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What Kinds of Paint to use on Wood Decks

When it comes to painting wooden decks, you need to practice caution in selecting the paint because it will ultimately decide how your home’s exterior looks in a few years from now. Since the wooden decks are on the outside of the house, they are more vulnerable to the harsh environmental elements. So if you select the wrong type of paint, you can end up redoing the painting of your deck in a few years.

Therefore, to help you get the best paint for your money, we have created this detailed guide. We will tell you all about the types of paints to be used for wood decks and tips for selecting the best one. So with that said, let’s get started:

Choosing the right Wood Deck Paint

When it comes to getting the paint for your wooden deck, you will have to make a decision between two kinds of paints; oil-based and water-based. While the oil paints used to rule the market, water-based paints are seeing an increased surge in demand nowadays. To ease up your decision-making process, we have outlined the key features of both below:

Oil-Based Paint:

  • This paint has been around for several decades, and many pros use it for its durability.
  • Oil-based paint can easily last for five years, and if cared for properly, they can go up to 10 years.
  • Oil forms a type of barrier between the surface and moisture offering greater protection
  • You need to be careful around oil-based paint because it has a high amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can create fumes making your eyes watery or giving you a sore throat. If you inhale them, you can also face some respiratory issues.
  • You will need to utilise a solvent like turpentine or paint thinner to clean the residue of oil paint from rollers, spray guns, and brushes.
  • Typical oil-based paints can take up to 24 hours to dry before you can recoat. However, some modern oil paints come with additives that help it dry in as quickly as 8 hours.
  • It comes in a massive colour variety

Water-Based Paint:

  • Has low volatile organic compounds which means lower health risks if inhaled
  • It can easily last up to four years, and if maintained carefully, it can go up to 8 years. The durability also depends on the condition of the wood and the quality of paint. The expensive water-based paints contain high acrylic content making them last longer.
  • Protects against fading
  • The flexibility of acrylic content offers less peeling and cracking
  • You can easily clean it using just water and soap
  • Has a quick drying time of six hours allowing faster recoat
  • Comes in a wide range of colours

Things to consider when selecting paint for wood decks

Now that you know the benefits and drawbacks of both types of paints, we have some suggestions that you can follow to find the best paint for your wood decks. Even the two categories of paint mentioned above come in different types with different features. So to make sure you get your hands on the best one for your deck, we have provided some things you should consider:


If you want your paint to stand up to the environmental elements and perform well for years, you need to pay close attention to its durability. We suggest that you go for the paints that are specially made for exterior painting.

This is because they have a special formula that helps them stand strong in the outside environment. Unlike them, interior paints don’t have much weather and fade resistant abilities.

Surface Finish:

Deck paint comes in different surface sheens, which depend on the percentage of gloss in its formula. Carefully choose the sheen according to your deck’s material and its exposure to the outside. Some types of sheens are:

  • Eggshell: This one offers slight sheen, around 10%, and provides a nice and soft finish with low shine level that helps in concealing the flaws. However, dirt can be collected on this surface, which means it is only good for closed decks where not much dust is accumulated.
  • Satin: Also known as Low Luster, this one is a very popular choice for decks because of its 30% muted sheen, which still hides a good amount of flaws and allows easy cleaning of dust and dirt with just a few sweeps.
  • Semi-Gloss: This one is easy to clean, and wiping away spills is also a breeze. However, its sheen is 70%, which means it might not conceal flaws efficiently. Semi-Gloss sheen is perfect for exterior doors, shutters, and trim work.
  • High-Gloss: As the name suggests, it has a very high sheen, around 85%, which shows almost all the flaws if applied on the wood. Although it is easier to clean, every area in wood ranging from nail holes to chunks of missing wood will be visible.

Additional Protections:

Since you will be using the paint for exterior wood, you need the ones that have better protection against external elements. Most of the deck paints come with additives that offer protection from harsh UV rays, mildew and mould, and from extreme temperatures.

Although you can choose the paints with one or two of these features and save some bucks, if you want long term benefits, get the one that has all three of these additives to get long-lasting colours and excellent overall protection.

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