Estimating the cost to stain a deck

How much does it cost to stain a deck?

Cost to stain a deck determined by few essential aspects and total expenses primary depend on stain prices and labor cost to perform the work. Deck dimensions, type and wood surface condition will have direct impact on total cost for stain application. Before providing a quote, a contractor will analyze all details and price the work based on a number of man-hours necessary to complete the project.

Calculating gross expenses for staining a deck

Stain prices comparison


Wood stain prices greatly vary. Some clear waterproofing stains are relatively cheap while others semi-transparent stains available in different colors are more expensive. There are no average cost defined and price difference between cheapest and most expensive wood stain can exceed 150%.

Estimating cost of labor


Application of stain on simple 12’ x 16’ rooftop deck right after installation using a paint roller is significantly cheaper task compare to staining multileveled 14’ x 18’ deck with custom railing, lattice panels on sides and a stylish lumber roof. All exterior home improvement projects are unique and will be priced differently. Always take into account that preparation work including pressure washing and getting wood surface ready for stain application will increase cost of labor.

Shopping for wood stain


Wood stain can be purchased from the shelf of local home improvement retailors. Before buying certain product always estimate actual deck surface area accurately. Normally 1 gallon of stain cover approximately 300 ft2 – 350 ft2, but do not forget about railing, steps and other wood elements which have to be stained. If the deck is larger than 600 ft2 it might be cheaper to buy 5-gallon bucket of stain compare to 4 one gallon containers.

Big sales on wood stains are not very typical, but still, some products might be sold cheaper during clearance or seasonal sales.

If you are not sure about the color, always buy a small container and try it on the wood because normally wood stain is non-returnable product and if you do not like the color, but already paid for a few gallons of stain, you cannot get the money back.

Estimating deck staining time


On average, two experienced painters are able to stain simple 10’ x 13’ pressure treated wood newly built deck with standard railing in one day. Preparation of older wood deck for stain application might take another day. At the same time, staining 450 square feet multileveled deck with many custom elements using a few stain colors is much more time consuming process and can easily take 2 – 3 days for a crew of three painters.

Work complexity


Staining a deck is one of the simplest outdoor home improvement projects. Majority of homeowners who are comfortable with painting house interior by self can easily manage stain application on wood deck as well. But if performing such task as do-it-yourself project is out of any considerations hiring local remodeling contractor or painter is the best alternative. In addition, professionals will not only save your time, but guaranty the work quality.