Staining Your Deck:
We Breakdown The Costs
As the weather warms, most people look forward to outdoor get-togethers again– from small family gatherings to neighborhood barbecues. It’s the right time of the year to uncover your backyard grill and outdoor furniture. But, the preparation may only be interrupted once you spot a faded deck– much to your dismay.
Decks with discoloration or deteriorated wood are uninviting. You wouldn’t want to make the wrong impression on the guests you invited over. Interest in outdoor events peak in the summer months, so don’t let another summer pass by a waste. If anything, consider having your decks stained at once.
Staining a Deck Cost Overview
Staining a 300 sq ft residential deck on a single-family home costs between $690 - $1,380 if it is on the first floor -- expect costs to be 30-40% more if it is on a second floor. Choosing high-quality stains will only increase the total project expenses, as are pre-staining procedures such as wood sealing or washing.
Other determining price variables will also come into play in calculating the cost to pay someone to stain a deck: the size of the deck, deck treatment type, material, and more. Experts recommend shelling out on costs to stain your deck at least once in two to three years. Don’t worry. We’ll discuss everything you need to know in detail below.
While our guide will put you in a pricing range, ultimately you will need to get quotes from local contractors. We recommend Angi, as they work with a network of price competitive contractors. This means that contractors chase you, instead of the frustrating opposite. This puts you in the driver's seat.
What is Deck Staining?
Having freshly stained decks helps you enjoy your outdoor living space to the fullest. Doing so improves the overall look of your house, especially if you’re frequently inviting visitors over. It also boosts your property’s resale value if you’re planning to put it up for sale in the long run. Beyond aesthetic benefits, the costs to stain a deck are worth it if you consider adding a revitalizing layer of protection to a wooden structure.
AKA, it will ward off the pests and protect the deck from mold and mildew. Now you're probably wondering "how much does it cost to stain a deck?" or “what is the average cost to have deck stained?” Let's jump right into the costs involved!
Factors Affecting Deck Staining Cost
Deck staining quotes vary on a case-to-case basis. It’s improbable for two projects to cost the same– so let’s examine some factors that may only drive the price up.
The larger your deck is– the more materials you’ll need to secure. It is also true for the duration of the project, which may be more extended than usual. Additional costs depending on size may start from $1 to $6 per square foot. Although it doesn’t seem much, keep in mind that these expenses may add up in no time.
You can calculate the average costs of staining a deck by determining the square footage of the wooden structure. Refer to the table below for a quick overview of the expected costs per deck size:
Deck Size (in Square Feet)
100 sq. ft.
$230 - $460
200 sq. ft.
$460 - $920
300 sq. ft.
$690 - $1,380
400 sq. ft.
$920 - $1,840
500 sq. ft.
$1,265 - $2,300
A 100 square foot deck, assuming it is newly installed in place and only needs staining, will cost you an investment of around $230 to $460. In contrast, large decks at 400 to 500 square feet cost $1,000 and more. If you need to strip old paint with a power sander and do pressure washing before the staining process, the cost per square foot will increase further.
Standard deck treatment starts at $1 to $2.50 per square foot, covering only the labor costs. Expect complex projects to cost up to $2.50 to $8 per square foot. There are different deck treatment types, but the ideal one your deck needs will depend on its current wood condition, age, and routine maintenance.
Below are some of the most common deck treatment types and the average price per square foot.
A large-sized deck means you will need to cover lots of surface area, rails, and spindles. Ideally, consider all the additional materials you need to cover the total size of the railing adequately. To get a rough estimate, check the two sides of your deck handrails. The inner side is the one closest to the deck's floor, while the exterior side is on the outer perimeter of the deck.
Most staining solutions for wooden decks are priced at $20 and $138 per gallon. Pro tip: look for stain materials known to penetrate the wood deeply. Solid stain types may conceal the wooden grain, but it lasts longer than semi-transparent staining options. It will help you save money by extending the time you need to re-stain the deck.
Other types of stain are known to let the natural colors shine. If you want to preserve the look of wooden decks, this will be an excellent choice. Refer to the table below for the most popular stain types and their average costs:
Water-Based Deck Stain
$23 - $103
Oil-Based Deck Stain
$40 - $138
Solid Deck Stain
$28 - $80
Semi-Solid Deck Stain
$46 - $103
Semi-Transparent Deck Stain
$23 - $115
Transparent Deck Stain
$23 - $72
Clear Deck Stain
$23 - $57
You can never go wrong with oil-based staining solutions, too. It’s unnecessary to buy the most expensive option in the market, but it’s better to buy someone renowned for stain longevity. Most deck stains come in cans or containers, with labels explaining the product’s coverage in square feet.
It will help you figure out just the right amount of stain you need for your deck, including the railings, stairs, and any undersides.
Aside from the stain prices, your contractor will also need to use standard tools such as small and large-sized paintbrushes, power sander, sanding pads, and a pressure washer. In newly constructed decks, you may skip the pressure washer and power sander. However, older decks will require prior sand and pressure washing for effective staining.
Your contractor will need more effort than a simple staining task, but rest assured that you will have a professionally finished deck project afterward.
As previously mentioned, any extra asks may only add to the total labor cost to stain a deck. So if your project requires more effort from your contractor besides simply applying stain to new wooden decks– the labor costs will increase accordingly.
Keep in mind that you are paying for the expertise of a trained professional. These pros can help you bring your old, chipped decks back to their former glory by removing any previous paint and ensuring the stain has sufficient surface adhesion.
Simply put, a deck maintained in good condition will be cheaper to stain professionally. In contrast, a deck in a visibly poor shape and deteriorating state will only cost you more on professional deck staining services.
In some cases, your contractor will need to first fill cracks or gaps in between boards or replace rotted boards in the wooden platform before the usual pressure washing and power sanding processes. The staining will only begin afterward. If wood repairs are necessary anticipate another 15-30% added to the project. (Related: Different Decking Materials And How Much They Cost)
Most decks require pre-treatment before your contractor can stain the material. It involves cleaning the deck to ensure no dirt or debris is lingering in the wood. Doing so allows the coat of stain to properly stick into the surface, giving your deck even colors. Having a smooth surface is ideal for better stain absorption. It is one thing to keep in mind, especially if you’re planning to switch to a different deck color altogether.
To ensure you are on the same page with your contractor and avoid potential misunderstandings, consult your local deck staining company about all the services covered by the initial quote.
A higher elevation of the deck means higher labor costs as the contractor will have to get equipment up to the deck level and also set up ladders to get the railing from the outside. The price will also increase if the deck has intricate wooden lattice work around the bottom of the deck. Staining lattice could be a substantial cost addition as it covers a lot of square footage.
Your contractor might charge extra labor if they have to move heavy grills, furniture, and other objects off the deck. If you want to save a few bucks, you might want to consider moving these items by yourself, or ask for help from your friends and family.
The presented cost range is based on a single-level, standard deck. Expect a higher deck staining quote if your deck includes multiple levels, built-in benches, pergola, or other decorative features.
If the space in question merely needs a fresh stain without the previous cleaning phase, expect to pay between $0.50 and $1.00 per square foot. However, in most circumstances, a surface-level clean is sufficient to prepare the wood and keep your deck in good condition. To be sure, set aside $2 to $4 per square foot.
Should I Hire a Deck Staining Professional?
It is crucial to consider hiring a local professional for your upcoming deck staining project, especially if you do not have the luxury of time, proper expertise and skill, or patience for the task.
To find a trusted contractor, here are some foolproof tips to consider:
Benefits of Regular Deck Staining
It is essential to give careful attention to your deck, as it serves as a great entertaining and relaxing space for your family. A well-maintained, beautiful deck will easily complement the existing landscape of your property.
In general, wooden decks need frequent upkeep if you want to keep them in the best possible shape. It includes regular staining to help keep its appeal, color, and shine. Here are some other benefits of deck staining:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Staining a deck usually takes about 20 hours per 500 square feet, including the cleaning, the 3 to 5 hours for the stain itself, and other necessary preparations. Expect the entire process to take at least 20 hours.
Experts suggest staining your deck in the spring or fall. If you schedule your deck staining in the summer, direct sunlight exposure may dry the stain quickly. It may lead to premature stain failure.
The majority of 1-gallon stains can cover around 200 to 300 square feet.
Typically, an oil-based deck stain will dry after 4 to 24 hours of application. However, it's best to wait for 24 to 72 hours before attempting to walk on the deck or move outdoor furniture.
Gentle cleaning agents, such as liquid dish soap or laundry detergent, are enough to clean your stained deck. Mix one cup of either in a bucket of water before pouring it into the wooden deck. Use a nylon brush to scrub any visible stains from the deck's surface before rinsing it.
High-quality stains last for three to five years on a deck.
Solid stains are known to last the longest, with at least three years' expected lifespan. This stain type is renowned for its weather resistance. Hence, it will last even through heavy rains and snowmelt.
Make your wooden decks ready for summertime picnics and intimate gatherings! If you want to impress your guests, have your decks stained by a professional as soon as possible. Deck staining is pretty much a straightforward, uncomplicated home maintenance project.
Consider the average cost to stain a deck to be an excellent investment on your end– given the improved aesthetic and protection benefits you may reap from it.