Whether you’ve noticed that your deck is looking a little worse for wear or you just want to revamp your outdoor space, one important project is finding the right deck paint for you and your home.
There are many different options, and this is not a one-size-fits-all type of project. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of the best deck paints for 2021. Our superlative categories range from reviving old wood deck paint to best technology to longest lasting. So whichever type or quality you’re looking for, we’ve got you covered.
The best deck paint of 2021
- Best overall: Kilz Over Armor Wood/Concrete Coating
- Best to revive old wood: Rust-Oleum RockSolid 20X Deck Resurfacer
- Fastest-drying wood stain: BEHR PREMIUM Transparent Quick Dry Oil Base Wood Finish
- Highest rated: BEHR PREMIUM Porch & Patio Floor Paint
- Best price: Kilz Enamel Porch and Patio Latex Floor Paint
- Highest quality: BEHR PREMIUM ADVANCED DECKOVER
- Best technology: Sherwin-Williams SuperDeck Exterior Deck Stain
- Best water-based stain: DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain
- Longest lasting: Benjamin Moore INSL-X Tough Shield Floor and Patio
- Best grip: Benjamin Moore INSL-X Sure Step Acrylic Anti-Slip Coating Paint
Methodology: We searched the internet extensively to compile a complete list deck paint options. Then, we narrowed it down to 15 options, based on those that were mentioned the most frequently and were the highest-rated. After creating this smaller list, we dug deeper to differentiate between the products and find which features stood out.
1. Best overall: Kilz Over Armor Wood/Concrete Coating
This is a latex paint made of durable 100% acrylic resin that can be used on most surfaces, from wooden decks to concrete walkways. Kilz Over Armor has a smooth and long-lasting finish that easily fills small cracks and hides imperfections. On Amazon, this product has an average of 3.4 stars out of 5 and is very reasonably priced at $29.87 per gallon. Just be sure that your surface is clean and free from dirt, oils, and grease before you begin painting.
2. Best to revive old wood: Rust-Oleum RockSolid 20X Deck Resurfacer
This water-based resurfacer is best known for its claim that it is 20x thicker than regular paint. Rust-Oleum RockSolid 20X is a great option for weathered wooden decks, as it effortlessly brings old wood back to life by quickly filling cracks, nail holes, and crevices. This product is a little more expensive at $37.16 per gallon, but very highly rated, with many users praising its ability to make older decks look good as new. One user, D. Grimes, specifically noted that this “Product did a wonderful job of covering the old wood.”
3. Fastest-drying wood stain: BEHR PREMIUM Transparent Quick Dry Oil Base Wood Finish:
This deck coating is a revolutionary product that only requires 60 minutes to dry. It can even be applied to damp wood, and it offers UV and mildew protection. It only costs $9.98 per gallon at Home Depot, and you won’t have to strip your deck to recoat in a couple of years. One user, Jay, gushed about this product, saying, “I really love this new product, I will never go back to other oil-based wood finishes, they take too long to dry.”
4. Highest rated: BEHR PREMIUM Porch & Patio Floor Paint
This 100% acrylic paint can be used on both wooden and concrete surfaces. Just be sure to clean your wooden deck or use a paint stripper to remove old peeling paint before applying Behr Premium. They also recommend using a primer beforehand. This paint costs $29.98 at Home Depot and averages 4.6 out of 5 stars, making it the highest-rated deck paint among all of the options we surveyed.
5. Best price: Kilz Enamel Porch and Patio Latex Floor Paint
This latex paint can be used on wood, masonry, and metal surfaces. Kilz Enamel Porch and Patio Latex Floor Paint is very resistant to peeling, fading, cracking, and mildew. Most importantly, one gallon can cover 200–400 square feet (depending on the type of surface), which means you won’t have to break the bank for any summer deck painting projects. On Amazon, it costs $28.35 per gallon and has an average of 4.4 out of 5 stars.
6. Highest quality: BEHR PREMIUM ADVANCED DECKOVER
This 100% acrylic paint is great for decks, pool decks, patios, and walkways. ADVANCED DECKOVER has an advanced sealing formula that makes cracks and splinters disappear, along with a slip-resistant and waterproof finish. But take note that you must properly prep the surface before you paint, and using two coats of paint is required, otherwise, the product will not coat correctly. This paint needs a little more attention and effort than others, but the final product is totally worth it. It costs $35.98 at Home Depot and averages 3.9 out of 5 stars.
7. Best technology: Sherwin-Williams SuperDeck Exterior Deck Stain
This is an oil-based stain for wood surfaces that has reflective technology to help keep your outdoor space cool. Special pigments reflect solar rays back into the atmosphere, which in turn lowers the temperature of your deck. It currently costs $41.29 at Sherwin-Williams. One user, Mark, noted, “I have used Super Deck on upwards of 25 customers’ fences, garage doors and shutters. It has never let me or my customers down. Properly prepared and applied, it goes on smoothly, doesn’t leave lap marks, and creates a great finished product.”
8. Best water-based stain: DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain
This is an environmentally-friendly water-based stain that covers all the bases: It’s simple to apply, fade-resistant, extremely durable, long-lasting, and easy to maintain. Plus, when it’s time for some maintenance, there’s no need to sand or strip the surface again (unlike some other wood stains). It is a little more expensive than other products, but top-notch reviews make it easier to swallow. On Amazon, it costs $44.96 and averages 4.2 out of 5 stars.
9. Longest-lasting: Benjamin Moore INSL-X Tough Shield Floor and Patio
This water-based product is great for exterior surfaces. It’s abrasion-proof, durable, and specially-designed to outlast similar products. It’s a bit more expensive, but you won’t need to repaint your deck as often as you might with a different paint. It costs $56.67 on Amazon, and although there are only three reviews, they are all 5 out of 5 stars, with one user, Larry E., noting, “This is a great product. I originally ordered it to cover an older deck badly in need of a recoating. I was so impressed with the results that I have since used it on seven decks, as well as to do touch up work on other items around the exterior of my house.”
Benjamin Moore INSL-X Anti Slip Paint can be used on concrete, wood, and metal. It’s water-based and specifically designed to eliminate skidding, slipping, and ponding water. This is especially great for your deck if you have kids or live in an area with heavy precipitation. In fact, this paint has numerous five-star reviews from purchasers praising how it’s made their decks much safer! This product currently costs $40.64 on Amazon and averages 4.6 out of 5 stars.
Things to consider when shopping for deck paint
When shopping for deck paint, you’ll want to consider what type of weather your deck will be exposed to, how your deck is used, and how damaged your deck is currently. Your answers to these questions affect what types of paints or stains you should look for.
- What weather is your deck exposed to? If you live somewhere with weather extremes, it’s important to find a paint or stain that is extremely durable. For instance, if you live somewhere with lots of sun, you’ll want to find a paint or stain that is UV-resistant to help prevent color fading. Or if you live in an area with lots of rain, you may want to consider a paint with built-in grip.
- How is your deck used? If you live somewhere where it rains or snows and your deck has a decent amount of foot traffic, you’ll want to find a paint or stain with gripping qualities that is slip-resistant. Or, if you have kids who like to run around barefoot, you’ll want to find a stain or paint that is smooth and helps prevent splinters.
- How damaged is your deck currently? If your deck is extremely weathered, you’re going to need a stronger paint or stain with the ability to fill cracks and holes and unsightly inconsistencies. If your deck was recently painted or stained, then maybe you’ll want to find a paint or stain that doesn’t require any sanding before use.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of paint do you use on a deck?
You must use an exterior paint that is made for high-traffic areas and wood, concrete, or metal surfaces. Paint specifically made for decks also has mildew and mold resistance, UV ray protection, and defenses against weather extremes, whereas interior paint does not.
Which is better, deck stain or paint?
This is a matter of preference. If you prefer to keep the natural look of your wood and just want to enhance and protect it, then a stain is the way to go. If you want a different color and a smooth, uniform look, then you’ll want paint.
Which lasts longer on a deck: stain or paint?
Generally, paint is going to last longer than stain on a deck. However, there are a lot of variables that can affect the lifespan of both painted and stained decks, such as the amount of use they receive, how well they are taken care of, and the kind of weather they’re exposed to.
Does deck paint need primer?
This varies by brand and type of paint. Some paints require primer, and some don’t. Some paints also require other preparations like sanding, while others only need one coat of paint and you’re good to go. Just make sure to follow the directions carefully.