Choosing deck paint colors is tough. Finding the best color starts with viewing deck paint jobs for inspiration. That is what this deck painting article is all about.
Certainly, regularly painting or staining a deck protects deck boards from rot. No question, wood decks take a ton of wear and tear. Accordingly, you should stain or paint decks every 2-5 years to maintain the wood.
Likewise, a new coat of paint or deck stain can transform your outdoor space or backyard. But which stain or deck paint colors work best?
Today, we dive into the best modern deck paint colors that are most popular among homeowners. Additionally, our deck experts explore when to paint and when to use deck stain.
Our goal is to inspire your next DIY or professional painting project with some of the most popular deck ideas from actual jobs we’ve painted.
Let’s get started with a timeless deck paint color that seems to never go out of style!
1. Golden Oak
Golden Oak or Honey is a classic light deck color that we love because of its versatility. Indeed, this warm and inviting deck stain color works with most home exterior paint color palettes.
Likewise, Golden Oak looks beautiful applied as a semi-transparent stain on many different deck wood surfaces.
This includes previously unpainted or new pressure-treated wood, redwood, and cedar wood decking. Just remember to wait 3-6 months for newly installed pressure-treated wood to dry before staining or painting.
No question, Honey Oak or Golden deck stain colors are as timeless of deck paint or stain as there is. All in all, this is why we’ve ranked it as the best deck stain tone overall.
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2. Dark Brown
Dark brown is a modern deck paint color that can reinvigorate a tired-looking outdoor color scheme. You can find dark brown solid deck paints, solid stains, or semi-transparent sealers from most manufacturers like Behr or Benjamin Moore.
Painting a deck’s railings and deck boards dark brown strikes a balance between a classic warm wood look and modern deck paint colors like black or gray.
Another key point is that dark brown stains cover imperfections better on old wood surfaces. Additionally, darker shades may protect wood better than lighter deck paint colors because they have more pigment.
As you can imagine, professionals swear that this is the perfect deck paint color to refresh an old worn-out deck. Not to mention, it covers most lighter deck stains or paint colors well after a few coats. That means you won’t have to worry about the old color showing through as much as you would if going dark to light.
What are the best deck paints?
The best paint products to use for your deck painting job are Sherwin Williams Porch & Floor Enamel, Benjamin Moore Floor & Patio Latex Enamel, and Benjamin Moore Arborcoat Solid Color Stain.
According to Improovy’s Head of Production and 25-year painting industry veteran, Mike Kremsreiter, these deck paints all offer excellent performance and color retention.
Mike also recommends using an oil-based stain or paint versus acrylic-based when refinishing your deck. While every deck is different, oil-based products typically last longer than acrylic or water-based deck stains or paints.
3. Light Gray
One of the trendiest deck paint colors this year is light gray. Painting your deck gray is an easy way to create a contemporary look in a backyard.
Undeniably, most homeowners choose neutral color choices like light gray or off-white to paint interior rooms. Accordingly, a gray deck is a great way to extend a modern interior paint color scheme outside.
In addition to gray being a modern deck paint color, it coordinates beautifully with a black front door or darker trim accents on a home.
By the same token, gray deck paint is a perfect color to coordinate with black or slate-colored siding on a house. As a matter of fact, painting your house black is another popular trend that we’ve seen recently.
How much does it cost to paint a deck?
Painting a deck costs $1,382 to $2,251 on average. Deck painting prices may vary based on the condition and size of the deck.
Additional cost factors include the type of deck paint being used and if any rotted wood needs to be replaced. On average, it costs $162 to $196 per deck board that needs to be replaced. Learn more about the cost to paint the exterior of a home.
4. Beige or Tan
One of our go-to deck paint color choices today is beige or tan.
Similar to Honey or Golden Oak, this color’s versatility is what stands out. It not only matches well with different brick house colors but blends nicely with outdoor elements.
A tan deck color is a great backdrop if you want the focus of your outdoor space to be on the furniture. You can think of beige or tan as a blank canvas that matches well with most outdoor decor.
Without question, you have to consider resale value when it comes to any home improvement. In the same way that realtors recommend sticking with neutrals for interior walls, a beige deck is a safe choice to coat your outdoor decking boards.
If you prefer a taupe, you can also go a bit lighter with a beige deck color.
Overall, you cannot go wrong with this popular deck paint color used by homeowners across the United States.
A beautiful and modern color option for your deck is to paint it black. Indeed, black deck paint colors can add a dramatic accent to your exterior color palette.
Likewise, black is a contemporary deck color that can be paired with white railings and dark gray wicker furniture for an upgraded outdoor oasis.
Undeniably, black is a striking outdoor deck paint color that adds a touch of refinement to your backyard. Just make sure you consider how it will coordinate with your house colors and landscaping.
The only downside with black is that it can overheat and peel faster when painted on a deck surface in direct sunlight. Not to mention, the deck floorboards will get hot over the summer so make sure you have a nice outdoor rug or sandals ready!
What is the difference between paint and solid stain on a deck?
While a solid stain and paint look very similar, it’s important to know the difference when repainting (or staining) your deck.
The main difference between a solid stain and paint is that stain penetrate the wood and allows it to breathe more than paint. In contrast, paint forms a film on top of the deck and shows less wood detail. Furthermore, paint requires a primer on raw wood while stains are self-priming.
Next, a solid color stain typically fades over time. In comparison, paint chips and or peels as the deck ages.
In general, paint is best used inside or on covered porches or patios. It’s also better to use paint versus stain on older decking.
Another way to tell the difference is by looking at the sheen of the deck. Enamels or painted decks tend to look shinier than solid-colored stain, which looks more matte or flat.
Finally, painted decks are also slipperier than solid stains. That’s why we recommend mixing in a sand-like texturizing additive when painting deck stairs!
6. Light Walnut
Light Walnut is a medium deck color that is a top choice for decks and railings if you prefer a natural wood grain look. It’s a bit darker than Honey or Golden Oak but lighter than dark brown tones.
Likewise, light walnut has hints of warmth and orange-brownish tones that look lovely with green bushes and lavish landscaping.
Similarly, this deck paint color is quite versatile if you want to pair this awesome deck tone with pavers or concrete elements.
We recommend using light walnut as a semi-transparent stain versus a solid or deck paint. While there are retailers that sell solid stain and paint in the same tone, Light Walnut works best when you can see the wood grain.
All things considered, this is a solid color choice for any deck makeover.
What are the best deck stains to use when staining decks?
The best deck stain to use on your deck is a translucent or semi-transparent oil-based stain product. Our top picks for deck stains are Rymar Xtreme Weather Wood Sealer, Benjamin Moore Arborcoat Translucent Classic Oil Finish, and Ready Seal.
Generally speaking, these stains allow the natural beauty of the wood grain to show through more than paint or solid stain products.
Moreover, transparent and semi-transparent stains fade over time but are easier to prep and touch up in the future. Typically, you only need a wash down of the deck surface before re-staining.
A natural or clear coat deck color is another favorite choice for homeowners who appreciate the wood grain look. As you may have guessed, a natural coat of transparent deck stain shows all the wood detail while still waterproofing it.
The upside of using a natural deck stain is that you can always use deck paint or stain afterward in any color you want.
However, the downside is that a natural coat doesn’t protect the wood as much or last as long as paint or thicker stain. If you are lucky, a natural coat of transparent stain lasts one or two years.
Remember, you cannot apply a natural coat on a pre-painted or pre-stained deck.
Naturally, you would have to strip all the old paint or stain before applying a clear coat. This requires using a dangerous chemical stripping agent or sanding down the deck to bare wood.
Altogether, stripping a deck is almost never worth it. Instead, we recommend hiring a qualified composite decking contractor to replace it with maintenance-free decking.
A redwood deck paint or stain can look amazing when coordinated with specific house colors or stucco. Redwood paint is amber-colored and coordinates best on decks surrounded by vibrant greenery.
If you prefer the wood grain look, you can find mahogany stain tinted with a tinge of redwood to achieve a similar effect. Just make sure you consider your home colors when painting a deck red. As pictured above, gray stucco siding coordinates beautifully with a redwood deck paint or stain.
Overall, redwood is a smart way to add a vibrant contrast to any lush outdoor landscape.
9. Slate or Blue
A slate or blue deck paint color can really make a statement. Accordingly, it’s a modern deck paint option that stands the test of time when paired correctly.
One thing to keep in mind is that you do not want to go too blue with this deck color. That means you should pair it with white painted railings or a similar contrasting color on the risers or deck posts. Indeed, this adds just a bit more contrast so you can accurately match the deck with your exterior house trim.
Deck Painting FAQs
The following are some of the most frequently asked questions by homeowners when painting their decks.
How do you prepare a deck for painting or staining?
To prepare a deck before painting or staining first remove all furniture. Inspect the wood and replace rotted or warped boards, railings, or trim. Next, pressure washes the deck surfaces. If mold exists, use an eco-friendly mildew wash detergent to remove it. Third, scrape off any peeling paint or chipping stain and lightly sand the surface. Remember to sweep off all debris afterwards.
Finally, you can apply your first coat if staining. However, you'll need to spot-prime bare wood surfaces if painting. In any case, be sure to trim or tie back any surrounding bushes or plants before painting or staining for easier application.
What paint lasts the longest on deck?
Oil-based or enamel paints last the longest on decks. However, there are a number of quality acrylic-based deck paints that do a great job. In general, acrylic deck paints are much more eco-friendly than oil-based paints.
If you need help, you can always hire a qualified painting contractor to ensure your decking paint job lasts.
What's the best deck stain?
Decks are high maintenance and, as a result, expensive to maintain. If you haven't switched to composite decking, we suggest Ready Seal 105 Exterior Stain and Sealer for wood decks.
How long does the average deck paint job last?
You can expect a deck paint job to last 1-3 years on average depending on the previous condition of the surface and daily wear and tear. The reason a typical deck paint job lasts only a few years is that decks are outdoor horizontal surfaces. Certainly, exterior horizontal surfaces wear down faster than vertical walls since they get walked on and experience various weather elements.