A beautifully painted deck can add tremendous value and appeal to your home.
Whether you are painting your deck for the first time or touching up an existing paint job, ensuring your deck is painted professionally and correctly is key. To achieve an aesthetically pleasing deck paint job, the first vital step is to break down the costs and create a budget.
In this article, we cover everything you need to know about the costs associated with painting a deck. From the factors that impact the final cost to average price calculations to help you create your budget, this guide discusses the ins and outs of deck painting for your convenience.
Keep reading to find out the potential costs of painting your deck and what expenses to account for.
Factors that Affect the Cost of Painting a Deck
As you set out on your journey to paint or re-paint your deck, the first crucial step to take is assessing the potential costs. Many factors impact the final price for a fully-painted deck, so ensuring you know all the different elements that will influence your deck painting project is key.
Here are the four most important cost factors to consider when painting a deck:
- Deck Size: The size of your deck has the biggest impact on the cost to paint the deck. A small deck, such as a patio, will almost always be more affordable to paint than a large deck, such as a wraparound deck on a large home. Your deck size will influence all other costs as well, such as how much paint is needed and the total cost of labor should you choose to work with a professional painting company.
- Paint & Supplies: Whether you plan to paint your deck yourself or work with a professional company, the cost of paints and supplies must be factored into your price estimates. Paint can vary widely in cost, with most deck paints priced per gallon. Additionally, the price of paint can differ depending on if you choose a pre-mixed paint or opt for a custom paint.
- Deck Preparation: Decks are exposed to the outdoors, leading to natural wear and tear over the years. Even if your deck is screened in, you will still face minor damage and debris build-up if enough time has passed. Before you can paint or re-paint your deck, you must prepare your deck by repairing any damage and cleaning out debris. In severe cases, this may require professional repairs or pressure-washing to ensure you have a clean slate to work with.
- Labor: To achieve the best results for your deck, working with a professional painting company is essential. If you choose to work with professional painters, you must budget properly for the cost of labor involved with hiring a painting company. Labor costs vary from company to company, making it crucially important to ask thorough questions to companies you want to work with regarding pricing and rates.
Other Deck Components to Consider When Painting
When painting a deck, there are often multiple components beyond the deck flooring to consider.
Knowing all areas of your deck that you need to paint is the key to accurately estimating the potential costs. Let’s take a look at the other deck components to plan ahead for:
- Railings: The railing of a deck may or may not match the deck flooring depending on the railing style. For example, some railings are designed with specific metals and materials that are not intended to be painted, while others are built from paintable materials like wood. Determining whether you need paint for your railing as well is key to deciding how much paint to purchase and the overall scope of the project.
- Deck Roofs: If your deck is covered by a roof, it can be greatly beneficial to paint the underside of the roof to match the deck as well. This is most commonly practiced on decks made from wood with wooden roofs, though decks and deck roofs made from other materials can also be painted matching colors if so desired. Painting a deck roof not only requires additional paint but also careful planning, as the roof can drip more and should generally be painted first.
- Stairs: For decks with stairs leading up and down from the main deck platform, you need to plan accordingly on how and when to paint the stairs to match the deck. This is an especially important consideration if the stairs are the main entryway to the deck, as you need to plan strategically for when to paint the stairs without trapping yourself on the deck while the paint dries.
What is the Cost to Paint a Deck per Square Foot?
To begin making your deck painting budget, start by measuring the square footage of your main deck.
According to 2023 Home Guide data, the average cost to paint a deck falls between $2 to $5 per square foot. The average cost for a full deck paint job can range between $600 to $2,000 in total, though this price will vary greatly depending on the actual size of the deck.
Home Guide further reports that the national average cost to paint a deck is roughly $1,300. This includes the costs of paint, supplies, and labor. Comparatively, the cost to paint your deck yourself ranges between $160 to $400 in total, though the final quality depends on your painting skill level.
In most cases for homeowners without painting experience, paying the extra costs for labor is worth it to achieve a stunning final result.
A Full Breakdown of the Average Costs to Paint a Deck
Now that we have covered the average cost per square foot to paint a deck, let’s take a closer look at the specific costs involved. This can help you figure out where you can cut costs versus which costs are non-negotiable to achieve your ideal result for your deck.
Here is a breakdown of the three main expenses associated with painting a deck:
Paint & Supplies
When painting a deck, a variety of supplies are needed, such as roller brushes and drop cloths.
In some cases, you may even use handheld paint sprayers which can be more expensive upfront but enable you to apply a more even coat of paint. Paint sprayers range in cost from $20 to $200 on average, though some professional paint crews may already have sprayers at their disposal.
As for deck paint, the cost depends on the type of paint you select. Let’s take a look at the different types of deck paint and their average costs:
- Oil-Based Paints: Oil-based paints are some of the most commonly used paints for decks. These paints are known for being durable and resistant to sun exposure, making them ideal for outdoor settings. However, oil-based paints take longer to dry and require additional maintenance. On average, oil-based paints cost between $30 to $60 per gallon.
- Water-Based Paints: Water-based paints are faster-drying and more environmentally-friendly paints for your deck. While these paints are highly resistant to fading or cracking when exposed to the sun, they are not as durable as oil-based paints. The average cost of water-based deck paints ranges between $20 to $50 per gallon.
- Solid Stains: Unlike deck paints, deck stains are more transparent and give a natural-looking finish to your deck. Stains are designed to accentuate the natural textures and patterns of wood, making stains best for wooden decks. Deck stain can range fairly drastically in cost, with the price typically falling between $20 to $75 per gallon.
In addition to paint, you will generally also need a finishing cost to protect your deck’s paint and durability. Finishing coats extend the longevity of your deck’s paint or stain, helping to reduce the amount of maintenance and retouching needed over time.
Here’s an overview of the most common finishing coats for a deck:
- Satin Finish: Satin finishings are popular for decks, as they give a more natural and matte appearance that complements the color, texture, and pattern of the underlying paint. The matte finish reduces glare on the deck, which is particularly beneficial on decks without any kind of roof or deck cover protecting it from sun exposure.
- Semi-Gloss Finish: A semi-gloss finish produces a high-shine result that is resistant to water and the elements. The semi-reflective nature of this finish can be good for masking the appearance of debris build-up, which can be advantageous for high-use decks that have a lot of foot traffic passing through. Semi-gloss finishings also add great visual contrast to your exterior space.
- Gloss Finish: Gloss finishings will produce the highest shine level and are generally considered the most durable of deck finishings. This type of finish is resistant to minor damage, scraping, and scuffs, making gloss finish a good choice for very high-use decks. For example, homeowners with dogs often opt for gloss finishings to prevent claw markings on their decks.
Unless you are simply re-touching your deck paint, you will likely need to pay for some level of deck preparation. This prep process encompasses the many tasks that make the deck the ideal, clean surface for applying paint in even coats.
Here are the three main deck preparation tasks to budget for:
- Pressure-Washing: When debris builds up on a deck, it can become deeply attached and even stain the deck material. To remove this type of build-up, pressure-washing is generally required. Standard pressure washers cost between $150 to $300 (plus the cost of cleaning solutions), while pressure-washing services cost roughly $100 to $500 depending on the size of the deck.
- Sanding: In cases of wooden decks, your deck may need to be sanded down until smooth after the pressure-washing process is complete. Sanding your wooden deck creates a level surface and ensures a smooth final texture after applying the paint and finishing. The cost of sanding can vary greatly depending on how much surface area needs to be sanded but is generally priced between $1 to $3 per square foot.
- Priming: While not always deemed necessary, applying a primer to your deck before paint or stain is the best way to ensure long-lasting durability and quality. Priming is particularly beneficial for wooden decks, as it can further smooth the surface by filling in small cracks, holes, or pores in the wood. Deck primer typically ranges in price from $50 to $75 per gallon.
Labor & Timeframe
If you have opted to work with a professional paint crew for your deck painting job, you need to budget accordingly for the labor costs. Most professional paint crews will provide you with a full cost breakdown before signing any contracts, so make sure to pay attention to the following expenses:
- Hourly vs. Flat Rates: Every professional painting company will price its services differently. Some price per hour, while others charge a flat rate per square footage of a job. Labor costs to paint a deck average between $1 to $5 per square foot, while hourly costs can range between $20 to $50 per hour. Always opt for a paint crew that provides a price quote that they agree to honor.
- Premium Supplies: If you want premium paints, primers, stains, finishes, and supplies for your deck, this will typically accrue extra costs. In some cases, it can be more affordable to obtain the premium supplies you want to provide directly to a paint crew, rather than relying on the paint crew to source and purchase premium supplies. Ask the company you are working with what their prices and policies for premium supplies are.
- Timeliness: Depending on the company, some paint crews may charge higher rates during high-demand periods in the year. For example, many homeowners want to paint their decks in the summer when the weather is drier and warmer, making it easier for the paint to dry. This can cause an increase in labor costs, as crews are in higher demand.
Final Thoughts: Should You Hire a Professional Deck Painting Crew?
Painting your deck is an excellent way to revitalize your outdoor space and maintain its durability.
If you are debating whether to work with a professional paint crew, the biggest advantage to keep in mind is the quality of the paint job. Professional painters have the expertise and skill to evenly apply paint or stain, as well as properly prepare the deck prior to painting.
Regardless of whether you opt for a professional crew or a DIY paint job, the key is to thoroughly assess the cost factors and create a realistic budget before embarking on your deck painting journey.