Relaxing outside on your patio with your friends and family is the perfect way to spend those long summer days. You can chat, catch up, and cook well into the evening. Maintaining your patio can be a cost-effective and simple task, as long as you use the best deck paint as a solid foundation. Applying a coat of paint is an excellent way to seal out the elements and transform your boring patio into a place you can’t wait to spend time.
Go with a solid color, pick an elegant stain, or go crazy and have multiple colors. Whatever you choose, you can end up with a gorgeous finished product that looks nice and protects your patio at the same time. We’ve reviewed 10 of the best types of paint for your deck available, and this allows you to pick the one that suits your needs and space. Our short buying guide to the best deck paints will outline all you need to consider when you shop for the best deck paint.
1. TotalBoat Deck Paint – Top Pick
If you recently built a deck around your above or in-ground pool, you’ll want deck paint to help coat the surface to seal it and make it safer for you to walk on at the same time. This paint will create a very rugged texture on the surface of your deck to give it high traction. It also works well on patios, and you get a low-sheen finish that is very similar to eggshell that won’t peel or crack. There are UV-blockers in this paint that help protect it from the sun and ensure it doesn’t fade. You can pick from several attractive colors when you buy it too so it matches your decor.
This durable deck paint can survive use on boat decks that routinely get soaked. However, it has a slightly more rubbery feel to it than you’ll get with some textured paint types that use silica sand. You can apply it easily with a roller or brush, and you should put two or more coats on. A single gallon will cover up to 300 feet. Scrubbing won’t wear it away as it’s durable, and you can get gallons or quarts when you buy it.
- Can use on a variety of surfaces
- Gives high traction
- Rubbery instead of sandy feel
- UV-blockers in the formula
- Won’t fade, peel, or chip
- Covers up to 300 feet
- Apply with a roller or brush
- Only has four colors
2. Montage Signature Interior/Exterior Paint – Step-Up Pick
If you want a deck paint that is eco-friendly while still offering a large amount of resistance to mildew, mold, and UV rays, try this pick from Montage Signature. This paint is suitable to use on outdoor or indoor decks or floors, and you get to choose from a low-luster or semi-gloss sheen when you purchase it. Additionally, you can pick from up to 18 earth or gray tones that are easy on the eyes, and it’s a water-based formula that has low VOCs. This means that it’s free of any toxic fumes, and you can easily apply it evenly with a sprayer, roller, or brush.
Once this deck paint dries, you can scrub it and it won’t fade or chip. It’s durable enough to last up to 10 years before you have to recoat the deck. A gallon of this paint can cover up to 300-square feet, and you can clean it using water and soap. You’ll get an even and smooth finish, and it has improved sealing technology that protects it from common water problems. Each paint comes covered by a 10-year warranty, and it’s made in the United States to strict quality control standards.
- Resists mold, UV rays, and mildew
- 18 earth and grey tones
- Water-based formula
- Emits low VOCs
- Applies very evenly and smoothly
- 10-year warranty
- Made in the United States
- Can have a strong smell
3. INSL-X Sure Step Acrylic Paint – Mid-End Budget Pick
If you’re on a tighter budget and you want to update your deck around your above-ground pool, this deck paint will give you an anti-slip coating without breaking your budget. It’s an acrylic deck paint that also works well on your porch, and you get a higher traction at a nice price point. You can pick from a range of attractive colors, and it’ll fill in any minor cracks in your decking to give it better protection and a waterproof finish. This makes it very well suited for high-traffic walkways, steps, decks, patios, and more.
For the best results and an even finish with this deck paint, you should apply it with a roller because it has a textured formula. It’ll dry quickly to give you a sealed and protected surface with a matte or flat finish. The finish resists abrasion, and it can stand up to a lot of water without any damage. One gallon will cover up to 120 feet, depending on how porous the wood is. It has great color retention, even when it has constant exposure to fading UV rays. You’ll get application tips with this paint to ensure you get a professional-grade finish.
- Anti-slip coating
- Several attractive colors
- Good for high traffic areas
- Won’t fade
- Will seal in minor cracks
- Can withstand water puddling
- Comes with application tips
- Only covers 80 to 120-square feet
4. FIXALL Skid Grip Anti-Slip Paint – Bargain-Budget Pick
Around your home, non-slip safety is a huge concern, especially if you’re someone who routinely hosts visitors. This deck paint will give you a high-traction, textured finish on concrete, wood, and stone that will help you grip it as you walk along it. As a bonus, this paint actually exceeds the Americans with Disabilities Act standards when it comes to anti-slip surfaces. It’s a water-based paint that you can get in a host of different colors to help complement your decor style, and it resists peeling, chipping, and fading with heavy use or element exposure.
This deck paint will give you excellent adhesion, and you can apply it with a roller or a brush to your chosen surface. It’s easy to clean using a bucket of warm, soapy water, and you can even scrub at it without causing it to fade. One gallon will cover up to 80-square feet, so it’s a much thicker viscosity than other picks on the list, and you should apply at least two coats for the best results. It’ll adhere to most surfaces, including at home or for commercial buildings.
- Exceeds the ADA’s standards for anti-slip surfaces
- Resists fading, peeling, and chipping
- Apply with a roller
- Can scrub at it without fading it
- Easy to clean
- Get a textured finish
- Works on stone, wood, or concrete
- Only covers 80-square feet
5. CABOT SAMUEL Stain – Best For Old Wood Decks
The Cabot Corporation makes this deck stain, and it’s great for any older wooden decks that need a new coat of stain to protect them and make them look like new. This brand has a reputation for helping breathe new lives into decks, and it comes in an impressive 51 distinct color options that allow you to mix and match to suit your tastes. You can cover 75-square feet twice with a single gallon, so it’s suitable for small or medium decks. All you need to apply this product is a polyester/nylon brush or a ⅜-inch roller.
This deck stain works best on weathered decks, wood, steps, concrete, and porches. To get the best look for the product, the manufacturer recommends that you use a solid stain on any railings or other vertical areas. The coating is thick enough to fill ¼-inch cracks and coat splinters to give you a skid-resistant surface. It’ll cure to a hard finish to help it resist scuffs, dirt, and grime buildup. It also prevents the growth of mildew or mold due to the film coating it leaves.
- Available in 51 colors
- Restores weathered wood surfaces
- Thicker formula
- Covers 150-square feet
- Easy to apply with a roller or brush
- Fills ¼ inch cracks
- Locks down potential splinters
- Doesn’t work well on vertical surfaces
6. KILZ Exterior Waterproofing Wood Stain – Best For Sealing Water Out
Kilz is a high-quality deck paint from Masterchem Industries, and it’s one of the best deck paints available for both new and old decks. It also does an excellent job on walls, rust prevention, and wood surface restoration. It has an excellent reputation, and you can get it in textured or smooth finishes for concrete and wood. It can coat any cracks in your deck to give you a uniform and smooth look to worn sections of your deck, and you can pick from a few different colors in this line. You do want to take time to prepare the surface before you apply this product, and it works well on vertical surfaces too.
We recommend that you use a bristle brush when you apply this deck paint because it can work to ease the application process because it gives you room to put more paint on the surfaces that you want to be slip-free. A gallon of this paint will cover roughly 250-square feet, and it can last for five years on fences and three years of decks before you have to apply another coat.
- Lasts for three years on heavy traffic areas
- Works for rust prevention
- Can apply it to horizontal and vertical surfaces
- Works on both new and old wood
- Thicker formula fills in cracks
- Covers roughly 250-square feet
- Mildew-resistant finish
- Has to dry for a minimum of 24 hours
7. Australian Timber Oil Stain – Best For Rich Colors
This Australian Timber Oil Stain from Cabot gives you excellent penetration into your wooden surfaces for a gorgeous color, and it uses the purest tung and linseed oils available on the current market. The stain has a very durable alkyd resin in it that allows you to apply it to high-traffic areas without worrying about it fading, peeling, or chipping with repeated use. It also stays flexible so it won’t flake off, and this makes it an excellent option for your stairs or patio too. You also get earth-ground pigments in this paint that produce a natural and rich color with 10 choices available.
There is also UV-protection that is three to four-times more effective than other synthetic options, and it only costs a fraction of other options. This deck paint also comes in a quart or gallon size so you can pick the one that works for your area. You can apply it using a roller or a brush, and it’ll fill in cracks while sealing the wood to prevent mold, mildew, and water damage. It’ll get deep into the wood’s surface to ensure it stays in place longer and doesn’t take on a grey hue.
- Excellent penetration capabilities
- Made out of tung and linseed oils
- Four times the UV protection
- 10 color choices available
- Quart or gallon sizes available
- Fills in cracks
- Works on heavy traffic areas
- Takes a while to dry
8. RTG Anti-Slip Paint – Best For Rainy Environments
This product won’t get slippery when wet as it is a deck paint that has a traction additive mixed into the formula to give you a non-slip, sure-footed finish. It features a polyurethane, water-based formula that will dry very quickly once you apply it. You can easily put it on your deck with a roller or paintbrush, and it’s a very DIY-friendly paint for beginners and advanced painters alike. You can clean up using soap and water without a problem, and it comes recommended for use on heavy traffic areas on our deck, porch, or patio like on walkways, ramps, or steps.
This deck paint will give you a very deep hue with an attractive finish, and using a foam or masonry roller will give you a much deeper finish to help protect the surface you apply it to. It’s an eco-friendly product that produces low VOCs when you use it, and it has low odors as well. You won’t need to prime the wood, masonry, or concrete before you use it. It comes in four pretty color options, and a quart will cover between 80 and 100-square feet with an even coat.
- Slightly textured
- Works on wood and concrete
- Recommended for high traffic areas
- Clean using water and soap
- Four colors available
- Easy to apply using a brush or roller
- Low VOCs
- Only covers up to 100-square feet
9. Olympic Stain Waterproof Sealant – Best For One Step Sealing and Staining
This is an all-in-one deck paint that can stain and seal in a single step to make the application process much easier. It’s a great thing to have if you’re planning on building a porch and you want to keep it looking nice for years to come. In turn, this can make applying this product a huge time-saver. It’s a weather-ready formula that you can apply either in full sun or right after it rains and still get beautiful results. It goes on smoothly in the heat or cold, and it won’t bubble, flake, or peel as it dries due to the external conditions.
You’ll get enhanced waterproof capabilities with this deck paint and sealer, and this helps protect the wood from warping or swelling. It also offers superior UV sunblock defense against chipping or fading, and you can use it to condition all types of wood. You’ll get a full quart each time you use this product, and it can protect the wood from cracking in harsh weather conditions. You won’t have to recoat it for years after the initial application either.
- Enhanced waterproofing capabilities
- Stain and sealer in one
- Weather-ready formula
- Can apply in full sun or after rain
- UV sunblock defense
- Protects against chipping, cracking, and fading
- Conditions all types of wood
- Color is much lighter than is pictured
10. Ready Seal Exterior Stain and Sealer – Best For Cedar Decking
The final deck paint on the list requires zero primer use before you apply it, and this makes it a very DIY-friendly product. It comes recommended by professionals because you can put it on at virtually any temperature for a smooth application. It’ll penetrate deep into the wood to help protect and preserve the deck from elemental exposure, including UV rays, sleet, snow, rain, humidity, and extreme temperature swings. You can apply it using a roller, brush, or sprayer to make the application process quick and easy, and it effortlessly stains and seals in a single step.
You can finish your deck in a single day when you pick this deck paint, and it’s biodegradable to make cleanup easy. It also meets VOC requirements in all 50 states. The deck paint will reach the true color within 14 days of applying it, and you shouldn’t apply it over newly stained or painted surfaces because they stop penetration. It won’t leave streaks, laps, or runs, and it doesn’t need any back brushing. You can pick from nine brilliant colors and a one or five-gallon bucket.
- Nine colors available
- Stains and seals in one step
- Quick application process
- Meets VOC requirements in all 50 states
- Zero primer required
- Can apply it in any temperature
- Protects from UV exposure
- Can’t apply it to previously painted or stained surfaces
Choosing the Best Deck Paints
When you start searching, you’ll quickly realize that there’s a lot you have to consider. Along with dozens of brands, there are also different finishes, thicknesses, and coverage concerns that you have to keep in mind. If you don’t, you could spend a lot of time going back over your deck and applying additional coats. This costs you both money and time, and this is where our buying guide for the best deck paint comes in. We’ll outline everything you want to consider below.
If you’re not careful when you pick this out, you could end up with chipping or peeling paint in a year or two because it’s not durable enough to withstand wear and tear.
One of the first things you want to look at when you shop for different paint is the preparation requirements. Many deck paints require you to apply a primer to the patio or deck before you add the paint itself. The primer gives the paint something to stick to, and it also stops the wood stain from sucking the paint in to create uneven and patchy areas. Do you have time to apply primer? You may also have to powerwash the area to get rid of any chipped paint, debris, or stubborn dirt that ground into the cracks.
Can you apply this with a brush or do you need a special roller? What about a sprayer? Is it too thick or thin for certain application methods? Take a good look at the different paint choices and decide how much preparation you have time to do before you actually paint the patio. If you don’t, you could find yourself having to start over or apply multiple coats to get an even finish.
Some brands are much more well-known than others, and it makes it easier to get in touch with customer service if you have a problem. Choosing a reputable brand will also give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have years of experience backing your product, and it also gives them time to perfect their paint so it has fewer chances of chipping, cracking, or peeling away with heavy traffic. Rust-Oleum, Behr, KILZ, INSL-X, and Olympic are a few of the more well-known companies.
Deck Paint Considerations
Once you settle on a brand and know the different preparation requirements needed, it’s time to start comparing products. Having a set core of considerations in mind will help speed up the comparison process, and it can also make it quicker to decide between the final two or three products. The buying considerations are as follows:
Water Based Paint or Oil Based Paint
Water based paints are also called latex paints, and can be used over oil based paints (in contrast, oil based paints cannot be used over water based paints). The professionals generally prefer water based paint, which hold color better and can better withstand rain and sunshine. Therefore, water based paint is ideal for places that tend to be moist, such as bathrooms and kitchens.
In contrast, oil based paints are more durable and can resist stain and rust well over time. They have a stronger odor compared to water based paints and can take a long time to dry. They are also more difficult to clean – as a result, having paint thinner or turpentine will be useful if painting with oil based paints instead of water based paints.
Want the best of both worlds? Some paints such as KILZ paint can combine elements of both water based and oil based paints.
How many square feet is your patio? When you get this measurement, compare it to the average square footage of coverage each paint gives you. Some will only cover up to 150 square feet or lower, and this is okay for smaller patios. However, there are options that will cover between 500 and 600 square feet per gallon, and this is nice for bigger decks. If you don’t double-check your square footage, you could run out of paint halfway through your project and have to quit until you get more. Also, see if it offers one coat coverage or if you have to apply a second or third one.
Wood stain that has cracks or other texture issues will take more paint to cover and create a smooth surface. This could result in multiple coats.
Once you apply your deck paints, you won’t be able to walk on it for a set amount of hours. This drying time will fluctuate depending on the weather and temperature. Some will dry in as little as two to four hours, and others can take up to a week to fully dry between coats. Make sure that the drying time is something you can live with before you apply it or you’ll end up with smudges and streaks.
Deck paint can be expensive, so you want to ensure you’re getting a durable option that can withstand a lot of wear and tear. Check and see if it has water-resistant properties in the formula because this will create waterproof seal. The paint should also have UV protection so it doesn’t fade from the sunlight. It shouldn’t crack, chip, or bubble up with heavy traffic either.
Over time, sunlight will begin to fade your paint in various patches. This can create a very uneven look, and you’ll have to strip or prime the whole deck before reapplying the paint.
The best deck paints don’t have very strong odors attached to them, and they have fewer VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds. This makes it easy to work around the paint for extended periods of time without worrying about breathing it in. As a bonus, the best deck paint also makes your paint much more environmentally-friendly to use. If the paint warns you to use it in a well-ventilated area, this is a good indication that it’ll have a very strong odor with a higher amount of VOCs attached to it.
Do you plan to put the best deck paint on an area that is relatively dry or does it get a lot of wet traffic? If it gets a lot of wet traffic, it makes sense for you to pick out a slightly textured deck paint. This texture will give you a non-slip grip that will help to keep anyone who walks on it upright and safe. It’s popular for patios and decks around pools, hot tubs, or for people who live in wet areas.
The best deck paint can extend the life of your deck or patio and give your whole house a quick facelift.
The best deck paint will give you adequate coverage and last for at least a few seasons after you apply it. It can help breathe life into your deck, and it can give you a relaxing area to sit back and enjoy the warm summer months with your family and friends.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.