How much does it cost to stain a deck?
The average cost of deck staining and sealing is $674, but prices range from $550-$800. However, you may find your job to cost as little as $250 or as much as $1,875. The cost per square foot ranges from $0.50-$2.50.
Deck staining and sealing cost:
National average cost
Average cost range
How much homeowners spend on deck staining services depends on several factors, including where they live, the deck's size and the type of stain they choose. Read this guide to learn more about deck staining prices, and contact local deck staining professionals for cost estimates.
What’s in this cost guide?
Many contractors base their estimates on the square footage of your deck. Some professionals charge as little as $0.50-$2.50 per square foot of deck space. This cost applies to both residential and commercial properties.
However, this may vary depending on the professional. When requesting price estimates, ask for the cost per square foot. And make sure you measure your deck's square footage so you can estimate your total costs.
Before you spend money on deck staining services, make sure you’re choosing the right stain for the job at hand. This will ensure maximum longevity and protection against moisture, foot traffic and UV radiation.
Oil-based stains are popular, but water-based stains are also a quality product and are more environmentally friendly. However, oil stains are sometimes preferred for their inherent water protection and their ability to deeply penetrate even the hardest woods to a greater depth. Today, there are even hybrid blends that offer the best of both worlds.
The following deck stain price estimates are for a 1-gallon can of stain. If you’re buying the stain yourself, measure your deck and check to see how many gallons of stain you will need. You can also ask your deck staining specialist to explain how much stain you should buy — or you can have them take care of supplying the stain.
Clear or transparent stain prices
You can find some transparent stains on sale for about $20-$45 per gallon. These types of stains can brighten and add warmth to your wood, giving it a more natural look.
Semi-transparent stain cost
Some semi-transparent stains sell for roughly $20-$52 per gallon. These are some of the most popular stains on the market.
Although they contain pigments that alter the color of your deck — they can make pressure-treated wood look like redwood, cedar, teak or any other type of wood you want — semi-transparent stains don’t hide your wood’s grain. This is desirable for those who want their wood to retain its natural charm while also transforming its color. These stains should be reapplied every couple of years.
Semi-solid stain prices
Semi-solid stains are sold for around $40-$45 per gallon at home improvement stores. A semi-solid stain contains more pigments than semi-transparent stains to obscure more of the wood’s grain, hide damage and add uniformity to your deck.
These stains provide considerable protection from the elements, including UV rays. You’ll likely need to re-stain your deck with your semi-solid stain every couple of years.
Solid stain cost
Sold stain prices range from approximately $30-$45 a gallon. A solid-color stain, sometimes called “deck paint,” offers the most comprehensive protection and coverage for your wood. Thanks to its density, solid stains completely coat the wood and imitate the look of paint. This type of stain is an excellent choice for an old deck with more damage.
When you’re contacting professionals and requesting estimates, it’s helpful to understand how certain factors can drive prices up and down. Here are some things that could influence how much deck staining professionals near you will charge you for their services:
The actual square footage of your deck is the most obvious cost factor. A larger deck not only means more stain, but it also means there’s more area to pre-treat — and potentially more problems to fix before wood staining can begin.
As covered in the previous section, the type of stain plays a significant role in determining the cost of deck staining. In general, stain prices range from $20-$50 per gallon. High-quality stains cost more, but you generally get what you pay for.
Cleaning and pressure washing
If a deck’s surface isn’t clean before staining or re-staining, the new stain won’t adhere to it properly. Furthermore, the old stain could be patchy or different in color from the new stain. For these and other reasons, your contractor might need to give the deck a thorough cleaning and pressure (or power) wash it.
Pressure washing drives dirt and surface contaminants off the wood and removes the uppermost surface of stain, paint or whatever else is coating the decking. After a deck receives a pressure washing, it must dry before staining begins.
Some contractors may charge separately for pressure washing, while others include it as part of their estimate. This will depend on each contractor’s policy, so be sure to ask. If they use a wood cleaning chemical solution, this may also be factored in as an additional cost.
Sanding comes after pressure washing. Sanding ensures residue and small fibers are removed. It also helps create a uniform surface so your stain will shine through even more.
Your deck contractor may include the time spent moving deck furniture off the deck in the total cost. If possible, this is a great do-it-yourself task — try to have the deck clear of any items as possible before they arrive. If your deck contains heavy items like grills, heavy tables, furniture or other objects, you can always take the pro’s help in moving them.
Deck repair cost
If a homeowner has repair work that needs to be done on a deck, it’s important to do this ahead of staining. Extensive repairs will incur extra costs, so your contractor might bill it separately. If the job is larger than they’re prepared to handle, they may pass it along to a general contractor or deck contractor.
Extensive repairs will incur extra costs, so your contractor might bill it separately. If the job is larger than they are prepared to handle, they may pass it along to a general contractor. Deck repairs cost $250-$1,200, on average.
There are several ways you can save money on your deck staining project. One money-saving strategy is timing. Deck stainers are usually busiest in the spring, so consider having your deck stained in the fall.
Another way to save is to move your own deck furniture in advance of the deck stainers’ visit. If they charge added labor costs for heavy lifting, this will help you save money.
Staining your deck is the single most important piece of maintenance you can perform to preserve your deck’s structural and aesthetic integrity. Here are the reasons you should keep your deck stained:
Staining brings out the wood’s beauty
Fresh wood is gorgeous. But as it ages, wood grays unevenly and attracts mildew and other unsightly blemishes. Stain unifies the color of the wood, bringing out the grain and texture while allowing you to choose the color you want.
It protects your deck from the sun
UV radiation can damage wood, causing it to crack, splinter, warp and discolor over time. Regular staining can keep your deck looking fresh and prevent it from drying out too rapidly.
Stains keep moisture out
Water is the greatest enemy of wooden structures, inviting mold, mildew, insects and rot. Water-soaked wood also expands, leading to issues with fasteners and spacing. Stains block moisture from entering the wood, allowing it to run off the sides.
Staining and sealing are ways you can help protect and maintain your deck. A deck sealer is usually a clear finish, whereas a stain has more color pigments. Because a stain has extra pigments, it does a better job of protecting your deck from sun damage. A sealer, however, is effective at repelling moisture.
If you're not sure if you should add a stain or sealer to your deck, ask a professional.
Deck staining is an absolutely necessary part of home maintenance, as it improves the curb appeal of your property and protects your investment. Here are some tips on how to keep your deck in great shape after staining:
Inspect it regularly
Stay on top of your deck’s health. Make sure the areas of contact between the ledger board and your house, as well as between the stairs and the ground, are issue-free. Test the rigidity of the railings, tighten loose screws, hammer in loose nails and use wood filler to fill holes. Also, check for any rotting, deterioration or signs of termites.
Keep it clean
Remove leaves, pollen, dust and other debris regularly with a broom and/or leaf blower. You can also carefully use a pressure washer to clean the deck’s surface — but take care not to remove the stain. If you’re not sure how much PSI to use on your deck and avoid damaging it (or if you’ve never used a pressure washer before), hire a professional to clean it for you.
If it’s damaged, fix it
If you ever spot something wrong with the deck, whether it’s a damaged board or a section of rot, get it assessed and fixed. Small problems can spread and lead to costlier problems down the road.
Start by searching for deck staining services on Thumbtack, where you can see ratings and reviews of the top-rated professionals in your zip code. Seek out reviews with attached project photos so you can see firsthand evidence of the pro’s quality of work.
Next, narrow down your list to three or more deck staining professionals. Contact them for free price quotes, and ask any questions you have, such as:
- Do they include the costs of pressure washing and sanding?
- Will they be able to perform repairs (if needed)?
- Do they offer off-season discounts?
Additionally, you should have some information about your deck on hand when communicating with the professionals:
- Your deck’s size
- The type of stain that’s already on it (if any)
- The type of stain you’d prefer to apply
- Your timeline for getting the work done
Deck staining pros typically do not need a license, though one may be required if they perform repairs — particularly structural ones. Check with your local or state government for more information, and visit Thumbtack’s Smart Hiring guide.
Keep your deck in its finest form by staining it and keeping up with regular maintenance. By doing this, you’ll enjoy it for longer and have it add significant value to your home. Start looking for the best deck staining pro near you today.
How often should I stain a deck?
You’ll likely need to stain your deck every two, three, four or even five years. It all depends on the type of stain you apply. Talk to your deck staining professional for guidance on how often your deck needs to be stained.
What happens if I don't stain my deck?
If you don’t stain your deck, you’re leaving it vulnerable to nature, water, fading and natural wear and tear. Ultimately, skipping on staining may shorten your deck’s lifespan.
Should I pressure wash my deck before staining?
Oftentimes, you’ll need to pressure wash your deck. But it’s not always mandatory if it’s already clean and doesn’t have an existing stain or residue. A deck staining professional can help you determine if you require pressure washing services.
Which deck stain lasts the longest?
The longest-lasting deck stain is a solid stain, according to Consumer Reports.
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