How to Paint A Deck

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All Painters On Deck!

Fading, cracking, peeling, and maybe even worn down. If any of these words trigger an image of your deck, it’s time to paint your deck! If left alone for too long, the wood can start to rot, split, and suffer other types of damage. Then you’ll need a carpenter as well as a painter, or one who can do both! But if you’ve decided to tackle painting the deck yourself, this is the how-to for you! Or, if painting isn’t the way you want to go, you can look at staining options.

Learn about staining your deck >>

Deck Pre-Paint Prep

Like with packing for a long trip, the prep is the longest part but necessary for a good vacation. If you want a great paint job for your deck, follow these prep steps:

Minor Deck Repairs

For the paint to stick properly and look uniform:

  • Fix any nails/screws popping out
  • Fill large cracks (1/4″ or larger) with epoxy putty
  • Use stain and sealer remover for decks with previous paint, stain, or sealer (you may have to scrape some paint off by hand)
  • Sand ridges or lifted grains

Once this is done, it’s time to clean your deck.

See tools and tips for painting a house exterior >>

Clean the Deck

Restore the sheen and get it clean! You may want to use a deck cleaner found in many home improvement stores if you want the best clean. If your deck is already shiny, a hose alone can do the trick. You can use a power washer, but be careful as you can cause damage to your deck if you’re not careful. Make sure nothing is stuck between the boards! Allow the deck to dry thoroughly (time can change depending on what you use).

Apply Primer

For a great, longer-lasting paint job, apply primer to all sides of the deck (even the bottom). It may be a hassle, but it can help your deck paint in the long run. It helps keep moisture off of the wood and keeps it stable, preventing wood expansion and contraction which can lead to peeling and cracking paint.

Paint Selection

Make sure to choose the right paint! The label should read along the lines of “deck and concrete paint”, “porch paint”. It’s made especially to withstand the elements and constant foot traffic. As a bonus, the paint is usually mold and mildew resistant too! You can use oil or acrylic-based paint depending on your personal preference. After this, you can finally paint your deck!

The Painting Begins

Now let’s get into the actual painting process!

Tape and Cloth

Get yourself some painters tape and plastic sheets. This is to protect any plants, siding, and posts you don’t want the paint to get on. Removing paint from unwanted surfaces is harder than preventing it at all. Painters tape is also nifty for setting out patterns and lines. Now it’s all set out, paint your deck!

The Painting Part

There are several ways to paint your deck. You can use the classic roller to cover large areas and a 4″ or so brush for the hard to reach places. Don’t forget to paint between the boards as well, unless you’re going for that look. You can also use a sprayer! If you choose the spraying method, wear a protective mask and goggles along with long pants and shirt. Spray with the grain of the wood and have a helper handy with a roller for spreading out any paint puddles.

Plan your escape from Deck-atraz! Paint towards the stairs or a door so you aren’t trapped on your deck waiting for the paint to dry.

Freshly Finished Deck

Your deck should look amazing with its brand new paint job! See it slightly shining in the sunlight, breathe in the smell of a good, fresh painting, and feel the rush of having completed a project with your own two hands. If this seems like a bit much, you can hire a professional painting contractor to paint your deck. It’s best if the contractor also has carpentry skills in case the deck has wood rot or other problems.

Learn how to spot a contractor who’s bad at their job >>