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How to Paint a Deck

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Giving new life to a worn out wood deck completely changes the look of a home! Our back deck was in desperate need of restoration. So, I tackled the project over 6 weeks, slowly chipping away, and I’m excited to share it with you! Learn how to paint a deck for an amazing transformation.

Giving new life to a worn out wood deck completely changes a home! Learn how to paint a deck with the best deck paint for an amazing transformation.

This post is sponsored by Sherwin Williams.

This post may contain affiliate links where I earn a small commission on your purchases.

Deck Refinishing Project

When we moved into our home two and a half years ago, I knew the back deck needed to be refinished. What I didn’t realize is how bad it looked!

Refinishing a wood deck.

The green deck stain matched the house, but wasn’t holding up well to the constantly wet environment of our shaded deck. Plus, the outdated cedar spindles were worn and chipping.

Outdated spindles.

Overall, it blended into the house, but not in a good way. I knew deck paint would bring it back to life since the structure was sound. So I headed to Sherwin Williams to gather some deck paint samples!

Deck paint samples

I started out with:

  • Snowbound SW 7004 (White)
  • Iron Ore SW 7069 (Black/Grey)
  • Jogging Path SW 7638 (Light Taupe)
  • Studio Clay SW 9172 (Dark Taupe)

This was a great example of why I always recommend testing samples before purchasing paint. My original design plan included black, white and a dark taupe. I loved two of the samples I purchased, but the Iron Ore pulled more grey than I expected.

Deck paint samples.

I ended up getting another sample of black paint from Sherwin Williams and was much happier with the outcome! I finalized my color scheme with:

  • Snowbound for the posts
  • Tricorn Black for the railing and stair risers
  • Studio Clay for the decking
Super deck, deck paint.

After discussing my project with the Sherwin Williams store manager, I decided to go with Super Deck Deck & Dock Coating. It is a solid coating rather than a semi-transparent stain that will hold up better to our damp and wooded environment.

It was perfect for our rough wood surface and had excellent coverage!

{UPDATE: 1 YEAR AFTER PAINTING} The upper deck has held up well. Unfortunately, the lower deck is chipping. The lower deck is subjected to water overspray from our sprinkler system daily in the summer and holds the snow load in the winter. I’m disappointed that it didn’t hold up better after only one summer and winter season. The upper deck has had no issues, and the railings are still perfect. But the lower deck has not held up to the elements.

I always like to be 100% transparent on products I use, even when they are sponsored. So please take note that I’d only use this product again on surfaces that are not heavily exposed to weather.

How to Paint a Deck

Let’s get to the tutorial! The first and most important step is preparing your wood deck for paint.

Pressure wash wood deck.

Wood Preparation for a Painted Deck

Thankfully, I was able to power wash our deck and it literally took the existing stain right off. If you have painted wood, you may also need to sand the surface. This will provide a good foundation for the deck coating to adhere to.

Clean deck.

Once you’ve removed the previous paint/stain, let your wood dry thoroughly. The Super Deck does allow for application to slightly damp wood, however, I wanted to be sure that I wouldn’t run into any issues long term.

I let my deck dry for 48 hours.

Applying Deck Coating

Once the surface was clean and dry, I began applying the deck paint.

Best deck paint application.

I used a combination of brushes and rollers. We have a large deck with tons of areas that needed trimming. So I started with a brush to trim out the deck, and then followed with a roller.

Painted deck progress.

The most difficult part of the process was all of the trimming. With such an expansive set of rails and three different colors, it took a long time to get that first coat on!

Painted deck progress.

I found it was easiest to use a brush to get in the crevices of the decking, and then roll out the topcoat after.

Aaron painting the deck.

Thankfully, Aaron helped me for a bit and my mom did as well! Overall, it took me 6 weeks to complete the project. However, that was with weather delays and large breaks. I tended to work on it for a couple of ours at a time when I was able. It was definitely a marathon project!

Painting Railings & Spindles

Painted Railing

The biggest transformation of this project was the painted railings. The railing is not my style, however, using Tricorn Black for the rails and Snowbound for the posts transformed it drastically!

Modernizing a deck with the best deck paint.

The black modernized it so quickly. It never ceases to amaze me what paint can do!

Originally, I had planned to paint the top rail white. After the first set was completed, I quickly decided to do it all black. It was too time consuming to try to alternate colors with the tedious trim work. However, keeping the posts white made a huge difference! I love the contrast.

Painted deck project.
Painted railings

It really made the back deck feel more upscale to have the contrasting colors. Once I put that first coat of Snowbound on the posts it was like a totally different deck!

Painted posts for a deck.

Everything required two coats, per the directions, and I must say that it really made a big difference to add that second coat! The saturation of the colors really shows and I’m so happy with my color choices.

A Complete Transformation with Deck Paint

I’m so pleased with how our painted deck turned out! I searched for quite some time for the best wood deck paint and I was very happy working with Sherwin Williams’ Super Deck. {See update above. Working with the paint was a breeze, however the longevity of the finish was a disappointment.}

I love that it is tintable to your color choice rather than being limited to pre-mixed options.

Painted deck completed.

Can you even believe it’s the same wood deck?!

Painted wood deck.

Honestly, after painting the deck, it made me recognize how worn our house looks too! Next project, paint the house.

Before of a wood deck.

Before and afters are my favorite! It is amazing how much paint can transform a home.

Best deck paint after photo.
Painted stair.

Now our deck is so much more inviting. Honestly, we rarely used the back yard for entertaining because it looked so dilapidated. That will no longer be a problem!

Back deck painting project.
Painted railings.

Our back patio now feels complete since the deck matches it’s style more. You can see more of our outdoor spaces in this post about how I designed our yard for relaxation and entertaining!

Finished Railings.

Painted Deck Ready for Entertaining

The next step of this project is to design the completed deck for entertaining!

Completed painted deck.

We’ve lived here for three summers and never really used the deck before! I would love to get some comfortable patio sofas to create a little oasis on the deck.

Painted deck in a backyard.
Backyard view.

The back deck offers some of the best views of our woods and creek so we’d love to entertain on it more often.

Views of the backyard.
Painted railings.
Back deck for entertaining.
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Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today!

You can see the entire video of this deck transformation by following me on Instagram as well! I have an IGTV video sharing the up close and personal details of this project.

Painted deck completed.
Best deck paint for harsh weather.
Sarah Signature
Giving new life to a worn out wood deck completely changes a home! Learn how to paint a deck with the best deck paint for an amazing transformation.

20 Comments

  1. Sarah, that is just not the same deck! What a transformation! I truly love the new more modern look.

  2. Love how your deck turned out! Funny side note last week I told my house project manager the paint colors I want for my home exterior. The siding is Snow bound and the doors are Tricorn. So it was fun to see the demonstration of these two colors and how the look on wood. Love it!

  3. Hello! In my opinion, this is a great idea. My husband and I love to renovate and decorate our house. We’ve lived here for three summers and never really used the deck before! After reading the article, I realized that we probably should also paint our deck. The photo shows that the beautiful deck make the house more attractive. In addition, we will put comfortable sofas on the deck and will spend more time there.

  4. That is a heck of a transformation…kudos! As a kid, it seemed like every other summer I had to re-stain the deck under my Dad’s supervision. So much time on the knees! I’ve grown so thankful for the wide variety of rollers and extensions that make rolling decks and railing so much easier. Last summer I used a 3 inch roller angled downwards to apply stain in the gaps between the deck boards and a 4″ foam roller to stain the nooks and crannies in the railings and balusters. Having the right tools makes these jobs so much easier!

    1. Both options will transform a deck! And both need upkeep. So it is really a preference on appearance since either option will require regular maintenance.

  5. 2.5 years ago professionals applied 2 coats of Benjamin Moore Arborcoat deck paint to our cedar deck. First they power washed it and let it dry for 2 sunny days. It’s guranteed for 5 years. 2.5 years later I am doing the same thing with a different brand. Benjamin Moore deck paint does not hold up to Chicago weather. I will get back to you in a couple of years.

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