Revitalize Your Outdoor Spaces by Staining your Deck

Revitalize Your Outdoor Spaces by Staining your Deck

Today, people live differently than they did even 5 short years ago. The pandemic changed a lot of things, including the amount of time people spend at home. As such, more people are looking to upgrade their spaces to be more enjoyable and useful and to better reflect their style and personality. One of the spaces getting a lot of attention right now is the great outdoors.

From backyard patios to fenced-in fields of green for the dogs to run, to a beach-front porch where you can watch the world go by, decks and fences play a huge role in the modern home. They’re also subject to a lot of wear and tear from the elements, so a new coat of stain can do wonders. Of course, before you start staining, you need to know what you’re getting into.

This guide will give you all the insights you need, including the benefits of deck and fence painting, tips for preparing your outdoor space for professional painters, painting versus staining, what types of paint are best for decks and fences, and so much more. By the time you’re done reading, all that will be left is to reach out to Elite Trade Painting to get your project started!

Painting vs. Staining: How to Choose What’s Best for Your Outdoor Space

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The first choice is whether you are going to paint your deck and fence or just stain them and seal them to allow the natural wood grain to shine through. There are several things to consider in making this decision, including where you live, what kind of look you’re going for, and what your current deck or fence has on it.

For example, if you’ve got a deck that’s already painted, it’s probably going to be easier to sand it down a bit, and then prime and repaint it. If you wanted to stain it, you’d have to have the entire deck stripped first. That can be a costly and time-consuming process. It’s not that it can’t be done, but it’s definitely something you need to think about when figuring out your budget.

The good news is that no matter which you choose, professional painters can handle the job. They can even go over the options with you and give you their insight and advice on the best way to proceed.

Solid Staining

If you aren’t familiar with solid stain, it’s a lot like paint but can generally be thought of as a bit thinner of a consistency and is typically able to soak into your wood, unlike paint which sits on the surface of surface. This allows you to keep more wood grain after coating your deck than with paint. Stain is also generally much cheaper than paint, and tends to wear much better on decks and fences.

Like any coating, solid stain does wonders for protecting your deck from the elements. This thin layer gives you greater protection against sun damage, moisture rot, mold, and other potential issues. Solid stain will also allow a greater variety of colours, and shades compared to a semi-transparent stain. This allows you to create spaces that can range from neutral to bold with relative ease.

Semi-Transparent Staining

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Unlike solid-stain, semi-transparent stains generally leave you with fewer colour options to choose from. This doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to find a colour you’ll love, it just means you might have a hard time staining your deck a bold blue, pink or green with semi-transparent. From the colour palette, you’ll typically find warm and earthy colours like browns and reds. These colours can transform your space into something much cozier than before.

Most semi-transparent stains soak into your surface better than solid stains do. This means you keep all your wood grain, while also getting the same protection from elements as with a solid stain. Semi-transparent stains also tend to wear better than solid stains. Depending on your product, your stain may not peel at all, but only wear down in high traffic areas. This means a lot less work for you come next springtime!

The Benefits of Staining Your Deck and Fence


Materials costs are higher than ever right now, meaning you’re going to pay two or three times what you used to for lumber, treated decking, and fencing materials. These things aren’t cheap to replace. An average fence installation runs between $1,500 and $4,000 while an average cost of a deck is higher at $4,000 to upwards of $10,000 depending on the size. The options and design, and other features will also impact on your final cost.

Staining a deck or fence can cost as low as a few hundred dollars. You may spend up to $1,000, or more if you have a large area to stain or if there is a lot of prep and repair work needed first. However, no matter how you cut it, it’s still a fractional cost compared to a full replacement of the same deck.

It’s also much quicker and easier to paint your fence or deck, as opposed to rebuilding or replacing them. You can have professionals come out and get the job done, usually in a day or two. Bigger decks and fences might be a multi-day ordeal, but for your average project, your painters can be in and out in a day or two.

Staining will also give you the chance to customize the color of your deck or fence.

How to Choose Your Paint Color

Choosing stain colors for outdoors may be a bit challenging because they need to go with your existing décor and home colors, but they also need to blend in with the natural environment. The trees, shrubs, and plants will all play a role in which colors will work best. There are really no rules about what colors you should use for decks and fences, but there are some best practices to keep in mind.

Most people stick with neutral or wood tones, even if they use a solid stain instead of a semi-transparent stain, to emphasize the natural appearance and accentuate the outdoors. Deep red is also a popular choice for decks and fences, especially as a contrast to the bright green lawn and darker mulching that you can use for landscaping.

Before you go to the paint store, take some time to check out some outdoor living blogs and social media accounts for outdoor design. This way you’ll see what other people have done and if you like it. You’ll have confidence in the colour you choose and love the outcome of your project.

Ultimately, you’ll need to think about:

  • Which colors you like
  • What goes with your home’s exterior
  • What matches your other outdoor furniture, accents, etc.
  • Whether that color will still be appreciated in a few years.
  • If you have HOA or other guidelines to follow when painting outdoor spaces

That last one is important if you live in a neighborhood with an HOA or specific guidelines for property maintenance and upkeep, so be sure to check before you stain if you’re not sure.

How to Choose the Right Stain


There are several outdoor paints available today that can make it seem daunting to choose the right one. You’ll want to find a stain that is most appropriate for your project. For example, if you have a previously unstained deck, your absolute best option is a full oil or hybrid semi-transparent stain. This product is going to fully soak into your deck and won’t peel over time. If you have a deck or fence that’s been previously stained with a solid stain, unless you want to strip your deck, you’ll have to stick with a solid stain again. If you’ve got a deck that’s been previously stained with a semi-transparent, your best option is to put that same product back on.

As far as stain finish goes, most solid stains only come in a flat finish. You can also talk to your professional painters about the options for deck and fence stain. They will be able to explain the different products to you, advise on which they prefer to work with and help you decide on the right product. Make sure that you choose a high-quality, durable stain that will stand the test of time and not a cheap product that will need touched up or repainted much more often.

Prepping and Painting: What to Expect

Once you’ve got all the decisions made, the project is ready to begin. If you’ve hired professionals to do the work, you won’t have a lot to do. It will be your responsibility to remove items from the deck or away from the fence in your yard. You may be asked to cut back the grass or bushes a little further so they can ensure an even coat on the areas.

Your painters will likely clean your deck a week or so before they plan to stain the surface. This cleaning is an important part of the process because the last thing you want to do is seal dirt and mildew into your deck with a coat of stain. There will also likely be a fair bit of sanding, depending on the condition of your deck. This will smooth out the surface before sealing in.

Right before staining, the surface should be cleared of any debris. This is a final sweep with your broom, or a final blow with your leaf blower. You might have to do this multiple times throughout the day if you have trees overhead.

The time involved in the project will depend on how big the deck or fence is that is being stained. If you’re having both done, plan a little extra time in your schedule. The good news is that your outdoor space isn’t an essential living space, so you might not miss it for a few days, or even a week.

Plan for Weather

A big factor in outdoor painting is the weather. If it’s inclement, painting can’t happen. Sometimes, even just too much humidity can cause painters to reschedule because they don’t want to take the risk of the paint not adhering properly. Be sure that if you’re hiring painters, you talk to them about any potential weather concerns and what to expect for scheduling. They should have a backup plan in place and will sure that they’re ready to reschedule as soon as they realize the original timeline won’t work.

The worst thing about outdoor painting is waking up on the “big day” and finding out that the weather isn’t going to allow your project to continue. You’ve already done all the planning and prep, and now you just have to wait until the weather improves.

Think about the weather. Talk to your painters about the weather. Don’t let it throw a wrench your next project.

Tips for Success

Although we’ve already covered a lot of good advice, we want to close with a quick recap and a few more tips to make your next outdoor painting project a success. It’s a simple, affordable way to make a big change with a small update, and the options that you have are nearly endless. Just remember:

  • Choose colors that you’ll like a few years from now because stains can last that long when it’s done right and cared for properly.
  • If you’ve put on an oil-based stain, stick with oil to save yourself any risk of headaches. Once oil or stain is applied to wood, it can sometimes be difficult to get other non-oil stains to adhere to unless you fully sand down all the wood and use a stain/paint stripper. This is a time-consuming process.
  • Clean the fencing or decking before staining. You may want to watch an online tutorial before trying, but the run down is usually cleaner and a bit of pressure from a pressure washer.
  • If you’re hiring painters, ask about a timeline upfront and plan for your outdoor space to be out of commission. Anticipate a rough start date, and don’t be surprised if it is pushed a couple days from weather delays.
  • Make sure that you work with experienced painters because not everyone knows how to properly use some stains. It can be very easy to misapply semi-transparent stains and you don’t want to be left dissatisfied with your project.

Final Thoughts

If you’re ready to upgrade your outdoor space and create a whole new ambiance, you don’t have to do a full renovation. A little stain can go a long way to freshen up the space.

Contact the professionals at Elite Trade Painting to discuss your outdoor painting projects today!

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