The Clever Homeowner is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

Can I Use Exterior Paint On a Wood Deck? (Tips and Techniques)

Can I Use Exterior Paint On a Wood Deck

You’ve removed all the old paint off of your deck, cleaned it up and are ready to either paint it or stain it. Do you know which one your going to do though.

Perhaps you have a few cans of exterior paint in your garage left over from when you painted the outside of your house. It’s exterior paint…so it should be okay to use on your deck, right?

It’d be nice to be able to use some of that leftover paint. Can you use exterior paint on your wood deck?

old cans of acrylic paint to use on wood deck

Can You Use Exterior Paint On Your Wood Deck?

Yes, it is possible to use exterior paint on a wood deck. Just make sure that it has acrylic inside of it to make it last and to give it the nice finish you desire. You can also choose to work with oil-based paints or even a stain on the deck. It depends on the finished look you desire. 

Now let’s take a look at how exterior paint can work on your deck and look at some of the other options you may make when you paint your deck. 

Why It’s Okay To Use Exterior Paint On a Wood Deck

tips for using exterior paint on a wood deck

Like I mentioned earlier, there are many different types of exterior paint that will work just fine on your deck. This is great news for many of us homeowners because it gives us more options for painting the deck and when it comes to the type of finish and color that we want to use.

There’s just one thing you should really keep an eye out for if you’re going to use exterior paint on your deck.

Use An Acrylic Exterior Paint

When choosing exterior paint to use on your wood deck, make sure to choose a type that has acrylic inside. 

Acrylic paint is great for your deck because it significantly decreases that amount of maintenance that you need to perform, it’s easy to remove if you decide to change it later, it works on all types of wood decks and it even has a UV-resistant film on it so the deck will maintain its color.

All you need to do is put the first coat on, give it a few days to dry, and then apply the second coat and you are good to go.

Time to clean the deck? No problem. By using an acrylic based exterior paint cleaning is even easy because all you need is some soap and water to clean the deck. 

Make sure to read the label before using any specific type of deck paint. It has to contain acrylic in it to last on the deck. Any other kind is not as sturdy and will not do as well on your deck. The acrylic is what gives it a long lasting coat that you are sure to love.

Avoid Oil Based Exterior Paint

It is best to avoid oil paints if possible. These will seep into the wood and are hard to remove and just do not work as well on the wood of your deck. 

What is the Best Deck Paint to Use?

While many people choose to paint their decks to make them look better, you should also choose a paint that will protect your wood deck from all the harsh outdoor elements.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing which deck paint to use.

1. Consider The Elements 

Think ahead about the kinds of conditions your deck faces each year. If it is in intense sunlight during the summer or has to handle a lot of foot traffic, then that will influence the paint type that you use. 

Going with the wrong type of paint, it’s possible that it will start to chip and bubble, making you have to redo it all.

Use a paint that is designed to handle those types of conditions. Use a paint that is acrylic based and also has UV protection.

2. Decks With Cracks

For decks that have a lot of cracks in them, an oil paint is often the best choice to get a smooth finish. However, this kind of finish is not going to last that long if you have a deck that gets direct sunlight. If this is an issue for your deck, you should avoid oil paints unless you plan to reapply it often. 

3. Deck Stain Instead of Paint

Some homeowners find that stain is a great option if you would rather show off some of the natural grain and beauty that comes with wood.

A lighter stain is best if you need to show off the natural wood color. A darker stain is a good option if you want to change the wood color while still being able to show off the natural aspects of the wood.

Stain is a good choice to protect the wood, though it will not last as long as paint and is not good at filling in any cracks of the wood. 

4. Look For Specialty Deck Paint

You may want to choose a specialty deck paint to help with this. Most are 100% acrylic and can handle different temperature fluctuations that tend to happen out there on our decks. Some specialty deck paints even have a non-slip texture to keep people safe around pools or when it rains. Some of these even have mildew resistance built inot them to help keep the wood safe and decrease mildew buildup. Which ultimately means less cleaning and power washing for us. 

Why Should I Paint My Deck?

Many homeowners who have a deck will choose to stain it. I fall into this category of homeowners. Staining gives the wood deck a nice classic look that showcases the beauty of the wood. However, there are benefits to choosing an exterior paint to use on the wood as well. Some of those benefits include:

  • The paint is thicker than stain. This helps to fill in any gaps on a deck that has some wear and tear. 
  • Many homeowners find that it is easier to clean a darker paint color than the stain. If you treat the paint well, it will protect the wood and make it easy to just wash the dirt off. 
  • Paint is much better at blocking the sun while resisting mold and rot on the deck. 
  • There are more color choices when you go with paint, giving you the option to add some pop of color to your yard and home if you choose. 

A good, strong exterior paint will make the home look much better than before and is an affordable way to spruce up your deck and make the whole yard feel nicer. 

Painting Your Wood Deck

If you decide against staining your deck and you want to give it a specific color, then using an acrylic based exterior paint with acrylic in it is the best idea. This will help you to get the exact color you want, while preventing the paint from drying out or fading and having the strength to handle any traffic that goes over it. While there are many deck paints to choose, a nice exterior paint with acrylic can be helpful too. 

tools removing paint from deck

7 Tools You Need to Remove Paint From a Deck

Best Bar And Chain Oil

5 Best Bar And Chain Oils For Chainsaws (Reviews and Buyer’s Guide)