How to Paint Your Deck

A fresh coat of paint can brighten up a deck and help it last longer. If you decide to paint rather than stain, choose a high-quality oil or acrylic product designed for outdoor use.

You’ll need a hose capable of a pressure wash, a scraper to remove loose peeling paint, and brushes (both large and small). Be sure to plan your project for a day without rain.

Prep the Surface

A freshly painted deck adds a pop of color to any outdoor entertaining area. It’s also a relatively simple, not too labor-intensive project that can make a big difference to the overall look of your space. Whether you’re replacing peeled, outdated paint or giving your new deck a splash of design drama, the key to successful deck painting is preparing the surface properly.

Before you begin your deck repainting project, sweep the whole area to remove any dirt, dust and debris. This can be hard work, but it’s necessary to make sure that the primer will adhere to the wood. Be sure to pay special attention to the corners and in between boards, as these tend to wear down faster. Give the surface a good clean using a pressure washer or garden hose. This will help to eliminate any dirt or grime and ensure that the wood is completely dry before you start. Leaving any moisture in the wood can lead to peeling paint in the future.

Next, sand the surface of your deck using a sanding tool to remove any splinters or rough spots. This will help the new paint to adhere and create a smoother finish when you’re finished.

Lastly, it’s important to choose the right type of paint for your deck. There are a number of different options available, including oil-based and water-based paints. It’s essential that you use a high-quality, weatherproof deck paint designed for exterior wood surfaces, as this will protect the wood and help it to last longer.

Prime the Wood

A fresh coat of paint can breathe new life into your deck, whether it’s to replace a peeling layer or give this highly-trafficked outdoor entertaining space some design drama. Before you get started, it’s important to make sure that the entire surface is ready for a new look and will be able to stand up to the elements.

Once your deck has dried from powerwashing, take the time to repair any damage by filling in any dents or holes and applying a rust-resistant primer, if needed. This will help protect the wood from further rusting and will help the new paint hold up longer.

Apply the First Coat of Paint

Be sure to use painters tape to cover areas that you don’t want to paint, such as the areas of your deck that touch walls, doors, windows, metal railings, or other buildings or features. It’s also a good idea to cover plants and yard ornaments with drop cloths to protect them from paint stains.

The deck should be completely dry before you start applying the first coat of paint. Moisture will not only prevent the new stain or paint from adhering to the wood, but it can also push existing color away. It can take hours for a deck to dry, depending on the weather and location, so don’t rush it.

After you apply the first coat, let it sit for a few days. During this time, you can replace any furniture or accessories that you moved out of the way. If you are using a stain instead of paint, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how many coats your deck should have. Transparent stains typically only require one, while solid-color acrylics and oil based paints will often need two.

It’s important to choose a quality product, and be careful not to overdo it on the amount of color you use. A light application of color will give your deck a beautiful, fresh look that stands up to the elements.

If you are trying to repaint a deck that already has peeling paint, it’s best to go with a stain over paint. Stains penetrate the wood grain and do not form a solid coating on top like paint does, so they have less of a chance to blister or peel. If you want to stick with paint, there are several options on the market that work well and will cover up old peeling paint.

Apply the Second Coat of Paint

The second coat of paint is the “magic” that fills in gaps and creates a finished look. Apply the second coat of paint in a similar manner to the first, using a roller for the majority of the area and smaller paintbrushes for hard-to-reach spots.

When applying the second coat, be sure to use a thick coating and work in the direction of the wood grain. This will help the paint adhere to the surface and last longer. Let the second coat dry completely before walking on the deck.

It’s important to remember that a new deck can only take so much moisture and temperature changes before the boards begin to split and crack. If you notice any cracks forming, be sure to fill them with exterior-grade putty before starting the staining process. This will give the deck a consistent texture and ensure that it’s fully protected from water and sun exposure once the stain is dry. Then, you can be confident that your deck will look great for years to come!