deck painting how to guide

Deck Painting How To Guide | Steps To Make Your Deck Look Like New

In this complete guide, we answer all your deck painting how to questions including costing and tips for painting over a stain or oil treated deck.

We all love a good deck that offers generous outdoor space for spending time with our loved ones. In addition to providing a comfortable spot for gatherings, a well-preserved deck can be associated with higher property value nowadays. However, as much as we try to keep our decks in their best condition, this part of the house is just extra difficult to maintain because it is exposed to outside influences like rain, sun, and many more. Not only do these outside influences damage the appearance of your deck but can also deteriorate the quality of the materials used and even pose safety concerns.

But don’t panic yet, because the truth is there are many ways to preserve your deck. One good way to keep your deck in its optimal condition is by painting it. Applying paint on your deck can refresh the appearance of your outdoor space. Additionally, paints can provide a long-lasting protective layer against damaging ultraviolet rays and erosion so you can preserve your deck’s beauty and structural integrity for years to come.

deck painting how to guide

In this article, we will walk you through all the necessary steps on how to paint a deck, including deck painting cost, and how to prepare, paint, and repaint. We also added tips to paint over a stained or oiled deck so you can achieve that new-looking painted deck in no time.

Did you know that you can make your deck look new again with just paint, brush, and roller? Don’t believe us? Keep reading and get ready to be surprised!


Painting a deck is not as complicated as many would expect, however calculating and estimating costs can definitely be a challenge especially because paints and other materials are not made equal and do not come at the same price.

Fundamentally, the total cost is mostly dependent on the paint you use, the size of your deck, and the prep work needed. The price of painting a full deck can cost $220 to $1500.

Deck paint can come in a price range of $15 to $200 per gallon depending on quality, brand, type, and retailer. There are many types of deck paint to choose from including oil-based deck paint, water-based deck paint, and deck paint texture and finish.

For a more detailed guide on choosing deck paints, feel free to check our post that covers how to choose a decking paint.

In addition to the paint, you should also take into consideration the cost of a primer. A primer serves as an additional protective barrier to the wood as well as provides better paint adhesion. Like paints, primers also come in different qualities and varying prices. Typically, 1 gallon of primer retails for $15 to $80 depending on the quality.

By now, you must be having an idea of how much your deck painting project can cost. But before you compute, you have to measure your deck’s area in square feet first. If it’s your first time measuring your deck’s area, we highly suggest checking our article on calculating DIY paint cost and coverage here.

After getting the measurements, you can proceed with calculating the costs. Take note of this rule of thumb as you will be using it for the calculations later.

In the rule of thumb below you can see how much area a gallon of paint and primer can cover.

Rule of Thumb

  • 1 Gallon of Paint, Single Coat = 400 square feet
  • 1 Gallon of Paint, Double Coat = 200 square feet
  • 1 Gallon of Primer = 200 to 300 square feet

Moving on, let’s talk about the formulas you will need to calculate the paint total cost and the cost per square meter. We’ve also provided some short examples for better understanding.

The formula to calculate the total deck paint cost is:



For example, if you want to apply a single coat of paint on a 200 square feet area, you will need 0.5 gallons of paint. This will cost you about $7.5 to $100.

On the other hand, if you prefer to double coat your 200 feet square deck, you will need 1 gallon of paint and should be spending about $15 to $200.

The same formula applies to primer. Just exchange the AREA COVERED of paint with the AREA COVERED of primer which is 300 sq. ft. Hence, if you want to use a primer, you should add an additional cost of $10 to $53.

With these same situations above, let’s calculate the paint cost per square foot.

The formula to get the deck paint and primer cost per square foot is:


The cost of applying a single coat of paint on a 200 square meters deck can cost $0.04 to $0.50 per square foot.

For double coats of paint, you can spend $0.08 to $1.00 per square foot.

The same formula applies to primer, you will need a $0.05 to 0.265 per square foot.

Still having difficulties computing? Don’t worry, that is totally fine, if you need more help figuring out this math, you can read our detailed article on DIY paint cost and coverage.

Along with the paint and the primer, you should also consider the cost of equipment and materials required. Basically, you will be needing similar materials we use in staining a deck. To check our full list of materials and their prices, you can head over to our article on How to Stain a Deck Cost and Tips. You should anticipate spending $150 to $250 for all equipment, materials, and tools.


Believe us when we say that proper preparation can make any DIY project a success. Preparation gives us enough time to think about the things we need and don’t need and can also help prevent a build-up of stress.

For this project, the most important preparation tips we can share are these.

1. Set the dates to paint your deck. Painting your deck is not a one-day job. This project can take 3 days up to a week depending on your preparation time, work progress, and how fast the paint can dry. Moreover, you will need to keep an eye out to make sure that your deck is free from anything that can damage it while it is drying.

2. Do a weather check. Rain is the last thing you want in this project, When your deck surface gets wet while painting, the moisture can affect paint adhesion. When this happens, your paint will not have a good finish and can only last for a short period of time.

3. Do not rush! We understand how tedious this task can be with all the waiting for drying the primer and paint but the wait will be worth it in the end.

So how exactly can you prepare for painting your deck? Well, first of all, you have to go to your supplies shop and make sure that you have all the necessary stuff you need including:

Essential Materials

  • Cleaning materials and equipment
  • Paint scraper, sander, hammer, pliers, and others for minor repairs
  • Paint
  • Primer
  • Brushes, roller, and tray
  • Protective gloves and safety mask
  • Plastic sheet or other coverings

After preparing these, you can print our checklist below before painting so you are properly guided throughout this project. This checklist comprises all the essential steps in painting your deck.

Preparation Steps:

  • Step 1: Clear out your deck
  • Step 2: Inspect your deck and perform minor repairs
  • Step 3: Clean your deck with a broom or power washer
  • Step 4: Let your deck dry completely
  • Step 5: Cover areas you don’t want to paint
  • Step 6: Get your paint materials and tools
  • Step 7: Apply the primer on your deck
  • Step 8: Allow the primer to dry for 1 to 4 hours
  • Step 9: Paint the deck boards using a roller
  • Step 10: Paint tricky and hard to reach areas with a brush
  • Step 11: Let the paint dry completely
  • Step 12: Double coat
  • Step 13: Clean up

In the next section, we will discuss these steps in more detail.


As we have said before, painting a deck is uncomplicated, however, it can take a long time as it involves a lot of waiting. Before jumping into the next steps, please remember to give enough time to complete each task to guarantee the best results.

Part 1 – Deck Preparation

Step 1: Clear out your deck

Make sure that your deck is free from objects that can get in your way as you paint. These objects include furniture, decorations, plants, and others.

Step 2: Inspect your deck and perform minor repairs

It is common for decks to have minor damage like chipped wood, cracks, exposed nails and screws, and others. Take the time before painting as your opportunity to repair these damages. Repairing them can also make the paint finish look better.

If your deck has old paint, scrape off the old paint using a scraper. If you can, we also advise sanding your deck to ensure better paint adhesion.

Step 3: Clean your deck with a broom or power washer

Depending on your deck condition, you may need a broom or power washer to clean it. It is important that you paint on a clean surface. Painting on a dirty surface will not just affect the adhesion of the paint but also affect its finish.

Decking boards in shady or damp environments are prone to developing algae over time, and will need to be cleaned extra well to remove the algae. You can tell it has algae if it has a green tinge (like shown below), and is slippery when wet.

While you’re at it, check around for bird poop, as this may mean you have birds roosting above your deck that you should get rid of, if you want to keep your new deck paint clean. See tips for stopping birds pooping in unwanted places if this is an issue for you.

paint deck how to prepare 2
If your deck has signs of algae (green tinge), you need to clean it extra well.

Step 4: Let your deck dry completely

Do not paint your deck while it’s still wet from power washing. Allow your deck to dry for about 24 hours to 48 hours.

Step 5: Cover areas you don’t want to paint

Painting can be messy so make sure to protect any pavers, balustrade, glass, plants, or other adjacent surfaces/objects with plastic sheeting or other protections. Secure everything with a painter’s tape, or hold it down with heavy objects such as bricks.

Plants in particular are sensitive to paint and you should take steps to cover them, tie them back or even prune overhanging branches.

protect plants before deck painting
Protect plants, pavers and other areas before deck painting

Part 2 – Deck Painting How To Guide

Step 6: Get your paint materials and tools

Always check if you have complete materials and tools to start painting immediately and save time.

Step 7: Apply the primer on your deck

Apply the primer all over your deck covering all the spots where you want to paint. Do not apply primer under direct sunlight as it can retard adhesion.

Step 8: Allow your primer to dry for 1 to 4 hours

Let your primer dry before painting. If you have more time, you can let the primer dry overnight.

Step 9: Paint the deck boards using a roller

Get your roller and start painting your deck boards. Repeat this process until you are able to cover all the boards. If you are painting a deck with a roof, you should start painting from the ceiling to the deck boards.

For a detailed guide on how to paint a deck with a roof, here is a great video that can help certainly help you:

Step 10: Paint tricky and hard to reach areas with a brush

Rollers are extremely useful in painting however it is not very effective in painting tricky and hard-to-reach areas like corners. For this painting job, you can use a brush instead of a roller.

Step 11: Let the paint dry completely

Paint can dry in 8 hours however you need to wait at least 24 hours before you can apply another coat of paint. This is to ensure that the first coat has fully adhered to the surface.

Step 12: Double coat

Double coating your deck can provide an added layer of protection as well as a more vivid color finish. While there are benefits to double coating, this step is optional and you can opt to only double coat only the parts you want to add another layer of paint on.

Let the paint dry for a minimum of 24 hours.

Step 13: Clean up

Remove the plastic coverings, decorate your newly painted deck, and enjoy quality time with your loved ones.


Knowing how to repaint the deck can surely help you out when your deck’s paint starts to fade after several years. Repainting a deck is no easy task but don’t worry because we are here to help. Below we’ve put together a step-by-step guide on how you can repaint a deck.

Part 1 – Inspection

Take some time to look are your deck and inspect its condition.

If the painted surfaces of your deck are in good condition, meaning they are clean, and smooth without any loose paint, feel free to proceed to Part 2.

If your painted deck has peeled off, cracked, or blistered paints, you have to perform some necessary scraping and sanding first.

Step 1: Prepare to remove the old paint

Prepare a paint scraper and sander to recondition your deck boards.

how to repaint the deck
Tip: Heat guns will save you time when removing old paint.

Step 2: Scrape and Sand

Using a paint scraper, scrape the old paint until little to no paint is visible. Alternatively, you could use a heat gun designed for removing paint. Next, sand the surface using 80-grit sandpaper. After this, sand the surface once again with finer sandpaper with 120 to 150 grit to completely smoothen out the surface.

Step 3: Clean up

Depending on your deck’s condition, you may need to sweep, hand wash, or power wash it. Make sure to allow your deck to fully dry before painting,

Part 2 – Deck Painting (How to Repaint Deck in 6 Steps)

Don’t forget to clean your deck and cover the objects you don’t want to paint as we have mentioned in the section above before applying new paint. After cleaning your deck, you can start painting.

Step 1: Prepare your paint

You can opt to buy a new shade of paint for your deck to achieve a new look. However, if you want to retain your deck’s color, here are some ways from SFGATE that can help you.

SFGATE suggests bringing a paint chip to your paint mixer and asking them to match the shade. They also advised using the old paint can to identify the shade correctly. Moreover, they added that you can opt to take a photo of the old paint and print it. If you feel like the paint’s shade is incorrect, you can adjust the photo’s brightness, saturation, and more to match the shade.

If you are still having a hard time matching the shade we highly recommend communicating your old paint color characteristics to your paint mixer, Paint mixers are extremely talented when it comes to color matching and mixing so don’t be afraid to trust them.

Step 2: Apply primer and let it dry for 4 hours

Apply primer all over your deck to add an additional layer of protection to your deck wood as well as ensure stronger paint adhesion.

Step 3: Paint

Paint your deck boards using a roller for more convenient painting. For hard-to-reach areas like corners, you can use a brush.

Step 4: Let it Dry

Let your paint dry fully before painting a double coat for a smooth finish. You should apply a second coat of paint on your deck after 24 hours.

Step 5: Apply a Second Coat

The second coat can give your deck an extra layer of protection as well as a more vivid color finish. Again, apply the second coat of paint using a roller and brush,

Let the second coat of paint dry for 24 hours and more.

Step 6: Clean up

Remove the coverings and enjoy a relaxing time on your deck. You earned it!


Painting over stained or oiled wood requires extra steps. However, the most important thing is to remove as much stain or oil product on your deck as you can.

In the lists below, we’ve rounded up some of our best tips to paint over the stained or oiled deck.

Paint over wood stain or decking oil tips

  • Clean your stained deck with a cleaning solution or power washer. Perform some deck repairs if needed.
  • Remove the stain and oil finish on your deck with a 120 to 150 grit sandpaper
  • Wipe down the deck with a de-glosser to further remove the stain and oil product
  • After removing the stain and oil. make sure to apply primer to your deck for strong paint adhesion and a good finish
  • Paint as you normally would
  • When doing this project, don’t forget to wear protective masks and gloves to protect yourself from the adverse effects of inhaling or having contact with chemicals in the paint and other substances.


Painting a deck may seem like a task at first, but the truth is it is uncomplicated and anyone can do it with the right materials and instructions. In addition to these, one should have patience as this job can really take some time. Nevertheless, it is worth it!

Painting your deck brings a number of benefits. Paint can refresh the look of your deck as well as add a layer of protection to your deck wood materials against UV rays and erosion.

We hope that this guide on how to paint the deck was able to help you in calculating the cost, preparation, painting, and repainting a deck. Moreover, we hope that you can use our tips to paint over stained wood or oiled deck effectively. Thank you for reading and have a happy DIY day!


  • Sara Kooring

    Hi, I’m Sara, co-owner of NestKoo. I’m trained as a fine artist and I love being close to nature. My main area of specialty in NestKoo is DIY house painting, where I bring my skills in fine art painting and contemporary design together into a practical home DIY context.

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