Paint vs. Stain – Which One Is Best For Your Deck?

Paint vs. Stain – Which One Is Best For Your Deck?

Paint vs. Stain – Which One Is Best For Your Deck?
So you’ve finished building the deck of your dreams just in time for summer. Before the final nail is lodged safely into the last plank, your mind is sure to be racing ahead with ideas of barbecues and sunshine. However, you would be better served to start pondering the next important decision in the process: paint or stain?

To answer this question, you need to understand why you need to apply a material to the bare wood of your deck in the first place.

Why Coat My Deck?

Wood is in itself a pretty durable material. Trees last hundreds of years out in the elements and that’s pretty much what wood is, right?


In nature, trees are protected by a thick layer of bark that plays a pivotal role in its robust structural integrity. Without this shielding, the actual usable wood is quite vulnerable to the elements, most notably water.

Untreated wood can shrink, contort, and even grow mold when exposed to rain and sunlight. It can also splinter and split over time, creating a hazardous walking surface for those who enjoy going barefoot in the backyard.

Should I Go With Paint Or Stain?

When you think of a deck in its entirety, you should think of it as different parts that make up a larger area. When seen in this light, you can easily understand that both stain and paint both have a place in the coating of your deck.

The general rule to remember is to use stain for horizontal surfaces and paint for vertical surfaces.

The flooring of a deck experiences much more stress and foot traffic, which would mean much more maintenance if it were covered in paint. Stain holds up better to the elements as well, meaning fewer coats over time.

Paint has its place on your deck as well, though. Posts and handrails, which see considerably less abuse than the floor, are perfect places to cover with a durable exterior paint. Be careful not to use an indoor or purely cosmetic paint; this can lead to unsightly cracks and peeling that would require maintenance. Make it easier on yourself and choose a tough outdoor paint.

How Much Maintenance Am I Looking At?

You can expect a painted vertical surface to require much less maintenance over time when compared to a stained horizontal surface. This isn’t necessarily a testament to the material, however. Remember, all that foot traffic  your deck floor experiences results in much more stress than any handrail will see.

Paint wouldn’t hold nearly as long as stain does on the deck flooring, especially when considering that on top of the foot traffic, horizontal surfaces collect standing water as well. Stain is necessary for the floor, although it will require more maintenance than the painted posts and handrails.

Trust The Professionals

When it comes time to reseal your deck, it is highly recommended to trust the experienced hands of a hardwood floor and painting expert. If your Middle Tennessee deck is in need of maintenance, contact Bradford Hardwood Flooring and Paint Center today.

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At Bradford we not only sell hardwood flooring but we install it as well. From help with making the right hardwood selection all the way through the installation we can be with you every step of the way to make sure it's done right the first time.

Contact Us today and get your Free Quote and see how new hardwood floors can change the look and feel of your home.

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Bradford Hardwood Flooring & Paint Center

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