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Pro Paint NW - Blog

How to Paint a Deck

Brent Lunde - Thursday, July 16, 2015

First things first, if you're planning to paint your deck yourself, you're a real champ, because it is not an easy job. Inaccessible surfaces and weather-ware make it difficult to waterproof and cover your deck consistently with paint. And unpainted wood can cause all sorts of problems.

For example, "even if the unpainted side doesn't get wet directly, exposed wood can absorb moisture from vapors rising from beneath. After the exposed wood absorbs moisture, the painted surface on that same piece of wood can become riddled with bubbles, splits, chips, and peeling paint. And when the painted surface has been compromised, it can no longer fully protect the wood…"

Yikes, right!?

Since there is such a high risk of paint bubbling, chipping and splitting, we don't recommend painting a deck at all, let alone without hiring a professional crew. It can be a difficult job, because it's necessary to properly seal and/or caulk joints, cracks and other areas where moisture can wreak havoc. A good (and preferable) alternative to painting is using a finish or oil-stain.

Nonetheless, if you're still determined to paint, here are the steps you can take:

  1. Clean and dry the deck with a pressure wash and sanding to remove all impurities.
  2. Remove any loose nails and replace them to hold wood firmly in place.
  3. Fill-in any leftover holes with exterior-grade putty.
  4. Apply a high-quality caulk on all joints and seams.
  5. Apply a coat of primer to the whole deck surface.
  6. Apply 1-2 coats of high-quality paint.

Tip: "Never paint a wood surface that has previously been oiled. The paint won't stick, and you'll have a mess on your hands forever."

If you've ever seen how water and paint interact, painting over an oil-based stain is comparable, and it isn't a good look. On the other hand, if you decide to stain your deck, check out our blog post on cleaning and repairing a deck in preparation. But if you live in the Vancouver, WA and Washougal area, why go through all the hassle? We're your local painting professionals, and we'd love to lend you a hand with your deck or any other painting project!

Here's what you can expect from our professional paint crew at Pro Paint NW:

  • Prompt Service
  • Tradesman Expertise
  • Good Communication
  • Friendly Staff
  • Easy Scheduling
  • On-budget Pricing


Contact us today at 360-903-3352 for a free quote and to set up a consultation. Here's what some of our recent customers have said about our work:


"From beginning to end Brent and his team at ProPaint NW have been amazing!  We chose them from six bids we had collected on painting the exterior of our home. We could not be more pleased with the results. Top to bottom, the house looks brand new again, we could not have asked for a more thorough crew.  The crew was on time, professional, polite, and always willing to answer our questions.  We could not have asked for a better experience. Thank You, ProPaint NW!  We would recommend this crew and company to anyone!" – John and Stephanie Parks

"Brent and his team are wonderful! They are fast, efficient and extremely respectful. Their prices are very competitive, but the results definitely exceeded our expectations. Worth every dollar we spent and more! Pride of workmanship is apparent in their work. Brent's customer service made all the other companies we called for bids pale in comparison. He was always quick to respond and eager to provide what we needed. We highly recommend this local company!" – Charlie D.

"I was referred to Pro Paint and was told they were a top notch company. After working with them to paint the whole interior of our house, I couldn't agree more." – Brittany B.

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