint means that globs and lap marks commonly crop up in the finish. Once painted, the surface must be sealed with a clear polyurethane sealer.
Source : BobVila