the 5 best deck paint: reviews and buying tips

best deck paint

You don’t have to wait any longer to paint your deck. Perhaps your deck is peeling off or you simply want to give it a makeover.

When choosing paint you should ask yourself,  ‘What are the features of the best deck paint?’ We’ll tell you that in a minute.

Below are our favorite deck paints. We chose them based on their endurance, color stability, coverage and ease of application. We also made sure to include several painting varieties and a wide range of price points.

What is the Best deck paint?

Our favorite choice is TotalBoat Total Tread paint. It’s an all-round winner. It’s oil-based and still manages to cover up to 300 square feet per one gallon which is very impressive. This alongside weatherproof and anti-slipping features makes it a great choice for decks.

Another budget-friendly alternative would be the KILZ Latex paint. Although it has a very limited range of colors and isn’t the best looking out there, it would still hold out through the years.

The 5 best deck paint you can buy right now

1. KILZ Latex Floor Paint


  • It dries in about 1 hour
  • It’s resistant to cracking, peeling and, generally wearing off
  • Cleaning requires only soap and water
  • Budget-friendly
  • You could recoat in 4 to 6 hours
  • It has a long-lasting color that doesn’t yellow or fades
  • It prevents slipping


  • It may need two coats to give satisfactory results
  • Hot surfaces may melt the coat away when applying it
  • There are only two colors

The Kilz Latex paint is designed to endure various weather conditions and comes with a mildew-resistant film. This means that you won’t have to worry about algae and mold growing on your deck. But before you get to reap those benefits you should wait 72 hours before walking all over your freshly gray painted deck.

It’s available in two shades of gray, slate gray and silver gray. To apply those colors you could use a roller, paintbrush, or an airless sprayer.

One gallon of this Acrylic-based paint covers up from 200 to 300 square feet when applied on rough surfaces and from 300 to 400 square feet when applied on smooth surfaces. That means you could use it exteriorly for your deck or add serenity to your interior walls with a calming gray color.

Although the shade of gray is reportedly darker than advertised, it’s still satisfactory. Its low-luster, satin finish compensates for the slight darkness.

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2. KILZ Over Armor


  • It provides protection from UV rays
  • It becomes dry to touch in 1 to 2 hours
  • You can recoat after 4-6 hours
  • It’s abrasions resistant
  • Resistant to slipping
  • It’s durable even in harsh weather conditions


  • One gallon covers only 75 square feet
  • There are three colors only
  • The color may not turn out exactly like advertised

When using this acrylic-based paint on your deck it won’t take time to dry and could be walked over like you usually do within 72 hours only. After the 72 hours are up, you’ll really start to notice how well it handles the harshest of weather conditions. To really allow the paint to bond to the deck and protect it you should coat the deck twice.

It works just fine on wood and concrete, but you’ll notice changes right away to your deck if it has withered wood. It will hide all its imperfections and fill the cracks making it look brand new. Make sure not to use this feature wisely though, if a deck is falling apart it should be replaced not painted.

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3. Durabak 18


  • It protects the deck from the UV rays
  • It’s Anti-skid even when the surface is wet
  • It’s water-resistant
  • Misapplication could be easily corrected


  • One gallon covers only 60 square feet
  • It will be hard to use spraying to paint the deck
  • Buying the Stipple Roller Sleeve to apply the paint increases the cost

Its 16 primary colors and other limited edition colors are sure to satisfy everyone’s taste. It’s best to use Durabak 18’s colors on wooden and concrete decks as it bonds easily to them. As a result, it protects the deck from UV rays and other weather conditions.

If it’s your first time painting a deck, then this paint is for you. You could apply it using a brush or a stipple roller. For best results, you could buy Durabak’s associated roller. Using it would give you the best texture.

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4. TotalBoat TotalTread


  • It covers 250 – 300 square feet per gallon
  • It’s resistant to peeling, cracking and abrasions
  • It’s easy to apply
  • The paint won’t come off due to cleaning
  • Perfect for places you need sure footing in
  • It’s resistant to slipping
  • It provides protection from the sun
  • Its texture is determined by the number of coats you apply
  • Its Finish is long-lasting


  • It has a limited color range to choose from

It’s designed for prolonged exposure to water so feel free to power wash your deck. Corrosion, withering, peeling and other negative conditions could all be avoided. That is because the paint is oil-based with modified alkyd and Polyurethane which makes it extra-protective. On top of that, extremely small plastic beads are embedded in the paint rather than sand making it resistant to slipping.

TotalBoat delivers with no disappointment on a number of surfaces. It’s best to use it on wood, fiberglass, and previously painted surfaces. Light gray, Kingston gray, white and sand beige are the colors that this paint has to offer. To apply those colors you could use a brush or a roller for the best results.

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5. TotalBoat Wet Edge


  • It has 21 primary colors to choose from
  • It’s durable against extreme weather conditions
  • It covers 350-400 square feet per gallon
  • It could be scrubbed without the color wearing off
  • It has great color and gloss retention
  • It’s abrasions resistant


  • It would be best to apply several coats when painting the deck

Are you looking for a professional finish without having to use expensive tools? To do so just grab a roller, brush, and a gallon of TotalBoat Wet Edge. If you’d like to use other tools like an airless sprayer, you can. If you want a flat finish you could opt for a white, black, or gray color.

Like its cousin TotalBoat TotalTread, it’s designed to face various weather conditions since its made primarily for boats. That means it’s waterproof and you wouldn’t have to worry about water causing your wood to rot. It could be applied in one coat because of Its oil-based nature sparing you a few dollars. However, we advise you to use a primer before painting the deck for the best results.

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Factors to Consider Before Choosing Your Deck Paint

Below we’ll be getting into more details about deck paint, what to look for and what to avoid.

Water vs. Oil

There are many differences between water-based paint and oil-based paint. Let’s explore them in more detail.


Latex paint could be used as another name for water-based paint. This type of paint is encouraged by environmental enthusiasts as it doesn’t emit gases and can safely be applied. On top of that, It’s a super-fast dryer.

Since its base is water, it’s extremely easy to clean. Just use soap and water. It’s long-lasting and its color won’t yellow, fade, or crack over time.


Solvent or oil-based paint is sometimes preferred over water-based paint due to several reasons. First of all, you don’t need a prime coat to paint your deck. Second, they could give you a glossy finish or a matte one according to the type of paint.

It shrinks less than latex does and thus covers up more surface in one coat saving you more money. The oil in the paint allows for a smooth surface after the paint is dried up. On the downside, It takes ample time to dry.

What to Choose

Oil-Based paint will eventually wear out and crack especially if you live in areas with harsh weather conditions. Before it does wear out, it will paint your deck into perfection. Another plus is the sea of colors you could choose from. While on the other hand water-based paint comes in a few standard colors.

While opting for water-based paint will last a long time and won’t change its color over time. You may need to paint on several coats before you’re satisfied with the result. If you’re a beginner, using water-based could be a lot more convenient because it’s safer.

Is it Better to Stain or Paint Your Deck?

There are several pros and cons to each of these options. Let’s start with understanding what staining is.


Staining is a type of finish applied to wood to highlight its beauty. It could slightly alter the color of the wood, making it a little lighter or darker. Simultaneously it protects the wood from external and internal damage and enhances its grain.

Most stains are the natural color of wood, like oak or walnut for example. It doesn’t aim to change the appearance of the wood. What it does is that it enhances the wood’s natural characteristics. Some types of wood absorb stain well while others don’t.

Just like paint, the stain could be water or oil-based. It could also be gel-based. Sometimes it takes a couple of coats and some sanding to achieve a smooth finish.

There are different types of stains, to name a few.

Solid stain

This type of stain covers the whole deck in a uniform tone. So there are almost no differences between solid staining your deck and painting it.

Semi-Transparent stains

It gives you just a touch of color but still highlights the wood’s characteristics through it. It protects it from UV rays and makes it waterproof.

Clear Wood Reserves

Made specifically for those who want to showcase their wood’s natural beauty. This only protects the wood without changing its color.

Why Would You Choose It?

Stains allow the beauty of the wood to shine through it. It won’t hide the patterns or the colors of it but rather highlights the wood’s unique characteristics.

It’s relatively easy to apply. If you miss a spot here and there it wouldn’t be all that obvious.

Quality stains are absorbed into the wood grains. This protects the wood from absorbing water and moisture and eventually rotting away.

Why Would You Not Choose It?

It wears off way quicker than paint does. You’ll need to restrain your deck frequently.

We know it’s great for beautiful wooden decks, how about imperfect ones? Well, staining won’t hide the wood’s flaws and imperfections.

It’s much thinner than paint is. If you have cracks or splinters in your wood, staining won’t fill them up.


Oil-Based paint will eventually wear out and crack especially if you live in areas with harsh weather conditions. Before it does wear out, it will paint your deck into perfection. Another plus is the sea of colors you could choose from. While on the other hand water-based paint comes in a few standard colors.

While opting for water-based paint will last a long time and won’t change its color over time. You may need to paint on several coats before you’re satisfied with the result. If you’re a beginner, using water-based could be a lot more convenient because it’s safer.

Why Would You Choose it?

Painting, if done professionally, could last for several years. You won’t need a lot of maintenance for your deck. That’s because of the thickness of the paint, which would fill cracks in the wood and protect it against environmental elements.

It offers more variety of colors. This point is self-explanatory. You should be careful when choosing a color. Untraditional colors may sound appealing but you might regret it later. It would be a hassle repainting your deck again.

Why Would You Not Choose it?

If you have an expensive deck made from high-quality wood you might want to reconsider painting. Paint hides the beauty of natural wood. If you decide one day to stop painting your deck and let the natural wood be its facade, you’ll have to go through tiresome procedures to do so.

Paint is a top coat over the wood, it’s not absorbed. Moisture could be trapped between the paint and the wood causing the paint to peel off or the wood to rot.

Tips For Painting Your Deck

Is it your first time painting your deck? Or maybe you have painted it before and just want some tips. Either way, you could follow these steps for an easier experience.


Be 100% sure of the cleanliness of your deck before you get into doing anything. You can use various methods like power-washing or sanding.

Nail it Down

Make sure there aren’t any nails sticking out or broken. If there are any, hammer them in or replace them with bigger ones. You don’t want your deck to be cracked or splintered before painting it.

Fill the Cracks

If you notice any cracks fill them out with high quality, exterior-grade putty. Don’t pour in too much and even it out with the deck’s floor.

Don’t Paint on Oil

If your deck has been oiled before, hold back from painting it. You need to make sure all traces of the oil are gone because the tiniest amounts could make a difference.

The paint won’t stick and you’ll be left with a huge mess. Especially if you’re using oil-based paint, it’s not exactly the safest thing to deal with.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can I paint over old deck paint?

Paint is solid, so you can paint over anything. Whether that is old paint or the deck’s wood itself. It’s your deck, do what you want with it.

Q. Why is my deck paint peeling?

This could be due to several reasons. Either the paint has had lots of sunlight exposure causing it to dry up and peel off.

Sometimes when the deck isn’t primed properly before painting this happens. Another reason is that it might’ve been damp when you painted it. This causes the moisture to be trapped between the paint coat and the deck. The moisture causes pressure which pushes the paint upwards causing it to peel.

Q. How do I clean mold from my deck?

You can power wash your deck to remove mildew and molds. However, if you choose not to, you can still clean it using other methods.

For example, you could use laundry detergent, only ⅓ a cup mixed with a gallon of water. Then you could use a scrubbing brush to scrub your deck clean with the solution you just made.

Q. Can I power wash a painted deck?

Stick to softly scrubbing it with soap and water. It would work just fine if you had used water-based paint for your paint job. Wash one section of wood at a time.

Q. Should I paint the underside of my deck?

Yes, it’s important to do so. Paint acts as a shield to your wood. It protects it from exterior factors like water.

When you have your top painted and water dries up there, it runs down to the underside of your deck. You’ll have to paint your underside to protect it. You don’t want your wood to absorb the water.

Q. How often should I paint my deck?

There is no definitive time for when you should do it. Each deck is going through different conditions so it’s hard to say.

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