The Ultimate Deck Painting Guide

Wooden deck with outdoor dining set

The Ultimate Deck Painting Guide


Enjoying your outdoor space can be difficult when your deck is poorly maintained. Rough wood, splinters, or peeling paint doesn't just make your deck an eyesore, it can also make it unsafe for family or pets. Luckily for many DIY enthusiasts, painting a deck without sanding can be a fun and relatively simple weekend project. When you use premium products from Liquid Rubber, you'll have beautiful, lasting results and an enjoyable outdoor addition to your home.

Home improvements, both small and large, can significantly impact the overall appearance of your home, improve its value, and add to your enjoyment of your house. A new paint job is a cost-effective way to spruce up your deck. Today, we're offering tips for painting a deck and showing you how to paint a deck using the right products and techniques.

What Are the Benefits of Painting My Deck?

Painting your deck versus staining the wood can have many positive effects. Stained decks require touch-ups every few years, but a painted deck using high-quality materials can last up to five years before it needs a re-coat. Plus, great deck paint can also protect better against stains and other damage.

High-quality sealants protect better than stains or other coatings, as they're stronger, more UV-resistant, and offer longer service life. Painting will bring new life to your deck, no matter how old it is. Consider painting the deck instead of rebuilding it from scratch.

Safety and comfort are other reasons to choose Liquid Rubber deck coatings, especially if you have small children or pets. Our deck coatings are slip-resistant plus have high-quality solar reflectivity. This means they don't absorb as much of the sun's heat, and as a result, the deck is cooler for bare feet or paws.

Liquid Rubber Deck sealing products

What Are My Options For Deck Coatings?

Let's explore the pros and cons of each one.



  • Excellent moisture protection
  • A tough, durable finish that can last up to 10 years or more
  • A huge array of colors and finishes to suit any exterior preference
  • Gets you professional-looking results with minimal effort


  • The organic chemicals are highly volatile
  • Can be difficult to recoat
  • Requires turpentine or paint thinner for clean-up
  • Dries slower, with up to 24 hours between coats



  • Fade-resistant
  • Low in VOCs
  • Cleans up easily with warm soapy water
  • Comes in a variety of finishes and colors
  • Dries in 4-6 hours


  • Service life of 4-8 years
  • Low durability



  • Well-received with great reviews
  • VOC and environmentally friendly
  • Specially formulated
  • Comes in booth pigmented and clear finishes
  • Very easy to apply
  • Creates an impermeable plastic coating bonded to the deck, resulting in a much longer service life

Polyurethane paint has all the pros of its competition, without the cons. However, it's important to note that not all polyurethane coatings are created equally, and among the hundreds of products on the market, many are unsuitable for your deck. Liquid Rubber Polyurethane Deck Coatings are made specifically for use on your deck.

What Do I Need To Prepare My Deck?

You will need the following tools for an existing deck:

  • Hammer
  • Nail puller
  • Putty knife
  • Scrub brushes
  • Paintbrushes
  • Pressure washer
  • Sanding blocks or electric sander
  • Masking tape
  • Drop cloths
  • Saw, to replace rotting wood

What if my deck is brand new? Can I still apply the coating?

Yes! Liquid rubber products are great for both pressure-treated lumber and concrete. Make sure that it's fully dry before applying the product. We also recommend that you wait at least a month after installing your deck before applying the coating. If you have a concrete deck, its surface should be etched and moisture tested before applying the primer and topcoat. Tape a 2-foot square sheet of plastic wrap down and leave it overnight to test moisture content. If there is water under the wrap or moist concrete appears, wait another 24 hours and then re-test. For wood decks, do a small test application of the primer to see if the wood is dry enough to accept sealants.

General Guide For Painting Your Deck

Preparing the deck

Make sure that you fully inspect your deck for rotting wood or protruding nails. Many people prefer to pressure wash the deck, too, to remove all contaminants, oil, grease, organic growth, or dust. We recommend using the Liquid Rubber Deck & Patio Cleaner for the best results. Make sure all wood and nail holes are firmly set and all rotting or loose boards are replaced. Fill any knots and cracks in the wood with exterior wood putty.

Wood and concrete should be fully dry and moisture tested before beginning. If you have vinyl or fiberglass decking, sand it until it has a uniformly dull finish. Then, wipe the entire surface with an acetone-soaked white cloth. This makes the surface porous enough for the coating to adhere. Bridge any seams and hairline cracks with Liquid Rubber Multi-Purpose Primer and 4" Geo-textile.

Next, mark off any surfaces you don't want to paint with high-quality masking tape, and place drop cloths around your yard and landscaping. Make sure that you remove the masking tape while the paint is still wet.

Painting the deck

Here are the tools you will need to paint your deck:

  • Paintbrushes (even if using a sprayer or rolling)
  • Paint rollers (optional if spraying)
  • Paint roller pan (optional if spraying)
  • Paint sprayer (optional if rolling)
  • Sandpaper
  • Rags
  • Jars, buckets, pans for cleanup
  • Soap and water (for water-based deck paints)
  • Paint thinner (for oil-based deck coatings)

The painting process

Check the weather for the next couple of days before beginning. Avoid hot or cold temperatures. The ideal temperature range is 50-86˚F (10-30°C). Make sure that it's not going to rain and that the humidity is low, too.

Prime the deck using Liquid Rubber Multi-Purpose Primer. Apply a generous coat for proper adhesion and to provide a vapor barrier that prevents blistering. Then, use a nylon-bristled brush for coverage between slats, corners, and cracks in the surface. Wait for the coat to be dry to the touch, typically about 1-2 hours. Then, it's time to apply the deck paint.

Apply the first coat of paint and allow it to dry. You can use the roller on the larger areas and a smaller brush for the cracks and corners. The dry time is about 4-8 hours, and it's important to make sure each coat is completely dry before applying the next one. Two coats are the minimum for proper sealing and protection and will give the best appearance.

Once you've finished the final coat, inspect the deck for any flaws on the finish, such as thin spots, pinholes from air bubbles, or other imperfections. It's better to fix these now than after the deck is fully cured. Wait at least 48-72 hours before using the deck, including placing any furniture or plants.

Your Deck Maintenance

Properly maintained, a painted deck can last for over a decade. Concrete, vinyl, and composite decks require little maintenance other than regular sweeping and immediate clean-up of any spills. Deep clean the deck annually with deck cleaner and a soft-bristled brush.

Wood decks are a little more labor-intensive to care for, as wood will swell and shrink depending on the humidity. Properly completed deck coatings will minimize this but not eliminate it entirely. Nails and screws can work loose over time due to this, so make sure that you regularly inspect your deck and tighten or replace any protruding ones, resealing over the replacement.


A freshly painted deck can perfectly complement the exterior of your house, plus add value and enjoyment to your home. Painting a deck helps reduce wear and tear and slows aging of the materials. While you have options, the best bet for any deck surface is polyurethane paint and deck coating from Liquid Rubber. Browse our online catalog for your options, and chat with us for more details.