With the summer days winding down and the fall on its way, it’s time to start reviewing your home’s condition. The summer brought plenty of fun, with backyard barbeques, and swim parties bringing the family and friends joy in the warm weather.
With winter on the way, it’s time to refurbish your deck. If it’s been a few years since your last maintenance session, giving your deck a new coat of paint helps to spruce things up, adding value to your home. For a few hours of work, you get years of enjoyment out of the refurbishment.
There are dozens of models of deck paint available for your project. Choosing the right blend and brand can mean the difference between a top-quality finish and lackluster results. In this post, we’ll look at the best deck paint for your project, giving you the advice you need to ensure you select the right deck paint for the job.
Our Top Picks
- 1 Our Top Picks
- 2 Deck Paint Reviews
- 2.1 Ames Safe-T-Deck – The Best Overall Best Deck Paint
- 2.2 RTG Deck Anti-Slip Paint – The Best Premium Model Best Deck Paint
- 2.3 DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain – The Best Budget Best Deck Paint
- 2.4 Cabot Wood Deck and Siding Exterior Stain
- 2.5 Rust-Oleum 206999 Marine Topside Paint
- 2.6 FIXALL Skid Grip Anti-Slip Paint
- 2.7 TotalBoat TotalBilge Paint
- 2.8 Rust-Oleum 207009 Marine Anti-Slip Additive
- 3 Other Best Selling Options
- 4 Deck Paint Buyer’s Guide
- 4.1 Choosing the Best Deck Paint or Stain for Your Deck
- 4.2 Top Tips for Painting or Staining the Deck
- 4.3 Are You Finishing with Paint?
- 4.4 What are the Pros and Cons of Finishing with Paint?
- 4.5 What are the Cons of Finishing Your Deck with Paint?
- 4.6 What are the Pros and Cons of Finishing with Stain?
- 4.7 What are the Pros of Finishing with Stain?
- 4.8 What are the Cons of Finishing with Stain?
- 4.9 How Do You Paint or Stain a Deck?
- 4.10 Both Paint and Stain Offer Protection for Your Deck
- 4.11 How Do You Maintain Your Deck?
- 4.12 Are You Planning on Leaving Your Deck with an Unfinished Look?
- 5 Deck Paint FAQs
- 6 Deck Paint Reviews – The Verdict
If you can’t wait to start on your deck refurbishment project, you can skip the rest of the review and read this section instead. We realize there are hundreds of different blends and brands of deck paint out there. We took the time to do the research for you, bringing you our top choices for this review.
These three picks represent the best-of-the-best when it comes to deck paint. We picked three products we think best represent the needs for homeowners looking to refurbish their decks.
There’s the best overall winner, a premium product for top-quality finish, and a budget choice for a low-cost job that doesn’t skimp on the quality. Choose the product that suits your needs, and let’s start painting!
- The Best Pick: Ames Safe-T-Deck
This environmentally-friendly, water-based deck paint wins our top pick for the best overall deck paint in this review. You get an adhesive acrylic latex paint with a skid-resistant additive for a non-slip, safe surface for your deck. The Safe-T-Deck paint is ready to use straight out of the pail, with no mixing required.
- The Premium Pick: RTG Deck Anti-Slip Paint
If you’re looking for the best premium paint you can buy, we recommend the RTG Deck Anti-Slip paint. This formula features ingredients providing your deck with a durable surface suitable for heavy foot traffic. The low-VOC formula with UV resistance resists fading in the sun, and it’s available in four colors.
- The Budget Pick: DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain
Homeowners looking for an affordable alternative to deck paint can consider this DEFY wood stain. You get a water-based, environmentally-friendly product with a semi-transparent, natural wood finish. This product comes with a zinc-nano-particle additive that resists UV and harsh weather conditions.
Deck Paint Reviews
Now that you have an idea of the best deck paint available let’s unpack each of these products in further detail. We’ll also look at a few other deck paint products we think are worthy of inclusion in the best deck paint reviews.
Ames Safe-T-Deck – The Best Overall Best Deck PaintThis deck paint wins our award for the best overall product in his review. Ames Safe-T-Deck features a water-based formulation that environmentally friendly. You get easy cleanup and a fast-drying paint that leaves a skid-resistant surface.
Safe-T-Deck comes in 1-gallon pails, with a gallon covering up to 100-square feet. For the best results with this product, you’ll need to apply two coats. Safe-T-Deck gives your deck a long-lasting, weatherproof finish that’s UV-resistant.
We like that there’s no mixing required with this formulation, and it dries to a sturdy finish that’s suitable for decks that get plenty of foot traffic. This paint comes with a tintable white base, allowing you to customize the color to your requirements.
- Water-based environmentally-friendly formula
- Adhesive acrylic latex deck paint
- Skid resistance finish
- 1-gallon covers 100-square feet
- Tintable white base
- Easy clean up with water
- Only available in brown with tintable base
RTG Deck Anti-Slip Paint – The Best Premium Model Best Deck Paint
Homeowners looking for the best premium deck paint get what they’re looking for with this RTG product.
This deck paint features a fast-drying formulation, providing an attractive formulation. This paint comes with a traction system in the formula. However, unlike other paints that leave an abrasive finish, you get a surface with plenty of traction, but with a subtle feel against your skin.
This RTG deck paint is UV resistant, with a water-based formula that’s easy to apply and clean up. Suitable for application with paintbrush, roller, or through a sprayer, this paint is a top premium choice.
You get the option of four neutral colors, and a quart covers around 80 to 100-square feet.
- Textured non-slip finish
- Water-based formula
- UV-resistance prevents fading in the sun
- No priming necessary
- Available in four colors
- Premium Price
DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain – The Best Budget Best Deck Paint
Homeowners looking for the best budget product in this review will love this option from DEFY. This semi-transparent stain is a different option away from the traditional deck paint finish and suits natural wood decks looking to accentuate the material’s natural beauty.
This stain features a UV-resistant zinc nano-particle formula that protects your deck for years. This stain’s durable finish provides your deck with plenty of coverage and an affordable alternative to paint. This stain is available in six color tones to suit your wooden deck.
- Water-based semi-transparent stain
- Natural matte finish
- Fortified with zinc nano-particle technology
- Durable, long-lasting finish
- Easy maintenance
- Available in six colors to suit any wood
- No non-slip finish
Cabot Wood Deck and Siding Exterior StainCabot stain provides your deck with a translucent oil finish that’s glossy and attractive. You get a water-resistant finish, with deep penetration of the wood for optimal protection from the elements.
This product is available in two different color tones to suit your deck, and a gallon provides around 350-square feet of coverage per gallon. This stain features a low-VOC formulation for easy application without any chemical exposure.
- Translucent oil finish
- Beautifies and enhances natural wood decks
- Available in two different colors
- Low VOC exterior stain
- No non-slip finish
Rust-Oleum 206999 Marine Topside Paint
Homeowners that live at the coast, and deal with humid conditions year-round, will do better with an oil-based deck paint.This product from Rust-Oleum is a premium paint designed for waterproofing wood. For ultimate protection from the elements, this marine formula provides you with everything you need to avoid mold growth and wood rot in your deck.
You get a glossy finish with long-lasting UV protection from the sun’s rays. This product comes in nine colors to match the color theme of your home.
- Ideal for use on decks and porches
- An oil-based formula for superior water and weather resistance
- Fast-drying formula
- Gloss retention and smooth finish
- Long-lasting UV protection
- Available in nine colors
- No non-slip finish
FIXALL Skid Grip Anti-Slip PaintThis FixAll deck paint is a great choice for your refurbishment project. This paint comes in seven color tones to suit your home, and you get an anti-slip finish with excellent traction. The FixAll deck paint is easy to apply, with a fast-drying finish.
The formulation of this paint is UV-resistant, providing a long-lasting, durable surface for your deck. The paint stands up to the abuse of high foot-traffic areas on the deck, with two bases available for your panting requirements.
The anti-slip properties make it a great choice for use around the pool, preventing slip-and-falls that lead to accidents.
- Skid-resistant formula
- Durable UV-resistant finish
- Suitable for use in high-traffic areas
- Comes in a range of colors
- Easy application with fast-drying
- Requires a base coat for the best finish
TotalBoat TotalBilge PaintThis epoxy-based formula is another excellent choice for marine applications. Decks that must sustain wet-weather or tropical climates will do better with this product’s sealed finish.
This paint is resistant to moisture, acids, oils, solvents, and alkaloids. It dries to a hardened, glossy finish that makes your deck look fantastic.
You get a choice of two color options and a fast-drying application. You get excellent coverage with this product, offering you 250 to 300-square feet per quart, and you only need a single coat.
- An epoxy formula for extreme weather and water resistance
- Suitable for use on coastal properties
- Available in two colors
- Easy to apply
- Mold and mildew resistant
- 250-square foot coverage per gallon
- No non-slip finish
Rust-Oleum 207009 Marine Anti-Slip Additive
If you have a deck around the pool, where the floor will get wet, you can increase the surface’s traction using this additive.
Rust-Oleum provides you with a mix-in formulation suitable for use with topside paint during your refurbishment project.
- A great choice to add to stains and other formulas that don’t offer traction
- Fast-drying and easy application
- Mold and mildew resistant
- Enhances the paint job
- Not a stain or paint
Other Best Selling Options
- UV RESISTANCE - Our Deck Coating has excellent solar reflectivity and UV stability; reduces heat transfer by up to 35% compared to regular paint
- PROTECTIVE FINISH FOR - Wood, concrete, decks, walls, fences and more for a seamless membrane!
- EASY TO APPLY - Use a brush, roller, or paint sprayer for a seamless and fully adhered membrane. Designed as a stand-alone coating but can also be used with Liquid Rubber Seam Tape
- ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY - Liquid Rubber Deck and Dock Coating is water based, non-flammable, and non-toxic, containing no solvents or VOC's. Safe for humans and pets alike, can be used indoors and outdoors with no special breathing apparatus
- Looking for concrete sealer or outdoor paint that's fit for the job? Look no further! Ames Safe-T-Deck acrylic granulated deck coating renews, restores, and protects porches, walkways, concrete, and other outdoor surfaces. Increase foot traction with “elastic” skid-resistant safety paint with granules.
- Safe-T-Deck Granulated Acrylic Deck Coating can be brushed, rolled, or sprayed on properly prepared outdoor surfaces to be used as concrete paint, deck paint, brick paint, or any other outdoor paint. This low odor, “Elastic” skid-resistant safety paint is thick and ensures durability.
- Make exterior paint surfaces or outdoor flooring safe and restored with our skid-resistant granulated outdoor deck coating. Clean-up is easy with water!
- Made in the USA - Veteran Owned Business. Ames prides itself on offering waterproof and paint coatings for decades. Have confidence knowing your Ames elastic paint will be perfect for the job.
- 5 Gallon - Our outdoor paint is packaged in 5 gallon tins. Textured finish with granulates. Suitable for concrete floor paint and other outdoor uses.
Deck Paint Buyer’s Guide
After reading through the reviews, you might find yourself feeling confused about choosing the best deck paint or stain for your refurbishment. That’s okay. We understand the pain of choice, and we’re here to help. In this section, we’ll look at all the details surrounding choosing the right paint for the job.
Our buyer’s guide helps you select the paint or stain that’s right for your deck, and we give you some useful tips for preparing the surface and finishing the job. Read on to learn everything you need to know about the best deck paint.
Choosing the Best Deck Paint or Stain for Your Deck
Do you love the feeling of solid wooden deck boards under your feet? The look of an evenly spaced deck is a visual enhancement to your property, increasing the value of your home.
However, if the deck starts to look scruffy, and the stain or paint starts to peel and flake away, it becomes an eyesore. Staining or painting your deck is something you only need to do every few years, it’s not a regular part of your home maintenance, but it’s an important feature for your home. Therefore, keeping your deck looking its best is beneficial for your home value, and the aesthetics.
If your deck is looking worse for wear, we recommend you think about painting it or staining it to protect the wood. If you leave the deck for too long without refurbishment, it starts to experience problems.
You might notice mold or mildew appear in the gaps between the planks, or under the structure. Mold and mildew introduce rot to the boards, and pretty soon, your deck will be falling apart. Refurbishing the deck every three or four years ensures that it lasts a lifetime.
However, there are plenty of choices for refurbishment. Should you paint or stain your deck? What happens if you leave it unfinished? In this section, we’ll go over everything you need to know for choosing the right refurbishment product for your deck.
Top Tips for Painting or Staining the Deck
The hard work of refurbishing your deck is the sanding process. After you finish that painstaking task, it’s time do decide what you want to do with the deck. Finishing the deck requires you to think about how you want to use it, and how long you want the finish to last.
Typically, the paint lasts longer than stain, but it depends on the foot traffic in the area. These are all considerations you need to account for when selecting the ideal finish for your deck.
Choosing the wrong finish will leave you with some remorse over the job, and chances are you’ll end up sanding it down and doing it the way you want anyway. Make sure that you take care when selecting your ideal finishing product.
Let’s go over the benefits and disadvantages of using paint or stain for your deck refurbishment.
Are You Finishing with Paint?
Paint is the most common choice for finishing decks. Paint gives you a durable finish that lasts for years, and it’s suitable for use in a variety of weather conditions for a robust and durable coat for your deck.
Paint is a great choice, but it’s not the best option if you want to accentuate the surface’s natural wood beauty. However, paint is a popular option. Let’s look at the pros and cons of using a paint finish for your deck.
What are the Pros and Cons of Finishing with Paint?
A wide variety of colors available – Paint is a dense material and covers old paint easily. Therefore, if you’re using paint for your finish, you don’t have such a hard sanding job in front of you before the paint job.
New paint can cover old paint, provided that it’s not flaking or worn. If that’s the case, you’ll need to do some sanding to smooth things out before repainting the deck. Here are some other benefits of choosing paint for your finish.
- Paint fills cracks and gaps – Paint has a thicker consistency. Therefore, it acts as a leveling agent during your paint job. The paint seeps into gaps and cracks in your deck, filling them: exposed cracks and crevices present places where mold like to hide and thrive. By filling the gaps, you protect your deck and eliminate places for mold to grow. Some paints come with specialized formulations designed specifically for filling gaps and cracks in your deck. Inspect your deck before you order your paint and choose a suitable product for filling tasks.
- Paint is easier to clean – If you’re purchasing a water-based formulation, you’re going to have an easier time cleaning the paint after your finish. Water-based formulations wash away with water, and if you spill, it’s a forgiving product. Epoxy paints with oil-based formulas are challenging to clean without the use of chemicals like benzene and thinners. Make sure you choose the right paint for your task and take care when painting.
- Paint protects wood – Paint is a great choice for protecting the wood from environmental factors. If you live along the coastline, dealing with black mold is a hassle. This mold likes to hide and grow in the dark, damp spaces. If your deck provides a room for it to grow, it will colonize and ruin the wood. Painting your deck ensures that your seal protects the wood from the damage caused by hot, humid conditions at the coast.
- Paint comes in different colors – Paint is available in various colors to suit the color theme of your yard and your deck. Choose a paint that has a tintable base, and you can play around with the color.
What are the Cons of Finishing Your Deck with Paint?
- Paint is permanent – There is no going back after painting your deck. With stain, you can change the tone and color. However, with paint, you’ll have to paint the entire deck again to cover up the previous coat.
- Paint can be slippery around pools – If you chooser a glossy finish for your paint job, it will have minimal traction. A smooth finish to your deck makes it a slip-and-fall hazard in wet weather. We recommend looking for a paint that has a non-slip additive in the ingredients. A non-slip surface provides traction in wet weather, avoiding accidents. If you’re choosing a flat paint, we recommend purchasing an additive for the product to enhance the paint’s traction when dry.
- Paint covers the natural wood beauty of your deck – If you have a gorgeous hardwood deck, the paint will cover the natural beauty of the material. If you don’t want to lose the hardwood’s aesthetic, we recommend going with a stain instead.
What are the Pros and Cons of Finishing with Stain?
Finishing your deck with paint might not be the ideal choice. If you have a gorgeous hardwood deck, why hide the wood? Instead of using paint for your finish, you can consider staining the deck. Stain provides a semi-transparent finish that accentuates the look of the wood. However, there are several pros and cons to using this finish; let’s unpack them for you in this section.
What are the Pros of Finishing with Stain?
- Stains enhance the natural beauty of wood – If you have a hardwood deck, why not keep the wood’s natural beauty instead of covering it up with paint? A stain finish accentuates the wood’s look, giving you a finish with an authentic and genuine look.
- A stain is a less slippery surface than paint – Typically, stains are less slippery when dry. However, you might need to incorporate an anti-slip additive if you’re finishing a deck around your pool.
- It’s easier to apply stain – Sealer and stain are easy to apply, and forgiving to work with when finishing your deck—the stain paints on readily, drying in half the time.
- Stain comes in a variety of colors – Stain comes in a variety of colors to suit the wood on your deck. Choose a color that’s close to your wood type, and start staining. The stain leaves a translucent effect on the wood, allowing the natural grain to show through.
What are the Cons of Finishing with Stain?
- The stain doesn’t last as long as paint – Depending on the brand you buy; stain typically doesn’t last as long as paint. A painted surface may last up to five to 10-years. However, you’ll get three to five years out of stain. Some stains have a durable finish, and most of the stain products in this review last as long as paint.
- The stain won’t fill the gaps or cracks in your deck – Stain does not have the same leveling effect as paint. Therefore, it’s not going to fill the gaps and cracks in your deck the same way as paint. The paint’s thin viscosity lets it settle into the cracks, and you’ll still get the same protection, but not the same visual aesthetic.
- Stain looks rustic – Stain has a rustic visual appeal. If you want to keep the wooden look to your deck, then the stain is the best finishing choice.
How Do You Paint or Stain a Deck?
Before painting or staining your deck, you’ll have to prepare the wood. Correct preparation of the wood ensures that the paint or stain settles with a professional finish.
Start your preparation by sanding down any splintered areas or flaky paint from the last paint job. We recommend using a floor sander for this job, but a belt sander or orbital sander is adequate if you have a smaller deck or porch.
Make sure you use a mask when sanding to prevent the sanding particles from entering your airways. Sand the deck, and then wash it down with the garden hose to get rid of the sanding residue. Let the deck dry properly before starting the next phase.
Purchase brushes and rollers for the staining or painting job. We recommend using brushes as wide as the boards for effective application of stain. If you’re painting, we recommend using a roller with a ¼-inch nap or less.
Solids stains are the best choice for older decks as they hide any previous stain. Paint is also suitable for covering up old material. Going with a translucent or semi-transparent stain won’t work on a deck with a previous solid-stain finish.
When painting, make sure you understand the dynamics of your paint. It’s easy to wash away water-based paint if you make a mistake. However, if you’re using an oil-based formula, you will have a hard time cleaning up if you make a mess.
Both Paint and Stain Offer Protection for Your Deck
Regardless of whether you’re using paint or stain, both provide exceptional weather resistance and protection for your deck. These finishes protect the material from the sun’s UV rays and water saturation.
How Do You Maintain Your Deck?
Maintaining a stained or painted deck is easy. Basic sweeping and mopping are all you need to keep it clean. Check the deck at the end of the summer season. Look for signs of wear showing you need to refurbish the wood.
Are You Planning on Leaving Your Deck with an Unfinished Look?
If you’re planning on leaving your deck unfinished, you’re going to regret it in the future, and leaving the deck unsealed and unfinished has an authentic look. The wood’s natural appeal is great, and if you live in a dry region of the US, it’s an option.
However, if you live in regions that get seasonal rainfall or experience high-humidity, it will ruin your deck. The wood absorbs moisture from the air, leading to mold growth and rot in the wood. The last thing you want is a black mold showing up to claim your deck.
Sanding, sealing, and staining or painting your deck ensures the wood lasts. Only tropical hardwoods are suitable for an unfinished deck, and we recommend you treat the material for longevity. Skipping out on your finishing coat means your deck has a higher chance of splitting, warping, and rotting.
Deck Paint FAQs
What type of paint I suitable for a deck refurbishment project?
We recommend using exterior paint designed for coping with the demands of high foot-traffic. Paint for decks must feature excellent resistance to weather conditions, and an anti-mold formula to prevent damage to your deck due to prolonged wet weather. The paint also needs UV-resistant properties to avoid the fading of the paint in the sun.
What’s a better choice for my deck? – Paint or stain?
Whether you choose a paint or stain is a personal preference. However, make sure you select a product that meets weather resistance criteria and provides a non-slip finish. Decks can get slippery, especially if its around a pool. A non-slip finish ensures there are no accidents on wet surfaces.
Does stain or paint last longer on my deck?
Typically, the paint will outlast stain. However, staining your deck requires less effort than painting, and accentuates the look of hardwood decks.
Do I need a primer for my deck?
This answer varies by the paint manufacturer. However, all the paints in this review are suitable for application without a primer. All of them include a primer formula in the paint or stain, reducing your deck refurbishment time and costs.
Deck Paint Reviews – The Verdict
By now, you should have a good idea of the best deck paint for your refurbishment product. This post represents the best products available, and one of them will help you get your deck looking like new.
However, on the chance that you’re stuck with your decision, we understand. It’s challenging to pinpoint the best product for the job, even with only a few options. If that’s the case, why not rely on our top picks?
- Ames Safe-T-Deck is our choice for the best overall deck paint, with a standard brown finish that looks great on any deck. You get a skid-resistant formula, with 100-square foot coverage per gallon. It’s a top choice for homeowners looking for a long-lasting, durable formula for the largest jobs.
- Our choice for the best premium deck paint goes to RTG Deck Anti-Slip formula. This deck paint is a top choice, available in four colors. You get a non-slip finish with plenty of traction and a long-lasting formula that holds up to heavy foot traffic year after year.
- DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain is our top choice for the best budget deck paint in this review. You get an environmentally-friendly water-based formula with a natural matte finish, enhancing a hardwood deck’s natural beauty.
Choose the paint that’s right for your refurbishing job, and start up the sander!