Why You Should Never Paint a Deck

When it comes to maintaining your deck, the decisions you make can significantly impact its longevity and appearance. At Northwest Decks, we specialize in creating custom decks for homeowners in western Washington, and we often get asked about the best ways to protect and beautify these outdoor spaces. One common misconception is that painting a deck is a good idea. In this blog post, we’ll explain why you should never paint a deck and offer some better alternatives for keeping your deck looking its best.

The Problems with Painting a Deck

  1. Peeling and Cracking Unlike staining, which penetrates the wood, paint sits on the surface. This makes it more prone to peeling and cracking, especially in an outdoor environment subjected to varying weather conditions. In western Washington, where we experience a mix of rain and sun, painted decks often suffer from these issues within a short period.
  2. Trapped Moisture Paint forms a solid barrier over the wood, which can trap moisture inside. This is particularly problematic in our damp climate. Trapped moisture can lead to wood rot, mildew, and mold growth, severely compromising the structural integrity of your deck.
  3. High Maintenance Maintaining a painted deck is an ongoing task. Once the paint begins to peel or crack, you’ll need to scrape off the old paint and apply a new coat. This can be a labor-intensive and costly process. In contrast, staining or sealing requires less frequent maintenance and tends to be easier to touch up.
  4. Hides Wood Grain One of the joys of having a wooden deck is the natural beauty of the wood grain. Paint completely covers this, hiding the unique characteristics and aesthetic appeal of the wood. Stains and clear sealers, on the other hand, enhance and highlight the natural beauty of the wood.
  5. Slippery Surface Painted decks can become slippery when wet, posing a safety hazard, especially during the rainy seasons in western Washington. This can make your deck less enjoyable and potentially dangerous to use.

What To Do Instead of Paint: You May Want To Try a Stain!

  1. Staining Staining is a superior option for protecting your deck. It penetrates the wood, providing protection against the elements without peeling or cracking. Stains come in a variety of colors and can enhance the natural beauty of the wood grain while offering excellent protection.
  2. Sealing Clear or tinted sealers are another excellent option. They provide a protective barrier against moisture and UV rays without changing the color of the wood. Sealers help to maintain the deck’s natural look while offering robust protection.
  3. Composite Decking For those looking for a low-maintenance option, consider composite decking materials. While not wood, composites offer the look of wood without the need for painting, staining, or sealing. They are durable, weather-resistant, and come in a variety of colors and finishes.

While painting might seem like a quick and easy way to refresh your deck, it’s not the best choice for maintaining its beauty and longevity. The issues of peeling, cracking, trapped moisture, high maintenance, and a slippery surface make it a less-than-ideal option. Instead, consider staining or sealing your deck, or even exploring composite decking for a low-maintenance alternative.

At Northwest Decks, we’re dedicated to helping you make the best choices for your outdoor space. If you have any questions or need assistance with your deck, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to ensure your deck remains a beautiful, safe, and enjoyable part of your home for years to come.

For expert advice and professional deck building services in western Washington, get in touch with Northwest Decks today. Let us help you create and maintain the deck of your dreams; visit our online form to schedule an appointment, check out our other blog post articles for more ideas, or give us a call directly.