Paint vs. Stain | Deciding How to Finish Your Deck

Paint vs. Stain | Deciding How to Finish Your Deck

Ahh, the age old deck question — To paint it or to stain it?

Standard wood decks require some maintenance, but the most important maintenance choice you’ll make is which finish to use. Fairfield County Exteriors is here to unpack the pros and cons of both paint and stain so you can make an informed decision.


Deck paint has many benefits.

  • With endless color options, you can easily paint and repaint a deck to suit your style at any given time.
  • Paint also can fill in gaps and cracks in wood. Maybe your planks are getting a bit old but don’t quite need replacing yet. A new paint job can extend the life of your deck.
  • Depending on the color you’ve chosen, decks can actually be easier to clean when painted properly with good quality paint. This is because the paint creates a hard shell on top of wood that allows dirt to wash right off. This shell actually protects natural wood from the elements and resists rot, mold, and sun damage.


  • Not all colors look good on a large surface. While color options are in the pro column, it’s also a con. Choices mean you’ll might regret the color you pick.
  • Caution: Slippery When Wet! — Paint can be slick and slippery after a storm or after you’ve hosed it down while cleaning.
  • Once you’ve taken the plunge and painted your deck, there’s no going back. You can go from stain to paint but not the other way around — at least not without taking extreme measures.
  • One of the biggest cons when it comes to painting your deck is that paint hides wood’s natural beauty and grain.


Can’t part with the beauty of natural wood? Opt for a semi-transparent stain.

  • While the spectrum of color is smaller when it comes to stain, there are still many options to choose from. — Pro Tip: Test out your stain on a small area of wood before committing. The color of your wood can impact what the stain will ultimately look like.
  • Semi-transparent stains allow wood grain to show through, preserving the natural beauty of your deck.
  • While paint is slippery, stain will allow you to keep your footing more easily.
  • Simply put, it’s easier to apply stain than paint. Paint is difficult to work with while stain is more forgiving.


  • Stain has a much shorter lifespan than paint. Depending on the quality of the product and the number of coats you apply, stain can require much more maintenance.
  • Stain is very thin, therefore it won’t fill any wood gaps or cracks and there is no protection from splinters.

When it comes to decking, Fairfield County Exteriors has got you covered from design to completion. We want you to be able to enjoy your morning coffee on your newly built deck or patio as soon as possible! For more information and to schedule a free estimate today, call us at 203-375-9700!

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